"The Blessed John Story, Roman Catholic martyr," according to one authority, and "the bloody butcher and traitorous rebel," according to another - had a most remarkable career. He was a north-countryman, born about 1510, and early became a lay brother of the Greyfriars. He was educated at Oxford, took the B.C.L. degree in 1531 and four years later was appointed Civil Law Lecturer, becoming Principal of Broadgates Hall (afterwards Pembroke College) in 1537. This post he resigned two years later, but got his D.C.L. degree before doing so. In 1544 he was in Boulogne and rendered great services during the siege in the administration of the Civil Law. As a reward for his services he received a fresh patent for his office at Oxford and ranks as the first Regius Professor of Civil Law at the University. He strongly opposed the Act of Uniformity and caused a great sensation in the House by exclaiming, during the debate, "Woe unto the land whose king is a child!". For this he was thrown into the Tower and thus provided the first known instance of the Commons punishing one of their own members. In time he made submission and was released, but thought it advisable to get out of England, so he retired to Louvain until Mary came to the throne when he at once came back, was restored to his Professorship and a month later in 1553 was elected M.P. for East Grinstead. He soon resigned his Oxford appointment and became the most active of all the Queen's agents in bringing heretics to trial. In 1555 he was appointed Queen's Proctor for the trial of Cranmer. On Elizabeth's accession he renounced all foreign jurisdictions, but in 1559 he made a speech glorying in what he had done during Mary's reign and quickly found himself in the Fleet prison. But only for a time. Liberty, however, was almost as brief and his next compulsory home was the Marshalsea. From here he escaped to the Spanish embassy and was smuggled away to Flanders .In England a plot was hatched for his capture and he was taken to the Tower and on May 26th, 1571, brought to trial in Westminster Hall on a charge of inciting the Duke of Alva to invade England. He refused to plead and claimed to be a Spanish subject, but was condemned for treason, sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered, and on June 1st this sentence was carried out at Tyburn. Three centuries later Pope Leo XIII. honoured his memory by raising him to the ranks of the Blessed - one stage below the Saints - the decree of beatification being dated December 29th, 1886.
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