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Feastday: January 11

Birth: 1548

Death: 1584

Beatified By: Pope John Paul II


William Carter, a married bookseller, established his own printing press in London to publish Catholic literature for England’s persecuted Catholic population. Continuously in danger from the Elizabethan authorities, he is said to have done his printing with a press so small that he could produce no more than one page at a time, and sometimes had to resort to copying books by hand. Previously he had assisted the imprisoned Catholic cleric, Nicholas Harpsfield (remembered for his biography of Saint Thomas More). William’s publication work led to his imprisonment in the Tower of London. In a futile effort to obtain names from him, his captors tortured him on a rack, questioning him about several chalices and vestments that had been entrusted to him for safekeeping, and about the books found in his possession, which contained Catholic prayers, meditations, and spiritual exercises. At his trial, as the jury was deliberating, William received the sacrament of penance from a priest who was also facing a likely death sentence. William was executed the next day.


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