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Saint John Houghton
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Roman Calendar : October 25
Carthusian Calendar : May 4

Protomartyr of the English Reformation

Born in Essex, England, in 1487; died at Tyburn on May 4, 1535; beatified in 1886; canonized by Paul VI in 1970 as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. Saint John served as a parish priest for four years after his graduation from Cambridge. Then he joined the Carthusians, where he was named prior of Beauvale Charterhouse in Northampton and, just a few months later, prior of London Charterhouse.

In 1534, he and his procurator, Blessed Humphrey Middlemore, were arrested for refusing to accept the Act of Succession, which proclaimed the legitimacy of Anne Boleyn's children by Henry VIII. They were soon released when the accepted the act with the proviso "as far as the law of God allows."

The following year Father Houghton was again arrested when he, Saint Robert Lawrence, and Saint Augustine Webster went to Thomas Cromwell to seek an exemption from taking the oath required in the Act of Supremacy. He, as the first of hundreds to refuse to apostatize in favor of the crowned heads of England, gave a magnificent example to his monks and the whole of Britain of fidelity to the Catholic faith.

As the sentence of drawing and quartering was read to Father Houghton, he said, "And what wilt thou do with my heart, O Christ?" The three were dragged through the streets of London, treated savagely, and then hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn. After his death, John Houghton's body was chopped into pieces and hung in various parts of London.

Saints of May 4
Saint John Houghton

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