Monday, 23 April 2012


The "Martyrdom of St George"
Paolo Veronese, 1564
When I started this post I had something entirely different in my mind.  However, upon checking the widget in my right sidebar for today's Saint, I changed tack.  I read something that I had never heard before about ST GEORGE and the "FOURTEEN HOLY HELPERS".  I found it so interesting I thought I would encourage you to take a look too.  This is the link or you can just use the widget at the side.   Once there, go to "Activities" and read all about the Fourteen Holy Helpers.  Very interesting, indeed! 

Oh Yes, a very HAPPY ST GEORGE'S DAY  to all.

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.

Thursday, 5 April 2012



1. David Lewis was born in Abergavenny in 1616. He was the youngest child of Margaret Pritchard, a Catholic, and Morgan Lewis, a Protestant.

2. One of nine children, David was brought up in the Established Religion by his father. David’s eight siblings were brought up in the Catholic Faith by their mother.

3. As a young man, during a stay in Paris, David converted to Catholicism.

4. David returned to Abergavenny in 1636 and lived with his parents until their deaths in 1638.

5. David decided to become a priest and, following the deaths of his parents in 1638, he entered the English College in Rome where he assumed the alias of Charles Baker. He was ordained there in 1642.

6. In 1645 David Lewis entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Sant’ Andrea. After profession he was sent to the Cwm, the Jesuit Headquarters in Herefordshire, on the English Welsh border.

7. David was soon recalled to Rome but in 1648 he returned to Wales where for more than thirty years he ministered to his beleaguered Catholic countrymen.

8. On 17th November 1678, while preparing to celebrate Holy Mass, Fr Lewis was arrested at a house in Llantarnam. He was conveyed to Monmouth Gaol where he was held until early 1679. On 13th January of that year he was moved to Usk Gaol to await his fate.

9. In March 1679, at The Monmouth Assizes, Fr Lewis was found guilty of being a Catholic priest and saying Mass. Under the Penal Laws of the time, this was considered High Treason and incurred the sentence of being hanged, drawn and quartered.

10. On 27th August 1679 Fr David Lewis was executed at Usk. Due to the love and respect the people had for this priest, known as ‘Tad y Tlodion’, i.e., ‘Father of the Poor’, he was allowed to hang until he was dead. He was then cut down and, although he was not quartered, he was disembowelled and beheaded. His remains were given a respectful burial in the churchyard of St Mary’s Priory Church, Usk.

Sunday, 1 April 2012


Today, 2nd April, marks the 430th anniversary of the execution of John Payne, one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.

John Payne was born at Peterborough in 1532. Neither the date nor the circumstances of his conversion are known but it is thought that John was born into a Protestant family. It is known that in 1574 he entered the English College at Douai and was ordained priest there on 7th April 1576. Less than three weeks later, on 24th April, he and Fr Cuthbert Mayne left for the English Mission.

Fr Payne based himself at Ingatestone, Essex. Early in 1577 he was arrested there and imprisoned. However, he was released and in November he went back to Douai. By Christmas 1579 he was back at Ingatestone.

In July 1581 Fr Payne was arrested in Warwickshire, due to the diligent efforts of the spy, George Eliot. Eliot was a known murderer, rapist and thief. Known as Judas’ Eliot, he made his living denouncing Catholics and priests for bounty. The priest was committed to the Tower of London on 14th July. Here, he was twice racked, on 14th August and on 31st October.

On 20th March 1592, John Payne was woken and, half dressed, was taken from his cell in the Tower. The Lieutenant of the Tower, Sir Owen Hopton, delivered him to officers waiting to take him to Chelmsford Gaol. Two days later the prisoner was indicted on a trumped up charge of treason for conspiring to murder the Queen and to install Mary, Queen of Scots, on the throne. Payne denied the charges and affirmed his loyalty to the Queen and questioned the reliability of the criminal, Eliot. No attempt was made to corroborate Eliot’s story and, of course, the guilty verdict was a foregone conclusion. Fr Payne was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered and, receiving his sentence calmly, commented “If it please the Queen and her Council that I shall die, I refer my cause to God”.

On the morning of Monday, 2nd April 1582, Fr Payne was dragged from prison on a hurdle to the place of execution. He prayed on his knees for nearly half an hour, and then kissing the scaffold, he made a profession of his faith and declared himself innocent. He was offered a pardon on condition that he conform but he steadfastly refused.

Fr Payne was well known in the area and was liked and admired by many. When he was turned off the ladder, the crowd prevented the hangman from cutting his body down and disembowelling it until the priest was dead. Consequently, he was spared the agony of the drawing and quartering which was carried out on his dead body.

St John Payne was one of the group of Catholic Martyrs canonised by Pope Paul VI on 25th October 1970. They are know collectively as the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.
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