Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Ven. Christopher Wharton

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 15
Ven. Christopher Wharton

by Edwin Hubert Burton


Born at Middleton, Yorkshire, before 1546; martyred at York, 28 March, 1600. He was the second son of Henry Wharton of Wharton and Agnes Warcop, and younger brother of Thomas, first Lord Wharton. He was educated at Trinity College, Oxford, where he graduated M.A., 3 February, 1564, and afterwards became a fellow. In 1583 he entered the English College at Reims to study for the priesthood (28 July). He was ordained priest in the following year 31 March, but continued his studies after ordination till 1586, when on 21 May he left Reims in company with Ven. Edward Burden. No details of his missionary labours have been preserved; but at his trail Baron Savile, the judge, incidentally remarked that he had known him at Oxford some years after 1596. He was finally arrested in 1599 at the house of Eleanor Hunt, a widow, who was arrested with him and confined in York castle. There, with other Catholic prisoners, he was forcibly taken to hear Protestant sermons. He was brought to trial together with Mrs. Hunt at the Lent Assizes 1600, and both were condemned, the former for high treason, the latter for felony. Both refused life and liberty at the price of conformity, and the martyr suffered with great constancy, while Eleanor Hunt was allowed to linger in prison till she died. Dr. Worthington, writing of Ven. Christopher Wharton, specially commends his "humility, fervent charity, and other great virtues".

WORTHINGTON, A Relation of Sixteen Martyrs (Douai, 1601); Douay Diaries (London, 1878); CHALLONER, Memoirs of Missionary Priests (London,1741-42); MORRIS, Troubles of our Catholic Forefathers, III (London), 462.

Edwin Burton.