Decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, or the Introduction of the Cause of Beatification or Declaration of Martyrdom, of Two Hundred And Sixty-One Venerable Servants of God, Who Were Put to Death in England for the Faith

In the persecution which so fiercely raged in England during the sixteenth century and afterwards, against the Catholic faith and the divinely instituted Primacy of the Roman Pontiff, very many of the faithful of every rank, after enduring mockery and stripes, bonds and imprisonment, and suffering many kinds of cruel torture, courageously laid down their lives for religion. By their death the enemies of Catholicity, in the country which in past ages was deservedly called an Island of Saints, thought to tear up the Catholic Church by its roots. But the blood of the slain, who from the moment of their glorious death were everywhere held to be true Martyrs of Christ, became the seed of new offspring in the Church, which has there day by day wonderfully grown. The times were adverse to the drawing up of the formalities required for the Process of these illustrious Martyrs, and to the introduction of their Cause in the Sacred Congregation of Rites, though it was greatly desired, not only in England, but also by the faithful throughout the Catholic world. But now, since the restoration of the Catholic Hierachy in England, what was so earnestly looked for has in our day been happily accomplished: for the Catholic Bishops have been able to collect together the ancient records; and, by authority of the Ordinary, to institute in the Ecclesiastical Court of Westminster the formal Process as to the Martyrdom, the Cause of Martyrdom, and the Signs, or Miracles, of three hundred and five Servants of God who were put to death for the Catholic Faith. The acts of this Process, supported by authentic documents, were laid before the Apostolic See, and were immediately followed by a Petition of the Bishops, and of many other distinguished ecclesiastics and laymen of the whole of England.

Our Holy Father Pope Leo XIII, was pleased to entrust the examination of this matter to a Special Commission, consisting of several Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church and Officials of the Congregation of Sacred Rites’ with directions that the said examination ghould be preceded by a Disquisition to be drawn up by the Right Reverend Promoter of the Holy Faith; and a dispensation was also granted in respect to the introduction of the Cause before the lapse of the ten years required by Decrees, from the day of presenting the Ordinary Process in the Sacred Congregation, and in respect also to its introduction before the written documents had been revised.

Afterwards in a Special Congregation assembled at the Vatican on the day below-mentioned, the undersigned Cardinal Dominic Bartolini, Prefect of the said Sacred Congregation, who had charge of the Cause, proposed the following question: “Whether the Commission is to be signed for the Introduction of the Cause, in the matter and to the eject under consideration.”

Then the Most Eminent and Reverend Fathers and the Official Prelates, after hearing the written and oral report of the aforesaid Promoter of the Holy Faith, and after the matter had been fully discussed, decided: That the Commission is to be signed, if it shall please His Holiness, in respect to two hundred and sixty-one: namely,

