Tag Archives: English Martyrs

Sts Margaret Ward, Margaret Clitherow, Anne Line, and Blessed John Roche

One of the liturgical memorials we observe today is that of the collective of Saints Margaret Clitherow, Anne Line, and Margaret Ward. All are martyrs. These three are also sometimes lumped with 284 other canonized or beatified martyrs of the English Reformation on 4 May but some of the canonized are recalled today. The liturgical calendars for England and Wales are particular.

Margaret Clitherow died at age 30 on March 25, 1586, her last words being, “Jesu, Jesu, Jesu, have mercy on me!” She was canonized in 1970 with 39 others. As a group they are known as the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales. These martyred men and women were killed between 1535 and 1679.

Visiting the imprisonedA few words on Saint Margaret Ward and her servant, Blessed John Roche.

They were arrested for helping Father Richard Watson escape from Bridewell Prison smuggling him a rope and helping him once he was outside. She can be said to be an apostle of the works of mercy, especially visiting the imprisoned.

Her captors wanted her to give up Father Watson and convert to the new Church of England. Ward refused. Thereafter, Ward was imprisoned, flogged, and tortured;  hanged, drawn, and quartered on 30 August 1588 at Tyburn, London, England

The personal servant of Saint Margaret Ward, John Roche, helped Father Richard Watson, escape by meeting him outside the prison with a boat, then changing clothes to throw off the witch hunt. It was a crime to aid a priest. Like Ward, he was offered freedom if he asked the Queen’s pardon and promised to worship in the Church of England; he replied he did nothing against Queen and that he could not attend a non-Catholic Church. Roche was hanged 1588 at Tyburn, London, England.

Martyrs of England, Scotland, and Wales

UK MartyrsThey liturgical calendar has the Church recognizes the 16th and 17th century Martyrs of England, Scotland, and Wales. The 85 are commemorated together in their historic English, Scottish and Welsh Catholic milieu who were martyred during the persecutions by Protestants. The martyrs were Beatified on this date in 1987 by Pope John Paul II. The names need to be read and remembered:

Blessed Alexander Blake
Blessed Alexander Crow
Blessed Antony Page
Blessed Arthur Bell
Blessed Charles Meehan
Blessed Christopher Robinson
Blessed Christopher Wharton
Blessed Edmund Duke
Blessed Edmund Sykes
Blessed Edward Bamber
Blessed Edward Burden
Blessed Edward Osbaldeston
Blessed Edward Thwing
Blessed Francis Ingleby
Blessed George Beesley
Blessed George Douglas
Blessed George Errington
Blessed George Haydock
Blessed George Nichols
Blessed Henry Heath
Blessed Henry Webley
Blessed Hugh Taylor
Blessed Humphrey Pritchard
Blessed John Adams
Blessed John Bretton
Blessed John Fingley
Blessed John Hambley
Blessed John Hogg
Blessed John Lowe
Blessed John Norton
Blessed John Sandys
Blessed John Sugar
Blessed John Talbot
Blessed John Thules
Blessed John Woodcock
Blessed Joseph Lambton
Blessed Marmaduke Bowes
Blessed Matthew Flathers
Blessed Montfort Scott
Blessed Nicholas Garlick
Blessed Nicholas Horner
Blessed Nicholas Postgate
Blessed Nicholas Woodfen
Blessed Peter Snow
Blessed Ralph Grimston
Blessed Richard Flower
Blessed Richard Hill
Blessed Richard Holiday
Blessed Richard Sergeant
Blessed Richard Simpson
Blessed Richard Yaxley
Blessed Robert Bickerdike
Blessed Robert Dibdale
Blessed Robert Drury
Blessed Robert Grissold
Blessed Robert Hardesty
Blessed Robert Ludlam
Blessed Robert Middleton
Blessed Robert Nutter
Blessed Robert Sutton
Blessed Robert Sutton
Blessed Robert Thorpe
Blessed Roger Cadwallador
Blessed Roger Filcock
Blessed Roger Wrenno
Blessed Stephen Rowsham
Blessed Thomas Atkinson
Blessed Thomas Belson
Blessed Thomas Bullaker
Blessed Thomas Hunt
Blessed Thomas Palaser
Blessed Thomas Pilcher
Blessed Thomas Pormort
Blessed Thomas Sprott
Blessed Thomas Watkinson
Blessed Thomas Whitaker
Blessed Thurstan Hunt
Blessed William Carter
Blessed William Davies
Blessed William Gibson
Blessed William Knight
Blessed William Lampley
Blessed William Pike
Blessed William Southerne
Blessed William Spenser
Blessed William Thomson.

Saints Margaret Ward, Margaret Clitherow and Anne Line


Saint Margaret Clitherow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The English Catholic martyrs, in my opinion, ought always to amaze the believer whether he or she is English or not. All of them really lived and died in a noble way and with conviction that shames most. One of the 40 martyrs canonized at the same time (here’s the list), Margaret Ward, was killed for her faith during the era of Elizabeth I on the charge of helping Father William Watson, a Catholic priest escape. She kept Father Watson’s confidence and for that act was tortured.

Margaret Ward, canonized by the Servant of God Pope Paul VI on 25 October 1970, is recognized as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. The Church generally recognizes the date of her canonization as her feast day. However, the Dioceses of Birmingham, Leeds and Shrewsbury liturgically recall today as the feast for Saints Margaret Ward, Margaret Clitherow and Anne Line. And, so do I. Join me in prayer for the Church of England, Scotland and Wales.

My 2009 post on these women can be read here.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
coat of arms



Humanities Blog Directory