Friday, May 29, 2009

The not so Merry Month of May-English Saints-Martyrs

Bl. Margaret PoleFeastday May 28Martyr of England. She was born Margaret Plantagenet, the niece of Edward IV and Rich­ard III. She married Sir Reginald Pole about 1491 and bore five sons, including Reginald Cardinal Pole. Margaret was widowed, named countess of Salisbury, and appointed governess to Princess Mary, daughter of Hemy VIII and Queen Catherine of Aragon, Spain.

She opposed Henry’s mar­riage to Anne Boleyn, and the king exiled her from court, although he called her “the holiest woman in England.”

When her son, Cardinal Pole, denied Henry’s Act of Supremacy, the king imprisoned Margaret in the Tower of London for two years and then beheaded her on May 28.

In 1538, her other two sons were executed.

She was never given a legal trial.

She was seventy when she was martyred.

Margaret was beatified in 1886.

Bl. John ShertFeastday: May 28 1582 English martyr. He was born at Shert Hall, near Macclesfield, Cheshire, and educated at Oxford. Converting to the Church, John studied at Douai and Rome. Ordained in 1576, he went to England three years later, working only two years before his arrest.

John was martyred at Tyburn with Blessed Thomas Ford and Blessed Robert Johnstone by being hinged, drawn, and quartered. Pope Leo XIII beatified him in 1886.

Bl. Thomas Ford Feastday:May 28 1582 Martyr of England. He was born in Devon and educated at Oxford. There he converted and set out for Douai, France. Ordained a priest in 1573, he was sent back to England three years later. Thomas labored in Oxfordshire and Berckshire until his arrest. He was martyred on May 28 at Tyburn by being hanged, drawn, and quartered. He was a companion of St. Edmund Campion, and he died with Blesseds Robert Johnson and John Shert. Thomas was beatified in 1882.

Bl. Robert Johnson Feastday: May 28 1582 English martyr. Born in Shropshire, England, he was a servant before he went to study at Rome and Douai, France, receiving ordination in 1576. Returning to the English mission, he served in the area of London for four years, until his arrest. Robert was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn with Blesseds Thomas Ford and John Short. Robert was beatified in 1886.

Bl. Richard Thirkeld
Feastday: May 291349
English martyr, also listed as Thirkild. Born in Durham, England, he studied at Oxford and was said to be quite old when he left the isle to receive preparation for the priesthood at Reims and Douai, France. Ordained in 1579, he went back to England and served the Catholics in the area around Yorkshire until his execution for being a priest on May 29 at York

Bl. William Filby
Feastday: May 301582
Martyr of England. Born in Oxfordshire, he studied at Oxford. After graduation, William was converted to Catholicism and went to Reims, France, where he received ordination as a priest in 1581. He returned to England immediately and was arrested with St. Edmund Campion. William was executed at Tyburn with three companions on May 30. He was beatified in 1886.

Bl. Thomas Cottam
Feastday:May 301582
English martyr. Born at Dilworth, Lancashire, England, in 1549, he was raised as a Protestant and studied at Oxford University before undergoing a conversion to Catholicism. Leaving England to prepare for ordination at Douai and Rome, he was ordained and joined the Jesuits. going home in 1580. Arrested at his landing at Dover, he was taken to the Tower of London and eventually hanged, drawn, and quartered with three companions

Bl. Lawrence Richardson
Feastday: May 301582
Martyr of England. He was born in Great Crosby, Lancashire, England, and was educated at Oxford. Converting to the faith, Lawrence went to Douai, France, and was ordained in 1577. He returned to Lancashire and worked there until his martyrdom at Tyburn. He was beatified in 1886.

Bl. Richard Newport
Feastday: May 301612
English martyr, also called Richard Smith. Born at Harringworth, Nothamptonshire, England, he studied in Rome and was ordained in 1597. Returning to England, he worked in London for a number of years before being arrested and banished twice, but he returned each time. His third arrest was with Blessed William Scott. Both were hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tybum for being Catholic priests

St. Luke Kirby
Feastday: May 301582
One of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. Probably educated at Cambridge, England, he converted and studied in Rome and in Douai, France. In 1580, he returned to England, only to be arrested two years later. Luke was imprisoned in the Tower of London and subjected to the infamous device “Scavenger’s Daughter.” a hideous form of torture. He was then martyred at Tyburn.

Bl. Maurus Scott
Feastday: May 301612
Benedictine martyr of England. Bom William Scott in Chigwell, Essex, England, he studied law at Cambridge, where he became a Catholic. Maurus was converted by Blessed John Roberts, the Benedictine, and was sent to Sahagun, in Spain, to St. Facundus Benedictine Abbey He was ordained there, taking the name Maurus. When he returned to England he was arrested, imprisoned for a year, and then banished. He returned again and again, being exiled each time. Finally, he was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn on May 30 with Blessed Richard Newport. They were beatified in 1929.

To be Hanged, Drawn, and Quartered

This was the ultimate punishment available in English law for men who had been convicted of High Treason. Women were burned at the stake instead, apparently for the sake of decency.

The full sentence passed upon those convicted of High Treason up to 1870 was as follows :

That you be drawn on a hurdle to the place of execution where you shall be hanged by the neck and being alive cut down, your privy members shall be cut off and your bowels taken out and burned before you, your head severed from your body and your body divided into four quarters to be disposed of at the King’s pleasure.”

So not for the feint hearted then!!

As you will see from the sentence it should properly be called drawing, hanging and quartering as the condemned was drawn to the place of execution tied to the hurdle which was dragged by a horse.

This is confirmed by contemporary law books.

Drawing does not refer to the removal of the intestines in this context and remained part of the sentence for High Treason long after the disembowelling and dismemberment had ceased.

The hurdle was similar to a piece of fencing made from thin branches interwoven to form a panel to which the prisoner was tied to be dragged behind a horse to the place of execution.

Once there, the prisoner(s) were hanged in the normal way (i.e. without a drop to ensure that the neck was not broken) but cut down whilst still conscious.

The penis and testicles were cut off and the stomach was slit open.

The intestines and heart were removed and burned before them.

The other organs were torn out and finally the head was cut off and the body divided into four quarters.

The head and quarters were parboiled to prevent them rotting too quickly and then displayed upon the city gates as a grim warning to all.

At some point in this agonising process the prisoner inevitably died of strangulation and/or haemorrhage and/or shock and damage to vital organs.

Now That is Toture-English Version

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