The One Hundred and Five Martyrs of Tyburn – 10 December 1610

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Venerable John Roberts, priest, O.S.B.
Venerable Thomas Somers, secular priest

Venerable John Roberts was born in Merionethshire in Wales, and received his education abroad, passing successively from Rheims to Rome and thence to Spain, where he entered the Order of Saint Benedict. His apostolic zeal and devotion was put to the proof, especially at the time of the Great Plague, when equally fearless of the persecutors and of the infection, he gave himself up entirely to ministering to the souls and bodies of those afflicted. He was apprehended at Mass on the first Sunday of Advent, 1610, and was taken to prison in his priestly vestments. Being brought to Tyburn, he rejoiced to see that, like his Master, he was to die among thieves and almost the last words he spoke were words of encouragement and absolution. The spirit of peace and joy that characterised him at all times was manifest to all who witnessed the manner in which he suffered. Two days after his martyrdom his precious remains were dug out of the pit where they had been thrown; a part of these relics were taken to Douai, and one arm was sent to the Abbey of Saint Martin at Compostella, where he had made profession and received Holy Orders ten years before.

His companion in martyrdom, Venerable Thomas Somers, had dedicated his labours to poor Catholics with such zealous love as to be commonly known as the parish priest of London. He was born in Westmoreland and spent part of his early manhood teaching in a grammar school in his native county. He counselled many a youth to join the students of the English College at Douai, and when the opportunity occurred he himself went to Douai and in due time became a missionary priest. In this capacity his work in England lasted but four years.

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