Saturday, 5 December 2009


Several people have asked me what is the significance of the photograph in this Blog Heading. That made me think that there might be others who do not understand it either. Therefore, I thought I had better do a little explaining!

The picture, a close up of a carved detail on the shrine of St David Lewis, shows a rope, a dagger, and the letter 'M' topped with a crown. This symbolises the crown of martyrdom. The noose (rope) and the dagger are symbolic of the method of execution of St David Lewis. The noose signifies that the saint was hanged. The dagger symbolises the drawing or disemboweling that was carried out on the priest. In the time of St David Lewis, it was considered High Treason to be a Catholic Priest and to celebrate Holy Mass. The sentence for Treason was to be hanged, drawn (disemboweled) and quartered. The hanging was really a farce because the victim was cut down while still conscious. While still alive, he would be cut open, his heart and entrails ripped out and thrown on the fire before his very eyes. The body was then beheaded and quartered. Usually, the quarters were sent to be displayed in prominent positions around the town.

Those present at the martyrdom of St David Lewis were so deeply moved that a Protestant man held the priest's hand and would not permit the hangman to cut him down until he was dead. Nor would the crowd allow his body to be quartered. Fr Lewis was decapitated and dismembered but his body was given a reverent burial in the Churchyard of the Priory Church, Usk.

The shrine where the photo was taken is in the Catholic Church of St David Lewis and St Francis Xavier, Usk. The Church, on Porth-y-Carne Street, is opposite the site of the martyrdom of St David Lewis.


  1. What a horrible death he had. And the thought of his crime, being a priest and celebrating holy mass makes me so terribly sad.

  2. Good Morning Daily Grace
    Indeed the martyrs suffered horrible deaths. Although his body was desecrated, St David Lewis, thanks to a Protestant man, was at least spared the agony of being disembowelled while still alive. We owe these brave priests so much don't we? Their sacrifices should make us appreciate our priests more and be so very, very appreciative of the Mass. God bless you, Daily Grace.

  3. Catholic Mom of 10
    Hello and Welcome. Thank you very much. I hope you will look in again. God bless you.

  4. Good Afternoon Elizabeth
    You are welcome. I am glad you found it helpful. Thank you for your interest. God bless you.

  5. What a horrific way to die! I can't imagine what kind of people could even bear to witness it!

  6. Hello Anne
    The Martyrs surely did die horrific deaths. It is very hard for us to fathom the minds of people who could turn up to watch such a thing. They were indeed different times, cruel times. Under the Protestant Monarchs, Catholics were hanged, drawn and quartered. Under Catholic Queen Mary, Protestants were burned at the stake. Under the Commonwealth, Anglicans and Catholics were persecuted. Tolerance is something for which we ought to pray. Thanks for your comment. God bless you.


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