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Ven. Henry Heath





English Franciscan and martyr, son of John Heath; christened at St. John's, Peterborough, 16 December, 1599; executed at Tyburn, 17 April, 1643. He went to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, 1617, proceeded B.A. in 1621, and was made college librarian. In 1622 he was received into the Church by George Muscott, and, after a short stay at the English College at Douai, entered St. Bonaventure's convent there in 1625, taking the name of Paul of St. Magdalen. Early in 1643, he with much trouble obtained leave to go on the English mission and crossed from Dunkirk to Dover disguised as a sailor. A German gentleman paid for his passage and offered him further money for his journey, but, in the spirit of St. Francis, Heath refused it and preferred to walk from Dover to London, begging his way. On the very night of his arrival, as he was resting on a door step, the master of the house gave him into custody as a shoplifter. Some papers found in his cap betrayed his religion and he was taken to the Compter Prison. The next day he was brought before the Lord Mayor, and, on confessing he was a priest, was sent to Newgate. Shortly afterwards he was examined by a Parliamentary committee, and again confessed his priesthood. He was eventually indicted under 27 Eliz. c. 2, for being a priest and into the realm. At Tyburn he reconciled in the very cart one of the criminals that were executed with him. He was allowed to hang until he was dead.

CHALLONER, Missionary Priests, II, 175; COOPER, in Dict. Nat. Biog., s.v.; GlLLOW,, Bibl. Dict. Cath, III, 239.

J. B. Wainewright.








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