Monday, 25 October 2010


On 25th October 1970, 10,000 English and Welsh pilgrims converged on Rome. They had come for the canonisation of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. During the dark days of the 16th and 17th centuries, almost 400 Catholic men and women gave their lives for their faith. On that wonderful day forty years ago, Pope Paul VI canonised forty of those courageous and faithful Catholics. The Last Welsh Martyr, Fr David Lewis S J, was among the forty.

For that joyful occasion, Sister Canisius, a Sister of St Joseph of Annecy at Llantarnam Abbey, composed a hymn in honour of St David Lewis. St David Lewis had lived for awhile at Llantarnam Abbey and from this base he ministered to the persecuted Catholics in the area. Llantarnam Abbey is near the site of the arrest of St David Lewis.
Here are the words of the hymn, sung to the tune of Hyfrydol. (You can even sing along with the video!)


Holy Martyr, David Lewis,
Monmouth County's glorious Saint.
Father of the Poor they named you,
When you lived and toiled in Gwent.
Priestly work was undertaken,
Danger-fraught from dawn till dusk.
Gladly still you served your people,
Till you died for them at Usk.

From your capture at Llantarnam,
Through your time in Monmouth Gaol,
Threats and tortures could not shake you,
For your faith would never fail.
Bravely then you faced the gallows,
Crudely fashioned for your death,
Further torment someone spared you,
Till you drew your latest breath.

Great and glorious David Lewis,
Staunch and steadfast in the strife,
Bless your people here in Monmouth,
Those for whom you gave your life.
Help us to be strong, courageous,
Loyal to our loving God,
To Him then will glory flourish,
In the places you have trod.

To mark the fortieth Anniversary of the canonisation of St David Lewis and the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, a very special ceremony took place yesterday 24th October 2010, at Usk, near the spot where Fr Lewis was martyred in 1679. After 10:00 a m Mass at the Church of St Francis Xavier and St David Lewis, Sr Celsus SSJ of Llantarnam Abbey unveiled a plaque which was then blessed by Fr Richard Reardon, the Parish Priest. The plaque, which was erected by the group Friends of St David Lewis, is at the side of the church on Porth-y-Carne Street and it marks the original stone which lay on the grave of the martyr. After the canonisation of Fr David Lewis, this old and broken stone was removed and a new one placed on his grave in the churchyard of St Mary’s Priory Church. The old stone was reassembled by the side of the Catholic Church where it remains to this day.



  2. Hi Bryn

    Thank you for your visit and for your always welcome comment. I hope you are enjoying your little booklet on the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. Although the book is small and the accounts of each martyr short, it is still inspiring. They surely are a great example to us to persevere through all our difficulties.

    Thanks again, Bryn, and God bless you.

  3. See also

  4. Many thanks for your kind comments, Breadgirl.
    It would be good if the National Shrine of Wales could have a reciprocal link to your excellent site.
    I can send you an image of Our Lady of the Taper, recently blessed by the Holy Father, if you send me your email address.
    If you wish to link I will ask Fr Jason Jones, Rector of the Shrine.
    Thanks for the Welsh Martyrs images.

  5. Thank you for bringing the lives of these glorious martyrs and saints to us. Their lives inspire us to stand up for the faith.

  6. Breadgirl,
    I loved the books you sent me! The book on St. David Lewis was heartbreaking though - his trial was a travesty of justice. It reminded me of what the Lord went through.

  7. Good Morning Richard

    I have had a look at your blog and I will post a link to it in my sidebar. Yes, I would like to link with the National Shrine. I think that would help get the message of our martyrs out to more people. I firmly believe that Catholicism in this little corner of the world has quite an inspiring history and we should share it with the whole world. So please talk to Fr Jason about it and let me know what transpires. I don't really know Fr Jason but we met briefly in Lourdes in 2006 with the Welsh National Pilgrimage.

    Thanks Richard and God bless you.

  8. Good Morning Daily Grace

    Thank you for your visit and your support. These martyrs do inspire us to stand up for our faith as you said. The way the world is going these days, it seems we are continually having to do that too. Christians are discriminated against in many ways in many countries that once were staunchly Christian countries. As we know, Christians are actively persecuted in some countries too. We really do need the inspiration and the prayers of the martyrs.

    Thanks Grace and God bless you.

  9. Hi Mary333

    It's great to hear from you. I am so pleased that you liked the books. Yes the trial of St David Lewis was a foregone conclusion, as were the trials of all the martyrs. The aim of the Government of the time was to rid the country of Catholicism and they believed the way to do this was to get rid of the priests. No priest = no Mass = no Catholics was how they reasoned it. Well, thanks to these brave martyrs, priests and laypeople, the Government was wrong! I think we have had it so easy that we take our religon and all it gives us for granted so it does us good to sometimes reflect on just how much we owe to so many brave men and women.

    If you would like me to, I can send you a couple more of the books about St David Lewis and some of the information cards. You might like to give them to your friends and family. Just let me know and I will do it immediately because I have a couple of the books by John Gray.

    Thanks again Mary and God bless you.

  10. Hi,

    You've set this old head thinking. I sang the hymn with the music playing ... yet, I'm sure I know this tune! You say it's Hyfrydol. We sang this tune at school many years ago ... but that was not it's name! HEEELP !!!

    Praying for you and yours.

    God bless.

  11. Hi Victor

    How are you doing? Well the only other hymn I know to this tune is 'Alleluia Sing to Jesus' but when I was looking for an instrumental version of it on youtube I came across several other hymns which are sung to the tune. Very versatile!!

    It's good to hear from you. Thanks and God bless you my friend.

  12. Hi Breadgirl,
    You are so sweet :) I couldn't ask you to do that though because I know how expensive it is to send things this far. I ask for St. David's intercession regularly now thanks to you. God bless you, Breadgirl. I will keep you in my prayers :)

  13. I think you're right. It is Alleluia Sing to Jesus we sang in our school. Many thanx.

    God bless you and yours.

  14. Good Morning Victor

    That was the only hymn I knew with that tune until I heard the Hymn in Honour of St David Lewis. However, if you look on youtube you will find a number of hymns with that tune. It is a nice tune and I suppose it is an easy one to sing.

    I hope all is well with you. Thanks for your visit and God bless you.

  15. Hi Mary33

    Postage is not a problem. If you would like a couple of books, I would be more than happy to send them. Just say the word and they will be on the way to you. It would give me great plesure to send them to you.

    I hope your father is well again and that all is going well for you and yours.

    Thanks for visiting and God bless you.

  16. Your posts are always very informative.

  17. Hello Hello!

    Wonderful post!

  18. Good Morning Elizabeth

    Thank you for visiting. It is always good to hear from you and I value your comments.

    God bless you.

  19. Hello Katie

    Welcome back! You have been greatly missed.

    Thanks for looking in and for your kind comment. I hope we will hear from you again soon. Take care and God bless you.

  20. Thank you, Breadgirl! If the postage is not a problem I would be very happy to receive them and will share them with others after :)

    My dad is doing much better! God bless you, too!

  21. Hi Mary333

    Great! I have just packed three books and some cards and I will post them this afternoon. I am more than happy to send them to you for your friends and family.

    Thanks and God bless you.

  22. I appreciate your thoughtfulness, Breadgirl :)


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