Queen Elizabeth (r. 1558-1603)
[biographical information was obtained in most cases from Wikipedia or the Catholic Encyclopedia. The martyrs are listed chronologically by date of execution. All are English except where noted]
[See the Wikipedia article for a gruesome description of the English punishment of being hanged, drawn, and quartered]
Queen Elizabeth is often regarded as a tolerant queen, but she was arguably even more intolerant and bloodthirsty (towards Catholics) than her father, the Butcher-Tyrant Henry VIII. During her reign (17 November 1558 – 24 March 1603), there were 312 executions (most involving horrible prolonged tortures) or confessors’ deaths rotting away or starving to death in prisons for the “treasonous crime” of being Catholic. That is counting English victims only. There were also about 210 Irish victims, for a grand total of 522 martyrs of the Catholic faith under “Good Queen Bess”. Henry VIII averaged about 16 executions or horrible starving deaths of Catholics a year, after he started murdering them in 1534. Elizabeth averaged almost 12 per year for her entire 44 years and and 4 months reign. So she showed herself on average to be about 75% as savage and vicious as her illustrious father, in terms of the frequency and rate of the butchery.
The averages are somewhat deceptive, though, as there were 59 English and Irish martyrdoms in the years 1558 to 1579, or about 2.8 per year average. Elizabeth was just getting warmed up for the real bloodbath. After 1585 it was “treason” to be a priest and to set foot in England at all. If we do the averages for 1580-1603 it comes out to 20 martyrdoms a year, which rate puts even Henry the Butcher to shame.
Benedictine. Died in prison in 1558.
Bishop Ralph Bayle
Bishop Cuthbert Turnstall (or, Tunstall)
Died on 18 November 1559 in prison.
Bishop Owen Oglethorpe
Died on 31 December 1559 in prison.
Priest. Died in the Tower of London, 1560.
Bishop John White
Died on 12 January, 1560 in prison.
Priest. Died in a London prison in 1561.
Sir Edward Waldegrave
Layman. Died in a London prison in 1561.
Layman. Died in a York prison in 1561.
John Fryer (or, Frier)
Layman. Died in a London prison in 1563.
Bishop Richard Pate
Died on 23 November 1565 in prison.
Bishop David Poole
Died in May, 1568 in prison.
Bishop Edmund Bonner
Born c. 1500. Prior to 1547 he had shown himself entirely subservient to the sovereign, supporting him in the matter of the divorce, approving of the suppression of the religious houses, taking the oath of Supremacy which Fisher and More refused at the cost of life itself, and accepting schismatical consecration and institution. But while acting in this way, he had always resisted the innovations of the Reformers, and held to the doctrines of the old religion. Therefore from the first he put himself in opposition to the religious changes introduced by Protector Somerset and Archbishop Cranmer. When ordered to preach at St. Paul’s Cross he did so, but with such significant omissions in the matter which had been prescribed touching the king’s authority, that he was finally deprived of his see and sent as a prisoner to the Marshalsea. Here he remained till the accession of Mary in 1553. When Elizabeth ascended to the throne he was ordered to resign the bishopric, which he refused to do, adding that he preferred death. He was then deprived of the office and went for a time to Westminster Abbey. On 20th April, 1560, he was sent as a prisoner to the Marshalsea.
During the next two years representatives of the reforming party frequently clamored for the execution of Bonner and the other imprisoned bishops. When the Parliament of 1563 met, a new Act was passed by which the first refusal of the oath of royal supremacy was praemunire, the second, high treason. The bishops had refused the oath once, so that by this Act, which became law on 10th April, their next refusal of the oath might be followed by their death. On 24th April, the Spanish Ambassador writes that Bonner and some others had been already called upon to take the oath. Partly owing to the intervention of the emperor and partly to an outbreak of the plague, no further steps seem to have been taken at the time. A year later, on 29th April, 1564 the oath was again tendered to Bonner by Horne, the Anglican Bishop of Winchester. This he firmly refused but the interference of the Spanish ambassador and his own readiness of resource saved immediate consequences.
Four times a year for three years he was forced to in the courts at Westminster only to be further remanded. The last of these appearances took place in the Michaelmas term of 1568, so that the last year of the bishop’s life was spent in the peace of his prison. His demeanor during his long imprisonment was remarkable for unfailing cheerfulness. The end came on 5th September, 1569, when he died in the Marshalsea.
Bishop Gilbert Bourne
In 1545 he became a prebendary of St. Paul’s, and in 1549 Archdeacon of Bedford with the living of High Ongar in Essex. At the time in question the holding of such preferments involved at least some acceptance of the religious changes effected under Henry VIII and his successor. However, like many others who then externally submitted, Bourne seems to have always been a Catholic at heart, and the sincerity of his return to the old religion under Mary was proved later by his unalterable firmness under persecution. During his brief episcopate he laboured zealously for the restoration of the Catholic religion, although towards heretics, as even Godwin, a Protestant, admits, he always used kindness rather than severity, nor do any seem to have been executed in his diocese.
At the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign Bourne was kept away from London by illness and official duties, and he is only mentioned once as present in the Parliament. For this reason he was one of the last bishops to be deposed, and he was even named amongst those first commissioned to consecrate Parker, appointed primate of the queen’s new hierarchy. On his refusal, and on his rejection of the Supremacy Oath, which four Somersetshire justices were commissioned on 18 October, 1559, to administer, his deprivation followed. For a little time he still was left in Somerset, apparently a prisoner on parole; but on 31 May, 1560, he received a summons to appear within twelve days before Parker and the Commissioners in London. He set out, as his reply to Parker shows, well knowing what to expect, and was committed on 18 June a close prisoner to the Tower, where already five of his brother prelates were immured. There in solitary confinement, for the most part, he remained three years, when an outbreak of the plague in September, 1563, caused him and his companions to be for a time transferred into the perhaps equally objectionable keeping of certain of their Protestant successors; Bourne himself being committed to that apparently of Bullingham of Lincoln.
Thus began that continual “tossing and shifting” of the deposed prelates “from one keeper to another, from one prison to another”, which Cardinal Allen, who had every means of knowing, describes as one part of their “martyrdom”. Accordingly we find the Council, in June, 1565, sending them all back to the Tower, although a little later in a letter of Parker (January 1566), Bullingham is mentioned as though again for a time Bishop Bourne’s actual or intended keeper, whilst all the captive prelates continue during the next two years to be referred to as then in the public prisons. After nearly ten years of this suffering existence Bishop Bourne expired 10 September, 1569, at Silverton in Devonshire.
John Fulthrope (or, Fulthorpe)
Laymen who were executed in 1569 or 1570 as a result of the Northern Rising.
Priest. Died in a London prison in 1570.
Blessed Thomas Plumtree
Priest and chaplain to northern insurgents in the Catholic Rising of the North against the repressions of Queen Elizabeth I. Captured when the revolt failed completely, he was arrested at the altar, and charged with celebrating Mass. Offered his freedom if he would denounce Catholicism; he declined and was hanged on 4 February 1570 in the market place at Durham Castle.
Blessed John Felton
On 24 or 25 May 1570, Felton affixed a copy of the Bull of St. Pius V excommunicating the queen to the gates of the Bishop of London’s palace near St. Paul’s. He was a wealthy gentleman of Norfolk extraction, and married a lady who had been maid of honour to Queen Mary and playmate of Queen Elizabeth. On 26 May 1570 he was arrested and taken to the Tower, where he was thrice racked, though he from the first confessed and gloried in his deed. He was condemned on 4 August and executed in St. Paul’s Churchyard, London on 8 August, 1570. He was cut down alive, and his daughter says that he uttered the holy name of Jesus once or twice when the hangman had his heart in his hand.
Bishop Thomas Thurlby (or, Thirlby)
Died in prison on 26 August, 1570.
Bishop James Thurberville (or, Turberville)
Died in prison on 1 November 1570.
Priest. Died in a London prison in 1571.
Priest. Died in a York prison in 1571.
Blessed John Story (or, Storey)
Member of the English Parliment in 1547. Opposed anti-Catholic laws enacted by King Edward VI. Imprisoned 1548-1550 for opposed the Bill of Uniformity. When Queen Mary was on the throne, Story was one of her most active agents in prosecuting heretics, and was one of her proctors at the trial of Cranmer at Oxford in 1555. In 1560 he opposed the Bill of Supremacy , and incurred the ire of Queen Elizabeth. In August 1570, he was locked in the Tower of London and repeatedly tortured (including racking). Indicted on 26 May 1571 for conspiring against the Queen’s life. Throughout his misery, John bore his tortures with fortitude and claimed his innocence. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn on the 1st of June 1571.
Blessed Thomas Percy
Born in 1528. Earl of Northumberland. On Elizabeth’s accession the earl, whose steadfast loyalty to the Catholic Church was known, was kept in the North while the anti-Catholic measures of Elizabeth’s first Parliament were passed. But the systematic persecution of the Catholics rendered their position most difficult, and in the autumn of 1569 the Catholic gentry in the North, stirred up by rumours of the approaching excommunication of Elizabeth, were planning to liberate Mary, Queen of Scots, and obtain liberty of worship. After a brief success the rising failed, and Thomas fled to Scotland, where he was captured and, after three years, sold to the English Government. He was conducted to York and beheaded on 22 August, 1572, refusing to save his life by abandoning his religion.
Priest. Died in a Yorkshire prison in 1573.
Blessed Thomas Woodhouse
Priest. On 14 May, 1561, he was committed to the Fleet, London, having been arrested while saying Mass. For the rest of his life he remained in custody, uncompromising in his opposition to heresy, saying Mass in secret daily, reciting his Office regularly, and thirsting for martyrdom; but treated with considerable leniency till on 19 November, 1572, he sent the prison washerwoman to Lord Burghley’s house with his famous letter. In it he begs him to seek reconciliation with the pope and earnestly to “persuade the Lady Elizabeth, who for her own great disobedience is most justly deposed, to submit herself unto her spiritual prince and father”. Some days later in a personal interview he used equally definite language. Confined then by himself he wrote “divers papers, persuading men to the true faith and obedience”, which he signed, tied to stones, and flung into the street. Once, when he had denied the queen’s title, someone said, “If you saw her Majesty, you would not say so, for her Majesty is great”. “But the Majesty of God is greater”, he answered. He was executed at Tyburn on 19 June, 1573, being disembowelled alive.
Cistercian. Executed in 1575.
Priest. Died in a London prison in 1575.
St. Cuthbert Mayne
Born 1544. Mayne was ordained a priest at Douai in 1575 and on February 7 in the following year he obtained the degree of Bachelor of Theology of Douai University. Shortly afterwards, on April 24, 1576, he left for the English mission. Elizabeth I’s agents quickly became aware of Mayne’s presence in the area and the authorities began a systematic search for him in June. The high sheriff, the “undeviatingly protestant” Sir Richard Grenville, conducted an unauthorised raid on Tregian’s house on June 8, 1577. On gaining entry, Grenville discovered a Catholic devotional article, an Agnus Dei round Mayne’s neck, and took him into custody. The jury found Mayne guilty of high treason on all counts, and accordingly he was sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered. Mayne responded, “Deo gratias“. On the night of November 27 Mayne’s cell was reported by his fellow prisoners to have become full of a “great light“. Before being brought to the place of execution, Mayne engaged in an inconclusive disputation with certain protestant ministers, and was offered his life in return for a renunciation of his religion and an acknowledgment of the supremacy of the queen as head of the church. Declining both offers, he kissed a copy of the bible, declaring that, “the queen neither ever was, nor is, nor ever shall be, the head of the church of England“. Mayne was executed on November 29, 1577. It is unclear if he died on the gibbet. In any case, he was unconscious during the disembowelling.
Blessed John Nelson
Born 1534. Ordained as a Jesuit in 1576. Executed at Tyburn on February 3, 1578. On his execution day, he refused several Protestant ministers after meeting family members. Taken to Tyburn and was allowed to speak before the bystanders, who were mostly hostile in the historically Protestant London. He refused to ask pardon of the Queen and asked any Catholics in the crowd to pray with him as he recited several common prayers in Latin. He was hung and cut down alive, his heart cut out, then quartered.
Blessed Thomas Nelson
Jesuit student. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn on February 3, 1578.
Bishop Nicholas Heath
Archbishop of York. Died in prison in December 1578.
Layman. Died in a York prison in 1579.
Blessed Thomas Sherwood
Born in 1552. Layman. Racked with a view to extracting details of houses where Mass was celebrated, Thomas kept silent. As a result he was then thrown into a dungeon to rot, and the inevitable sentence of hanging, drawing and quartering was carried out at Tyburn on February 7, 1579.
Born c. 1500. Priest. During Elizabeth’s reign he remained true to the Catholic Faith and took part in the discussions begun at Westminster in 1559. Then began his sufferings: first, he was fined 500 marks ($1600), then deprived of all his preferments, committed to the Tower (20 May, 1560), and finally removed to the Fleet (10 June), where he remained for nearly twenty years, until his death in February 1579 (or February 1580).
Mr. Ailworth (or, Aylword)
Admitted Catholics to Mass at his house; was arrested, and died after eight days, 1580.
Probably a distributor of Catholic books, arrested at Dover and sent to the Tower, died of “hunger, cold, and stench”, 1580.
Robert Dimock (or, Dymoke)
Arrested at Mass, and perished after a few weeks’ imprisonment at Lincoln, 11 September, 1580.
Layman. Died in a London prison in 1581.
Layman. Died in a York prison in 1581.
Blessed Everald Hanse
Ordained in 1581. As yet there was no law against priests, and to satisfy the hypocritical professions of the persecutors, it was necessary to find some treason of which he was guilty. He was asked in court at the Newgate Sessions, what he thought of the pope’s authority, and on his admitting that he believed him “to have the same authority now as he had a hundred years before”, he was further asked whether the pope had not erred (i.e. sinned) in declaring Elizabeth excommunicate, to which he answered, “I hope not.” His words were at once written down as his indictment, and when he was further asked whether he wished others to believe as he did, he said “I would have all to believe the Catholic faith as I do.” A second count was then added that he desired to make others also traitors like himself. He was at once found guilty of “persuasion” which was high treason by 23 Elizabeth. He was therefore in due course sentenced and executed at Tyburn on 31 July, 1581. The martyr’s last words were “O happy day!” and his constancy throughout “was a matter of great edification to the good”.
St. Alexander Briant
Born c. 1556. He entered the English College at Reims, and was ordained priest 29 March 1578. Assigned to the English mission in August of the following year he labored with zeal in his own county of Somersetshire. A party of the persecution, searching for Father Parsons, placed Alexander Briant under arrest on 28 April 1581, in the hope of extorting information. After fruitless attempts to this end at Counter Prison, London, he was taken to the Tower where he was subjected to excruciating tortures. To the rack, starvation, and cold was added the inhuman forcing of needles under the nails.With six other priests he was arraigned, 16 November 1581, in Queen’s Bench, Westminster, on the charge of high treason, and condemned to death. The details of this last great suffering [hanged, drawn, and quartered], which occurred on the 1 December  following, like those of the previous torture, are revolting. In his letter to the Jesuit Fathers he protests that he felt no pain during the tortures he underwent, and adds: “Whether this that I say be miraculous or no, God knoweth”.
St. Edmund Campion
Born January 24, 1540. Jesuit priest. In 1571, Campion [went] to Douai in the Low Countries (now France) where he was reconciled to the Catholic Church and received the Eucharist that he had denied himself for the last 12 years. He entered the English College founded by William Allen, another Oxford religious refugee. Campion finally entered England in the guise of a jewel merchant. He arrived in London on June 24, 1580, and at once began to preach. He led a hunted life, preaching and ministering to Catholics in Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, and Lancashire. On his way to Norfolk, he stopped at Lyford in Berkshire, where he preached on July 14 and the following day, by popular request. Here, he was captured by a spy and taken to London with his arms pinioned and bearing on his hat a paper with the inscription, “Campion, the Seditious Jesuit”.
Committed to the Tower of London, he was questioned in the presence of Elizabeth, who asked him if he acknowledged her to be the true Queen of England. He replied in the affirmative, and she offered him wealth and dignities, but on conditions which his conscience could not allow. (To reject his Catholic faith.) He was kept a long time in prison, twice racked (by order of the Council but certainly with Elizabeth’s consent), and every effort was made to shake his constancy. Despite the effect of a false rumour of retraction and a forged confession, his adversaries in despair summoned him to four public conferences (September 1, 18, 23 and 27, 1581).
Although still suffering from his treatment, and allowed neither time nor books for preparation, he bore himself so easily and readily that he won the admiration of most of the audience. Tortured again on October 31, he was indicted at Westminster on a charge of having conspired, along with others, at Rome and Reims to raise a sedition in the realm and dethrone the Queen. The great saint stated at the close of his “trial”:
In condemning us, you condemn all your own ancestors — all the ancient priests, bishops, and kings — all that was once the glory of England, the island of saints, and the most devoted child of the See of Peter. For what have we taught, however you may qualify it with the odious name of treason, that they did not uniformly teach? To be condemned with these old lights — not of England only, but of the world — by their degenerate descendants, is bot gladness and glory to us. God lives; posterity will live; their judgment is not so liable to corruption as that of those who are now going to sentence us to death.
He answered the sentence of the traitor’s death with the Te Deum laudamus, and, after spending his last days in prayer, was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn on December 1, 1581.
St. Ralph Sherwin
In 1580, he was arrested while preaching in the house of Nicholas Roscarrock in was transferred to the Born 1550. Converted to Catholicism in 1575 and fled abroad to the English College at Douai, where he was ordained a priest by the Bishop of Cambrai on 23 March 1577. On 9 November he was imprisoned in the Marshalsea, where he converted many fellow prisoners, and on 4 December was transferred to the Tower of London, where he was tortured on the rack and then laid out in the snow. He is said to have been personally offered a bishopric by Elizabeth I if he apostatised, but refused. After spending a year in prison he was finally brought to trial on a trumped up charge of treasonable conspiracy. On 1 December 1581 he was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn.
St. John Payne
Born 1532. Early in July, 1581, he was arrested in Warwickshire whilst staying on the estate of Lady Petre (widow of John Petre, 18th Baron Petre), through the efforts of the informer George “Judas” Eliot (a known criminal, murderer, rapist and thief, who made a career out of denouncing Catholics and priests for bounty). He was racked on August 14, and again on October 31. Paine was indicted at Chelmsford on March 22 on a charge of treason for conspiring to murder the Queen and her leading officers and install Mary, Queen of Scots on the throne. Paine denied the charges, and affirmed his loyalty to the Queen in all that was lawful (i.e., not contrary to his Catholicism or allegiance to the pope), contesting the reliability of the murderer Eliot. At his execution on the morning of the Monday April 2  (9 months after his imprisonment), he was dragged from prison on a hurdle to the place of execution and first prayed on his knees for almost half an hour and then kissed the scaffold, made a profession of faith and declared his innocence. The government’s intentions for a smooth execution with minimal trouble and maximum propaganda value had failed – indeed, the crowd had become so sympathetic to Paine that they hung on his feet to speed his death and prevented the infliction of the quartering until he was dead.
Blessed Thomas Ford
Ordained in 1573. On July 17, 1581, he was arrested and on July 22nd of that same year, he was put in the Tower, where he was tortured. He was brought to court on November 16th with a faked charge of conspiracy. It said he had conspired in places he had never been (Rome and Rheims), on days he had been in England. Executed on May 28, 1582.
