Monday 27 October 2014

One of the great Company.

Blessed Thomas Tunstall from the Lake District, a Douay priest, ordained in 1610 was executed at Norwich on 13th July 1616. Earlier this year I went to pray at the site of his execution.
The photo above shows "The Library" - now a restaurant - just behind the Guildhall, which is the site of the old City Gaol. It would have been here that Fr Tunstall was held, after his arrest in King's Lynn, while awaiting execution. He had already spent four or five of his six years of priesthood in one or another gaol in England.
Norwich, like York, was a place of frequent execution over the centuries. But, whereas Norwich Castle, or its ditches, were a usual place for criminals to be executed, a special gallows was set up for the execution of Fr Tunstall. This was just outside the Magdalene Gate on the north side of the old city.
If you walk up Maudlin (or Magdalene) Street you come to a cross-roads just outside the old city walls. It was here, on this open space that Fr Thomas Tunstall was hung, drawn and quartered.
A part of the old city walls is still visible, but there is no memorial for this Blessed, who stands forever before the Throne, and before Norwich, pointing to the Mystery of Christ.
The Grid reference of the site is TG232096. There should be some commemoration of him here.
Blessed Thomas Tunstall, be a light for us today, and especially be a strength to your brother priests who are still on the mission.

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