Mementoes of the English Martyrs and Confessors – Venerable Thomas Pilchard, Priest, 1587

main article for Blessed Thomas PilcherArticle

A fellow of Balliol, he was made priest at Rheims and returned to England in 1583. He was of most gentle, courteous manners and an indefatigable missioner. His work lay in the western counties, and when apprehended he was cast into Dorchester jail. There he converted many of his fellow-prisoners, and from all parts his counsel was sought. At length he was tried and sentenced to death. Sentences of this sort were, however, rare in Dorchester, and an executioner could hardly be found until at length a cook, or rather a butcher, was hired at a great cost. But after the rope was cut and the priest, being still alive, stood on his feet under the scaffold, the fellow held back struck with fear. At length, compelled by the officials to finish his work, he drove his knife, hardly knowing what he did, into the body of the priest, and leaving it there he again hung back horror-stricken amidst the groans of the spectators. This lasted so long that Mr. Pilchard, coming completely to himself, naked and horribly wounded, inclining his head to the sheriff, said: “Is this, then, your justice, Mr. sheriff?” At last he was brutally despatched. He suffered at Dorchester, 21 March 1587.

MLA Citation

  • Father Henry Sebastian Bowden. “Venerable Thomas Pilchard, Priest, 1587”. Mementoes of the English Martyrs and Confessors, 1910. CatholicSaints.Info. 24 April 2019. Web. 27 May 2019. <>