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John Norton and his wife Margaret lived in Laymsley, England, near Durham. It was to their home that Father Thomas Palaser came shortly after returning to his native England following his ordination in Valladolid, Spain. Agents of Queen Elizabeth I's Protestant regime raided the Nortons' home, arresting Father Palaser and the couple hosting him, together with another married Catholic layman present, John Talbot. Father Palaser was sentenced to death for being a priest. John Norton and his wife were condemned to death for harboring Father Palaser in their home. Subsequently Mrs. Norton's death sentence was commuted because she was pregnant. John Talbot was condemned to death for having assisted Father Palaser. As the three men awaited their fate in a Durham prison, the wife of their jailer attempted to end their lives even sooner by plotting to poison them. The scheme failed, but the strange incident had the effect of moving the woman's maidservant to become a Catholic. Father Palaser was put to death by drawing and quartering. John Norton and John Talbot were executed by hanging.
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