Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Ven. Thurstan Hunt

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 7
Ven. Thurstan Hunt

by John Hungerford Pollen (1858-1925)

Hunt, Thurstan, Venerable, an English martyr (March, 1601), who belonged to the family seated at Carlton Hall, near Leeds, and had made his course of studies at Reims, 1583, 1584. Robert Middleton, his fellow-martyr, a nephew of Margaret Clitheroe (q.v.), had also studied at Reims and at Rome, 1594-1598. In November, 1600, Middleton was arrested by chance near Preston, and an attempt to rescue him was made by four Catholics, of whom Hunt was one, but the attempt failed, and after a long and exciting tussle, Hunt was captured. They were then both treated with great inhumanity, and heavily ironed night and day until, by the order of the Privy Council, with their feet tied beneath their horses' bellies, they were carried in public disgrace up to London and back again to Lancaster, where they were condemned and executed for their priesthood. But the attempt to degrade them in public opinion failed. No one would let out his horse to drag them to the place of execution; they reconciled to the Church the felons condemned to die with them; their relics were eagerly carried off after their death; and a contemporary sang admiringly of


Hunt's hawtie corage staut,

With godlie zeale soe true,

Myld Middleton, O what tongue

Can halfe thy vertue showe!

Pollen, Unpublished Documents relating to the English Martyrs (Catholic Record Society, 1908, V, 384-9; the remarkable Open letter to Queen Elizabeth (Ibid, 381-4) strongly recalls Hunt's "haughty courage stout" and is probably by him.

J. H. POLLEN