Born near Sedburgh in Yorkshire, John Duckett studied at the English college of Douay and was ordained priest in 1639. He studied for three years in Paris before returning to England. He carried out his ministry for about a year before being arrested around the same time as another priest, Jesuit Ralph Corby. Father Ralph, who was born in Dublin and was educated in St Omer, Seville and Valladolid had ministered in England for 12 years before he was captured while celebrating Mass.
The Jesuit order tried feverishly to save Fr Ralph. When a 'reprieve' came, he appealed for Fr John who was younger, to be spared instead of him, but Fr John said he could not walk away and leave his friend.
In fact the judges ignored the reprieve and condemned both priests to death. On this day, in 1644, at ten o'clock, the two men mounted the cart that would take them to Tyburn. Their heads were shaved and they wore their cassocks. Each made a short speech, then embraced each other before they were hung drawn and quartered.
They were beatified in 1929.
John Duckett was a distant relative of another martyr of the Reformation, the publisher Blessed James Duckett.
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