John Lowe (1553-1586) was an English Catholic priest and martyr. He was born the son of Simon and Margaret Lowe or Low of London in 1553. His father Simon was perhaps the Simon Low who was a merchant-taylor and citizen of London. The sources say mysteriously that John had been educated at Douai "many years ago". He was a servant at Anchin Abbey 1578-1579. He entered the English College, Rome, arriving on November 19, 1581 and was ordained deacon in Rome on August 19 1582, but there is no record of where and when he was ordained a priest. Leaving Rome in September 1583, he was at Rheims and then set out for the mission in England on December 20, 1583. Records show that his absence abroad had been noted by the English government.

By this time his father had died, and his mother Margaret was living on London Bridge. Walking with her one evening nearby in May 1586, he talked too unguardedly about his aspirations to martyrdom and was overheard and denounced to the authorities. He was immediately arrested. It is recorded that he was taken to the Clink in London on May 11 the same year. Given the 1585 Act making it a capital offence to be a Catholic priest in England the terrible sentence of hanging, drawing and quartering was inevitable. It was carried out at Tyburn, London on October 8, 1586. His fate was shared by two fellow priests, John Adams and Robert Dibdale. All three priests were declared Blessed (the last stage prior to sainthood) by Pope John Paul II on November 22, 1987.


  • The most reliable compact source is Godfrey Anstruther, Seminary Priests, St Edmund's College, Ware, vol. 1, 1968, pp. 214–215.

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