Some cheerful English martyrs

Over at Thoughts from Walney Island there is this good entry:

Today, my diocese [Lancaster, UK] commemorates St Edmund Arrowsmith S.J., St Ambrose Barlow, Blessed James Bell and John Finch ( Laymen), Richard Hayhurst, Robert Nutter O.P. and Edward Thwing, Thurston Hunt and Robert Middleton S.J., John Thules, and Roger Wrenno ( layman) plus Edward Bamber, John Woodcock O.F.M. and Thomas Whitaker. All of these were martyred in the city of Lancaster beteenn the 1580’s and 1646. They met their deaths close to the present Cathedral of St Peter.

As an historian I should know more about them but I don’t. They were all great men who laid down their lives for the Mass and the authority of the Pope. They suffered cruel torments and a hideous death. Yet, by all accounts went bravely and cheefully to their deaths. I think it is very sad that their memory is fading. We rarely talk about the English Martys these days. Many years ago I remember some ecumenical enthusiast actually saying talking about the martys was a hindrance to ecumenism.

Someone has composed these excellent texts for the Mass we can celebrate on this day. All 3 prayers contain references to Bishop Challoners "memoirs of the martyrs" . Thus, "grieving for England are the words of Edmund Arrowsmith, court of conscience are the words of Ambrose Barlow and cheefulness refers to Edward Bamber.

Almighty Father, may those who died on the Hill above Lancaster, grieving for England, which they prayed God to convert, be our patrons now in heaven that our lives may witness to the faith they professed

Father, as we bring you our gifts in memory of the men who died, justified in the court of conscience, we pray that our offering may proceed from a pure heart.

Post Communion
Father, mindful of the cheerfulness and courage with which our martyrs faced a barbarous death, we pray that through the gift of the Eucharist our one desire may be to do your holy will.

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  1. Boko says:

    Woodcock is an ancestor of mine. Woud love to know more about him. Thanks for this post.

  2. Father,

    Thanks for calling our attention to that entry. The martyrs an impediment to ecumenicism ? What piffle. The memory of the martyrs on both sides, Catholic and Protestant, should remind us of the necessity for charity amongst all believers. St. Peter, pray for our unity !

  3. Chris says:

    And what wonderful examples of English language prayers, composed in English!

  4. Ottaviani says:

    The memory of the martyrs on both sides, Catholic and Protestant, should remind us of the necessity for charity amongst all believers.

    Without throwing an un-ecumenical damper: if there was charity on both sides, then there would be no Catholic martyrs in the first place, ergo we would have less intercessors in Heaven and role models for us sinners on earth.

    Holy Martyr of England & Wales pray for the conversion of Mary’s Dowry to the one, Holy and Apostolic Catholic Faith!

  5. trespinos says:

    Far and away the highlight of my daily perusal of Magnificat magazine is the short saint’s life, but most especially if it is of one of the Martyrs of England and Wales. It seems they intend to give mention to them all, and I’m most grateful.

    I wish the bishops in the U.S. could be influenced to name new parishes after those great heroes of the Faith. More and Fisher have been so honored, but the others are sadly so little known.

  6. Hettie B. says:

    What a shame that martyrs should go forgotten just so some PC moderns can feel OK about themselves and not be bothered with things like history.

    I’m surprised by how many people don’t even know about St. John Fisher. I bet fewer would know about St. Thomas More if it weren’t for A Man for All Seasons.

    We are fortunate that even if we forget them, they will not forget us.

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