Wednesday, 5 December 2012

A field for the Beatified

In the centre of the West End, London, just off Charing Cross Road, is the old church of St Giles in the Fields. In was in a plot near the north wall of the church (photo above) that the quartered remains of eleven martyrs were buried, along with the un-quartered remains of another. They were all wrongly condemned, and executed at Tyburn. The quartered remains of St Oliver Plunkett, the last victim of the Titus Oates Plot, were also buried here. His remains were later taken up and enshrined, some in Ireland, some in Downside Abbey church, England.
The mortal remains of the others, who were all beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1929, lie in a now unmarked spot in this graveyard. At least the church's sign board, facing St Giles High Street, acknowledges their presence. These Blesseds are:  
Fr Thomas Whitbread SJ, 1618 - 30th June 1678.
Fr William Harcourt SJ, 1609 - 30th June 1679.
Fr John Fenwick SJ, 1628 - 30th June 1679.
Fr John Gavan SJ, 1640 - 30th June 1679.
Fr Anthony Turner SJ, 1628 - 30th June 1679.
Edward Colman, layman, 1636 - 3rd December 1678.
Richard Langhorn, 1624 - 14th July 1679.
Fr William Ireland SJ, 1636 - 24th January 1679.
John Grove, layman,    --    - 24th January 1679.
Thomas Pickering, Benedictine lay brother, 1621 - 9th May 1679.
Together with them lie the remains of one of their companions who died in custody before he could be executed: Venerable Edward Mico SJ, 1630 - 24th November 1678.
If you are in London near this place, remember their witness. In due course, a fitting public memorial would be appropriate there.

No comments: