Blessed Nicholas Postgate
- the Martyr of the Moors
Father Nicholas Postgate lived at a time when being a Catholic priest was punishable by a horrible death, yet he walked around his huge 'parish' of Blackamoor, always declining the offer of a horse. He shared his food and clothes and visited people in remote areas to offer both spiritual and practical help, wanting to understand the plight of the poor and to empathise with them in every way. His generosity to all, regardless of their status or religion, earned him the title 'The Good Samaritan of the Moors'.
Since the earliest days of his writing career, Nicholas Rhea has felt the desire to produce a book about this charismatic priest of the North York Moors, but has only recently been able to research his life not only from previous publications and records but also from visits to his native moorland - along with some help from family and computer. Even since publishing his book about him, Blessed Nicholas Postgate, the Martyr of the Moors, he continues to come across new information that he feels should be made known to a wider audience, and has set up this new section of his website as a means to do this.
Nicholas Rhea emphasises that this is not an official website for the martyr, and doesn't aim to be one. What he is hoping is that whenever someone wants to research Nicholas Postgate, they can begin with this website which will contain up-to-date material that has been well researched, can be checked and may possibly lead to more discoveries about the martyr.
His researches into the birthplace of Blessed Nicholas Postgate (now published in full on this site) led him to a very personal discovery. He explains:
"At the Glaisdale side of the River Esk only about a quarter of a mile from, and within sight of, the location of the Postgate family home at Kirkdale Banks, there stands Thorneywaite House with Thorneywaite Cottage. That cottage was my childhood home - I was born there in 1936 and throughout my 77 years, I have never had any reason to link it with Father Postgate or the recusant valley of Kirkdale. Even when I started the research for my book about Father Postgate, I had no idea we had both been born as near neighbours and in such close proximity. From my earliest years until my book was nearing completion, I thought Father Postgate had been born at Kirkdale House, Egton Bridge. Discovering and linking the emerging facts that form the contents of this article, and the remarkable coincidence they have revealed, has been my greatest surprise and delight."
Other papers in this section examine those medieval buildings known as Bridge Chapels, with special reference to Blessed Nicholas Postgate and Egton bridge chapel, and how Christmas was celebrated in Postgate's time.