Blessed Robert Johnson
Priest. Racked on December 16, 1580 and put in a dungeon until his trial on November 14, 1581. He was condemned on November 20, and executed on May 28, 1582.
Blessed John Shert
Ordained in 1579. Executed on May 28, 1582.
Blessed Thomas Cottam
Born 1549. Convert. Ordained in 1580. In June 1580 he started with four companions for England. Cottam was soon committed “close prisoner” to the Marshalsea, where he perhaps said his first Mass. After being tortured, he was removed, 4 December, 1580 to the Tower, where he endured the rack and the “scavenger’s Daughter”. On 30 May, 1582 he was drawn to Tyburn and executed.
Blessed William Filby
Born between 1557 and 1560. Ordained in 1581. He was arrested in July 1581, committed to the Tower, removed 14 August to the Marshalsea, and thence back to the Tower again. He was sentenced 17 November, and from that date till he died was loaded with manacles. He was also deprived of his bedding for two months, and was executed at Tyburn, 30 May, 1582.
St. Luke Kirby
Born c. 1549. Convert. Ordained in 1577. In June of 1580, he was arrested on landing at Dover, and committed to the Gatehouse, Westminster. On December 4th, he was transferred to the Tower, where he was subjected to the “Scavenger’s Daughter” for more than an hour on December 9th. Kirby was condemned on November 17, 1581, and from April 2nd until the day he died [30 May 1582], he was put in irons.
Blessed Laurence Richardson
Ordained in 1577. He was sent on the mission 27 July 1577, and laboured in Lancashire. He was arrested in London on his way to France and imprisoned in Newgate, where he remained until the day of his indictment, 16 November, 1581, when he was committed to the Queen’s Bench Prison, and on the day of his condemnation, 17 November, to the Tower, where he had no bedding for two months. He was executed at Tyburn, 30 May, 1582.
Blessed Richard Kirkman
Ordained in 1579. He was arrested on 8 August, 1582, and seems to have been arraigned a day or two after under 23 Eliz. c. 1. Executed at York on 22 August, 1582.
Blessed William Lacey
After fourteen years’ persecution for his faith, which included imprisonment at Hull, and after the death of his wife, he went abroad and was ordained in 1580. On 10 May, 1581, he was at Loreto on his way to England. He was arrested after a Mass said by Thomas Bell, afterwards an apostate, in York Castle, 22 July, 1582. He suffered great hardships, being loaded with heavy irons, confined in an underground dungeon, and subjected to numerous examinations. He was arraigned on 11 August, probably under 13 Eliz. cc. 2 and 3. Executed at York on 22 August, 1582.
Blessed James Thompson (or, Hudson)
Ordained 1581. He was arrested at York on 11 August, 1582. On being taken before the Council of the North he frankly confessed his priesthood. He was then loaded with double irons and was imprisoned, first in a private prison, then in the castle. On 25 November he was brought to the bar and condemned to the penalties of high treason. Three days later [28 November 1582] he suffered with great joy and tranquillity at the Knavesmire, protesting that he had never plotted against the queen, and that he died in and for Catholic Faith. While he was hanging, he first raised his hands to heaven, then beat his breast with his right hand, and finally made a great sign of cross. In spite of his sentence, he was neither disembowelled nor quartered, but was buried under the gallows.
Franciscan. Died in prison in 1583.
Layman. Died in prison in 1583.
Layman(?). Executed in 1583.
Cistercian. Died in prison in 1583.
Blessed William Hart
Ordained in 1581. He was betrayed by an apostate on Christmas Day, 1582, thrown into an underground dungeon, and put into double irons. Executed at York, 15 March, 1583.
Blessed Richard Thirkeld
Ordained in 1579. On the eve of the Annunciation, 1583, he was arrested while visiting one of the Catholic prisoners in the Ousebridge Kidcote, York, and at once confessed his priesthood, both to the pursuivants, who arrested him, and to the mayor before whom he was brought, and for the night was lodged in the house of the high sheriff. The next day his trial took place, at which he managed to appear in cassock and biretta. The charge was one of having reconciled the queen’s subjects to the Church of Rome. He was found guilty on 27 May and condemned 28 May. He spent the night in instructing his fellow-prisoners, and the morning of his condemnation in upholding the faith and constancy of those who were brought to the bar. Executed at York on 29 May, 1583.
Blessed John Bodey (or, Bodley)
Born 1549. Convert and lay schoolmaster. Arrested in 1580, and spent three years in prison in Winchester. Hanged, drawn, and quartered on 2 November 1583 at Andover, England; his dying words were Jesu, Jesu, esto mihi Jesus. He wrote from prison, about six weeks before his martyrdom: “We consider that iron for this cause borne on earth shall surmount gold and, precious stones in Heaven. That is our mark, that is our desire. In the mean season we are threatened daily, and do look still when the hurdle shall be brought to the door.”
Blessed John Slade
Layman and schoolmaster. Hanged, drawn, and quartered on 2 November 1583 at Winchester, England.
- Edward Arden
Born c. 1542. In 1583, Arden was indicted in Warwick for plotting against the life of the Queen and taken to London, where he was arraigned in the Guildhall, 16 December, 1583. He was convicted and was executed at Smithfield, 30 December, 1583. It is generally conceded that Arden was the innocent victim of a plot. He died protesting his innocence and declaring that his only crime was the profession of the Catholic religion.
Priest. Died in a London prison in 1583 or 1584.
Roger (or, Robert) Holmes
Priests. Perished in prisons in 1584. Of Wakeman’s suffering several harrowing details are on record.
Priest. Died in 1584.
Priest. Died in a York prison in 1584.
Layman. Died in a London prison in 1584.
Bishop of Lincoln. Died after being held in Wisbeach Castle, in 1584.
Blessed William Carter
Born 1548. A lay printer. Among other Catholic books he printed a new edition (1000 copies) of Dr. Gregory Martin’s “A Treatise of Schism”, in 1580, for which he was at once arrested and imprisoned in the Gatehouse. He was transferred to the Tower in 1582. Having been tortured on the rack, he was indicted at the Old Bailey, 10 January 1584, for having printed Dr. Martin’s book, in which was a paragraph where confidence was expressed that the Catholic Hope would triumph, and pious Judith would slay Holofernes. This was interpreted as an incitement to slay the queen, though it obviously had no such meaning. He was executed for for treason at Tyburn on 11 January, 1584.
Blessed James Feun (or, Fenn)
Ordained in 1580. He was named a conspirator of a bogus assassination plot, and hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn on February 12, 1584.
Blessed George Haydock
Born 1556. Ordained in 1581. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn on 12 February 1584. He had been reciting prayers all the way, and as he mounted the cart said aloud the last verse of “Te lucis ante terminum”. He acknowledged Elizabeth as his rightful queen, but confessed that he had called her a heretic. He then recited secretly a Latin hymn, refused to pray in English with the people, but desired that all Catholics would pray for him and his country. Whereupon one bystander cried “Here be no Catholics”, and another “We be all Catholics”; Haydock explained “I mean Catholics of the Catholic Roman Church, and I pray God that my blood may increase the Catholic faith in England”. Then the cart was driven away, and though “the officer struck at the rope sundry times before he fell down”, Haydock was alive when he was disembowelled.
Blessed Thomas Hemerford
Blessed John Munden
Blessed John Nutter
Priests. All hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn on 12 February 1584.
Blessed James Bell
Born c. 1520. Priest. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at Lancaster on 20 April, 1584.
Blessed John Finch
Born c. 1548. Convert. His house was a centre of missionary work, he himself harbouring priests and aiding them in every way, besides acting as catechist. His zeal drew on him the hostility of the authorities, and at Christmas, 1581, he was entrapped and kept in the earl’s house as a prisoner, sometimes tortured and sometimes bribed in order to pervert him and induce him to give information. This failing, he was removed to the Fleet prison at Manchester and afterwards to the House of Correction. When he refused to go to the Protestant church he was dragged there by the feet, his head beating on the stones. For many months he lay in a damp dungeon, ill-fed and ill-treated, desiring always that he might be brought to trial and martyrdom. After three years’ imprisonment, he was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Lancaster on 20 April, 1584.
St. Richard Gwyn (or, White)
Born c. 1537. Gwyn often had to change his home and his school to avoid fines and imprisonment. Finally in 1579 he was arrested by the Vicar of Wrexham, a former Catholic who had conformed to the new faith. He escaped and remained a fugitive for a year and a half, was recaptured, and spent the next four years in one prison after another until his execution. Gwyn was tortured often in prison, largely with the use of manacles. However, his adherence to the Catholic faith never wavered. Once when he was brought before a court, the clerk who read the indictment suddenly lost his vision and had to be replaced before the proceedings could resume. The judge cautioned those present not to report the incident, so that Catholics could not claim that it was a miracle. On another occasion, the judge, who later sentenced Richard to death, became inexplicably speechless in court. Gwyn was condemned to death by hanging, drawing and quartering. This sentence was carried out in the Beast Market in Wrexham on 15 October 1584. When he appeared dead they cut him down, but he revived and remained conscious through the disembowelling, until his head was severed. His last words, in Welsh, were “Iesu, trugarha wrthyf” (Jesus, have mercy on me).
Priests. Perished in prisons in 1585.
Priest. Perished in a prison in York in 1585.
Benedictine, abbot of Westminster. Died in prison in 1585.
Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland. Creagh preached loyalty to England. In 1567 he was lodged in the Tower of London, and kept there till his death in 1585. From his repeated examinations before the English Privy Council his unwavering loyalty to England were made plain. But his steadfastness in the Faith and his great popularity in Ireland were considered crimes, and in consequence the Council refused to set him free. Not content with this his moral character was assailed. The daughter of his jailer was urged to charge him with having assaulted her. The charge was investigated in public court, where the girl retracted, declaring her accusation absolutely false.
