Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Duckett, John

DUCKETT, JOHN (1613–1644), catholic priest, descended from an ancient family settled at Skelsmergh, Westmoreland, was born at Underwinder, in the parish of Sedbergh, Yorkshire, in 1613, being the third son of James Duckett, by his wife Frances (Girlington). He received his education in the English College, Douay, and was ordained priest in September 1639. Afterwards he resided for three years in the college of Arras at Paris, and was then sent to serve on the mission in the county of Durham. After labouring there for about a year he was captured by some soldiers of the parliamentary army on 2 July 1644, and sent to London in company with Father Ralph Corbie [q. v.], a jesuit, who was taken in his vestments as he was going to the altar to celebrate mass. They were examined by a committee of parliament, and confessed themselves to be priests. Being committed to Newgate, they were condemned to death on account of their sacerdotal character, and suffered at Tyburn on 7 Sept. 1644. It is a remarkable circumstance that they appeared in ecclesiastical attire on being brought out of prison, to be drawn on a hurdle to the place of execution. Duckett had put on a long cassock, such as is usually worn by the secular clergy in catholic countries, while Corbie was in the usual religious habit of the Society of Jesus. Both the priests had their heads shaven in the form of a crown.

Duckett left in manuscript an account of his apprehension and imprisonment; and a ‘Relation concerning Mr. Duckett,’ by John Horsley, Father Corbie's cousin, and fellow-prisoner of the two priests in Newgate, is printed in Foley's ‘Records,’ iii. 87–90, from a manuscript preserved at Stonyhurst.

[Challoner's Missionary Priests (1742), ii. 271; Douay Diaries, pp. 38, 40, 287, 421; Foley's Records, iii. 73; Dodd's Church Hist. iii. 97; Gillow's Bibl. Dict.]

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