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Ven. Robert Thorpe
Priest and martyr, b. in Yorkshire; suffered at York, 15 May, 1591. He reached the English College at Reims 1 March, 1583-4, was ordained deacon in December following, and priest by Cardinal Guise in April, 1585. He was sent on the mission, 9 May, 1585, and laboured in Yorkshire. He was arrested in bed very early on Palm Sunday, 1595, at the house of his fellow-martyr, Thomas Watkinson, at Menthorpe in the East Riding of Yorkshire, someone having seen palms being gathered the night before, and having informed John Gates of Howden, the nearest justice of the peace. Watkinson, an old Catholic yeoman who lived a solitary life, is described by the treacherous priest John Cecil as a clerk, so it is possible he was in minor orders. Both, though naturally timorous, met their deaths with great fortitude. Thorpe, condemned as a traitor merely for being a priest, was hanged, drawn, and quartered. Watkinson, condemned as a felon merely for harbouring priests, was only hanged. He was offered his life if he would go to church.
CHALLONER, Missionary Priests, I, no. 86; POLLEN, English Martyrs, 1584-1603 (London, 1908), 200-2; KNOX, Douay Diaries (London, 1878), passim.
John B. Wainewright.