Saint Robert Southwell

illustration of Father Robert Southwell, SJ, artist unknown, published in the Illustrated Catholic Family Annual, 1873Memorial


Raised in a piously Catholic family. Educated at Douai and at Paris, France. Joined the Jesuits in 1580. Prefect of studies in the English College at Rome, Italy. Ordained in 1584. Returned to England in 1586 to minister to covert Catholics, working with Henry Garnett. Chaplain to Ann Howard, wife of Saint Philip Howard, in 1589. Wrote a number of pamphlets on living a pious life. Arrested in 1595 for the crime of being a priest. Repeatedly tortured in hopes of learning the location of other priests. He was so badly treated in prison that his family petitioned for a quick trial, knowing that his certain death would be better than the conditions in which he was housed. He spent three years imprisoned in the Tower of London, and was tortured on the rack ten times; between abuses he studied the Bible and wrote poetry. He was finally tried and convicted for treason, having admitted that he administered the Sacraments. One of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.







  • A Short Rule of Good Life
  • Epistle of Comfort
  • Humble Supplication to Queen Elizabeth
  • Mary Magdalen’s Tears
  • Triumphs over Death

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Robert Southwell“. CatholicSaints.Info. 25 October 2021. Web. 29 November 2021. <>