Priest. Executed in 1585.
Layman. Died in a York prison in 1585.
Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland
Layman. Died in a London prison in 1585.
Born in 1519. Priest. Arrested in Rochester in 1580 on information lodged by a spy. After several examinations Vaux was finally committed by the Bishop of London to the Gatehouse Prison, Westminster. According to an account of the arrest in the “Douay Diaries”, Bishop Aylmer demanded: “What relation are you to that Vaux who wrote a popish catechism in English?” The aged priest admitted his authorship and that confession settled his fate. For the first three years of his imprisonment, owing chiefly to the wealth and influence of noble friends, Vaux was treated with comparative mildness. In August 1583 the aged confessor was transferred to the Clink. According to Strype, he was brought up again before the relentless Aylmer, in 1585, and found guilty “and so in danger of death”. What happened further we do not know; if actually sentenced, he must have been reprieved. In all probability he was abandoned to a lingering death in prison. The common tradition is represented by this contemporary item from St. Martin’s Chronicle: “The venerable Father Lawrence Vaux, martyr. . .for the confession of the Catholic Faith thrown into prison, where he was starved to death, and so gained the crown of martyrdom, 1585.”
Cistercian, Confessor of the Faith; died in Hull Castle, 18 April, 1585. His case is of special interest as an example of the sufferings endured in the Elizabethan prisons. He came from Cheshire, and had been a monk in the time of Henry VIII. The long-drawn sufferings, amid which he closed his days are set forth in a relation printed by Foley. From this we see that the courageous, patient old priest, after many sufferings in prison, was left in extreme age to pine away under a neglect that was revolting.
Born c. 1537. Physician. In 1572 he was accused of having entertained St. Edmund Campion. In Nov., 1574, after he had been confined to his own house in the city of York for nearly nine months, he was sent into solitary confinement in the Hull Castle (York). By June, 1579, he was back again in his house, where Mass was again said. Later on he was in the Gatehouse, Westminster, from which he was released on submitting to acknowledge the royal supremacy in religious matter; but he was again imprisoned as a recusant in Hull Castle, York where he died on 2 May 1585.
Blessed Thomas Alfield
Convert. Ordained in 1581. Wavered at one point (after torture) and became a Protestant. But he regained his Catholic faith and was executed at Tyburn, 6 July, 1585.
Venerable Thomas Webley
Layman. Executed at Tyburn, 6 July, 1585.
Blessed Hugh Taylor
Ordained in 1585. He was the first to suffer under the Statute 27 Eliz. c. 2. lately passed. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at York, 25 November, 1585.
Blessed Marmaduke Bowes
Layman. Executed on 26 November 1585.
Robert Shelly (or, Richard Shelley)
Layman. Died in a London prison in 1585 or 1586.
Priest. Died in 1586.
Priest. Perished in prison in 1586.
Laymen. Died in London prisons in 1586.
Priest. Died in a York prison in 1586.
Blessed Edward Stransham
Born c. 1554. Ordained 1580. Executed at Tyburn on 21 January, 1586.
Blessed Nicholas Woodfen
Born c. 1550. Executed at Tyburn on 21 January, 1586.
St. Margaret Clitherow
Born 1556. She converted to Roman Catholicism at the age of 18, in 1574. She then became a friend of the persecuted Roman Catholic population in the north of England. Her son, Henry, went to Reims to train as a Catholic priest. She regularly held Masses in her home in the Shambles in York. There was a hole cut between the attics of her house and the house next door, so that a priest could escape if there was a raid. In 1586, she was arrested and called before the York assizes for the crime of harbouring Roman Catholic priests. She refused to plead to the case so as to prevent a trial that would entail her children being made to testify, and she was executed by being crushed to death – the standard punishment for refusal to plead. On Good Friday of 1586, she was laid out upon a sharp rock, and a door was put on top of her and loaded with an immense weight of rocks and stones. Death occurred within fifteen minutes.
Blessed William Thomson
Born c. 1560. Priest. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn on 20 April 1586.
Blessed Richard Sergeant
Ordained in 1583. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn, 20 April, 1586.
Blessed Robert Anderton
Born c. 1560. Convert and priest. Hanged, drawn, and quartered on 25 April 1586 on the Isle of Wight.
Blessed William Marsden
Born c. 1560. Convert and priest. Hanged, drawn, and quartered on 25 April 1586 on the Isle of Wight.
Blessed Francis Ingleby
Born c. 1551. Ordained in 1583. Executed at York on Friday, 3 June, 1586.
Blessed John Fingley (or, Finglow)
Ordained in 1581. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at York on 8 August 1586.
Blessed John Sandys
Ordained in 1584. Hanged, drawn and quartered at Gloucester, 11 August, 1586. He was cut down while fully conscious and had a terrible struggle with the executioner, who had blackened his face to avoid recognition and used a rusty and ragged knife; but his last words were a prayer for his persecutors.
Blessed John Adams
Born c. 1543. Priest. Captured on December 19, 1585. In that year the Act had been passed making it a capital offence to be a Catholic priest in England. The sentence of hanging, drawing and quartering was completed at Tyburn, London on October 8, 1586.
Blessed Robert Bickerdike
Layman. Arrested for giving a priest, St. John Boste, a glass of ale, he was also accused at his trial of using treasonable words. He was acquitted, but Judge Rhodes, determined to have his blood, had him removed from the city gaol to the Castle and tried once more on the same charge. He was then condemned. Executed at York on 8 October 1586.
Blessed Robert Dibdale
Born c. 1558. Ordained as a priest in 1584. He was arrested near Tothill Street in London on July 24, 1586 and was imprisoned first at the Counter then at Newgate. Given the 1585 Act making it a capital offence to be a Catholic priest in England the terrible sentence of hanging, drawing and quartering was inevitable. It was carried out at Tyburn, London on October 8, 1586.
Blessed John Lowe
Born 1553. Ordained by 1583. Hanged, drawn and quartered for being a priest at Tyburn, London on October 8, 1586.
Blessed Richard Langley
Layman and member of the gentry. During the troublous times of the Elizabethan period Langley gave over his energies and a very considerable part of his fortune to assisting the oppressed clergy; his house was freely offered as an asylum to priests. He even constructed a subterranean retreat, which afforded them sanctuary. This refuge was betrayed. During the investigation Langley was steadfast in his adherence to the Faith. He would not take the oath of the queen’s ecclesiastical supremacy, nor compromise his religious heritage by seeking to ingratiate himself with the lord president or Privy Council. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered at York on 1 December 1586.
Priest. Born 1513. After Elizabeth’s accession he never entered a church, but wandered about Durham and Yorkshire, with occasional visits to Lancashire, where he was known as Uncle James, saying Mass as often as the opportunity of time, place, and company gave leave. He was eventually arrested by the Earl of Derby about midnight 19 Nov., 1585, at the house of a very poor man, a victualler, and an under-tenant, living eight miles from the earl’s seat, Newpark, in the Parish of Ormskirk, Lancashire. As he would not commit himself to the royal supremacy, though he acknowledged the queen as temporal sovereign, and wished she might have Nestor’s years, and as he confessed that he regarded her ecclesiastical policy as contrary to God’s law and refused to give up saying Mass, he was committed to the New Fleet, Manchester, where, as he was then aged 72, it is probable he died [c. 1586].
Laymen. Died in prisons in 1587.
Priest. Perished in prison in 1587.
Ralph Cowling (or, Collins)
Laymen. Died in York prisons in 1587.
Blessed Thomas Pilcher (or, Pilchard)
Born 1557. Ordained in 1583. He was again arrested early in March, 1587, and imprisoned in Dorchester Gaol, and in the fortnight between committal to prison and condemnation converted thirty persons. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at Dorchester on 21 March 1587. He was so cruelly drawn upon the hurdle that he was fainting when he came to the place of execution. When the rope was cut, being still alive he stood erect under the scaffold. The executioner, a cook, carried out the sentence so clumsily that the victim, turning to the sheriff, exclaimed “Is this then your justice, Mr. Sheriff?” According to another account “the priest raised himself and putting out his hands cast forward his own bowels, crying ‘Miserere mei'”.
Blessed Edmund Sykes
Ordained in 1581. He was betrayed by his brother, to whose house in Wath he had resorted. Executed at York Tyburn on 23 March, 1587.
Born 1563. Ordained in 1586. was imprisoned in the Marshalsea before 22 December, 1586. He was still there in March 1587, and died soon after.
Born c. 1530. He was committed to the Fleet, 10 June, 1562, “for translating an oration out of French, made by the Cardinal of Lorraine”, Charles de Guise, Archbishop of Reims, “and putting the same without authority in print”. On 27 June, 1562, he was summoned before the Lords of the Council at Greenwich, who expected “an humble submission, for want whereof, and for that he seemed to go about to justify his cause, he was returned to the Fleet, there to remain until he” should “have better considered of himself”. After an imprisonment of close on twenty years he was released on bail, 28 Feb., 1581-82, to attend to legal business in Monmouthshire. On 2 May, 1582, he was too ill to travel, and was permitted to remain at liberty till he should recover. But by 22 October, 1585, he was again in the Tower on a charge of high treason and died there on 27 May, 1587.
Blessed Stephen Rowsham
Ordained in 1582. Remained a prisoner for more than three years, during half of which time (14 Aug., 1582, until 12 Feb., 1584) he was confined to the dungeon known as the “Little Ease”. Executed at Gloucester no later than July, 1587.
Blessed John Hambley
Born c. 1560. Priest. Denied his faith twice under duress. But the third time he was captured, he did not break, and was executed near Salisbury (Chard in Somerset) around July 1587, “standing to it manfully, and inveighing much against his former fault”.
Blessed Robert Sutton
Ordained in 1577. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at Stafford on 27 July, 1587.
Blessed George Douglas
Scottish priest. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at York on 9 September 1587.
