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Bl. William Hart

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Born at Wells, 1558; suffered at York, 15 March, 1583. Elected Trappes Scholar at Lincoln College, Oxford, 25 May, 1571, he supplicated B.A., 18 June, 1574. The same year he followed the rector, John Bridgewater, to Douai. He accompanied the college to Reims, and returned thither after a severe operation at Namur, 22 November, 1578. He took the college oath at the English College, Rome, 23 April, 1579, whence he was ordained priest. On 26 March, 1581, he left Rome, arriving at Reims 13 May, and resuming his journey 22 May. On reaching England he laboured in Yorkshire. He was present at the Mass at which Blessed William Lacy was captured, and only escaped by standing up to his chin in the muddy moat of York Castle. Betrayed by an apostate on Christmas Day, 1582, and throne into an underground dungeon, he was put into double irons. After examination before the Dean of York and the Council of the North, he was arraigned at the Lent Assizes.

From the unprofessional account of his trial, which states that he was arraigned on two counts, we may be fairly certain that he was on trial on three, namely: (1) under 13 Eliz. c. 2 for having brought papal writings, to wit his certificate of ordination, into the realm; (2) under 13 Eliz. c. 3. for having gone abroad without royal license; and (3) under 23 Eliz. c. 1. for having reconciled John Wright and one Couling. On what counts he was found guilty does not clearly appear, but he was certainly guilty of the second.

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