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He joined the German College in Rome on October 1, 1571. He was ordained a priest in Brussels from the English College, Douai. After a pilgrimage to Rome in 1579 he returned to England in 1580, was arrested on July 12, and put in the tower on December 5. Johnson was racked on December 16 and put in a dungeon until his trial on November 14, 1581. He was subsequently condemned on November 20, and executed along with Thomas Ford and John Shert on May 28, 1582. All three were beatified in 1889.
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