List of Catholic martyrs of the English Reformation

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The Catholic martyrs of the English Reformation are men and women who died for the Roman Catholic faith in the years of persecution between 1534 and 1680. A certain number of them have officially been recognised as martyrs by the Catholic Church.

Catholics in England and Wales were executed under treason laws. On 25 February 1570 Pope Pius V's "Regnans in Excelsis" bull excommunicated both the English Queen Elizabeth I and any who obeyed her. This papal bull also required all Roman Catholics to rebel against the English Crown as a matter of faith. In response in 1571 legislation was enacted making it treasonable to be under the authority of the Pope, including being a Jesuit, being Roman Catholic or harbouring a Catholic priest. The standard penalty for all those convicted of treason at the time was execution by being hanged, drawn and quartered.

As early as the reign of Pope Gregory XIII (1572–85), authorisation was given for 63 recognised martyrs to have their relics honoured and pictures painted for devotion. These martyrs were formally beatified by Pope Leo XIII, 54 in 1886 and the remaining nine in 1895. Further groups of martyrs were subsequently documented and proposed by the bishops of England and Wales, and formally recognised by Rome:[1]

Canonised by Pope Pius XI on 19 May 1935[edit]

Canonised by Paul VI on 25 October 1970[edit]

John Houghton

Beatified 29 December 1886 by Pope Leo XIII[edit]

Sir Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher

As well as those listed below, John Fisher and Thomas More were beatified on this date, as were the following 11 members of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales - Alexander Briant, Edmund Campion, John Houghton, Luke Kirby, Robert Lawrence, Cuthbert Mayne, John Payne, Richard Reynolds, Ralph Sherwin, John Stone, Augustine Webster - making a total of 54.

Beatified 13 May 1895 by Pope Leo XIII[edit]

Hugh Faringdon

Beatified 15 December 1929 by Pope Pius XI[edit]

As well as those listed below, 29 members of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales were also beatified on that date, making a total of 137.

Beatified 22 November 1987 by Pope John Paul II[edit]

Thomas Bullaker

List of Catholics executed for their faith in England 1534–1680[edit]

1534–1547[edit]

The Nun of Kent and her companions[edit]

After the pilgrimage of grace and the rising of Lincolnshire[edit]

  • 1537: George ab Alba Rose, Augustinian
  • George Ashby (Asleby), monk;[32]
  • Ralph Barnes, monk;
  • Laurence Blonham, monk;
  • William Burraby, priest;
  • James Cockerell, Prior of Gisborough Priory;
  • William Coe, monk;
  • William Cowper, monk;
  • The Lord Darcy de Darcy;
  • John Eastgate, monk;
  • Richard Eastgate, monk;
  • John Francis, monk;
  • William Gylham, monk;
  • Richard Harrison, Abbot of Jervaulx;
  • William Haydock, monk;
  • Nicholas Heath, Prior of Lenton;
  • John Henmarsh, priest;
  • Robert Hobbes, Abbot of Woburn;
  • Henry Jenkinson, monk;
  • Thomas Kendal, priest;
  • Richard Laynton, monk;
  • Robert Leeche, layman;
  • Hugh Londale, monk;
  • Matthew Mackerel, Premonstratensian abbot, titular bishop of Chalcedon;
  • James Mallet, priest;
  • Thomas Moyne
  • John Paslew, Abbot of Whatley;
  • John Pickering, Benedictine, prior of York;
  • 25 May 1537: John Pickering, priest[33]
  • Thomas Redforth, priest;
  • 26 May 1537: Adam Sedbar, Abbot of Jervaulx;
  • William Swale, monk;
  • John Tenant, monk;
  • William Thyrsk, Cistercian;[33]
  • William Trafford, Abbot of Sawley;
  • Richard Wade, monk

Other martyrs[edit]

