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English martyr ; b. about 1570 at Harrocks Hall, Eccleston, Lancashire; executed at St. Thomas Waterings, 21 June, 1600. He was the fifth or sixth son of Nicholas Rigby, by Mary, daughter of Oliver Breres of Preston. In the service of Sir Edmund Huddleston, at a time when his daughter, Mrs. Fortescue, being then ill, was cited to the Old Bailey for recusancy, Rigby appeared on her behalf; compelled to confess himself a Catholic, he was sent to Newgate. The next day, 14 February, 1599 or 1600, he signed a confession, that, since he had been reconciled by the martyr, John Jones the Franciscan, in the Clink some two or three years previously, he had declined to go to church. He was then chained and remitted to Newgate, till, on 19 February, he was transferred to the White Lion. On the first Wednesday in March (which was the 4th and not, as the martyr himself supposes, the 3rd) he was brought to the bar, and in the afternoon given a private opportunity to conform. The next day he was sentenced for having been reconciled; but was reprieved till the next sessions. On 19 June he was again brought to the bar, and as he again refused to conform, he was told that his sentence must be carried out. On his way to execution, the hurdle was stopped by a Captain Whitlock, 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", and the captain thereupon desired his prayers. The priest, who reconciled him, had suffered on the same spot 12 July, 1598.

[ Note: Both John Rigby and the Franciscan priest, John Jones , were canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970 among the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, whose joint feast day is kept on 25 October.]


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