Forty Martyrs of England & Wales (click)
Please click on the 8 links listed below for a wealth of information, this information was left out of the history books and we never learned of this atrocity against Catholics and the Catholic church in school. Westminster Abbey was a Catholic, Benedictine Abbey, run by the Benedictine order, all Catholic Churches were commandeered by King Henry VIII and subsequently his daughter Elizabeth I; many Catholics were martyred at this time. It was very sad.
St. Margaret Clitherow, née Middleton,a pregnant mother of 6, was murdered by the Protestant government!! Her crime: harboring Catholic priests in her home.
The martyrdom of Margaret Clitherow is particularly moving. She was accused “of having sheltered the Jesuits and priests of the secular clergy, traitors to Her Majesty the Queen”; but she retorted: “I have only helped the Queen’s friends”. Margaret knew that the court had decided to condemn her to death and, not wanting to make the jury accomplices in her condemnation, she refused the trial. The alternative was to be crushed to death. When the terrible sentence was passed, Margaret said: “I will accept willingly everything that God wills”.
On Friday March 25th, 1588, at eight o’clock in the morning, Margaret, just thirty-three years old, left Ouse Bridge prison, barefooted, bound for Toll Booth, accompanied by two police superintendents, four executioners and four women friends; she carried on her arm a white linen garment. When she arrived at the dungeon, she knelt in front of the officials, begging that she should not be stripped, but her prayer was not granted. While the men looked away, the four pious women gathered round her and before Margaret lay down on the ground they spread over her body the white garment that the prisoner had brought with her for that purpose. Then her martyrdom began.
Her arms were stretched out in the shape of a cross, and her hands tightly bound to two stakes in the ground. The executioners put a sharp stone the size of a fist under her back and placed on her body a large slab onto which weights were gradually loaded up to over 800 pounds. Margaret whispered: “Jesus, have mercy on me”. Her death agony lasted for fifteen minutes, then the moaning ceased, and all was quiet.
These brief remarks on some outstanding episodes of the martyrdom of the 40 Martyrs, and the quoting of some of the words they uttered at the gallows, are sufficient to show what was the ultimate reasons for their death and, at the same time, the sublimely Christian state of mind of these heroes of the faith.