Our Form Group Martyrs
A - Saint Edmund Arrowsmith (1585 – 1628)
Edmund came from a Catholic family and his family was always put under pressure for being Catholic. He went to Douai in France to train to be a priest and then returned to England and worked in Lancashire. He was arrested once in 1612 but was released when King James I ordered that all priests under arrest should be freed. He was arrested again in 1628 and was convicted of being a Catholic priest which was the crime of treason. Edmund was hung, drawn and quartered at Lancaster on August 28th 1628.
The Arrowsmith campus is named after him. There was a parish priest in Ruislip in the 1980s, Canon Adrian Arrowsmith, who was a governor of our school and was a descendant of St Edmund Arrowsmith.
B - Saint Ambrose Barlow (1585 - 1641)
Ambrose was a Protestant who converted to Catholicism. Having become a Catholic he went to Douai to train to become a priest. Ambrose returned to England and worked as a priest in Lancashire for 24 years. In this time he was arrested and then released 4 times. He was finally arrested a fifth time and was eventually sentenced to death for treason. He was executed in Lancaster on September 11th 1641.
C - Saint Edmund Campion (1540-1581)
Edmund was born a Protestant and met Queen Elizabeth I when she visited Oxford University. Soon Edmund began to think about becoming a Catholic and went to Douai in France and converted. He also began training to be a priest. In 1573 he had a vision of the Virgin Mary telling him he would become a martyr. In 1580 he went to England and converted many people to Catholicism. In 1581 he was arrested for being a Catholic priest and was tortured before being executed at Tyburn in London.
G - Blessed George Gervase (1571 - 1608)
George was born in Sussex but his parents died when he was a boy. He was then captured by pirates and held for 12 years. In 1595 he went to Douai to train to be a priest and then went back to England. After two years he was arrested and banished back to Europe. His brother wanted to stay in France where he would be safe but he felt that it was his calling to return to England to say mass for Catholics. He returned to England and was arrested. He was told he would be released if he swore an oath of allegiance to the King but he refused to do this, because it would mean denying his Catholic faith. He was charged with treason and executed at Tyburn in London in 1608.
M - Saint Cuthbert Mayne (1543 – 1577)
Cuthbert came from Barnstaple in north Devon and was the first Englishman to be trained as a priest at Douai. Cuthbert came from a Protestant family but became a Catholic when he was at Oxford University. He went to Douai in France and after becoming a priest he returned to England in 1575. He was a friend of another of the Douay Martyrs, Edmund Campion. After only one year of looking after Catholics in Cornwall, he was captured and accused of treason. He was found guilty and was hanged at Tyburn on November 25th 1577.
R - Blessed Richard Reynolds (1492 – 1535)
He was an English monk living at the time of King Henry VIII. Henry made himself head of the Catholic Church in England and demanded that all monks swear an oath to say that they would obey him instead of the Pope. Richard refused to swear this oath. He was the first man to refuse to swear the oath. He was dragged through the streets of London and executed at Tyburn on 4th May 1535. After his death, his body was cut up and displayed at different sites around the city.
S - Saint Robert Southwell (1561 – 1595)
Robert was brought up in a Catholic family and went to Douai to train to be a priest. In 1586 he went to England to say mass for Catholic families although there was a law saying priests could not stay in England for more than 40 days at a time. He was spied on in London and often used to visit a Catholic family that lived in Harrow. In 1595 he was finally arrested and executed at Tyburn, London. After his death, some of his poems were published.
W - Saint John Wall (1620-1679)
John was born in Lancashire and trained to be a priest at Douai in northern France. In 1656 he returned to England and worked with Catholics in Worcester. He was arrested in December 1678 and was held in prison for 5 months. Eventually he was found guilty of treason and was executed on 22nd August at Redhill.