The One Hundred and Five Martyrs of Tyburn – 17 February 1603

Venerable William Richardson, secular priest

He was born in Yorkshire, and was a priest of the seminaries of Douai and Spain. On returning to England, he found a refuge in the Inns of Court, and brought many into the Catholic Church, especially among the young lawyers, numbers of whom placed themselves under his direction. When, after a few years, he was arrested, his spiritual sons would gladly have risked their lives in planning his escape by night. This he utterly refused to permit, saying: “I know well it comes from your great love for me… But what could you possibly wish for me that could be more honourable or more glorious… than to die… for the confession of the true Faith and the Christian religion… Rather strive with me in prayer to God that He may give me prudence and wisdom to reply discreetly to the judges, and strength of soul to bear whatever sufferings are laid upon me.” He was sentenced to the most barbarous penalties decreed against priests, and the following day was dragged to Tyburn, escorted by many of his fervent disciples, who ever and again pressed to the side of the hurdle to wipe the slush from his face, and at the last they could not be kept back from crowding to kiss his hands and obtain his blessing till he mounted the ladder by which he was to ascend to God.

Five weeks later, Elizabeth was called to appear before the Just Judge, after a reign of more than forty-four years.

– from The One Hundred and Five Martyrs of Tyburn, by The Nuns of the Convent of Tyburn, 1917