May 4 - Saint John Houghton

Quick Facts

  • Graduated from Cambridge with degrees in civil and canon law.
  • Ordained in 1501 and served as a parish priest for four years.
  • Carthusian monk, doing his noviate in the London Charterhouse, and making his final vows in 1516.
  • Prior of the Beauvale Carthusian Charterhouse, Northampton.Prior of the London Charterhouse.
  • In 1534 he was the first person to oppose King Henry VIII's Act of Supremacy.
  • Imprisoned with Blessed Humphrey Middlemore.
  • When the oath was modified to include the phrase ""in so far as the law of God permits"", John felt he could be loyal to Church and Crown; he and several of his monks signed the oath, though with misgivings.
  • Father John was released, and a few days later, troops arrived at the Chapter house and forced the remaining monks to sign the modified oath.
  • On 1 February 1535, Parliment required that the original, unmodified oath be signed by all.
  • Following three days of prayer, Father John, with Saint Robert Lawrence and Saint Augustine Webster, contacted Thomas Cromwell to seek an exemption for themselves and their monks.
  • The group was immediately arrested and thrown in the Tower of London.
  • True to his Carthusian vow of silence, he would not defend himself in court, but refused to cooperate or sign.
  • The jury could find no malice to the king, but when threatened with prosecution themselves, they found John and his co-defendants guilty of treason.
  • First person martyred under the Tudor persections, dying with Blessed John Haile and three others.
  • One of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.