Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Ven. William Dean

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 4
Ven. William Dean

by Bede Camm


Born in Yorkshire, England, date uncertain, martyred 28 August, 1588. He studied at Reims and was ordained priest at Soissons, 21 December, 1581, together with the martyrs George Haydock and Robert Nutter. Their ordination coincided with the time that the news of Campion's martyrdom reached the college. Dean said his first Mass 9 January and left for England 25 January, 1581. He is called by Champney "a man distinguished by the soundness of his morals and learning". He was banished with a number of other priests in 1585, put ashore on the coast of Normandy, and threatened with death if he dared to go back to England. Nevertheless he quickly returned to his labours there and was again arrested, tried, and condemned for his priesthood, 22 August, 1588. The failure of the Spanish Armada, in spite of the loyalty manifested by English Catholics at that crisis, brought about a fierce persecution and some twenty-seven martyrs suffered that year. Six new gibbets were erected in London, it is said at Leicester's instigation, and Dean, who had been condemned with five other priests and four laymen, was the first to suffer on the gallows erected at Mile End. With him suffered a layman, the Venerable Henry Webley, for relieving and assisting him. At the martyrdom Dean tried to speak to the people, "but his mouth was stopped by some that were in the cart, in such a violent manner that they were like to have prevented the hangman of his wages". Seven martyrs suffered on the same day. Leicester died on 5 September, within a week of their execution.

CHALLONER, Missionary Priests (1741), I, 209; STOW, Annales (1615), 749; Douay Diaries; MORRIS, Troubles of Our Catholic Forefathers, II, 72, 156, 157.

Bede Camm.