John Rigby (martyr)

Saint John Rigby (c. 1570 – June 21, 1600) was an English Catholic and martyr who was executed during the reign of Elizabeth I. He is one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.

Rigby was born at Harrock Hall, Eccleston, Chorley, Lancashire, the fifth or sixth son of Nicholas Rigby, by his wife Mary, the daughter of Oliver Breres of Preston. Rigby was working for Sir Edmund Huddleston, whose daughter Mrs. Fortescue was summoned to the Old Bailey for recusancy. Because she was ill, Rigby appeared for her, was compelled to confess his Catholicism, and sent to Newgate.

The next day, February 14, 1600, he signed a confession saying that since he had been reconciled by Saint John Jones, a Franciscan, he had not attended Anglican services. He was chained and sent back to Newgate, until he was transferred to the White Lion. Twice he was given the chance to recant; twice he refused. His sentence was therefore ordered to be carried out. On his way to execution, the hurdle was stopped by Roger Manners, the fourth Earl of Rutland, who wished him to conform and asked him if he were married, to which the martyr replied, "I am a bachelor; and more than that I am a maid". The Earl then asked Rigby for his prayers. Rigby was executed by hanging at St. Thomas Waterings on June 21, 1600, and was canonized in 1970; his feastday is October 25. Saint John Jones, the priest who had reconciled Rigby, had suffered on the same spot July 12, 1598.

St. John Rigby Roman Catholic Sixth Form College in Orrell, Metropolitan Borough of Wigan, Greater Manchester is named after St. John Rigby and has one of its buildings named after his birth place, the building being named Harrock House.


*catholic|St. John Rigby

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