Saint John Houghton

Saint John HoughtonMemorial


Graduated from Cambridge with degrees in civil and canon law. Ordained in 1501 and served as a parish priest for four years. Carthusian monk, doing his noviate in the London Charterhouse, and making his final vows in 1516. Prior of the Beauvale Carthusian Charterhouse in Northampton, England. Prior of the London Charterhouse.

In 1534 he was the first person to oppose King Henry VIII‘s Act of Supremacy. Imprisoned with Blessed Humphrey Middlemore. When the oath was modified to include the phrase “in so far as the law of God permits”, John felt he could be loyal to Church and Crown; he and several of his monks signed the oath, though with misgivings. Father John was released, and a few days later, troops arrived at the chapter house and forced the remaining monks to sign the modified oath.

On 1 February 1535, Parliment required that the original, unmodified oath be signed by all. Following three days of prayer, Father John, with Saint Robert Lawrence and Saint Augustine Webster, contacted Thomas Cromwell to seek an exemption for themselves and their monks. The group was immediately arrested and thrown in the Tower of London. True to his Carthusian vow of silence, John would not defend himself in court, but refused to co-operate or sign anything. The jury could find no malice to the king, but when threatened with prosecution themselves, they found John and his co-defendants guilty of treason.

He became the first person martyred under the Tudor persections, dying with Blessed John Haile and three others. One of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.







And what wilt thou do with my heart, O Christ? Saint John’s dying words as he was being disembowelled

MLA Citation

  • “Saint John Houghton“. CatholicSaints.Info. 8 June 2020. Web. 4 December 2021. <>