Filbie, William (DNB00)

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FILBIE, WILLIAM (1555?–1582), catholic priest, was born at Oxford about 1555, and educated in Lincoln College, but not liking the established religion he forsook the university, and went to the English College of Douay, then temporarily removed to Rheims. On 25 March 1581 he was ordained priest in the church of St. Mary at Rheims, by the bishop of Châlons-sur-Marne, and soon afterwards he returned to England upon the mission. He was apprehended at Henley while incautiously attempting to speak to Father Edmund Campion, who was being conducted to London with other prisoners (Simpson, Edmund Campion, p. 228). They were all committed to the Tower, 22 July 1581. Filbie was arraigned and condemned on 20 Nov., together with three other priests. They were executed at Tyburn on 30 May 1582. While Filbie was under the scaffold the sheriff told him he had orders to reprieve him if he would own the crime he was charged with and conform to the established church, but Filbie refused to save his life on such conditions.

An account of his death, by an eye-witness, is printed in Cardinal Allen's ‘Briefe Historie of the Martyrdom of 12 reuerend Priests, executed within these twelue Monthes for Confession and Defence of Catholicke Faith, but vnder false Pretence of Treason,’ 1582, 8vo.

Filbie's name is included in the list of English martyrs who were beatified by a decree of Pope Leo XIII, dated 29 Dec. 1886.

[Bridgewater's Concertatio Ecclesiæ Catholicæ, p. 90; Challoner's Missionary Priests (1741), i. 87; Dodd's Church Hist. ii. 103; Douay Diaries, pp. 10, 28, 176, 178 bis, 181, 188, 293; Evans's Cat. of Engraved Portraits, No. 15847; Historia del glorioso Martirio di sedici Sacerdoti martirizati in Inghilterra (Macerata, 1583), p. 138; Notes and Queries, 6th ser. v. 23; Raisse's Catalogus Christi Sacerdotum, p. 32; Simpson's Edmund Campion, p. 380; Stow's Annales (1615), p. 694; Tablet, 15 Jan. 1887, pp. 81, 82.]

T. C.