One of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales
Son of John and Anna Roberts; his ancestors were princes in Wales. Raised Protestant, John always felt an affinity for Catholicism. He studied at Oxford but left without a degree and then studied law and was ordained in Spain.
He returned to England as a missioner, was quickly arrested and exiled.
He returned to England and worked with plague victims in London. He was, again, arrested and exiled.
He returned to England and during a search for suspects involved in the Gunpowder Plot he was arrested again. Though he had no connection to the Plot, he spent months in prison and was exiled ….. again.
He again returned to England, was arrested and sent to prison. He escaped and spent a year working in London but was again arrested. His execution was arranged, was reduced and he was exiled yet again.
Returned to England a few months later, he was arrested while celebrating Mass on 2 December 1610. He was convicted on 5 December 1610 of the crime of priesthood.
He was hung, drawn and quartered on 10 December, 1610, at 33 years old. It was usual for the prisoner's innards to be drawn when still alive, but the large crowd which gathered at his execution would not allow this. He was very popular among the poor of London because of the kindness he'd shown them during the plague.