FELTON, JOHN : English Roman Catholic layman (d. 1570). He was born of an old Norfolk family, inherited large means, and lived in the dissolved abbey of Bermondsey, near Southwark, on the Surrey side of the Thames (in present London). He was an ardent Roman Catholic, and his wife had been a maid of honor to Queen Mary. She was a child friend of Queen Elizabeth, and remained on friendly terms with her. When the papal bull excommunicating Elizabeth arrived in England he procured copies from the Spanish ambassador and circulated them. One of them he affixed to the gate of the palace of the bishop of London, then in St. Paul's churchyard, between two and three in the morning of Thursday, May 25th, 1570 (Corpus Christi Day). The bull is dated in Rome Feb. 25th, 1570. In the list of bulls it is called Regnans in excelsis, from its opening words. After a brief introduction, in which mention is made of the "One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, out of which is no salvation," it asserts that heresy was introduced into England by Henry VIII., purged away by Mary, but reintroduced by Elizabeth. It then specifies Elizabeth's offenses in abolishing the mass and other rites and ceremonies of the Roman Church, permitting heretical books to be circulated, and in depriving the Roman Catholic clergy of their positions and imprisoning many of them. It then goes on to say: "We make it known that Elizabeth, and as many as stand on her side in these matters, have run into the danger of our curse and to be cut off from the unity of the body of Christ. We also make it known that we have deprived her of that right which she pretended to have in the kingdom aforesaid, and also from all and every authority, dignity, and privilege of hers. We declare that all, whosoever by any occasion have taken oath to her, are forever discharged of such oath, and also from all fealty and service which was due to her by reason of her government, and we deprive the said Elizabeth of all legal claim to reign and of the allegiance of the abovesaid. We charge and forbid all and every one of her nobles, subjects and people, and others aforesaid, not to be so hardy as to obey her, or her will or commandments, upon pain of a similar curse upon them." Then follows the order for the promulgation of the bull. Naturally such a bull was a great offense to all loyal subjects of Elizabeth, and he who had had the hardiness to promulgate it was considered a traitor. The culprit was quickly found out, arrested without opposition the next day, and conveyed to the Tower. On Friday, Aug. 4th, he was condemned at Guildhall on the charge of high treason, and sentenced to death. He remained in Newgate prison till Tuesday, Aug. 8th, when he was drawn on a hurdle to St. Paul's churchyard, hanged on a gallows opposite the bishop of London's palace, beheaded, quartered, and parboiled. He met his fate with courage, and won an honorable place among the Roman Catholic martyrs under Elizabeth. This position was officially established on Dec. 29, 1886, when Pope Leo XIII. proclaimed his beatification.