|Died||30 June 1679|
|Alma mater||College of St. Omer|
Blessed Thomas Whitbread (alias Harcourt) (born in Essex, 1618; executed at Tyburn, 30 June 1679) was an English Jesuit missionary, wrongly convicted of conspiracy to murder Charles II of England. He was beatified in 1929.
Essex is a county in the south-east of England, north-east of London. One of the home counties, it borders Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent across the estuary of the River Thames to the south, and London to the south-west. The county town is Chelmsford, the only city in the county. For government statistical purposes Essex is placed in the East of England region.
Tyburn was a village in the county of Middlesex close to the current location of Marble Arch and the southern end of Edgware Road in present-day London. It took its name from the Tyburn Brook, a tributary of the River Westbourne. The name Tyburn, from Teo Bourne meaning 'boundary stream', is quite widely occurring, and the Tyburn Brook should not be confused with the better known River Tyburn, which is the next tributary of the River Thames to the east of the Westbourne.
Charles II was king of England, Scotland, and Ireland. He was king of Scotland from 1649 until his deposition in 1651, and king of England, Scotland and Ireland from the 1660 Restoration of the monarchy until his death.
He was a native of Essex, but little is known of his family or early life. He was educated at St. Omer's, and entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus on 7 September 1635. Coming upon the English mission in 1647, he worked in England for more than thirty years, mostly in the eastern counties. On 8 December 1652, he was professed of the four vows. Twice he was superior of the Suffolk District, once of the Lincolnshire District, and finally in 1678 he was declared Provincial. In this capacity he refused to admit Titus Oates as a member of the Society, on the grounds of his ignorance, blasphemy and sexual attraction to young boys, and expelled him forthwith from the seminary of St Omer; shortly afterwards Titus, motivated largely by personal spite against Whitbread, fabricated the Popish Plot.
The novitiate, also called the noviciate, is the period of training and preparation that a Christian novice monastic, apostolic, or member of a religious order undergoes prior to taking vows in order to discern whether he or she is called to vowed religious life. It often includes times of intense study, prayer, living in community, studying the vowed life, deepening one's relationship with God, and deepening one's self-awareness. It is a time of creating a new way of being in the world. The novitiate stage in most communities is a two-year period of formation. These years are "Sabbath time" to deepen one's relationship with God, to intensify the living out of the community's mission and charism, and to foster human growth. The novitiate experience for many communities includes a concentrated program of prayer, study, reflection and limited ministerial engagement.
The Society of Jesus is a religious order of the Catholic Church headquartered in Rome. It was founded by Ignatius of Loyola with the approval of Pope Paul III in 1540. The members are called Jesuits. The society is engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations. Jesuits work in education, research, and cultural pursuits. Jesuits also give retreats, minister in hospitals and parishes, sponsor direct social ministries, and promote ecumenical dialogue.
Suffolk is an East Anglian county of historic origin in England. It has borders with Norfolk to the north, Cambridgeshire to the west and Essex to the south. The North Sea lies to the east. The county town is Ipswich; other important towns include Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket, and Felixstowe, one of the largest container ports in Europe.
It was said later that Whitbread had a miraculous presentiment of the Plot, and undoubtedly he preached a celebrated sermon at Liege in July 1678, on the text "Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of?", in which he warned his listeners that the present time of tranquility would not last, and that they must be willing to suffer false accusations, imprisonment, torture and martyrdom.Having completed a tour of his Flanders province, he went to England but at once fell ill with plague.
Torture is the act of deliberately inflicting severe physical or psychological suffering on someone by another as a punishment or in order to fulfill some desire of the torturer or force some action from the victim. Torture, by definition, is a knowing and intentional act; deeds which unknowingly or negligently inflict suffering or pain, without a specific intent to do so, are not typically considered torture.
