Sunday, 15 April 2012


The Forty Martyrs of England and Wales were selected from among the hundreds of Catholics who gave their lives for the faith during the dark days of persecution in England. The Forty were canonised by Pope Paul VI on 25th October 1970. Six of the Forty were Welsh. They were a married man, a Franciscan, a Benedictine, two Jesuits and a secular priest.

St Richard
Gwyn was born about 1537 in Llanidloes, Montgomeryshire. He was a teacher and a married man. He and his wife, Catherine, had six children. He was executed at Wrexham on 15th October 1584. St Richard Gwyn is the Protomartyr of Wales.

St John Jones O F M was born at Clynog Fawr, Caernarvonshire around the year 1530. He entered the Franciscan Convent at Greenwich and, at its dissolution in 1559, he went to the Continent and was professed at Pontoise, France. He died for the Faith at Southwark on 12th July 1598. At his execution, he had to wait an hour because the hangman had forgotten to bring the rope!

St John Roberts O S B, born at Trawsfynydd, Merionethshire, was the first prior of St Gregory’s, Douai. He was sent upon the English Mission in December 1602, arriving in England in April 1603. He was probably the first monastic to enter England since the Reformation. He was executed at Tyburn on 10th December 1610.

St Philip Evans S J was born in Monmouth in 1645. He ent
ered the Society of Jesus on 7th September 1665. He was ordained at Liege and sent upon the English Mission in 1675. He diligently and joyfully served the area of South Wales for four years before his arrest at the house of Christopher Turberville at Sker, Glamorganshire on 4th December 1678. He was martyred at Cardiff on 22nd July 1679. He was thirty-four years old.

St John Lloyd was Brecon born and studied at Ghent and Valladolid. He was ordained a priest at Valladolid in 1653. He returned to Wales and laboured in Brecon and Monmouthshire for 24 years. In November of 1678, he was captured at a house at Penllyn, Glamorganshire. He and St Philip Evans shared a cell at Cardiff Castle until their martyrdom at Cardiff on 22nd July 1679.

St David Lewis was born in 1616 at Abergavenny, Monmouthshire. He attended the local Grammar school where his father, Morgan Lewis, was headmaster. Ordained in 1642, David entered the Jesuit novitiate in 1645. He returned to Wales and, based at the Cwm, he served the Catholics of the area for 34 years. He was arrested at Llantarnam on 17th November 1678 and martyred at Usk on 27th August 1679. St David Lewis was the last Welsh martyr.


  1. Thanks for sharing this. Always find your posts so interesting. Wishes for a sunny spring!

  2. Hi Buttercup
    Happy St George's Day to you. Thanks very much for your well appreciated comment. sorry I have again taken so long to reply but, these days, it seems the Good Lord has plans for me that take me away from the computer. I have just come home from an unexpected stay in hospital. Totally unexpected!!! Anyway, thank God, I am feeling grand again, just taking it easy for a few days. Seeing the sufferings of my fellow patients in the hospital certainly put my little problem in perspective. God is so very good to me! Anyway, thanks again, dear friend, and may God bless you & yours.


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