seminary priest and martyr. Born at Richmond (N. Yorkshire), Kirby received a university education before going to the English College, Douai, where he was received into the R.C. Church and was ordained priest in 1577. He continued his studies in Rome for three years until he set out for England in 1580 with Edmund Campion. Immediately he landed at Dover he was arrested and was imprisoned in London at the Gatehouse, and tortured by the ‘Scavenger's Daughter’ at the Tower. In November 1581 he was tried together with Edmund Campion, Ralph Sherwin, and Alexander Briant for alleged complicity in a fictitious plot against the queen. He was sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered, but the execution was delayed until 30 May 1582. Relics survive at Stonyhurst College (Lancs.). He was canonized by Paul VI in 1970 as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. Feast: 30 May.
R. Challoner, Memoirs of Missionary Priests (ed. J. H. Pollen, 1924); B. Camm, Lives of the English Martyrs, ii (1914), 500–22; B.L.S., v. 174; M. T. H. Banks, Bd. Luke Kirby (pamphlet, 1961).