mardi 31 mars 2015

Bienheureux CHRISTOPHER ROBINSON, prêtre et martyr

Bienheureux Christophe Robinson, prêtre et martyr

Né vers 1565 à Woodsite en Angleterre, il fit ses études de théologie à Douai et à Reims. Ordonné prêtre le 24 février 1592, il retourne en Angleterre où il est témoin du martyr de saint John Boste dont il écrit le récit. Arrêté le 4 mars 1597, martyrisé, la corde aurait cassé deux fois avant de le pendre à la troisième fois, en 1597.

Bienheureux Christophe Robinson

prêtre et martyr en Angleterre ( 1597)

Né vers 1565 à Woodsite en Angleterre, il fit ses études de théologie à Douai et à Reims. Ordonné prêtre le 24 février 1592, il retourne en Angleterre où il est témoin du martyre de saint John Boste dont il écrit le récit. Arrêté le 4 mars 1597, martyrisé, la corde aurait cassé deux fois avant de le pendre à la troisième fois. Il a été béatifié le 22 novembre 1987 par Jean-Paul II.

Commémoraison du bienheureux Christophe Robinson, prêtre et martyr, qui fut témoin du martyre de saint Jean Boste, et fut lui-même, sous la reine Élisabeth Ière, pour la seule cause de son sacerdoce, mené au gibet, un jour non précisé de 1597.

Martyrologe romain

Ven. Christopher Robinson

Born at Woodside, near Westward, Cumberland, date unknown; executed at Carlisle, 19 Aug., 1598. He was admitted to the English College at Reims in 1589, and was ordained priest and sent on the mission in 1592. Two years later he was a witness of the condemnation and execution of the venerable martyr John Boste at Durham, and wrote a very graphic account of this, which has been printed from a seventeenth-century transcript in the first volume of the "Catholic Record Society's Publications" (London, 1905), pp. 85-92. His labours seem to have been mainly in Cumberland and Westmoreland; but nothing is known about them. Eventually he was arrested and imprisoned at Carlisle, where Bishop Robinson, who may have been a relative, did his best to persuade him to save his life by conforming, under 27 Eliz., c. 2, for being a priest and coming into the realm, suffered the last penalty with such cheerful constancy that his death was the occasion of many conversions.

Wainewright, John. "Ven. Christopher Robinson." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 30 Mar. 2015 <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Christine J. Murray.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, D.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

Blessed Christopher Robinson, the Carlisle Martyr

Blessed Christopher Robinson was executed at Carlisle on August 19, 1598. The model above reflects the circumstances of his martyrdom, as the rope on which he was to be hung kept breaking! According to this website

Christopher Robinson is on all the ancient lists of those martyred during the Reformation, but his life is still little known. Nevertheless, his memory has never been effaced in Cumberland, of which he is the only Catholic martyr. His death evidently made a deep impression especially in his native Carlisle.

Christopher Robinson was probably born at Woodside, near Carlisle, between 1565 and 1570. He was admitted as a student with six others on 17 August 1590 at Douai as a student. This college had been founded on 29 September 1568 by William Allen, a former Oxford Professor and later Cardinal. The first four priests were sent to England in 1574, and in the next ten years just over a hundred left the College ordained for the English Mission. From 1568 to 1594 the College was re-settled beside the university of Rheims and it was during this period that Christopher Robinson was a student of the College.

He was at once entered for theological studies and was given the tonsure and first Minor Orders on 18 August 1590. Such was the urgent need for priests that the College had been granted a general dispensation to shorten the usual six-year course of preparation for the priesthood. Christopher Robinson was given the remaining Minor Orders, together with the subdiaconate and diaconate, on the last three days of March 1591. On 24 February he was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Philip Sega in his private chapel at Rheims. He departed for England on 1 September 1592.

Cumberland and probably part of Westmorland was to be his field of labour. In a list of 1596 he is described by name as ‘dwelling for the most part at Woodside nigh Carlisle in Cumberland’. The only house known with certainty to have been visited and used by him was Johnby Hall, the home of the Musgrave family, about six miles from Penrith, near Greystoke Castle.

He would surely have known John Boste, a native of Dufton, near Appleby, who was the most hunted priest in the northern counties. He was eventually captured near Brancepeth, County Durham, on 13 September 1593. Christopher Robinson heard of his capture and, feeling sure no one would recognise him, rode over to attend his trial. Afterwards he wrote a detailed account of the trial and death of John Boste. This is a unique, first hand evidence of a martyrdom, hardly paralleled elsewhere.

He himself was arrested three and a half years later on 4 March 1597. A letter by Fr. Henry Garnett SJ dated 7 April 1597 states:

‘One Robinson, a seminary priest, was lately in a purchased gaol-delivery hanged at Carlisle. The rope broke twice and the third time he rebuked the sheriff for cruelty saying that, although he meant no way to yield but was glad of the combat, yet flesh and blood were weak, and therefore he showed little humanity to torment a man for so long. And when they took order to put two ropes, then, said he, by this means I shall be longer a-dying, but it is no matter, I am willing to suffer all.’ 

Although the indictment upon which Christopher Robinson suffered is no longer to be found, there is abundant evidence that the cause of his death was his priesthood.

There is also much evidence that his memory as a martyr has been persistently held in honour in Carlisle, where Christopher Robinson’s name is not only remembered but also invoked as a true martyr.

He was declared Blessed by Pope John Paul II in 1987. Lancaster Cathedral celebrates his martyrdom on the Feast of the Lancaster Martyrs, August 7.

Blessed Christopher Robinson


Studied in Douai and Rheims, France beginning in 1590. Ordained 24 February 1592. Returned to England in September 1592 to covertly minister to oppressed Catholics in the areas of Cumberland and Westmoreland. He witnessed the martyrdom of Saint John Boste, and published an account of it. Arrested 4 March 1597 for the crime of priesthood. Martyred for his crime; the hanging rope broke twice, so they used two ropes on the third, successful attempt. One of the Martyrs of England, Scotland, and Wales.


Beato Cristoforo Robinson Martire

Woodside, Inghilterra, 1568 circa - Carlisle, Inghilterra, 31 marzo 1598

Martirologio Romano: A Carlisle in Inghilterra, commemorazione del beato Cristoforo Robinson, sacerdote e martire, che fu testimone del martirio di san Giovanni Boste e infine, condotto al patibolo in un giorno imprecisato durante il regno di Elisabetta I sempre per il solo fatto di essere sacerdote, ricevette egli stesso la palma del martirio.