Layman. Died in the New Counter, Ousebridge, York, 26 October, 1587.
Blessed Alexander Crow (or, Crowe)
Priest. Executed at York on 13 November 1587.
Priest. Born c. 1499. On account of his religion he was committed to the Marshalsea 13 May, 1560. On 20 Nov., 1561, he was transferred to the Fleet. On 28 Nov., 1569, we find him in the Tower of London, threatened with the rack. He was still there in April, 1570. From the Tower he was removed to the Marshalsea again 14 Oct., 1571, and was still there in 1579, then aged 80, and in July, 1580. He died in Wisbech Castle before 1588.
Layman. Died in a York prison in 1587 or 1588.
Layman. Died in prison around 1588.
William Baldwin (or, Bawden)
Priest. Perished in a York prison in 1588.
Richard Kitchin (or, Kitchen)
Laymen. Died in prisons in 1588.
Philippa (or, Philippe) Lowe
Layman. Died in a London prison in 1588.
Ordained in 1585. Condemned to death but died in Derby jail, 22 July, 1588.
Blessed Nicholas Garlick
Born c. 1555. Ordained 1582. On 23 July 1588, he was tried for coming into the kingdom and “seducing” the Queen’s subjects. Garlick, who acted as spokesman, answered, “I have not come to seduce, but to induce men to the Catholic faith. For this end have I come to the country, and for this will I work as long as I live.” He was condemned to be hanged, drawn and quartered; the sentences were to be carried out the next day [24 July 1588]:
That you and each of you be carried to the place from whence you came, and from thence be drawn on a hurdle to the place of execution, and be there severally hanged, but cut down while you are alive; that your privy members be cut off; that your bowels be taken out and burnt before your faces; that your heads be severed from your bodies; that your bodies be divided into four quarters, and that your quarters be at the Queen’s disposal; and the Lord have mercy on your souls.
Garlick remained witty and cheerful to the end. When they arrived at the Bridge, the cauldron was not ready for burning the entrails. Garlick used the time to give the people a long sermon on the salvation of their souls, ignoring the attempts of officials to make him stop. He closed his speech by throwing into the crowd a number of papers which he had written in prison, and which he said would prove what he affirmed. Camm reports a tradition that everyone into whose hands these papers fell was subsequently reconciled to the Catholic Church. His head and quarters were placed on poles in various places around Derby.
Blessed Robert Ludlam
Born c. 1551. Ordained 1581. Hanged, drawn and quartered on 24 July 1588 at St. Mary’s Bridge, in Derby. Ludlam was the last of the three to be executed, and, according to eyewitnesses, stood smiling while the execution of Garlick was being carried out, and smiled still when his own turn came. His last words, and the only words of his that are recorded, were Venite benedicti Dei (Come, you blessed of God”), which he uttered just before he was thrown off the ladder.
Blessed Richard Simpson
Born c. 1553. Ordained in 1577. By July 1588, the Armada was on its way, and there was no longer any motive for sparing priests. Simpson and his companions were the first of thirty-two priests martyred that year. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered on 24 July 1588 at St. Mary’s Bridge, in Derby. Simpson, according to an eyewitness, quoted in Challoner, “suffered with great constancy.”
Venerable James Clarkson (or, Claxton)
Priest. Executed between Brentford and Hounslow, Middlesex on 28 August 1588.
Blessed William Dean
Protestant minister who converted to Catholicism. Ordained in 1581. The failure of the Spanish Armada, in spite of the loyalty manifested by English Catholics at that crisis, brought about a fierce persecution and some twenty-seven martyrs suffered that year. Executed on 28 August 1588 at Mile End in London. At the martyrdom Dean tried to speak to the people, “but his mouth was stopped by some that were in the cart, in such a violent manner that they were like to have prevented the hangman of his wages”.
Venerable Thomas Felton
Born in 1567. Son of martyr, Blessed John Felton. Franciscan. He suffered terrible tortures in prison and was executed at Hounslow on 28 August 1588.
Venerable William Gunter
Priest. Executed on 28 August 1588 near the Theatre in London.
Priest. Hanged at Clerkenwell on 28 August 1588.
Venerable Hugh Moor
Born 1563. Layman. Condemned for having been reconciled to the Church by Fr. Thomas Stephenson, S.J. Executed in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, 28 August, 1588.
Venerable Robert Morton
Born c. 1548. Ordained in 1587. Executed in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, 28 August, 1588.
Blessed Henry Webley
Born c. 1558. Layman. Condemned for assisting priests. Executed on 28 August 1588 at Mile End in London.
Blessed Richard Leigh
Born c. 1561. Ordained in 1587. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn on 30 August 1588.
Blessed Richard Lloyd (or, Flower)
Welsh layman. Born c. 1567. Condemned for entertaining a priest named William Horner, alias Forrest. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn on 30 August 1588.
Blessed Richard Martin
Layman. Condemned for giving shelter to priests and hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn on 30 August 1588.
Blessed John Roche
Irish layman. Condemned for harboring priests and hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn on 30 August 1588.
Blessed Edward Shelley
Layman. Hanged at Tyburn for sheltering priests, on 30 August 1588.
St. Margaret Ward
Executed for helping a priest to escape from prison. Margaret Ward was kept in irons for eight days, was hung up by the hands, and scourged, but absolutely refused to disclose the priest’s whereabouts. At her trial, she admitted to having helped Fr. William Watson to escape, and rejoiced in “having delivered an innocent lamb from the hands of those bloody wolves.” She was offered a pardon if she would attend a Protestant service, but refused. She was hanged at Tyburn on 30 August 1588.
Venerable William Way (or, May)
Ordained in 1586. He was much given to abstinence and austerity. When he was not among the first of those to be tried at the Sessions in August 1588, he wept and, fearing he had offended God, went at once to confession, “but when he himself was sent for, he had so much joy that he seemed past himself”. Hanged, disembowelled, and quartered at Kingston-on-Thames, 23 September, 1588.
Blessed Christopher Buxton
Born in 1562. Ordained in 1586. Being so young, it was thought that his constancy might be shaken by the sight of the barbarous butchery of his companions, and his life was offered him if he would conform to the new religion, but he courageously answered: “I would not purchase a corruptible life at such a rate, and, if I had one hundred lives, I would willingly lay them all down in defence of my faith.” He was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Canterbury, 1 October, 1588.
St. Ralph Crockett
Ordained in 1585. He was put in a prison in London on 27 April 1586, where he remained for more than two years without trial. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at Chichester, Sussex, 1 October 1588. He suffered with great constancy.
Blessed Edward James
Born c. 1557. In October, 1583 James was ordained as a priest in Rome by Bishop Thomas Goldwell, the last survivor of the English bishops who had refused to accept the Protestant Reformation. He was put in a prison in London on 27 April 1586, where he remained for more than two years without trial. Executed at Chichester, Sussex, 1 October 1588. He suffered with great constancy.
Blessed John Robertson (or, Robinson)
Married layman, widower and then priest. Executed on 1 October, 1588 in Ipswich.
Blessed Robert Widmerpool
Arrested for giving aid to a Catholic priest. Hanged, drawn and quartered at Canterbury on 1 October, 1588. He kissed the ladder and the rope, and with the rope round his neck gave God hearty thanks for bringing him to so great a glory as that of dying for his faith in the same place where St Thomas of Canterbury had died for his.
Blessed Robert Wilcox
Born 1558. Ordained in 1585. Hanged, drawn and quartered at Canterbury on 1 October, 1588.
Venerable William Hartley
Born c. 1557. Ordained in 1580. Executed at Tyburn on 5 October, 1588; he suffered with great constancy.
Venerable John Harrison (or, Symons)
Layman. Executed in Halloway on 5 October, 1588.
Blessed John Hewitt (or, Weldon, or, Savell)
Ordained in 1586. In October, 1588, he was formally arraigned on a charge of obtaining ordination from the See of Rome and entering England to exercise the ministry. He was sentenced to death, and the day following was taken through the streets of London to Mile End Green, where before his execution [on 5 October 1588] he held disputes with two preachers.
Venerable Robert Sutton
Lay schoolmaster. Executed at Clerkenwell on or around 5 October, 1588.
Blessed Edward Burden
Ordained in 1584. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at York on November 29, 1588.
Venerable William Lampley
Layman. Executed at Gloucester in 1588.
Mrs. Cosen (presumably Thomas’s wife)
Laymen. Died in London prisons in 1589.
Layman. Died in prison in 1589.
Ordained in 1581. Hanged, drawn, and quartered outside the city of York on March 16, 1589. He went to death “as joyfully as if to a feast”.
Blessed Robert Dalby
Ordained in 1588. Hanged, drawn, and quartered outside the city of York on March 16, 1589. He displayed no hesitation in going to his death.
Blessed Thomas Belson
Layman. He was arrested, tortured repeatedly, and found guilty of felony for assisting the priests, and was hanged with his companions at Oxford [5 July 1589]. He suffered after the priests and, kissing the dead bodies of his pastors, begged the intercession of their happy souls that he might have the grace to imitate their courage and constancy.
Blessed George Nichols
Born 1550. Ordained 1583. In Oxford, Catholicism was increasing rapidly. Nichols during this time had converted many to the Catholic faith, notably a convicted highwayman in Oxford Castle. In May of 1589 he was arrested at the Catherine Wheel Inn, opposite of St. Mary Magdalen’s Church, in Oxford, with another priest Richard Yaxley, and two laymen, Humphrey Prichard and Thomas Belson. The four men were ultimately sent to Bridewell Prison in London, where Nichols and Yaxley, were hung from their hands for up to fifteen hours to make them betray their faith, but without any success. Nichols was then separated from the rest of the three prisoners and put into a dungeon full of vermin. On June 30th all four were ordered back to Oxford for their trial. Nichols and his fellow prisoners were tried under the recent statute imposing the death sentence on any Englishman ordained abroad who entered England, and on anyone helping such a person. All were condemned, the priests for treason, the laymen for felony. On July 5, 1589, Nichols, along with Yaxley, was hanged, drawn, and quartered, while Belson and Prichard were hanged. George Nichols, having been refused permission to address the crowd, made it clear that he was being executed merely because he was a priest. After the execution his head was set up on the castle, and their quarters on the four city gates. The severity of the punishment seemed to have an effect on the people of Oxford for it would be 20 years before another Catholic recusant was executed in Oxford.
