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Robert Wilcox (martyr)

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Blessed Robert Wilcox (1558-1588) was a Catholic martyr in Elizabethan England. He was born in Chester, England in 1558 and entered the seminary at Rheims when he was twenty-five years old. He was ordained on 20 April 1585 and was sent to England with other priests seeking to expand the Catholic faith and deal with the country's expanding Protestantism under Queen Elizabeth I on 7 January 1586,. Wilcox arrived in England on 7 June 1586 but was arrested almost immediately at Lydd in Kent, near to where he entered the country. As a captive, he was sent to the Marshalsea prison where he was examined on 15 August 1588. Here he admitted he was a Catholic priest and was sent for trial with the others to Canterbury, England.

Wilcox is known as one of the Oaten Hill Martyrs, as he was one of four Catholic clergy and laymen were martyred at Oaten Hill, Canterbury on 1 October, 1588. With him suffered two other priests, Christopher Buxton and Gerard Edwards (arrested under the name of Edward Campion), and a layman, Robert Widmerpool. Wilcox was the first of the four to be executed by hanging, drawing and quartering. It is recorded that he told his companions to be of good heart. He was going to heaven before them, where he would carry the tidings of their coming after him.

Wilcox was beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1929. He shares the feast day of October 1 with the Blessed Robert Widmerpool.


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