Polydore Plasden

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Polydore Plasden
Born 1563
Died 10 December 1591
Beatified 1929
Canonized 1970 by Pope Paul VI

Saint Polydore Plasden, one of the Catholic Forty Martyrs of England and Wales (died 1591). A native of London, he studied for the priesthood at Rheims and Rome and was ordained in 1586 before being sent back to England soon after.


Polydore Plasden was born in 1563, the son of a London horner. He was educated at Reims and at the English College at Rome,[1] where he was ordained priest on 7 December 1586. He remained at Rome for more than a year, and then was at Reims from 8 April till 2 September 1588, when he was sent on the mission. While at Rome he had signed a petition for the retention of the Jesuits as superiors of the English College, but in England he was considered to have suffered injury through their agency. He was captured on 2 November 1591, in London, at Swithun Wells' house in Gray's Inn Fields, where St. Edmund Gennings was celebrating Mass.[2]

On 6 December together with Edmund Gennings and Eustace White, priests, and Sydney Hodgson, Swithin Wells, and John Mason, laymen, he was tried before the King's Bench, and condemned for coming into England contrary to law.[3]

At his execution on 10 December 1591, 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. St. Polydore was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn.[4] By the orders of Sir Walter Raleigh, he was allowed to hang till he was dead, and the sentence was carried out upon his corpse.

He was beatified in 1929, and was canonized in 1970 by Pope Paul VI as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.


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