Blessed John Felton
Martyr, date and place of birth unknown, wasexecuted in St. Paul's Churchyard, London, 8 August, 1570, for having, about eleven o'clock at night on the previous 24 May, affixed a copy of the Bull of St. Pius V excommunicating the queen to the gates of theBishop of London's palace near St. Paul's. His daughter, Frances Salisbury, says that this exploit actually took place between two and three on the morning of the next day, on which that year the feastof Corpus Christi happened to fall. The manuscriptwhich preserves- her narrative contains a blank where the age of her father should be recorded, but she gives us other particulars fully. He was a wealthygentleman of Norfolk extraction, and lived at Bermondsey Abbey near Southwark. He had marrieda lady who had been maid of honour to Queen Maryand playmate of Queen Elizabeth, and who was thewidow of an auditor of the former queen. He himself "was a man of stature little and of complexion black". Of the copies of the Bull which he had received atCalais he had given one to William Mellowes ofLincoln's Inn, a special friend of his. This copy was discovered on 25 May, and Mellowes on the rackconfessed to having received it from him. On 26 May he was arrested and taken to the Tower, where he was thrice racked, though he from the first confessedand gloried in his deed. He was condemned on 4 August and executed four days later. He was cut down alive, and his daughter says that he uttered theholy name of Jesus once or twice when the hangman had his heart in his hand.