APRIL 7

 St Henry Walpole (1558-1595) was born at Docking (Norfolk) in 1558, the eldest son of Christopher and Margery Walpole. He was educated at Norwich Grammar School, at Peterhouse, Cambridge, and at Gray’s Inn. He is said to have become a Catholic as a consequence of the martyrdom of Edmund Campion. In 1582 he went abroad to study, first to Reims and then to the English College, Rome. Shortly afterwards he joined the Society of Jesus. In spite of poor health he was ordained priest at Paris in 1588, served as chaplain to the Spanish army in the Netherlands, and then taught in the English seminaries of Seville and Valladolid. In 1593 he returned to England, landing at Bridlington on 6 December, but was arrested the very next day on suspicion of being a priest. He was interrogated at York, transferred to the Tower of London where he was frequently tortured. He was indicted on a charge of high treason because he was ordained abroad to minister in England; he was condemned to death. He was executed at York on 7 April 1595, by being hanged, drawn and quartered.

 

APRIL 2

 St John Payne (c.1550-1582) was born in Peterborough into a Church of England family but in his early adult life became a Catholic. He went to the English College at Douai in 1574 and was ordained priest in 1576; the short time he was at the college may suggest that he had studied theology elsewhere. He returned to England in the company of Cuthbert Mayne (1st December). He went to Essex where he stayed at the home of the Petre family in Ingatestone Hall. From here he ministered to local Catholics, while apparently working as an estate steward. In 1577 he was imprisoned for a short time, afterwards returning briefly to Douai. He came back to Essex and continued working as a priest until in 1581 he was once again arrested. He was imprisoned at Greenwich, being charged with conspiracy against the Queen, was racked in the Tower, and was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered. He denied the evidence brought against him completely, stating at his trial “that he always, in mind or word, honoured the queen’s majesty above any woman in the world; that he would gladly always have spent his life for her pleasure in any lawful service; that he prayed for her as for his own soul; that he never invented or compassed any treason against her majesty, or any of the nobility of England.” He was executed at Chelmsford on 2 April. He was so well known and respected in the neighbourhood that the crowd compelled the hangman to wait until he was dead before cutting him down.

 

APRIL 1

 Saint Ceallach (1080 – 1129) was appointed hereditary bishop of Armagh in 1105 and made many reforms; not least on his deathbed, when he abolished the hereditary principle by appointing St Malachy as his successor.

 

Categories: Our Catholic Heritage