Blessed Humphrey Pritchard
Welsh layman and convert. On 5 July, 1589 he was hanged in the town ditch of Oxford, which is now Broad Street, along with a wealthy Catholic landowner and two priests. On the scaffold he said, “I call all people here present to bear witness, in this world and on the Day of Judgment, that I die because I am a Catholic, a faithful Christian of Holy Church.” An onlooker called from the crowd that he was a poor wretch, because in his ignorance he did not know what Catholic meant. Blessed Humphrey answered “I may not be able to tell you in words what it means to be a Catholic, God knows my heart, and that which I am unable to explain in words I am here to explain and attest with my blood.”
Blessed Richard Yaxley
Ordained in 1585. He was sent to the Bridewell prison in London, and hanged up for five hours to make him betray his host, but without avail. Yaxley was sent to the Tower as a close prisoner on 25 May, 1589, and appears to have been racked frequently. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at Oxford on 5 July 1589. His head was set up on the castle, and quarters on the four city gates.
Blessed Robert Hardesty
Layman. Executed for sheltering priests at York on 24 September 1589.
Blessed William Spenser
Ordained in 1584. Executed at York, 24 September, 1589.
Layman. Died in a London prison between 1585-1590.
Priest. Died in a York prison sometime between 1568-1590.
Laymen. Died in London prisons in 1590.
Priest. Died in a York prison in 1590.
Laymen. Died in prisons in 1590.
Franciscan. Died in prison in 1590.
Layman. Died in a York prison in 1590.
Layman. Died in prison in 1590.
Blessed Christopher Bales
Ordained in 1587. Sent to England 2 November, 1588, he was soon arrested, racked, and tortured by Topcliffe, and hung up by the hands for twenty-four hours at a time; he bore all most patiently. At length he was tried and condemned for high treason, on the charge of having been ordained beyond seas and coming to England to exercise his office. He asked Judge Anderson whether St. Augustine, Apostle of the English, was also a traitor. The judge said no, but that the act had since been made treason by law. He suffered 4 March, 1590, “about Easter”, in Fleet Street opposite Fetter Lane. On the gibbet was set a placard: “For treason and favouring foreign invasion”. He spoke to the people from the ladder, showing them that his only “treason” was his priesthood.
Blessed Alexander Blake
Layman. Condemned for harboring priests and executed at Gray’s Inn Lane on 4 March 1590.
Blessed Nicholas Horner
He was arrested on the charge of harbouring Catholic priests. He was confined for a long time in a damp and noisome cell, where he contracted blood poisoning in one leg, which it became necessary to amputate. It is said that during this operation Horner was favoured with a vision, which acted as an anodyne to his sufferings. He was afterwards liberated, but when he was again found to be harbouring priests he was convicted of felony, and as he refused to conform to the public worship of the Church by law established, was condemned. On the eve of his execution, he had a vision of a crown of glory hanging over his head, which filled him with courage to face the ordeal of the next day. Horner was hanged, drawn and quartered [4 March 1590] because he had relieved and assisted Christopher Bales, seminary priest and martyr.
Venerable Francis Dicconson
Priest. After many tortures in the worst London prisons under the infamous Topcliffe, he was condemned as a traitor, and hanged, drawn, and quartered at Rochester on 30 April, 1590.
Venerable Miles Gerard
Born c. 1550. Ordained in 1583. After many tortures in the worst London prisons under the infamous Topcliffe, he was condemned as a traitor, and hanged, drawn, and quartered at Rochester on 30 April, 1590.
Blessed Edward Jones
Welsh. Ordained in 1588. Hunted down and captured with the aid of spies posing as Catholics, he was hanged before the very doors of the houses in Fleet Street and Clerkenwell where he was arrested, on 6 May 1590.
Blessed Anthony Middleton
Ordained in 1586. Hunted down and captured with the aid of spies posing as Catholics, he was hanged before the very doors of the houses in Fleet Street and Clerkenwell where he was arrested, on 6 May 1590.
Blessed Edmund Duke
Born 1563; ordained in 1589. He fell under suspicion in a village in County Durham and was imprisoned and given a sentence of hanging, drawing and quartering for the treasonous crime of being a priest. Executed at Dryburne on May 27, 1590.
Blessed Richard Hill
Ordained 1589. Hanged, drawn and quartered at Dryburne on May 27, 1590.
Blessed John Hogg
Ordained in 1589. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at Dryburne on May 27, 1590.
Blessed Richard Holiday
Ordained 1589. Hanged, drawn and quartered at Dryburne on May 27, 1590.
Sir Thomas Fitzherbert
Laymen. Died in London prisons in 1591.
Layman. Died in a York prison in 1591.
Layman. Died in prison in 1590.
Blessed Robert Thorpe
Ordained in 1585. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at York, 15 May, 1591. Though naturally timorous, he met his death with great fortitude.
Blessed Thomas Watkinson
Layman. Condemned for harboring priests and executed at York, 15 May, 1591.
Blessed Montford Scott
Ordained as a priest in 1577. In 1584 he was captured at York at brought to London, where he remained a prisoner for seven years. He was condemned on account of his priesthood and of his being in the country contrary to the Statute. He suffered martyrdom in Fleet Street on 1 July 1591. Topcliffe said that he had that day done the queen and the kingdom a singular piece of service in ridding the realm of such a praying and fasting papist as had not his peer in Europe.
Blessed George Beesley
A priest of singular courage, young, strong, and robust, he was captured by Topcliffe late in 1590, and was by his torture reduced to a skeleton. He endured all with invincible courage and could not be induced to betray his fellow Catholics. He was executed merely for being a priest, in Fleet Street, London on 2 July 1591.
Venerable Roger Dicconson
Priest. Executed at Winchester, 7 July, 1591.
Venerable Ralph Milner
Layman. Born early in the 16th century. Married with eight children. Convert. On the very day of his first Communion, however, he was arrested for changing his religion and committed to Winchester jail. Here his good behaviour during the years of his imprisonment won him the jailer’s confidence to such a degree that he was frequently allowed out on parole, and was even trusted with the keys of the prison. This leniency enabled him to render valuable service to the other Catholic prisoners and to introduce priests to administer the sacraments. Later he assisted various priests. Finally, he was seized with Father Dicconson and placed under close confinement in Winchester jail pending the approaching sessions. Probably moved with compassion for the aged man, the judge urged Milner to attend even once the Protestant church and thus escape the gallows. The latter refused, however, “to embrace a counsel so disagreeable to the maxims of the Gospel,” and began immediately to prepare for death. Every effort was made to persuade him to change his purpose and renounce the Faith. Unshaken in his resolution, Milner gave his children his last blessing, declared that “he could wish them no greater happiness than to die for the like cause,” and then met his death with the utmost courage and calm [at Winchester, 7 July, 1591].
St. Edmund Gennings (or, Jennings)
Born 1567. At around sixteen years of age he converted to Catholicism. He went immediately to the English College at Rheims where he was ordained a priest in 1590, being then only twenty-three years of age. He immediately returned to the dangers of England under the assumed name of Ironmonger. His missionary career was brief. He was seized whilst in the act of saying Mass in the house of Saint Swithun Wells at Gray’s Inn in London on 7 November 1591 and was hanged, drawn and quartered outside the same house on 10 December . His execution was particularly bloody, as his final speech angered Topcliffe, who ordered the rope to be cut down when he was barely stunned from the hanging. It is reported that he uttered the words, Sancte Gregori ora pro me while he was being disembowelled, and that the hangman swore, “Zounds! see, his heart is in my hand, and yet Gregory is in his mouth. O egregious Papist.”
Blessed Sidney Hodgson
Layman and convert. He was condemned for harboring priests and becoming a Catholic. He was offered his life if he would give some sort of a promise of occasional conformity to the Established Church, but as he preferred to die for his religion, he was condemned and executed at Tyburn, 10 December, 1591.
Ven. Brian Lacey
Was committed to Bridewell where he was cruelly tortured by Topcliffe. He was condemned to be hanged for aiding and abetting priests and executed on 10 December 1591.
Ven. John Mason (or, Masson)
Condemned as an aider and abettor of priests and executed on 10 December 1591.
St. Polydore Plasden
Born 1563. He studied for the priesthood at Rheims and Rome and was ordained in 1586 before being sent back to England soon after. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn on 10 December 1591. At his execution he acknowledged Elizabeth as his lawful queen, whom he would defend to the best of his power against all her enemies, and he prayed for her and the whole realm, but said that he would rather forfeit a thousand lives than deny or fight against his religion. By the orders of Sir Walter Raleigh, he was allowed to hang till he was dead, and the sentence was carried out upon his body.
St. Swithun (or, Swithin) Wells
Born c. 1536. In 1583, was reconciled to the Catholic Church. For the crime of attending Mass, he was sentenced to die by hanging, and was executed outside his own house on 10 December 1591.
St. Eustace White
Born 1550. Priest. On 1 Sept., 1591, he was betrayed at Blandford, Dorset, by a lawyer with whom he had conversed upon religion. For two days he held public discussion with a minister, and greatly impressed the Protestants present. He was then sent to London, and lodged in Bridwell, 18 September, where for forty-six days he was kept lying on straw with his hands closely manacled. On 25 October the Privy Council gave orders for his examination under torture, and on seven occasions he was kept hanging by his manacled hands for hours together; he also suffered deprivation of food and clothing. At his execution, telling the people that his only treason was his priesthood, he thanked God for the happy crown to his labours. Being cut down alive, he rose to his feet, but was tripped up and dragged to the fire where two men stood upon his arms while the executioner butchered him [10 December 1591].
