William Knight was the son of Leonard Knight and lived at South Duffield, Hemington. On coming of age he claimed some property, left to him by his father, from his uncle, a Protestant, who denounced him to the authorities for being a Catholic ; he was at once seized and committed to the custody of Colyer, a pursuivant, who treated him with indignity and severity. He was sent in October, 1593, to York Castle, where William Gibson and George Errington were already confined, the latter having been arrested some years previously for participation in a rising in the North. A certain Protestant clergyman chanced to be among their fellow prisoners. To gain his freedom he had recourse to an act of treachery: feigning a desire to become a Catholic, he won the confidence of Knight and his two companions, who explained the Faith to him. With the connivance of the authorities, he was directed to one Henry Abbot, then at liberty, who endeavoured to procure a priest to reconcile him to the Church. Thereupon Abbot was arrested and, together with Knight and his two comrades, accused of persuading the clergyman to embrace Catholicism -- an act of treason under the penal laws. They were found guilty, sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered, and suffered their martyrdom with joy and fortitude at York, on 29 November, 1596.
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