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Ven. Robert Morton
English priest and martyr, b. at Bawtry, Yorks, about 1548; executed in Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, Wednesday, 28 August, 1588 (the catalogue probably compiled by Fr. John Gerard, S.J., and printed by Fr. Pollen, S.J., in "Cath. Rec. Soc. Publ.", V, 288-293, gives the date of the deaths of the Venerabiles Morton, Moor, Holford, Claxton, and Felton as 30 August, but this seems to be an error). He was the son of Robert Morton, and nephew of Dr. Nicholas Morton, was ordained deacon at Rome and priest at Reims in 1587, and condemned at Newgate 26 August merely for being a priest contrary to 27 Eliz., c. 2. At the same time and place suffered Hugh Moor, a layman, aged 25, of Grantham, Lincolnshire, and Gray's Inn, London, for having been reconciled to the Church by Fr. Thomas Stephenson, S.J. On the same day suffered (1) at Mile End, William Dean, a priest (q. v.); and Henry Webley, a layman, born in the city of Gloucester; (2) near the Theatre, William Gunter, a priest, born at Raglan, Monmouthshire, educated at Reims; (3) at Clerkenwell, Thomas Holford, a priest, born at Aston, in Acton, Cheshire, educated at Reims, who was hanged only; and (4) between Brentford and Hounslow, Middlesex, James Claxton or Clarkson, a priest, born in Yorkshire and educated at Reims; and Thomas Felton, born at Bermondsey Abbey in 1567, son of B. John Felton, tonsured 1583 and about to be professed a Minim, who had suffered terrible tortures in prison. According to one account there also suffered on the same day at Holywell, London, one Richard Williams, a Welsh priest of Queen Mary's reign. Another, however, puts his death in 1592 or 1593. Fr. Pollen thinks his name occurs in this year in mistake for that of John Harrison, alias Symonds, a letter carrier, who was it seems executed at Tyburn, 5 October, 1588.
POLLEN, English Martyrs 1584-1603 in Cath. Rec. Soc. Publ., V (privately printed, London, 1908); IDEM, Acts of English Martyrs (London, 1891); CHALLONER, Memoirs of Missionary Priests, I (Manchester, 1802).
J. B. Wainewright.