Who are Our Buildings and Forms Named After?
Named after: Basil Hume (1923–1999)
Cardinal Basil Hume was born in Newcastle in 1923. He was educated at Ampleforth College. He entered the novitiate of the Benedictine monastery at Ampleforth Abbey aged 18 and worked as a housemaster at his old school until 1963, when he was appointed Abbot of the Ampleforth Community. Contemplative life came to an abrupt end with his appointment as Archbishop (and later Cardinal) in 1976. It was a surprise appointment as he lacked experience of running a diocese and was the first monk to hold the post since 1850.
One of Cardinal Hume’s main achievements was in building bridges with the Church of England. During his time at Westminster, the Queen attended her first Catholic service, Cardinal Hume spoke at the Anglican General Synod and Pope John Paul II visited Great Britain.
He emphasised the Church’s role in fighting for social justice and his efforts on behalf of the Guildford Four, wrongfully convicted as IRA bombers, helped lead to their release. He loved squash and supported Newcastle United FC. He died of cancer in 1999.
Named after: Henry Morse (1595–1645)
Saint Henry Morse was born in Suffolk, one of 14 children. He converted to Catholicism aged 19, in Douai, France, ‘having learnt the certain truth of the Catholic faith’ and decided he wanted to become a priest. He received many Protestant families into the Church. Morse was arrested and found guilty of being a Catholic priest. His work with plague victims was widely known and respected and after his conviction a petition was given to the King for his release. Morse was pardoned and released in 1641 and voluntarily went into exile in Belgium. In 1643 he returned to England, yet was soon arrested whilst visiting a sick Catholic and was condemned on his previous conviction. He was martyred by being hanged, drawn and quartered.
He was beatified in 1929 and canonised as one of the Forty Martyrs in 1970.
Named after: Margaret Clitherow (1556–1586)
Saint Margaret Clitherow was born in York. Soon after her marriage, Margaret became a Catholic. She lived in the Shambles in York and secretly offered Mass there. Meanwhile, the government was determined that Catholicism be stamped out in Yorkshire where it was especially strong.
In 1586 she was arrested for the crime of harbouring Catholic priests and would not plead, her only statement being, “Having made no offence, I need no trial.” If she had been tried, her family would have been called as witnesses against her, and she was determined that this would not happen. The judge sentenced her to be “pressed to death,” a bizarre death sentence in which the condemned was placed under a door (or similar object) and rocks piled on the door. Margaret died on 25 March 1586, aged only thirty. Queen Elizabeth I wrote to the citizens of York to say how horrified she was at the treatment of a fellow woman: due to this, Clitherow should not have been executed.
She was beatified in 1929 and canonised as one of the Forty Martyrs in 1970.
Named after: Francis Dickenson (1564–1590)
Blessed Francis Dickenson was born in Otley in 1564. Nothing is known of his early life, but in 1582, at the age of 17, he entered the English College in Reims. He was ordained at Soissons on 18 March 1589 and returned to England in November of that year. He was promptly arrested. Upon refusing to swear allegiance to the Queen, Francis was imprisoned in London.
During this time he was tortured in an attempt to obtain a confession. The date and place of his trial are unknown, however, he was taken to Rochester and hanged, drawn and quartered on 13 April 1590. Francis had been a priest for just over one year and, at the age of 25, was one of the youngest Catholic martyrs of the English Reformation.
Named after: John Fisher (1469–1535)
Saint John Fisher was born in Beverley, Yorkshire. He went to Cambridge University. In 1504, he became Bishop of Rochester and Chancellor of Cambridge, in which capacity he also tutored Prince Henry who was to become Henry VIII. His reputation as a preacher was so great that he preached the funeral oration for Henry VII in 1509.
He actively opposed King Henry VIII’s divorce proceedings against Catherine of Aragon. Fisher refused to take the Oath of Succession which acknowledged Anne Boleyn as King Henry VIII’s lawful wife and their children legitimate heirs to the throne. He was imprisoned, for treason, in the Tower of London where he was never allowed a Priest. He was made a Cardinal by Pope Paul III and Henry VIII retaliated by having him executed within a month.