Flanders is the Dutch-speaking northern portion of Belgium and one of the communities, regions and language areas of Belgium. However, there are several overlapping definitions, including ones related to culture, language, politics and history, and sometimes involving neighbouring countries. The demonym associated with Flanders is Fleming, while the corresponding adjective is Flemish. The official capital of Flanders is Brussels, although the Brussels Capital Region has an independent regional government, and the government of Flanders only oversees the community aspects of Flanders life in Brussels such as (Flemish) culture and education.
Plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Symptoms include fever, weakness and headache. Usually this begins one to seven days after exposure. In the bubonic form there is also swelling of lymph nodes, while in the septicemic form tissues may turn black and die, and in the pneumonic form shortness of breath, cough and chest pain may occur.
Whitbread was arrested in London on Michaelmas Day, 1678, but was so ill that he could not be moved to Newgate till three months later. He was first indicted at the Old Bailey, 17 December 1678, but the evidence against him and his companions broke down.Given the state of public opinion, it was unthinkable to the Government that Whitbread, whom Oates and the other informers had identified as one of the originators of the Plot, should be allowed to escape punishment. Accordingly he was remanded and kept in prison till 13 June 1679, when he was again indicted for treason, and with four others was found guilty on the perjured evidence of Oates, William Bedloe and Stephen Dugdale. The importance of the trial is shown by the fact that it was heard by a bench of seven judges, headed by the Lord Chief Justice, Sir William Scroggs, who was a firm believer in the Plot and deeply hostile to Catholic priests. In the circumstances Whitbread could not have hoped to escape, and, although he strongly maintained his innocence, Kenyon suggests that he had resigned himself to death. Certainly the sermon he had preached at Liege the previous year suggests that he expected to suffer the death of a martyr, whether sooner or later.
Newgate was one of the historic seven gates of the London Wall around the City of London and one of the six which date back to Roman times. From it, a Roman road led west to Silchester, Hampshire. Excavations in 1875, 1903 and 1909 revealed the Roman structure and showed that it consisted of a double roadway between two square flanking guardroom towers.
The Central Criminal Court of England and Wales is a court in London and one of a number of buildings housing the Crown Court. Part of the present building stands on the site of the medieval Newgate gaol, on a road named Old Bailey that follows the line of the City of London's fortified wall, which runs from Ludgate Hill to the junction of Newgate Street and Holborn Viaduct. The Old Bailey has been housed in several structures near this location since the sixteenth century, and its present building dates from 1902, designed by Edward William Mountford.
William Bedloe was an English fraudster and Popish Plot informer.
He was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn. The King, who knew that he and his fellow victims were innocent, ordered that they be allowed to die before being mutilated. The crowd showed that on this occasion its sympathies were with the victims, and it listened in respectful silence as Whitbread and the others made lengthy speeches protesting their innocence.The others executed with him were John Gavan, John Fenwick, William Harcourt and Anthony Turner. After the execution his remains, and those of his companions, were buried in St. Giles's in the Fields.
To be hanged, drawn and quartered was from 1352 a statutory penalty in England for men convicted of high treason, although the ritual was first recorded during the reign of King Henry III (1216–1272). A convicted traitor was fastened to a hurdle, or wooden panel, and drawn by horse to the place of execution, where he was then hanged, emasculated, disembowelled, beheaded, and quartered. The traitor's remains were often displayed in prominent places across the country, such as London Bridge. For reasons of public decency, women convicted of high treason were instead burned at the stake.
Blessed John Gavan was an English Jesuit. He was a victim of the fabricated Popish Plot, and was wrongfully executed for conspiracy to murder King Charles II. He was beatified in 1929.
Blessed John Fenwick, real surname Caldwell (1628–1679) was an English Jesuit, executed at the time of the fabricated Popish Plot. He is a Catholic martyr, beatified in 1929 by Pope Pius XI.
Whitbread wrote "Devout Elevation of the Soul to God" and two short poems, "To Death" and "To his Soul", which are printed in "The Remonstrance of Piety and Innocence".
Titus Oates, also called Titus the Liar, was an English perjurer who fabricated the "Popish Plot", a supposed Catholic conspiracy to kill King Charles II.
