Blessed John Gavan

Blessed John Gavan

John Gavan


  • Death: 06/20/1679
  • Nationality (place of birth): England

John Gavan (1640-1679) was one of five Jesuits caught in the web of lies concocted by Titus Oates who accused the Jesuits of assassinate King Charles III and overthrow the government. Although the story was patently fictitious, the Jesuits paid with their lives. Gavan was a native of London who studied at Saint-Omer before entering the Jesuits in 1660. After he finished his theology in Rome, he was ordained in 1670 and returned to England a year later. Most of his apostolic work centered on Staffordshire where he enjoyed great success in bringing people to conversion. His name did not come into the false plot until the second round of accusations. But a 50-pound reward sparked an energetic search for him in the district where he was known to work. He made his way to London in disguise but was arrested on Jan. 23, 1679 before he could cross the channel to Belgium. For more details of this complex but fascinating story, see the entry under Blessed Thomas Whitbread.

Other English Martyrs

Originally Collected and edited by: Tom Rochford, SJ