- John Huddleston
Father John Huddleston (
15 April, 1608– buried 13 September, 1698) was a monk of the Order of St. Benedictwho helped Charles II during his escape and was present when Charles converted to the Catholic faith on his deathbed.
Early life and education
John Huddleston was born at Farington Hall,
Lancashire, the second son of Joseph Huddleston from Hutton John, near Penrith in Cumberland. He was educated at the school at Great Blencownearby, until he was fifteen. When he was twenty he was sent to St Omer's College, and on 17 October, 1632, entered the English College in Rome.
Chaplain to Thomas Whitgreave
In 1651 he was staying at
Moseley Old Hall, Staffordshire, as chaplain to Thomas Whitgreave's family, prominent local Catholics. After the defeat at the Battle of Worcesteron 3 September, 1651, Charles II was taken conducted by Colonel Gifford to Whiteladies Priory on Gifford's Boscobelestate. At Whiteladies, the King was sheltered by the five Penderell brothers who lived there. John Penderell happened to meet Father Huddleston, who suggested that the King should go to Moseley Old Hallon the night of 7 September. Huddleston cleaned and bandaged the King's sore feet. On 9 September, Parliamentary troops questioned Whitgreave, while the King and Huddleston were hiding in the priest-hole. The troops were persuaded that Whitgreave had not fought at Worcester (though he had fought and been captured at the Battle of Nasebyin 1645). The troops left without searching the house.
The Benedictines of the Spanish Congregation
Before the King left to meet Jane Lane at Bentley Hall, he promised to look after Huddleston when restored to his throne. Some time after this Huddleston joined the
Benedictinesof the Spanish Congregation. After the Restoration in 1660, Huddleston was invited to live at Somerset House, London, under the protection of Queen Henrietta Maria. After her death in 1669, he was appointed chaplain to Queen Catherine, with a salary of £100 pounds a year. During the disturbances produced by Titus Oates's pretended revelations, the House of Lords voted on 7 December, 1678that Huddleston, Thomas Whitgreave, the brothers Penderell, and others involved in Charles II's escape should "for their said service live as freely as any of the King's Protestant subjects, without being liable to the penalties of any of the laws relating to Popish recusants".
When Charles II lay dying on the evening of 5 February, 1684-5, Duke of York brought Huddleston to his bedside, saying, "Sire, this good man once saved your life. He now comes to save your soul." Charles declared that he wished to die in the faith and communion of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. Huddleston then heard the King's confession, reconciled him to the Church and absolved him, afterwards administering
Extreme Unctionand the Viaticum. On the accession of James II, Huddleston continued to stay with the Queen Catherine at Somerset House.
Illness and death
Shortly before his death his mind failed and he was placed in the charge of a trustee. He was buried in the churchyard of
Several portraits of Huddleston exist: Houseman's done in 1685 is at Hutton John; another is at
Sawston Hall, Cambridgeshire.
* [http://huddleston.bravepages.com/history/fatherhudd.html More detail and a portrait]
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07511a.htm Entry in The Catholic Encyclopaedia]
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