William Way

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William Way
Shrine to William Way in St Agatha's Church, Kingston upon Thames.
Shrine to William Way
Born c. 1560
Cornwall or Devon
Died 23 September 1588
Kingston upon Thames
Major shrine St. Agatha's Catholic Church, Kingston upon Thames[1]
Feast 23 September

The Venerable William Way (alias May, alias Flower) (died 1588) was an English Catholic priest and martyr executed under Elizabeth I after the Protestant Reformation. He is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church.

Early life and education

Wiliam Way was born in the Diocese of Exeter about c. 1560. Bishop Richard Challoner said he was born in Cornwall, and earlier authorities say in Devonshire.[2]

Since the Protestant Reformation had closed Catholic seminaries in England, Way went to France to study. On 31 March 1584, he received his first tonsure in the Cathedral of Reims from the Cardinal of Guise. On 22 March he was ordained subdeacon, on 5 April deacon, and priest on 18 September 1586, at Laon, probably by Bishop Valentine Douglas (Valentine Duglas), O.S.B.[2]


Way departed for England on 9 December 1586, and by June 1587, was imprisoned. He was indicted at Newgate in September 1588, for being a Roman Catholic priest. He declined to be tried by a secular judge, whereupon the Bishop of London was sent for. Way, refusing to acknowledge him as a bishop or Elizabeth I as head of the Church, was immediately condemned as a traitor and to death.[2]

He was austere. When called to trial at the Sessions in August, "he had so much joy that he seemed past himself".[citation needed] On 23 September 1588, Way was "hung, drawn and quartered" at Kingston upon Thames.[2]

See also


  1. "History Page". St. Agatha's Catholic Church. Retrieved 4 January 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). [https%3A%2F%2Fen.wikisource.org%2Fwiki%2FCatholic_Encyclopedia_%281913%29%2FVen._William_Way "Ven. William Way" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>