Monday, 25 March 2013

The Pearl of York.

Today is her feast day; the day of her martyrdom, 25th March 1586. I was in York a few days ago and visited her shrine in the Shambles. St Margaret Clitherow is one of my favourite people; she is for me the greatest british person in the history of England. She is wonderful and, in the company of a friar of the Renewal, we visited all the sites which are connected with her, finishing our visit by calling into the Bar Convent to venerate the relic of her hand.
During our tour we popped into the Merchant Adventurer's Hall where hangs a painting of the old Ouse Bridge. It was at one end of this bridge that St Margaret Clitherow was pressed to death. Today's Ouse bridge dates from the 1800s, but the painting which hangs in the Adventurer's Hall depicts the old bridge. The painting was made in 1784 by Joseph Faringdon; it depicts the bridge almost 200 years after her execution. However, it is so interesting to see what the old bridge and its associated buildings looked like. 
St Margaret was pressed to death at the Toll Booth, which is one of the buildings on the left of the picture on the viewers side of the bridge. Before her trial and execution she was held in prison in a building on the right hand side of the bridge, probably on the further side and so, somewhat obscured in this painting.
There are a number of paintings and prints of old York and the old bridge in the Adventurer's Hall, which is well worth a visit if you in York. As a building of this kind, it is unique in this country.
St Margaret Clitherow's witness and intercession is so powerful; I rely on her so much. For priests she is pure grace.


Long-Skirts said...


A girl, a lady,
Wife, a mother,
From church of England
She saw the other.

The other where
Her church came from.
The other where
The fruit was plumb.

The other where
Her church beat down
And looted jewels
For earthly crown.

And watching she
Was irritated
And slowly grew

Sitting silent
In her shell
Her home a place
Where priests could dwell

Confect the Mass
Many saved
For this their limbs
And lives were braved.

Because a woman
Kept her shell
A jealous fortress
Barring hell.

And then the weak
Pried open wide
Exposing truth
The shell’s inside

Where mother, wife,
Lady, girl,
Had turned into
York’s royalist pearl.

Fr Richard Aladics said...

Long-Skirts, this is a lovely poem. I have not seen it before. Did you write it? Fr R

Et Expecto said...

The Latin Mass Society will be holding its annual pilgrimage in honour of St Margaret Clitherow in York on Saturday 4th May. It will start with a Solemn Mass in the church of St Wilfrid at 1.30pm which will be followed with a procession through the city streets, passing the shrine in the Shambles and crossing Ouse Bridge. It will end at the Church of the English Martyrs where there will be Benediction and Veneration of the relic.

Normally, this event takes place on the nearest Saturday to St Margaret's feast day, but because that would have been the eve of Palm Sunday, it has been transferred this year to 4th May, the feast of the English Martyrs.

This event is a major witness to Catholicism in York, and attracts a good deal of attention. We carry a statue of St Margaret amongst all the Saturday afternoon shoppers.

Please consider attending and encourage your friends to do the same.

Long-Skirts said...

"Fr Richard Aladics said...
Long-Skirts, this is a lovely poem. I have not seen it before. Did you write it? Fr R"

Thank you, Father, yes, I wrote it. St. Margaret Clitherow is such a great example for all Catholic wives & mothers.

After the Blessed Mother I would choose St. Margaret to be a "spiritual" mother for Priests.

Fr Richard Aladics said...

Thanks, again, Long-Skirts. What a great poem. I've visited your blog "Long-Skirts" and see that you are full of poetry. I hope that your Blog gets the attention it deserves. Fr R