On this day: Bl. Thomas Plumtree

by Gerelyn Hollingsworth

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On this day in 1570, Thomas Plumtree was hanged in the market place at Durham for his role as Preacher to the Rebels of 1569.

Thomas Percy, Earl of Northumberland, and Charles Neville, Earl of Westmoreland, led the Rising of the North against Queen Elizabeth with the intention of deposing her and replacing her with Mary, Queen of Scots. Thomas Plumtree joined them as their chaplain. He officiated at the Mass in Durham Cathedral on December 4, at which clergy and people who had conformed to the new religion were reconciled to the old faith.

--See Lives of the English Martyrs Declared Blessed by Pope Leo XIII. in 1886 and 1895, Written by Fathers of the Oratory, of the Secular Clergy and of the Society of Jesus, Completed and Edited by Dom Bede Camm, O.S.B., Longmans, Green and Co., 1914.

The rebellion inspired ballads, including one in which Thomas Plumtree is mentioned:

Among manye newes reported of late,
As touching the Rebelles their wicked estate,
Yet Syr Thomas Plomtrie, their preacher they saie,
Hath made the north countrie to crie well a daye,
Well a daye, well a daye, well a daye, woe is mee,
Syr Thomas Plomtrie is hanged on a tree.

--Quoted in Memorials of the Rebellion of 1569, by Sir Cuthbert Sharp, London, 1810.

This youtube gives some background information about The Northern Rebellion of 1569 and the Queen's savage punishment of 700 participants.

Thomas Plumtree, Priest and Martyr, was beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1886.

--A Menology of England and Wales; or, Brief Memorials of the Ancient British and English Saints, Arranged According to the Calendar: Together with the Martyrs of the 16th and 17th Centuries, by Richard Stanton, Priest of The Oratory, London, Burns & Oates, 1887.

For an unfavorable review of Stanton's book and a skeptical opinion of the beatification of the "alleged martyr", see The Athenaeum of March 17, 1888, p. 336-7.

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