Mementoes of the English Martyrs and Confessors – Venerable James Bird, Layman, 1593

main article for Blessed James BirdArticle

Born at Winchester of a gentleman’s family and brought up a Protestant, he became a Catholic and went to study at Rheims. On his return he was apprehended and charged with being reconciled to the Roman Church, and maintaining the Pope under Christ to be the Head of the Church. Brought to the bar he acknowledged the indictment and received sentence of death as for high treason, though both life and liberty were offered him if he would but once go to the Protestant Church. When his father solicited him to save his life by complying, he modestly answered that, as he had always been obedient to him, so he would obey him now could he do so without offending God. After a long imprisonment he was hanged and quartered at Winchester, 25 March 1593. He suffered with wonderful constancy and cheerfulness, being but nineteen years old. His head was set upon a pole upon one of the gates of the city. His father one day passing by thought that the head bowing down made him a reverence, and cried out: “Oh, Jemmy my son, ever obedient in life, even when dead thou payest reverence to thy father. How far from thy heart was all treason or other wickedness.”

MLA Citation

  • Father Henry Sebastian Bowden. “Venerable James Bird, Layman, 1593”. Mementoes of the English Martyrs and Confessors, 1910. CatholicSaints.Info. 22 April 2019. Web. 19 July 2019. <>