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Born in Lancashire, 1550; died at Sainte-Ménehould, Lorraine, 29 June, 1585. He was probably a younger son of John Rishton of Dunkenhalgh and Dorothy Southworth. He studied at Oxford from 1568 to 1572, when he proceeded B.A. probably from Brasenose College. During the next year he was converted and went to Douai to study for the priesthood. He was the first Englishman to matriculate at Douai, and is said to have taken his M.A. degree there. While a student he drew up and published a chart of ecclesiastical history, and was one of the two sent to Reims in November, 1576, to see if the college could be removed there. After his ordination at Cambrai (6 April, 1576) he was sent to Rome. In 1580 he returned to England, visiting Reims on the way, but was soon arrested. He was tried and condemned to death with Blessed Edmund Campion and others on 20 November, 1581, but was not executed, being left in prison, first in King's Bench, then in the Tower. On 21 January he was exiled with several others, being sent under escort as far as Abbeville, whence he made his way to Reims, arriving on 3 March. Shortly afterwards, at the suggestion of Father Persons, he completed Sander's imperfect "Origin and Growth of the Anglican Schism". With the intention of taking his doctorate in divinity he proceeded to the University of Pont-à-Mousson in Lorraine, but the plague broke out, and though he went to Saint-Ménehould to escape the infection, he died of it and was buried there. Dodd in error ascribes his death to 1586, in which mistake he has been followed by the writer in the "Dictionary of National Biography" and others. After his death the book on the schism was published by Father Persons, and subsequent editions included two tracts attributed to Rishton, the one a diary of an anonymous priest in the Tower (1580-5), which was probably the work of Father John Hart, S.J.; the other a list of martyrs with later additions by Persons. Recent publication of the "Tower Bills" makes it certain that Rishton did not write the diary, and his only other known works are a tract on the difference between Catholicism and Protestantism (Douai, 1575) and "Profession of his faith made manifest and confirmed by twenty-one reasons".
PITTS, De illustribus Angliae scriptoribus (Paris, 1619); DODD, Church History (Brussels vere Wolverhampton, 1737-42), II, 74, a very inaccurate account; A WOOD, Athenae Oxonienses, ed. BLISS (London, 1813 - 20); KINSELLA AND DEANE, The Rise and Progress of the English Reformation (Dublin, 1827), a translation of Sander; LEWIS, Rise and Growth of the Anglican Schism (London, 1877, the best translation of Sander, the editor accepts the diary in the Tower as being by Rishton; KNOX, First and Second Douay Diaries (London, 1878); FOLEY, Records Eng. Prov. S.J., VI (London 1880); FOSTER, Alumni Oxonienses (Oxford, 1891); GILLOW, Bibl. Dict. Eng. Cath. SIMPSON, Edmund Campion, revised ed. (London, 1896-1907); COOPER in Dict. Nat. Biog.; PERSONS, Memoirs in Catholic Record Society, II, IV (London, 1906); Tower Bills, ed. POLLEN in Catholic Record Society, III (London, 1906).