|Forty Martyrs of England and Wales|
|Died||1535–1679, England and Wales|
|Venerated in|| Catholic Church |
(England and Wales)
|Canonized||25 October 1970, Vatican City, by Pope Paul VI|
|Feast||4 May (England) 25 October (Wales)|
|Notable martyrs||Edmund Campion, S.J.|
The Forty Martyrs of England and Walesare 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 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.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 one to harbor or aid them.All but six of the forty had been hanged, drawn and quartered, many of them at Tyburn.
Following beatifications between 1886 and 1929, there were already numerous martyrs from England and Wales recognised with the rank of Blessed. The bishops of the province identified a list of 40 further names; reasons given for the choice of those particular names include a spread of social status, religious rank, geographical spread and the pre-existence of popular devotion. The list of names was submitted to Rome in December 1960. In the case of a martyr, a miracle is not required. For a martyr, the Pope has only to make a declaration of martyrdom, which is a certification that the Venerable died voluntarily as a witness of the Faith or in an act of heroic charity for others.
The Archbishop of Westminster, then Cardinal William Godfrey, sent a description of 24 seemingly miraculous cases to the Sacred Congregation. Out of 20 candidate cases for recognition as answered prayers, the alleged cure of a young mother from a malignant tumor was selected as the clearest case. In light of the fact that Thomas More and John Fisher, belonging to the same group of Martyrs, had been canonized with a dispensation from miracles, Pope Paul VI, after discussions with the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints, considered that it was possible to proceed with the Canonization on the basis of one miracle.
Pope Paul VI granted permission for the whole group of 40 names to be recognised as saints on the strength of this one miracle. The canonization ceremony took place in Rome on 25 October 1970.
In England, these martyrs were formerly commemorated within the Catholic Church by a feast day on 25 October, which is also the feast of Saints Crispin and Crispinian, but they are now celebrated together with all the 284 canonized or beatified martyrs of the English Reformation on 4 May.
In Wales, the Catholic Church keeps 25 October as the feast of the Six Welsh Martyrs and their companions. The Welsh Martyrs are the priests Philip Evans and John Lloyd, John Jones, David Lewis, John Roberts, and the teacher Richard Gwyn.The companions are the 34 English Martyrs listed above. Wales continues to keep 4 May as a separate feast for the beatified martyrs of England and Wales.
Saint Richard Reynolds, O.Ss.S was an English Brigittine monk executed in London for refusing the Oath of Supremacy to King Henry VIII of England. He was canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1970, among the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.
Saint Augustine Webster was an English Catholic martyr. He was the prior of Our Lady of Melwood, a Carthusian house at Epworth, on the Isle of Axholme, in north Lincolnshire, in 1531. His feast day is 4 May.
Saint John Houghton, O.Cart., was a Carthusian hermit and Catholic priest and the first English Catholic martyr to die as a result of the Act of Supremacy by King Henry VIII of England. He was also the first member of his order to die as a martyr. He is among the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.
Saint Alexander Briant was an English Jesuit and martyr, executed at Tyburn.
Saints Philip Evans and John Lloyd were Welsh Roman Catholic priests. They are among the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.
John Jones, also known as John Buckley, John Griffith, Godfrey Maurice, or Griffith Jones was a Franciscan friar, Roman Catholic priest, and martyr. He was born at Clynnog Fawr, Caernarfonshire (Gwynedd), Wales, and was executed 12 July 1598 at Southwark, England. He is one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.
Saint John Kemble was an English Roman Catholic martyr. He was one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.
William Exmew was an English Catholic priest and Carthusian hermit. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn and is honored as a martyr by the Catholic Church. Exmew and his brother Carthusian martyrs were beatified by Pope Leo XIII on 9 December 1886.
The Carthusian Martyrs of London were the monks of the London Charterhouse, the monastery of the Carthusian Order in central London, who were put to death by the English state in a period lasting from the 4 May 1535 till the 20 September 1537. The method of execution was hanging, disembowelling while still alive and then quartering. Others were imprisoned and left to starve to death. The group also includes two monks who were brought to that house from the Charterhouses of Beauvale and Axholme and similarly dealt with. The total was 18 men, all of whom have been formally recognized by the Catholic Church as martyrs.
The Douai Martyrs is a name applied by the Roman Catholic Church to 158 Catholic priests trained in the English College at Douai, France, who were executed by the English state between 1577 and 1680.
John Stone was an English Augustinian friar who was executed, probably in December 1539; he was canonized in 1970 by Pope Paul VI. He was a doctor of theology from Canterbury.
Irish Catholic Martyrs were dozens of people who have been sanctified in varying degrees for dying for their Roman Catholic faith between 1537 and 1714 in Ireland. The canonisation of Oliver Plunkett in 1975 brought an awareness of the other men and women who died for the Catholic faith in the 16th and 17th centuries. On 22 September 1992 Pope John Paul II proclaimed a representative group from Ireland as martyrs and beatified them. "Martyr" was originally a Greek word meaning "witness". In the Acts of the Apostles, Peter, speaking to those in Jerusalem at Pentecost, claimed he and all the apostles were "martyrs", that is, witnesses, in this case to Jesus's resurrection. Later the word came to mean a person who followed the example of Christ and gave up their lives rather than deny their faith.
St. Robert Lawrence was one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn for declining to sign the Oath of Supremacy. His feast day is 4 May.
David Lewis 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.
The Eighty-five Martyrs of England and Wales, also known as George Hatdock and Forty-one Companion Martyrs, are a group of men who were executed on charges of treason and related offences in the Kingdom of England between 1584 and 1679. Of the eighty-five, seventy-five were executed under Jesuits, etc. Act 1584.
The Carthusian martyrs are those members of the Carthusian monastic order who have been persecuted and killed because of their Christian faith and their adherence to the Catholic religion. As an enclosed order the Carthusians do not, on principle, put forward causes for their members, though causes have been promoted by others on their behalf.
During the English reformation a number of men were executed at Lancaster in England as a consequence of their Catholic faith. They are commonly referred to as the Lancaster Martyrs and are commemorated locally by the Lancaster Martyrs Memorial Stone which may be found close to the centre of Lancaster city.
Blessed John Haile was an elderly secular priest who was vicar of Isleworth Middlesex in the early 16th century; his significance in history, like that of many of the English martyrs, begins only with the events which led to his death.
Nine Martyrs of England and Wales, also known as Hugh Faringdon and Eight Companion Martyrs are a group of clergy and laypersons who were executed on charges of treason and related offences in the Kingdom of England. Eight of these occurred in 1539, during the reign of King Henry VIII, and one other in 1572. They are considered martyrs in the Roman Catholic Church and were beatified on 13 May 1895 by Pope Leo XIII.