David Lewis (Jesuit)
|St. David Lewis, S.J.|
David Lewis, portrait engraving (1683)
Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales
|Died||1679 (aged 62–63)
Usk, Monmouthshire, Wales
|Honored in||Catholic Church|
|Beatified||15 December 1929 by Pope Pius XI|
|Canonized||25 October 1970, Vatican City, by Pope Paul VI|
David Lewis (1616 – 27 August 1679) was a Jesuit Catholic priest and martyr who was also known as Charles Baker. Lewis was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970 as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales and is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church.
At 16 years of age, while visiting Paris, he converted to Catholicism and subsequently went to study in Rome, where in 1642 he was ordained as a Catholic priest. Three years later, he joined the Society of Jesus.
Arrest and execution
He was arrested on 17 November 1678, at St Michael's Church, Llantarnam, then in Monmouthshire, and condemned at the Assizes in Monmouth in March 1679 as a Catholic priest and for saying Catholic Masses. Like John Wall and John Kemble, he was then sent to London to be examined by Titus Oates (the originator of the Popish Plot) and others.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge of being an accessory to the Popish Plot, but five or six witnesses claimed they had seen him say Mass and perform other priestly duties. For this Lewis was found guilty and sentenced to death by Sir Robert Atkins. The condemned priest was brought to Newgate Prison in London with John Kemble (Herefordshire) and questioned about the "plot". Oates, William Bedloe, Dugdale and Prace were unable to prove anything against him. Lord Shaftesbury advised him that if he gave evidence about the "plot" or renounced his Catholic faith, that his life would be spared and he would be greatly rewarded. Lewis said in his dying speech, "discover the plot I could not, as I knew of none; and conform I would not, for it was against my conscience".
He was finally brought back to Usk in Monmouthshire for his execution by John Arnold of Monmouthshire, and was hanged on 27 August 1679. After the Titus Oates affair (1679–80), the remaining Welsh-speaking Catholic clergy were either executed or exiled.
- "alias used to hide from anti-Catholic authorities in Wales" (Patron Saints: Saint David Lewis)
- Herbermann, Charles, ed (1913). "Ven. Charles Baker". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Baker, Charles (1617-1679)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Ven. Charles Baker". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.