His father was renowned in Hampshire as a confessor for the faith, and Swithin himself— kindly, pleasant, courteous, generous, brave, a leader in every kind of field and manly sport— was an example of a Catholic country gentleman. Much of his diversions he gave up, however, to train youths in the faith and learning, who thus became staunch Catholics. Apprehended and condemned for having had Mass said in his house, he was led out to die with his wife, sentenced for the same offence. She was however remanded, and after ten years in Newgate of fasting, watching, and prayer, she died in 1602. On Swithin’s way to the scaffold, which was erected opposite his own door, meeting an old friend he said : “ Farewell all hawking and hunting and old pastimes ; I am now going a better way.” The butchery of Father Genings before his eyes only hastened his own desire to die. “ Despatch,” said he ; “ Mr. Topcliffe, despatch; are you not ashamed to let an old man ^Stand here so long in his shirt in the cold. I pray God make you of a Saul a Paul, of a persecutor a Catholic professor.” And in such-like Speeches, full of Christian charity, piety, and courage, he happily ended his course, December 10, 1591.
“He began to be mighty on the earth, and he was a stout hunter before the Lord.”—Gen. x, 8,9