Tuesday, July 19, 2011
July 19 -- Feast of Saint John Plessington
John Plessington's one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, killed during the anti-papist crackdown of the Tudor/Stuart era. Most of that's on the English, though of course the Catholics under Bloody Mary got their licks in. But setting all that aside, here's what I will lay at the feet of good Saint John, right beside his head after they hanged, drew (drawed?), and quartered him.
He was educated at a Jesuit school at Scarisbrick Hall. Now even in England, which is full of funny names like Little Whinging, the name Scarisbrick is memorable. So when John Plessington was a crypto-priest in England, secretly ministering to crypto-Catholics, assuming an alias was probably a good idea. Changing his name to Scarisbrick, however, was probably not the best cover. John Popesman might have even been better, as a sort of bluff. "Haha, yeah, it's a shitty name to have to carry around in these times, but hey, if it was good enough for my father, then Popesman is good enough for me." But Scarisbrick is just memorable enough to make people think "Huh, like the Jesuit school," planting the sort of seeds of suspicion that eventually grow up into a rack, a gallows, and a chopping block.
Hell, calling himself Ari Bernstein would probably have been safer. That one's on you, John.
Posted by Tom Major at 4:00 AM