Plunket, Saint Oliver

Plunket orPlunkett, Saint Oliver, 1629–81, Irish Roman Catholic churchman and martyr, b. Co. Meath. He was educated at Rome and named Roman Catholic archbishop of Armagh and primate of all Ireland in 1669. He was on good terms with local Protestants and worked with much success. After the Test Act (1673) he kept mainly in hiding. In his fabrication of tales about the Popish Plot, Titus Oates accused him of planning a foreign invasion of Ireland. Plunket was tried and acquitted in Ireland; he was then taken to London, tried again, convicted, and hanged, drawn, and quartered. The accusations and the witnesses' testimony against him were manifestly false from beginning to end. Plunket was the last Roman Catholic to be executed at Tyburn on politico-religious grounds. He was beatified as a martyr in 1920 and canonized in 1975. Feast: July 11.

See A. Curtayne, The Trial of Oliver Plunkett (1953).

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