Memorial plaque for OP Catholic martyr

Members of Pocklington school community in School Chapel at William Anlaby memorial service

A service of dedication has been held at Pocklington School Chapel for a new plaque installed to commemorate OP William Anlaby, a Roman Catholic priest beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1929.

Born in 1552, William Anlaby was a pupil at Pocklington School in the 1560s and went on to study at St John’s College, Cambridge. He was converted from being protestant to a Roman Catholic in his 20s and become a seminary priest in 1577. He was sent back to England to be a missionary in the county of York. He would travel on foot and live very simply as he spread the catholic faith and cared for the poor. He was kept from capture for 20 years before he was caught in 1597, ending up in Hull castle prison where he had previously cared for prisoners before being hung, drawn and quartered on 4th July 1597.

Governor and former teacher Darrell Buttery (01-06) and OP David Stather (49-57) initiated the idea for the Anlaby plaque in collaboration with the school’s Bursar, Paul Bennett. 

Darrell commented: “Anlaby was noted as being an open-minded man, a humble humanitarian with compassion and selfless courage. In 1929 the Pope Pius XI beatified him as one of the East Yorkshire Catholic martyrs which is considered the first step to sainthood, so it seemed fitting to remember him in this way.”

William Anlaby's memorial plaque

The service of dedication for the William Anlaby memorial plaque was held on Sunday 4 July as part of the boarders’ weekly Chapel service and coincided with the anniversary of Anlaby’s death.  The School Chaplain, Canon Dr Bill Merrington led the service which was attended by Chair of Governors, Tim Stephenson (70-79), and Trevor Loten (70-80) representing OPs. Darrell Buttery also attended.



The wording on the plaque reads: "Remember before God, the Blessed William Anlaby, a former pupil of the school, Dowman scholar and martyr, who for his faith and ministry, suffered a cruel death at York on 4th July 1597 and was beatified in 1929 by Pope Pius XI. Virtute et veritate."