John Lockwood 1555 - 1642

Also known as John Lascellas or John Lascelles.

John was born in 1555 (some sources state 1561) in Sowerby, Yorkshire, the eldest son of Christopher Lockwood and Clare Lascelles (daughter of Christopher Lascelles of Sowerby and Brackenborough Castle, Yorkshire). He gave up an estate of four hundred pounds a year to follow the path of God. With his brother Francis he went to Riems, France arriving on 4th November 1579. John was then sent to Douai, France to study philosophy. Francis was ordained in 1587 but John entered the English College, Rome on 4th October 1595, was ordained as a priest on 26th January 1597 and then sent on the mission on 20th April 1598.

He was imprisoned several times, banished in 1610, condemned to death then reprieved. He was finally arrested whilst cultivating his little garden at Wood End, then occupied by Mrs. Catenby (some sources state Bridget Gatenby), a widow, with whom he had resided several years.

John Lockwood was arrested, for the treasonable crime of being a Catholic priest, by Cuthbert Langdale from nearby Thirsk, whose name has been handed down to posterity with deserved infamy.

John Lockwood had, amidst a life of vicissitude and peril, reached the ripe old age of 87, and his only crime was his firm adhesion to the faith of his fathers and the exercise of his priestly functions. His venerable age, which might have commanded sympathy and forbearance, had no effect on the stony heart of his captor. The execution was stayed by the king for a short time, but he finally signed the warrant and it was carried out during his presence at The Manor in York.

Enfeebled by his years the aged priest was unable to ride, and, Pizzaro-like, he was laid across the horse's back and thus conveyed to York. He suffered death along with another priest, named Edmund Catherick, also a Yorkshireman. After their execution they were taken down and disembowelled, and their heads and quarters placed above the several gates or bars of the city.

He was beatified by Pope Pius X1 in 1929.

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