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  • Writer's pictureFr. Scott Haynes

40 Martyrs of England and Wales

On October 25th each year, we celebrate the courage of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales, a group of Catholic, lay and religious, men and women, executed between 1535 and 1679 for treason and related offences under various laws enacted by Parliament during the English Protestant Reformation. The individuals listed range from Carthusian monks who in 1535 declined to accept Henry VIII's Act of Supremacy, to seminary priests who were caught up in the alleged Popish Plot against Charles II in 1679. Many were sentenced to death at show trials, or with no trial at all.

The first wave of executions came with the reign of King Henry VIII and involved persons who did not support the 1534 Act of Supremacy and dissolution of the monasteries.[2] Carthusian John Houghton and Bridgettine Richard Reynolds died at this time.

In 1570 Pope Pius V, in support of various rebellions in England and Ireland, excommunicated Queen Elizabeth, absolving her Catholic subjects of their allegiance to her. The crown responded with more rigorous enforcement of various penal laws already enacted and passed new ones. 13 Eliz. c.1 made it high treason to affirm that the queen ought not to enjoy the Crown, or to declare her to be a heretic. "An act against Jesuits, seminary priests, and such other like disobedient persons", (27 Eliz.1, c. 2), the statute under which most of the English martyrs suffered, made it high treason for any Jesuit or any seminary priest to be in England at all, and a felony for any person to harbor or aid them.[3] All but six of the forty had been hanged, drawn and quartered, many of them at Tyburn

The 40 Martyrs of England and Wales

  • Saint John Almond

  • Saint Edmund Arrowsmith

  • Saint Ambrose Barlow

  • Saint John Boste

  • Saint Alexander Briant

  • Saint Edmund Campion

  • Saint Margaret Clitherow

  • Saint Philip Evans

  • Saint Thomas Garnet

  • Saint Edmund Gennings

  • Saint Richard Gwyn

  • Saint John Houghton

  • Saint Philip Howard

  • Saint John Jones

  • Saint John Kemble

  • Saint Luke Kirby

  • Saint Robert Lawrence

  • Saint David Lewis

  • Saint Anne Line

  • Saint John Lloyd

  • Saint Cuthbert Mayne

  • Saint Henry Morse

  • Saint Nicholas Owen

  • Saint John Payne

  • Saint Polydore Plasden

  • Saint John Plessington

  • Saint Richard Reynolds

  • Saint John Rigby

  • Saint John Roberts

  • Saint Alban Roe

  • Saint Ralph Sherwin

  • Saint Robert Southwell

  • Saint John Southworth

  • Saint John Stone

  • Saint John Wall

  • Saint Henry Walpole

  • Saint Margaret Ward

  • Saint Augustine Webster

  • Saint Swithun Wells

  • Saint Eustace White


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