The Popish Plot was a conspiracy alleged and purported by Titus Oates that between 1678 and 1681 gripped the Kingdoms of England and Scotland in anti-Catholic hysteria. Oates alleged that there was an extensive Catholic conspiracy to assassinate Charles II, accusations that led to the executions of at least 22 men and precipitated the Exclusion Bill Crisis. Eventually Oates's intricate web of accusations fell apart, leading to his arrest and conviction for perjury.
Blessed Thomas Thwing (1635–1680) was an English Roman Catholic priest and martyr, executed for his supposed part in the Barnbow Plot, an offshoot of the fabricated Popish Plot invented by Titus Oates. His feast day is October 23.
Blessed William Ireland was an English Jesuit from Lincolnshire. He was executed during the reign of King Charles II for participating in the fabricated "Popish Plot" against the King. He is a Catholic martyr, and was beatified in 1929.
Giovanni Paolo Oliva was the eleventh Superior General of the Society of Jesus.
Sir George Wakeman was an English doctor, who was royal physician to Catherine of Braganza, Consort of Charles II of England. In 1678, on the outbreak of the fabricated Popish Plot, he was falsely accused of treason by Titus Oates, who had gained the backing of Thomas Osborne, 1st Earl of Danby, the effective head of the English government. Oates accused Wakeman of conspiring to kill the King with the help of the Jesuits, and to put his brother James, Duke of York on the throne in his place. At his trial in 1679 Wakeman was acquitted, the first sign that the public was beginning to lose faith in the reality of the Plot.
Thomas Pickering was a Benedictine lay brother who served in England during the time of recusancy. He was martyred as a result of the fraudulent claims of Titus Oates that he was part of a plot to murder King Charles II.
Miles Prance was an English Roman Catholic craftsman who was caught up in and perjured himself during the Popish Plot and the resulting anti-Catholic hysteria in London during the reign of Charles II.
William Petre, 4th Baron Petre was an English peer and victim of the Popish Plot.
Blessed Richard Langhorne was an English barrister and Catholic martyr, who was executed on a false charge of treason as part of the fabricated Popish Plot. He fell under suspicion simply because he was a Roman Catholic, and because he had acted as legal adviser to the Jesuits at a time of acute anti-Catholic hysteria.
Sir Thomas Jones KS was an English judge and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1660 to 1676.
Blessed William Barrow was an English Jesuit, executed as a result of the Popish Plot, a fabricated Catholic conspiracy to kill the King. He is a Catholic martyr, beatified in 1929. By a papal decree of 4 December 1886, this martyr's cause was introduced, but under the name of "William Harcourt". This is the official name of beatification.
Stephen Dugdale (1640?-1683) was an English informer, and self-proclaimed discoverer of parts of the Popish Plot. He perjured himself on numerous occasions, giving false testimony which led to the conviction and execution of numerous innocent men, notably the Catholic nobleman Lord Stafford, the Jesuit Provincial Thomas Whitbread, and the prominent barrister Richard Langhorne.
Edward Turberville or Turbervile was a Welsh professional soldier, better known to history as an informer who perjured himself in support of the allegations made during the fictitious Popish Plot.
Richard Strange (1611–1682) was an English Jesuit, now remembered as the sponsor for Titus Oates's short period of studies under the Society of Jesus, despite Oates's lack of Latin and poor reputation.
John Warner (1628–1692) was an English Jesuit, known as a controversialist and confessor to James II.
Blessed Anthony Turner (1628–1679) was an English Jesuit. He was a victim of the fabricated Popish Plot, who was falsely accused, convicted and executed for conspiracy to murder Charles II. He was beatified in 1929.
The public domain consists of all the creative work to which no exclusive intellectual property rights apply. Those rights may have expired, been forfeited, expressly waived, or may be inapplicable.
Sir Leslie Stephen was an English author, critic, historian, biographer, and mountaineer, and father of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell.
Sir Sidney Lee was an English biographer, writer and critic.
|Catholic Church titles|
| Provincial superior of the English |
Province of the Society of Jesus
14 January 1678 – 30 June 1679