Bl Ralph Corby SJ 1599-1644
Bl Ralph Corby SJ 1599-1644

Ralph Corby SJ

Ralph Corby (alias Corbington) was a Jesuit who was martyred during the English Civil War, on the charge of being a Catholic priest. Born in 1599 in Dublin, he took his education in the overseas college of St-Omers. A reserved and straightforward boy, he was noted there for his strong distaste for money. Before becoming a Jesuit in Watten (Waten, French Flanders) in 1625, he was ordained a priest in Valladollid. His ministry was situated mainly in the area of Durham, where he was noted for his industry. He was commonly called “the apostle of the countryside”, which he toured mainly on foot, visiting poor farmers and labourers, with whom he delighted to share a meal. In July 1644, shortly after the royalist defeat at Marston Moor he was captured while unvesting after mass, and sent to London. On 7 September 1644, which was probably the anniversary of his entrance into the Society, he was hanged at Tyburn Gallows. He is said to have met his fate with astonishing calm, only regretting that he was executed so far away from his beloved Durham. He was beatified by Pope Pius IX on the 15th of December 1929.