He was beatified in 1886 and canonised by Pope Pius XI in 1935.
Named after: Richard Gwyn (1537–1584)
Saint Richard Gwyn was educated at Oxford University and the University of Douai, France. He then returned to Wales where he worked as a school teacher. He had six children. Gwyn often had to change his home and his school to avoid fines and imprisonment.
Finally in 1579 he was arrested by the Vicar of Wrexham, a former Catholic who had conformed to Anglicanism. He escaped and remained a fugitive for a year and a half, was recaptured, and spent the next four years in one prison after another until his execution. He refused to give up his Catholic beliefs and follow the Anglican church and was sentenced to death for High Treason in 1583. He was martyred by being hanged, drawn and quartered in Wrexham.
He was canonised as one of the Forty Martyrs in 1970.
Named after: Thomas More (1478–1535)
Saint Thomas More was born in London. He was the Speaker of the House of Commons, an important councillor to Henry VIII of England and Lord Chancellor. More coined the word “utopia” – a name he gave to the ideal and imaginary island nation in his book Utopia. He believed women to be just as capable academically as men, an attitude that was highly unusual at the time.
He campaigned against the Reformation (the separation from the Catholic Church) and refused to accept the King as Supreme Head of the Church of England. More saw the Reformation as heresy, a threat to the unity of both church and society. In 1535, he was tried for treason and executed. The jury took only fifteen minutes to find More guilty. He declared that he died “the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”
He was canonised by Pope Pius XI in 1935.
Named after: Nicholas Postgate (1596–1679)
Blessed Nicholas Postgate was born in Kirkdale House in the North York Moors. He entered Douai College, in France. He worked for 51 years as a priest in England for the Catholic religion, at constant risk from the authorities.
Although anti-Catholic feeling in England had subsided a good deal, it flared up again due to the fake Popish Plot of 1678; which resulted in a renewed and fierce persecution of English Catholics. Postgate was arrested, aged 82, whilst carrying out a baptism near Whitby. He was condemned for being a priest and was hanged, drawn and quartered. In his final speech, he forgave those who had wronged him. Nicholas Postgate was one of the very last Catholics put to death in England for their faith.
He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in November 1987.
Named after: Ralph Sherwin (1550–1581)
Saint Ralph Sherwin was born in Derbyshire and was educated at Eton College and Oxford. Sherwin converted to Roman Catholicism and fled abroad to the English College at Douai, France where he was ordained as a priest in 1577.
In 1580, Sherwin returned to England. He was soon arrested while preaching. Whilst in prison he converted many fellow prisoners, and was transferred to the Tower of London, where he was tortured on the rack and then thrown in the snow. Queen Elizabeth I told him she would make him a bishop if he converted, but he refused. He was brought to trial on an absurd charge of treasonable conspiracy. He was convicted in Westminster Hall and was hanged, drawn and quartered.
He was beatified in 1886 and canonised as one of the Forty Martyrs in 1970.
Named after: Christopher Wharton (1542–1600)
Blessed Christopher Wharton was born near Ilkley. He was educated at Trinity College, Oxford and converted to Catholicism. In 1583, he entered the English College at Reims to study for the priesthood. He was ordained priest in the following year but continued his studies until 1586, when he returned in great secrecy to Yorkshire to work as a priest ‘on the run’.
He was finally arrested in 1599 at the house of Eleanor Hunt, a widow, who was arrested with him and confined in York Castle. He was brought to trial and condemned for High Treason. He refused life and liberty at the price of conformity and was hanged, drawn and quartered.
Christopher Wharton’s skull is located in the Chapel at Myddelton Grange.
He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in November 1987.
You can find out more about who our Forms and Buildings are named after in posters around school:
- Main Corridor
- M2 (Small Hall)
- Clitherow Building Entrance Hall
- Hume Building, next to the portrait of Cardinal Hume (between H12 and H13)