  • Anthony Brookby, Franciscan (Venerable) 7 July 1537:[34]
  • Thomas Cort, Franciscan (Venerable) 27 July 1538:[34]
  • Thomas Belchiam, Franciscan friar (Venerable) 3 August 1538:[34][35]
  • John Allen, priest;1538:[36]
  • John Collins, priest 1538:
  • George Croft, priest 1538:
  • Martin Condres, Augustinian monk December 1538:[37]
  • Paul of Saint William, Augustinian monk December 1538:[37]
  • John Griffith (or Clark), priest, July 8, 1539 (Venerable)
  • Friar Waire, Franciscan, July 8, 1539 (Venerable) [33]
  • Sir Thomas Dingley, layman, July 9, 1539 (Venerable)
  • Edmund Brindholme, priest, August 4, 1540 (Venerable);[38]
  • Clement Philpott (or Philpot), layman, August 4, 1540 (Venerable)
  • Robert Bird, layman; 4 August 1540:
  • William Bird, priest; 4 August 1540:
  • Thomas Empson, Benedictine; 4 August 1540:
  • William Peterson, priest 1540:
  • Thomas Ashby, layman, March 19, 1544 (Venerable)

Decrees of Elizabeth I[edit]

During the reign of Mary I, the Papal authority was officially reinstated and many Protestants were martyred.[39] After Elizabeth I's accession to the throne, the Act of Supremacy 1558 was enacted denying Papal authority but it was not until more than a decade later in February 1570 that Pope Pius V excommunicated Elizabeth and any who obeyed her and called on all Roman Catholics to rebel.

In the words of the New Catholic Encyclopedia, 'Without question it was Elizabeth I's intention to supplant the old religion with the new in a bloodless manner. It is significant that there were no martyrs in the first 12 years of her reign, and only five in the years 1570 to 1577.' [40] Of those five, Thomas Plumtree had been chaplain to the insurgents in the Rising of the North, John Felton had published Pope Pius V's Bull Regnans in Excelsis ("reigning on high"), excommunicating Queen Elizabeth, John Story was tried for high treason, for having supported the Rising of the North and encouraging the Duke of Alba to invade, Thomas Percy, Earl of Northumberland had led the Rising of the North and Thomas Woodhouse had declared in a letter to William Cecil that Elizabeth 'for her own great disobedience is most justly deposed'.[41]

The threat of invasion by a Catholic country assisted by English subjects led the Crown to try to stamp out Catholicism with repressive measures.[42] Elizabeth I's government passed anti-Catholic decrees in 1571: forbidding anyone from maintaining the jurisdiction of the pope by word, deed or act; requiring use of the Book of Common Prayer in all cathedrals, churches and chapels, and forbidding criticism of it; forbidding the publication of any bull, writing or instrument of the Holy See (the death penalty was assigned to this); and, prohibiting the importing of Agnus Dei images, crosses, pictures, beads or other things from the Bishop of Rome.

Later laws made the following activities illegal: to draw anyone away from the state religion; non-attendance at a Church of England church; raising children with teachers that were not licensed by an Anglican diocesan bishop; and, attending or celebrating the Catholic Mass.

In 1585 a new decree was issued that made it a crime punishable by death to go overseas to receive the sacrament of Ordination to the Catholic priesthood. Nicholas Devereux (who went by the alias of Nicholas Woodfen) and Edward Barber (see below Edward Stransham) were both put to death in 1586 under this law. William Thompson and Richard Lea (see below Richard Sergeant) were hanged, disembowelled and quartered under the same law. In 1588, eight priests and six laymen at Newgate were condemned and executed under this law.[42]

1570–1603[edit]

1606–1680[edit]

  • James Brown, Benedictine, 1645
  • Henry Garnet, Jesuit, 1606 'was he killed ex odio fidei, or was he believed to be guilty of the Powder Plot, by merely human misjudgment, not through religious prejudice?' [43]
  • Edward Morgan, priest, 1642 (Venerable)[2]
  • Brian Tansfield, 1643, (Venerable)[2]

