Fr John Nutter, Martyr
Born probably in Reedley Hollows, John and his brother went to Rheims in 1579 to train as seminary priests. Ordained in 1582, he was captured on landing back in England in January 1583, and was tried and executed on 12 February 1584.
Fr Robert Nutter, Martyr
Brother of John, he was educated by the Catholic schoolmaster Thomas Yates at Burnley, entered Rheims in 1579 and was ordained in 1581. He came to England in 1582 and worked in Oxfordshire and Hants. He was captured in Oxford in 1584, was tortured in the Tower of London, and then imprisoned with his brother. Robert however was banished from England in 1585. He was captured on the high seas by a man of war when trying
to return and was imprisoned again, but escaped in 1600 and came to Lancashire where he was recaptured
and executed at Lancaster on 26 July 1600. He used the alias of Askew and Rowley.
Fr Robert Woodruff
Born at Bank Top in 1552 and educated by Thomas Yates at Burnley Grammar School, he entered Douai in
1577 and was ordained in 1581. Returning to England in 1582, he was working in this area by 1586 and was captured in Little Crosby in 1590. Imprisoned in Wisbech and Framlington, he was banished the realm in 1601 but returned to England in 1603.
Fr Thomas Barcroft
One of five sons of Thomas Barcroft, Senior, he was baptised in Burnley in 1566 and educated by Thomas
Yates at Burnley Grammar School. He entered Rheims in 1582, went to Rome in 1584, returned to Rheims in 1589 and was ordained in 1589. Returning to England, he worked in this area until at least 1592, but no
further references to him have been found to date.
The unsung hero is of course the Burnley Schoolmaster, Thomas Yates, who educated these priests as young boys to be staunch Catholics at a time Catholicism was being persecuted.