The Quernmore Road goes east out of Lancaster and climbs into the hills. About half a mile outside the old city is the site of the ancient place of execution. Public executions continued here until April 1799.
After London and York Lancaster gallows was a tremendous place of martyrdom; here fifteen priests and laymen were hung, drawn and quartered for their priesthood. Near the place of execution a memorial to the martyrs was erected in 1996. A remarkable inscription reads: Can you drink the chalice that I am about to drink? They said to him, We can.
The memorial stone is on open ground on the north side of the road as you walk up the hill - the route which the condemned took years ago. The stone is near the site of the gallows, which was most likely to have been a little further up the hill on the right-hand side of the road, at the crest of the hill, near the present day Ashton Memorial.
We remember and honour their witness:
Blessed James Bell, priest, 10th April 1584.
Blessed John Finch, 10th April 1584.
Blessed Robert Nutter, priest, 26th July 1600.
Blessed Edward Thwing, priest, 26th July 1600.
Blessed Thurstan Hunt, priest, 3rd April 1601.
Blessed Robert Middleton, priest, 3rd April 1601.
Venerable Lawrence Bailey, 16th September 1604.
Blessed John Thules, priest, 18th March 1616.
Blessed Roger Wrenno, 18th March 1616.
St Edmund Arrowsmith, priest, 28th August 1628.
Blessed Richard Hurst, 29th August 1628.
St Ambrose Barlow OSB, priest, 10th September 1641.
Blessed Edward Bamber, priest, 7th August 1646.
Blessed John Woodcock OFM, priest, 7th August 1646.
Blessed Thomas Whittaker, priest, 7th August 1646.
What a great company!
The first photo below is looking south-east towards the crest of the hill, and the second photo shows the crest of the hill itself, where the gallows probably was sited. The Ashton Memorial is just right, out of the shot.
If you are in Lancaster do walk up to the memorial to these great men, priests and laymen; much grace has come to England already through them.