Blessed William Pike
Layman. Hanged, drawn and quartered on 22 December 1591.
Jesuit priest. Perished in prison in 1592.
Priest. Executed in 1592.
Venerable Richard Williams
Welsh priest of Queen Mary’s reign. Executed in 1592.
Blessed William Patenson
Ordained in 1587. According to one account, while in prison he converted and reconciled three or four thieves before their death. Another story recounts that he converted, the night before his martyrdom, six out of seven felons, who occupied the condemned cell with him. On this account he was cut down while still conscious. Hanged, drawn, and quartered on 22 January 1592 at Tyburn.
Blessed Thomas Pormort
Born c. 1559. Ordained in 1587. In August or September, 1591, he was again taken, and committed to Bridewell, whence he was removed to Topcliffe’s house. He was repeatedly racked and sustained a rupture in consequence. On 8 February following he was convicted of high treason for being a seminary priest. Executed at St. Paul’s Churchyard, 20 February, 1592.
Venerable Roger Ashton
He was tried and sentenced at Canterbury. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn, 23 June, 1592, and died “very resolute”, making profession of his faith and “. . . . pitied of the people”, though the infamous Topcliffe tried to stir up ill-feeling against him.
Priest. Died in a London prison in 1593.
Layman. Died in a York prison in 1593.
Blessed Edward Waterson
Ordained in 1592. Executed at Newcastle on 7 January 1593.
Blessed James Bird
Layman and convert. He refused to take the Oath of Supremacy and was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Winchester in his native city, on 25 March 1593.
Blessed Anthony Page
Born 1571. Ordained 1591. Hanged, disembowelled, and quartered at York, 20 or 30 April, 1593.
Blessed Joseph Lampton
Executed on 27 July 1593, Newcastle-on-Tyne.
Blessed William Davies
Welsh. Ordained priest in 1585. He was arrested in 1592 and it was decided that he must die as a traitor, though he was offered his life if he would go but once to church. In spite of the then open opposition of the people, who honoured him as a saint, the cruel sentence was carried out and he was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Beaumaris on 27 July 1593. As he put the rope round his neck, the martyr said: “Thy yoke, O Lord is sweet and Thy burden is light.”
Priest. Died in a London prison in 1594.
Blessed John Speed (or, Spence)
Layman. Executed at Durham, 4 February, 1594, for assisting the venerable martyr St. John Boste, whom he used to escort from one Catholic house to another. He died with constancy, despising the inducements offered to bring him to conformity.
Blessed William Harrington
Born 1566. Ordained in 1592. Executed on 18 February, 1594, after nine months of imprisonment and proofs of unusual constancy and noble-mindedness in prison, at the bar, and on the scaffold.
Blessed Thomas Bosgrave
Layman. Condemned for assisting a priest. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at Dorchester, 4 July, 1594. A man of some education, he delivered a stirring address on the truth of his belief prior to his execution.
Blessed John Carey
Born in Dublin. Layman. Condemned for assisting a priest. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at Dorchester, 4 July, 1594. He kissed the rope, exclaiming “O precious collar”, made a solemn profession of faith and died a valiant death.
Blessed John Cornelius (or, Mohun)
Born in 1557 of Irish immigrant parents. Ordained in 1584 and became a Jesuit while in prison. He practised mortification, was devoted to meditation, and showed much zeal in the ministry. He was sent to London and brought before the Lord Treasurer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and others, who, by words and torture, tried in vain to obtain the names of such as had given him shelter or assistance. He kissed the gallows with the words of St. Andrew, “O Cross, long desired”, and tried to speak to the multitude, but was prevented. He was hanged and hacked to pieces on 4 July 1594 at Dorchester, after praying for his executioners and for the welfare of the queen.
Blessed Patrick Salmon
Native of Dublin. Layman. Condemned for assisting a priest. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at Dorchester, 4 July, 1594. Before his execution Salmon, a man much admired for his virtues, exhorted the spectators to embrace the Faith, for which he and his companions were giving their lives.
St. John Boste
Born 1544. He converted to Catholicism in 1576. He left England and was ordained a priest at Reims in 1581, before returning as an active missionary priest to Northern England. He was betrayed to the authorities near Durham in 1593. Following his arrest he was taken to the Tower of London for interrogation. Returned to Durham he was condemned by the Assizes and executed at nearby Dryburn on 24 July 1594. Boste denied that he was a traitor saying “My function is to invade souls, not to meddle with temporal invasions”.
Blessed John Ingram
Convert. Ordained in 1589. Captured on the Tyne, 25 November, 1593, he was imprisoned successively at Berwick, Durgam, York, and in the Tower of London, in which place he suffered the severest tortures (to induce him to name other Catholics) with great constancy, giving away nothing. Sent north again, he was imprisoned at York, Newcastle, and Durgam before being hanged, drawn, and quartered at Newcastle-on-Tyne, 25 July, 1594.
Blessed George Swallowell
Protestant minister and convert. Executed at Darlington on 26 July, 1594.
Blessed Edward Osbaldeston
Born c. 1560. Ordained 1585. The day following his arrest he was taken to York where he was tried at the next assizes and attained of high treason for being a priest. Bishop Challoner prints the greater part of a letter addressed by the martyr to his fellow-prisoners in York Castle, the full text of which is still extant, and which reveals the great humility and serene trust in God with which he anticipated his death. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at York, 16 November, 1594.
Layman. Died in a York prison sometime between 1585-1595.
Catholic confessor, tortured to death in Bridewell prison in 1595. His pathetic and romantic story tells us nothing of his early life, but he is found in the Bridewell prison, one of the worst in London, and delivered over to Topcliffe, the notorious priest-hunter, who was trying to wring evidence from him, by torture. Yielding to torment, Atkinson broke, but shortly after repented, and was lost in despair, knowing on the one hand that Topcliffe would torture him again, perhaps unto death, and on the other fearing that no priest could possibly come to confess and absolve him before his conflict. At length, fellow prisoner Fr. William Baldwin absolved him. He died shortly afterwards as a result of yet more torture.
St. Robert Southwell
Born c. 1561. Jesuit priest. In 1584 an act was passed forbidding any English-born subject of Queen Elizabeth, who had entered into priests’ orders in the Roman Catholic Church since her accession, to remain in England longer than forty days on pain of death. But Southwell, at his own request, was sent to England in 1586 as a Jesuit missionary and went from one Catholic family to another, administering the rites of the Church. After six years of successful labor, Southwell was arrested and imprisoned at first in Richard Topcliffe’s house, where he was repeatedly put to the torture in the vain hope of extracting evidence about other priests. His imprisonment lasted for three years, during which period he was tortured on ten occasions. On February 20, 1595, Southwell was sent to Tyburn. Many people came to witness the priest’s death. He was allowed to address the people at some length, confessing that he was a Jesuit priest and praying for the salvation of the queen and his country. Some of the onlookers tugged at his legs to hasten his death, and his body was then bowelled and quartered.
Venerable Alexander Rawlins
Ordained in 1590. Hanged, drawn and quartered at York on 7 April 1595.
St. Henry Walpole
Born 1558. Jesuit. He was ordained subdeacon and deacon at Metz, and priest at Paris, 17 December 1588. In February 1591 he was sent to the Tower, where he was frequently and severely racked. He remained there until, in the spring of 1595, he was sent back to York for trial, where he was hanged, drawn and quartered on 7 April 1595.
Venerable William Freeman
Ordained in 1587. Executed at Warwick, 13 August, 1595.
St. Philip Howard
Born 1557. An English nobleman: the 20th Earl of Arundel. Howard, and much of his family, were Catholic at a time during the reign of Queen Elizabeth when it was very dangerous to be so. They also attempted to leave England without permission. While some might be able to do this quietly, Howard was second cousin of the Queen. He was committed to the Tower of London on 25 April 1585. While charges of high treason were never proved, he was to spend ten years in the Tower, until his death of dysentery [on 19 October 1595]. He had petitioned the Queen as he lay dying to allow him to see his beloved wife and his son, who had been born after his imprisonment. The Queen responded that if he would return to Protestantism his request would be granted. He refused and died alone in the Tower.
Hanged, drawn and quartered at York, on 29 November 1596.
Blessed George Errington
Born c. 1554. Layman. Hanged, drawn and quartered at York, on 29 November 1596.
Blessed William Gibson
Layman. Hanged, drawn and quartered at York, on 29 November 1596.
Blessed William Knight
Layman. He was sent in October, 1593, to York Castle, where William Gibson and George Errington were already confined. A certain Protestant clergyman chanced to be among their fellow prisoners. To gain his freedom he had recourse to an act of treachery: feigning a desire to become a Catholic, he won the confidence of Knight and his two companions, who explained the Faith to him. With the connivance of the authorities, he was directed to one Henry Abbot, then at liberty, who endeavoured to procure a priest to reconcile him to the Church. Thereupon Abbot was arrested and, together with Knight and his two comrades, accused of persuading the Protestant clergyman to embrace Catholicism — an act of treason under the penal laws. They were found guilty, and were hanged, drawn, and quartered at York, on 29 November 1596.
Blessed Henry Abbot
Layman. Executed at York on 4 July 1597. His acts are thus related by Challoner:
- A certain Protestant minister, for some misdemeanour put into York Castle, to reinstate himself in the favour of his superiors, insinuated himself into the good opinion of the Catholic prisoners, by pretending a deep sense of repentance, and a great desire of embracing the Catholic truth . . . So they directed him, after he was enlarged, to Mr. Henry Abbot, a zealous convert who lived in Holden in the same country, to procure a priest to reconcile him . . . Mr. Abbot carried him to Carlton to the house of Esquire Stapleton, but did not succeed in finding a priest. Soon after, the traitor having got enough to put them all in danger of the law, accused them to the magistrates . . . They confessed that they had explained to him the Catholic Faith, and upon this they were all found guilty and sentenced to die.
