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.