Four young men were arrested at this village and condemned to death. We can't forget them.
Coxhoe is a village in County Durham about six miles south east of the city of Durham. One mile east of the present village is the site of old Coxhoe. The above photo shows the site of Coxhoe Hall, which was demolished in the 1950's. Most likely, somewhere near this place these four young men, Edmund Duke, Richard Hill, John Hogg and Richard Holiday, were arrested in the spring of 1590. Edmund was twenty-seven years old, the others were all twenty five years old. They had arrived from the continent only a few days earlier, disembarking at South Shields.
They were all Catholic priests and, having not found the friends they had expected to meet at South Shields, they were heading south for Yorkshire. Having been arrested they were taken to Durham, tried and condemned to be hung, drawn and quartered. Their execution took place at Dryburn, just north of the city of Durham on 27th May 1590.
I visited Coxhoe recently, both the new village and the site of the old, and as I stood looking south over the site of the old hall to the site of the old village just below, I was overwhelmed by the thought of the character of the these four young men who, not having yet been able to exercise their priesthood in this country, were so willing to give up any part in society, even a society that rejected them, in favour of the most complete exercise of their priesthood.
The Coxhoe Four were all beatified by Pope John Paul II on 22nd November 1987.
Blessed Edmund, Richard, John and Richard, we humbly seek your prayers.