Henry Morse SJ 1595-1645
Henry Morse SJ 1595-1645

Henry Morse SJ

Henry Morse SJ, alias Claxton and Warde, was born in 1595 in Norfolk to Protestant parents. In 1618, at the age of 23, he converted to the Catholic faith at Douay College, following which he entered the English College, Rome. In 1624, he was sent to the English Missions and was imprisoned at York Castle, where he completed his noviceship for the Society of Jesus under the guidance of another inmate, Fr John Robinson SJ. In 1632, he returned to the Continent and worked at Watten Novitiate as Prefect of Health and Consultor of the College. He was back working in England in the London District in 1633, where he did great work in 1635-6 with those infected by the plague which raged in London and more than once nearly sacrificed his life. He was apprehended again and committed to Newgate prison, but his sentence of death was commuted to banishment on the intervention of Queen Henrietta Maria. On 23 April 1637 he made his profession of the three vows of religion into the hands of Fr Edward Lusher. In 1643, he returned to England as missioner in the Durham District and was again arrested in 1644 and transported to London, where he was tried and condemned to death for the Catholic faith, for the priesthood and for being a member of the Society of Jesus. He was martyred at Tyburn on 1 February 1645. He was canonised as one of the Forty Martyrs in 1929.