St. Margaret Clitherow

St. Margaret Clitherow (1556 – 25 March 1586) was an English saint and martyr of the Roman Catholic Church, known as “the Pearl of York”. Margaret risked her life by harbouring and maintaining priests, which was made a capital offence by the Jesuits, etc. Act 1584. She provided two chambers, one adjoining her house and, with her house under surveillance, she rented a house some distance away, where she kept priests hidden and Mass was celebrated through the thick of the persecution. Her home became one of the most important hiding places for fugitive priests in the north of England. Margaret was arrested and called before the York assizes for the crime of harbouring Catholic priests. She refused to plead, thereby preventing a trial that would entail her three children being made to testify, and being subjected to torture. She was sentenced to death. Although pregnant with her fourth child, she was executed on Lady Day, 1586, (which also happened to be Good Friday that year) in the Toll Booth at Ouse Bridge, by being crushed to death by her own door, the standard inducement to force a plea.


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