The One Hundred and Five Martyrs of Tyburn – 30 May 1582

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Blessed William Filbie, secular priest
Blessed Lawrence Richardson, secular priest
Blessed Thomas Cottam, secular priest
Blessed Luke Kirby, secular priest

The first of these four Martyrs was born in Oxford and made a priest at Rheims. On returning to England he was apprehended with Father Campion at Lyford Grange. It was more than six months before his sentence was carried out. He was drawn to Tyburn with his three companions and, being the youngest, (he was about twenty-seven years old), was first taken from the hurdle. One of the Sheriff’s men, standing in the cart with him, said: “What hast thou there in thy handkerchief?” He found it to be a little cross of wood, which he held up to the crowd, crying: “O what a villainous traitor is this that hath a cross!”

Blessed Lawrence Richardson laboured with great fruit in Lancashire, his native country. Repeatedly pressed by Topcliffe and the Protestant ministers present at his execution to renounce the Pope in order to obtain the Queen’s pardon, he bore all their endeavours with cheerfulness and remained unmoved.

Blessed Thomas Cottam, when told he was to die on the morrow, unable to contain his joy, went to the window, crying: “Give God thanks with me, for tomorrow is my day!” At Tyburn, being placed so as to face his companions, he prayed: “Lord Jesus, have mercy upon them . . . Lord, give me constancy to the end. O Domine, tu plura pro me passus es!” He and Blessed Luke Kirby both suffered the torture known as the “Scavenger’s Daughter.” This was probably the name given to the hoop of iron into which those condemned were thrust, their bodies being frightfully crushed in it by the tightening of a large screw.

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