Saints of the Day – Blessed Edward Powell, Richard Featherstone, Thomas Abel

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Died at Smithfield, England, July 30, 1540; beatified in 1886 as one of 54 English martyrs by Pope Leo XIII.

Edward Powell was a Welshman who became a canon of Salisbury and a fellow of Oriel. He was well known in Europe as the author of various treatises against Luther. He was chosen by Queen Catherine of Aragon, wife of King Henry VIII, as one of her counsellors. He was imprisoned for refusing to sign the Act of Supremacy.

Richard Featherstone was educated at Cambridge. He became the tutor to Princess Mary Tutor and archdeacon of Brecknock. As one of the chaplains of Queen Catherine, he defended her in convocation and was charged and found guilty of treason.

Thomas Abel was born c.1497. After receiving his doctorate in divinity from Oxford, he was ordained, and became chaplain to Catherine of Aragon. Sent with a letter from Catherine to Emperor Charles V to secure the brief of Pope Julius II permitting Henry to marry Catherine, he told the emperor the queen had been coerced into writing the letter and returned to England without the brief. Henry evidently suspected what he had done and harassed him and when he published Invicta Veritas, opposing university support of Henry’s efforts to end his marriage to Catherine, he was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1532. Released, he was again arrested, supposedly for his implication in the Holy Maid of Kent affair in 1533, and after six years’ imprisonment he was briefly released on parole by the warden. He was again brought back to prison, and the warden was sent to the Tower. Abel was convicted of high treason in 1540 for denying the ecclesiastical supremacy of the king.

Edward Powell, Thomas Abel, and Richard Featherstone were hanged, drawn, and quartered at Smithfield with (Benedictines, Delaney).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 21 July 2020. Web. 18 January 2022. <>