John Stone

(d. 1539)

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(d. 1539),

Austin friar and martyr. Little is known of his early life, but in 1538 he was a priest and a doctor of theology at Canterbury when Richard Ingworth, Cromwell's Visitor, arrived to suppress the friary. All his community with the other secular and regular clergy of Canterbury, agreed to take the Oath of Supremacy, but Stone, alone of his Order, refused to do so, declaring forthrightly that ‘the Kynge may not be hede of the Chyrche of Ynglonde, but yt must be a spyrytuall father adpoynted by God’. He was sent forthwith by Ingworth to Cromwell at London: Cromwell sent him down again for execution at Canterbury. It is not known how he had previously avoided taking the various oaths, nor how he had come to make his witness at the last hour to the faith in which he was brought up. His resistance seems to have been a surprise to all. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Canterbury on 27 December 1539 at the mound called the Dane John. The entry in the City Chamberlain's account book detailing the charge for the gallows, halter, and cauldron survives. He was one of the English martyrs depicted in Circiniani's murals at the English College, Rome, and was canonized as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales by Paul VI in 1970. Feast 25 October.

L. E. Whatmore, Catholic Record Society Publications, vol. 45 (1950).

Subjects: Christianity.

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