Blessed William Andleby
Ordained in 1577. Executed at York on 4 July 1597.
Blessed Edward Fulthrop
Layman. Executed at York on 4 July 1597.
Blessed Thomas Warcop
Layman. Hanged for sheltering priests at York on 4 July 1597.
Blessed John Britton
Layman. He was often separated from his wife and family, owing to constant persecution which he suffered for his faith. When advanced in years, he was maliciously and falsely accused of traitorous speeches against the queen and condemned to death. Refusing to renounce his faith he was executed at York, as in cases of high treason, 1 April, 1598.
Blessed Ralph Grimston (or, Gromston)
Layman. Condemned for assisting priests and hanged at York on June 15, 1598.
Blessed Peter Snow
Ordained in 1591. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at York on 15 June, 1598.
St. John Jones (or, John Buckley, or John Griffith)
John Jones was from a good Welsh family, who had remained faithful to the Roman Catholic Church. As a youth, he entered the Observant Franciscan convent at Greenwich; at its dissolution in 1559 he went to the Continent, and was professed (took his vows) at Pontoise, France. He begged to be allowed to go upon the English mission. His superiors considered his request aware that to journey to England was a journey which usually ended in a terrible death. In 1596 the ‘priest catcher’ Topcliffe was informed by a spy. Father Jones was promptly arrested and severely tortured. He was also cruelly scourged. Then the sadistic Topcliffe took him to his house and personally tortured the Father, “To him (Topcliffe) was granted the privilege, unique in the laws of England, or, perhaps, of any country, of maintaining a private rack in his own home for the more convenient examination of prisoners. He was then imprisoned for nearly two years. On 3 July 1598 Father Jones was tried on the charge of “going over the seas in the first year of Her majesty’s reign (1558) and there being made a priest by the authority from Rome and then returning to England contrary to statute”. He was convicted of high treason and sentenced to being hanged, drawn, and quartered [carried out on 12 July 1598]. By this time the people had grown tired of these awful butcheries, so the execution was arranged for an early hour in the morning to try to escape notice. In spite of the earliness of the hour, a large crowd had gathered. His dismembered remains were fixed on the poles on the roads to Newington and Lambeth (now represented by Tabard Street and Lambeth Road respectively); they were removed by some young Catholic gentlemen, one of whom suffered a long imprisonment for this offence.
Blessed Christopher Robinson (or, Robertson)
Ordained in 1592. Executed at Carlisle, 19 August 1598. He suffered the last penalty with such cheerful constancy that his death was the occasion of many conversions.
Venerable Richard Horner
Priest. Executed on 4 September 1598 in York.
Layman. Died in 1599.
Venerable John Lion
Layman. Executed on 16 July 1599.
Venerable James Dowdall
Layman. Dowdall publicly avowed that he rejected the queen’s supremacy, and only recognized that of the Roman pontiff and thus was committed to Exeter jail. Whilst in prison he was tortured and put to the rack, but continued unchanged in his fidelity to the ancient faith. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at Exeter on 20 September, 1599.
Gentlewoman. Perished in prison in 1600.
Blessed Christopher Wharton
Born before 1546. Ordained in 1584. Executed at York, 28 March, 1600. He suffered with great constancy.
St. John Rigby
Born c. 1570. Twice he was given the chance to repent [of being a Catholic]; twice he refused. He was executed by hanging at St. Thomas Waterings on June 21, 1600.
Blessed Thomas Hunt
Born 1574. Ordained in 1599. Hanged, drawn, and quartered on 11 July 1600 at Lincoln.
Blessed Thomas Sprott
Ordained in 1596. Executed at Lincoln on 11 July 1600.
Blessed Robert Nutter
Born c. 1550. Ordained as a Dominican priest in 1581. Spent some months in prison, subjected to torture and irons. Hanged at Lancaster, 26 July 1600.
Blessed Edward Thwing
Born c. 1565. Ordained in 1590. On July 26, 1600, Father Thwing was executed at Lancaster by hanging, drawing, and quartering.
Venerable John Norton
Layman. Executed on 9 August 1600 at the gallows site in Durham.
Blessed Thomas Palasor
Born c. 1570. Priest. Executed at Durham on 9 August, 1600.
Blessed John Talbot
Layman. Executed on 9 August 1600 at the gallows site in Durham, on the crest of the hill at the north side of Durham City.
Blessed John Pibush
Ordained in 1587. He was sentenced in July 1595 to suffer the penalties of high treason at St. Thomas’s Waterings, and in the meantime was to be returned to the Marshalsea. However, by the end of the year he was in the Queen’s Bench prison, where he remained for more than five years. Executed at St Thomas’s Waterings, Camberwell, 18 February, 1601.
Blessed Mark Barkworth
Born c. 1572. Became a Catholic in 1593. Benedictine priest. After having escaped from the hands of the Huguenots of La Rochelle, he was arrested on reaching England and thrown into Newgate, where he was imprisoned for six months, and was then transferred to Bridewell. At his examinations he was reported to behave with fearlessness and frank gaiety. Having been condemned with a formal jury verdict, he was thrown into “Limbo”, the horrible underground dungeon at Newgate, where he is said to have remained “very cheerful” till his death. Barkworth was executed at Tyburn on February 27, 1601. He sang, on the way to Tyburn, the Paschal Anthem: “Hæc dies quam, fecit Dominus exultemus et lætemur in ea“. On his arrival he told the people: “I am come here to die, being a Catholic, a priest, and a religious man, belonging to the Order of St Benedict; it was by this same order that England was converted”. It was noticed that his knees were, like St. James’, hardened by constant kneeling, and an apprentice in the crowd picking up his legs, after the quartering, called out: “Which of you Gospellers can show such a knee?”
Blessed Roger Filcock
Born 1553. Priest by 1597. Executed at Tyburn on 27 February 1601.
St. Anne Line (or, Linne)
Around 1594, Fr. John Gerard opened a house of refuge for hiding priests, and put the newly-widowed Anne Line in charge of it, despite her ill health and frequent headaches. By 1597, this house had become insecure, so another was opened, and Anne Line was, again, placed in charge. On 2 February 1601, Fr. Francis Page was saying Mass in the house managed by Anne Line, when men arrived to arrest him. The priest managed to slip into a special hiding place, prepared by Anne, and afterwards to escape, but she was arrested, along with two other laypeople. Anne Line was hanged at Tyburn on 27 February 1601. At the scaffold she repeated what she had said at her trial, declaring loudly to the bystanders: “I am sentenced to die for harbouring a Catholic priest, and so far I am from repenting for having so done, that I wish, with all my soul, that where I have entertained one, I could have entertained a thousand.”
Blessed Thurston Hunt
Born c. 1555. Priest. Hunt was captured and treated with great inhumanity, heavily ironed night and day until, by the order of the Privy Council, with his feet tied beneath his horse’s belly, he was carried in public disgrace up to London and back again to Lancaster, where he was condemned and executed for being a priest. But the attempt to degrade him in public opinion failed. No one would let out his horse to drag him to the place of execution; he reconciled to the Church the felons condemned to die with him. Executed at Lancaster on 31 March 1601.
Venerable Thomas Hackshot
Layman. Condemned for helping the priest, Ven. Thomas Tichborne, to escape from prison. Executed at Tyburn, London, 24 August, 1601.
Venerable Nicholas Tichborne
Layman. Condemned for helping his brother, the priest Ven. Thomas Tichborne, to escape from prison. During his long imprisonment in the Gatehouse he was “afflicted with divers torments, which he endured with great courage and fortitude.” Executed at Tyburn, London, 24 August, 1601.
Blessed Robert Middleton
Born c. 1570. Jesuit priest. Ordained in 1598. Hanged and beheaded in October 1601.
Gentlewoman. Perished in prison in 1602.
Anthony Battie (or, Bates)
Layman. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at York on 22 March, 1602.
Venerable James Harrison
Ordained in 1583. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at York on 22 March, 1602.
Blessed James Duckett
Layman and convert. Out of his twelve years of married life, no less than nine were spent in prison for his new faith. In fact he was very active in propagating Catholic literature. He was finally betrayed by Peter Bullock, a bookbinder, who acted in order to obtain his own release from prison. Duckett’s house was searched and Catholic books found. For this he was at once thrown into Newgate. Despite the betrayal of Duckett, Bullock was taken to his death at Tyburn in the same cart as Duckett on April 19, 1602. Duckett was handed a cup of wine, which he drank, and told his wife to drink to Peter Bullock and to forgive him. When she declined, he chided her gently until she did. On arrival at Tyburn Tree James kissed and embraced Bullock, beseeching him to die in the Catholic faith, without success.
Blessed Francis Page
Convert. Ordained in 1600 and received into the Society of Jesus while a prisoner in Newgate. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn on April 20, 1602.
Venerable Thomas Tichborne
Ordained in 1592. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn on April 20, 1602. He was in the last stages of consumption when he was martyred.
Blessed Robert Watkinson
Ordained in 1602. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn on April 20, 1602.
Blessed William Richardson (or, Anderson)
Ordained in 1594. He was betrayed by one of his trusted friends to the Lord Chief Justice, who expedited his trial and execution with unseemly haste, and seems to have acted more as a public prosecutor than as a judge. At his execution he showed great courage and constancy, dying most cheerfully, to the edification of all beholders. One of his last utterances was a prayer for the queen. Executed at Tyburn, 17 February, 1603.
Photo credit: The “Darnley Portrait” of Queen Elizabeth I of England (1575). It was named after a previous owner. Probably painted from life. [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]