Anthony Brookby, Thomas Belchiam and Thomas Cort, of the Order of Saint Francis; Griffith Clark, Priest; N. Waire, of the Order of Saint Francis; Adrian Fortescue and Thomas Dingley, Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem; John Travers, Priest of the Order of Hermits of Saint Augustine; John Beche, Abbot of Colchester; Hugh Faringdon, Abbot of Reading; Richard Whiting, Abbot of Glastonbury; Roger James and John Thorn, Monks of Glastonbury; William Onion and John Rugg, of the Order of Saint Benedict; Edmund Brindholm, Priest; Clement Philpot, layman; David Gunston, Knight of Jerusalem; John Ireland, Priest; Thomas Ashby, John Slade, and John Bodey, laymen; George Haydock, James Fenn, Thomas Hemerford, John Nutter, and John Munden, Priests; William Carter, layman; James Bell, Priest; John Finch and Richard White, laymen; Thomas Alfield, Priest; Thomas Webley, layman; Hugh Taylor, Priest; Marmaduke Bowes, layman; Edward Strancham and Nicholas Woodfen, Priests; Margaret Clithero, of the laity; Richard Sergeant (alias Lee), William Thomson, Robert Anderton, William Marsden, Francis Ingolby, John Finglow, John Sandys, John Lowe, John Adams, and Richard Dibdale, Priests; Robert Bickerdike and Richard Langley, laymen; Thomas Pilchard, Edmund Sykes, Robert Sutton, Stephen Rowscham, John Hambley, George Douglas, Alexander Crow, Nicholas Garlick, Robert Ludlam, Richard Sympson, and William Dean, Priests; Henry Webley, layman; William Gunter and Robert Morton, Priests; Hugh More, layman; Thomas Holford and James Claxton, Priests; Thomas Felton, of the Order of Minims; Richard Leigh, Priest; Edward Shelley, Richard Martin, Richard Flower, John Roch, and Margaret Ward, of the laity; William Way (alias Wigges), Robert Wilcox, Edward Campion, and Christopher Buxton, Priests; Robert Wildmerpool, layman; Rodolph Crochet, Edward James, John Robinson, and William Hartley, Priests; Robert Sutton, layman; Richard Williams, John Hewett (alias Weldon), Edward Burden, William Lampley, John Amias, Robert Dalby, George Nicols, and Richard Yaxley, Priests; Thomas Belson and Humphrey Prichard, laymen; William Spenser, Priest; Robert Hardesty, layman; Christopher Bales (or Bayles), Priest; Nicholas Homer and Alexander Blake, laymen; Miles Gerard, Francis Dickenson, Edward Jones, Anthony Middleton, Edmund Duke, Richard Hill, John Hog, Richard Holliday, and Robert Thorpe, Priests; Thomas Watkinson, layman; Momford Scott, George Beesley, and Roger Dickenson, Priests; Rodolph Milner, William Pike, and Laurence Humphrey, laymen; Edmund Genings, Priest; Swithin Wells, layman; Eustace White and Polydore Plasden, Priests; Brian Lacy, John Mason, and Sydney Hodgson, laymen; William Patenson and Thomas Pormort, Priests; Robert Ashton, layman; Edward Waterson, Priest; James Bird, layman; Anthony Page, Joseph Lampton, and William Davies, Priests; John Speed, layman; William Harrington, Priest; John Cornelius, of the Society of Jesus; Thomas Bosgrave, John Carey, and Patrick Salmon, laymen; John Boste and John Ingram, Priests; George Swallowell, layman; Edward Osbaldeston, Priest; Robert Southwell, of the Society of Jesus; Alexander Rawlins, Priest; Henry Walpole, of the Society of Jesus; William Freeman, Priest; Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel; George Errington, William Knight, William Gibson, and Henry Abbot, laymen; William Andleby, Priest; Thomas Warcop, Edward Fulthorp, and John Britton, laymen; Peter Snow, Priest; Rodolph Grimston, layman; John Buckley (or Jones), of the Order of Saint Francis; Christopher Robinson and Richard Horner, Priests; John Lion and James Dowdall, laymen; Christopher Wharton, Priest; John Rigby, layman; Thomas Sprott, Thomas Hunt, Robert Nutter, Edward Thwing, and Thomas Palasor, Priests; John Norton and John Talbot, laymen; John Pibush, Priest; Mark Barkworth, of the Order of Saint Benedict; Roger Filcock, of the Society of Jesus; Anne Line of the laity; Thurstan Hunt and Robert Middleton, Priests; Nicholas Tichborne and Thomas Hackshot, laymen; James Harrison, Priest; Anthony Bates and James Ducket, laymen; Thomas Tichborne and Robert Watkinson, Priests; Francis Page, of the Society of Jesus; William Richardson and John Sugar, Priests; Robert Grissold, Laurence Baily, Thomas Welbourne, John Fulthering, and William Brown, laymen; Nicholas Owen, Edward Oldcorne, and Rodolph Ashley, of the Society of Jesus; Robert Drury and Matthew Flathers, Priests; George Gervase, of the Order of Saint Benedict; Thomas Garnet, of the Society of Jesus; Roger Cadwallador, George Napier, and Thomas Somers, Priests; William Scot and John Roberts, of the Order of Saint Benedict; Richard Newport, John Almond, Thomas Atkinson, and John Thulis, Priests; Roger Wrennol layman; Thomas Maxfield, Thomas Tunstal, and William Southerne, Priests; Edmund Arrowsmith, of the Society of Jesus; Richard Herst, layman; William Ward, Priest; Edward Barlow, of the Order of Saint Benedict; Thomas Reynolds, Priest; Bartholomew Roe, of the Order of Saint Benedict; John Lockwood, Edmund Catherick, Edward Morgan, and Hugh Green, Priests; Thomas Bullaker, of the Order of Saint Francis; Thomas Holland, of the Society of Jesus; Henry Heath and Arthur Bell, of the Order of Saint Francis; Price, layman; John Ducket, Priest; Rodolph Corby, Henry Morse, and Brian Cansfield, of the Society of Jesus; John Goodman, Priest; Philip Powel, of the Order of Saint Benedict; Edward Bamber, Priest; John Woodcock, of the Order of Saint Francis; Thomas Whitaker, Priest; Peter Wright, of the Society of Jesus; John Southworth, Priest; Edward Coleman, layman; Edward Mico, Thomas Bedingfield, and William Ireland, of the Society of Jesus; John Grove, layman; Thomas Pickering, of the Order of Saint Benedict; Thomas Whitbread, William Harcourt, John Fenwick, John Green (or Govan), Anthony Turner, and Francis Nevill, of the Society of Jesus; Richard Langhorne, layman; William Plessington, Priest; Philip Evans, of the Society of Jesus; John Lloyd and Nicholas Postgate, Priests; Charles Mahony, John Wall, and Francis Levison, of the Order of Saint Francis; John Kemble, Priest; David Lewis (alias Charles Baker), of the Society of Jesus; Thomas Thwing, Priest; William Howard, Viscount Stafford; and Oliver Plunket, Archcishop of Armagh. As to the other forty-four, the decision was: Delayed, and further proofs must be given.

On the 4th day of December, 1886.

The undersigned Secretary having then made a faithful and accurate report of all that precedes to our Holy Father, Pope Leo XIII, His Holiness, ratifying the Decision of the Sacred Congregation, vouchsafed to sign the Commission for the Introduction of the Cause with his own hand, on the ninth day of the same month and year.

D. CARDINAL BARTOLIN I, Prefect of the Congregation of Rites.
LAURENCE SALVATI, Secretary. L. 014 S.

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