The One Hundred and Five Martyrs of Tyburn – 30 June 1646

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Venerable Philip Powel, priest, O.S.B.

“He was of princely race, of British blood,
Nor yet the twentieth part so great as good
…. his hands to every poor
Most open till they blushed to ask for more,
Most temperate, and most constant to his Christ.”

He was born in Brecknockshire, and began his studies in Abergavenny. When sixteen years old he came to London to study law under Father Augustine Baker, but being sent on business to Douai, he found his true vocation, and received the habit of Saint Benedict. On returning to England after his ordination, he laboured for twenty years as a missionary. Then the Civil War broke out, and he was taken prisoner, unjustly tried, and sentenced to death. He received the announcement with a “Deo gratias,” adding that owing to the crowd he could not thank God on his knees, yet he did so in his heart. He was given the choice of the day on which he was to die, but he refused to be in any way guilty of his own death. When he was told the day was fixed, he said: “Welcome whatever conies, God’s Name be praised! What am I that God thus honours me, and will have me die for His Sake!” “This is the happiest day and the greatest joy that ever befell me,” Father Powel said at Tyburn, “for I am brought hither for no other cause or reason . . . than that I am a Roman Catholic priest, and a monk of the Order of Saint Benedict.”

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