Oil Dedicated to St John Houghton (Martyr)
St John Houghton was the first of England’s martyrs to killed under King Henry’s revolt from the Catholic faith.
John born in 1486 and educated at Cambridge. He joined the Carthusian order of monks in 1515. And in 1531 elected to lead the community’s monastery in London.
Three years later, King Henry VIII enacted the Act of Succession, which attempted to legitimize his second marriage and the children it produced (namely Elizabeth, who later to become queen). The act accompanied by a requirement that all subjects swear an oath recognizing it and the king’s supremacy.
As the act stood in contradiction to Church teaching on marriage and divorce, John requested an exemption for his community. He arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London.
After several months of imprisonment, a compromise reached that allowed Catholics to take the oath in good conscience by adding the phrase, “as far as the law of Christ allows.”
Soon afterwards, however, Henry declared himself the head of the Church of England with the Act of Supremacy. Again, all subjects forced to swear an oath to acknowledge this second act. John and several other Carthusian leaders refused and asked for an exemption. They arrested by Thomas Cromwell and thrown into prison again. In 1535, they condemned to death. And on May 4 of that year, they hanged, drawn, and quartered. John was the first to suffer.