Those who died in prison[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Pullan, Malcolm (2008). The Lives and Times of Forty Martyrs of England and Wales 1535–1680. Athena Press. pp. xvii–xxii. ISBN 978-1-84748-258-7. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad "The College Martyrs", The Venerable English College, Rome
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "College Saints and Martyrs" Royal English College Valladolid
  4. ^ Camm, Bede. "St. John Boste." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 23 Mar. 2013
  5. ^ Camm, Bede. "St. Margaret Clitherow." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 23 Mar. 2013
  6. ^ Caldwell, Simon, "Catholic, Anglican bishops honor first English martyr of Reformation", Catholic News Service, 5 May 2005.
  7. ^ "About St. Richard Reynolds", St. Richard Reynolds Catholic College
  8. ^ Morris, John et al, "Decree of the Congregation of Sacred Rites, 29 December, 1886", Lives of the English Martyrs: declared blessed by Pope Leo XIII, Longmans, Green and Co., London, 1914
  9. ^ Blessed Lawrence Richardson
  10. ^ Morris, John et al, "Decree of the Congregation of Sacred Rites, 13 May, 1895", Lives of the English Martyrs: declared blessed by Pope Leo XIII, Longmans, Green and Co., London, 1914
  11. ^ a b Ryan, Patrick W.F. "Ven. Thomas Alfield." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 13 Mar. 2013
  12. ^ a b Ryan, Patrick W.F. "Ven. John Amias." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 2 Feb. 2013
  13. ^ a b Ryan, Patrick W.F. "Ven. Robert Anderton." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 13 Mar. 2013
  14. ^ Ryan, Patrick W.F. "Ven. William Andleby." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 13 Mar. 2013
  15. ^ a b Camm, Bede. "Ven. Christopher Bales." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 22 Mar. 2013
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m T.E. Muir, Stonyhurst, (St Omers Press, Gloucestershire. Second edition, 2006) ISBN 0-9553592-0-1 p.188
  17. ^ Camm, Bede. "Ven. John Bodey." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 22 Mar. 2013
  18. ^ a b c d Mershman, Francis. "Venerables John Cornelius and Companions." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 23 Mar. 2013
  19. ^ a b c d The Oaten Hill Martyrs at RC.net
  20. ^ Camm, Bede. "Ven. William Dean." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 23 Mar. 2013
  21. ^ Bl. William Freeman at Catholic Online
  22. ^ Pollen, John Hungerford. "Bl. German Gardiner." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 11 Mar. 2013
  23. ^ Bunson, Matthew (2003). Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints, Revised. Our Sunday Visitor Publishing. p. 712. ISBN 978-1-93170-975-0. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  24. ^ a b c Ryan, Patrick W.F. "Ven. John Adams." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 13 Mar. 2013
  25. ^ Camm, Bede. "Ven. George Beesley." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 22 Mar. 2013
  26. ^ Camm, Bede. "Ven. Thomas Belson." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 22 Mar. 2013
  27. ^ a b Wainewright, John. "Ven. Hugh Taylor." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 23 Mar. 2013
  28. ^ Camm, Bede. "Ven. John Britton." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 23 Mar. 2013
  29. ^ Wainewright, John. "Ven. William Carter." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 23 Mar. 2013
  30. ^ "Elizabeth Barton" The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. Accessed 12 Jan. 2013.
  31. ^ a b c Wainewright, John. "Richard Risby." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 11 Mar. 2013
  32. ^ Pollen, John Hungerford. "George Ashby" The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. Accessed 12 Jan. 2013.
  33. ^ a b c "The Blood of the Martyrs: Seed of the Church" Tyburn Convent
  34. ^ a b c The Observant Friars of Greenwich at British History Online places certain executions in 1534, citing Bourchier, Hist. Eccl. de Martyrio Fratrum
  35. ^ http://www.seattlecatholic.com/a050727.html
  36. ^ A'Becket, John Joseph. "John Allen." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 11 Mar. 2013
  37. ^ a b A complete history of the British martyrs page 126
  38. ^ Camm, Bede. "Ven. Edmund Brindholm" The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. Accessed 12 Jan. 2013.
  39. ^ The Book of Martyrs (Foxe), Chapter XVI, Wikisource, accessed 1 February 2013
  40. ^ "Martyrs of England and Wales" New Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. 1967. P 322.
  41. ^ Thomas M. McCoog, ‘Woodhouse, Thomas (d. 1573)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 8 Sept 2014
  42. ^ a b Chapman, John H. "The Persecution under Elizabeth" Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Old Series Vol. 9 (1881), pp. 21-43. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
  43. ^ Pollen, John Hungerford. "English Confessors and Martyrs (1534-1729)" The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company, . 31 Mar. 2013
  44. ^ Original Catholic Encyclopedia - English Confessors and Martyrs
  45. ^ Original Catholic Encyclopedia - Thomas Downes

References[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]