05 October 2011

Three English Martyrs

Father William Hartley, Father John Hewitt, and Robert Sutton were martyred in London today in 1588.

Fr. Hartley took refuge in the house of Lady Stonor, of the great recusant family of South Oxfordshire, which had also welcomed, among others, St. Edmund Campion. When Lady Stonor was arrested in 1581, she offered the following stirring defense of her faith:
I was born in such a time when Holy Mass was in great reverence and was brought up in the same faith. In King Edward's time this reverence was neglected and reproved by such as governed. In Queen Mary's it was restored with much applause, and now in this time it pleaseth the State to question them, as now they do me, who continue in the Catholic profession. The State would have the several changes, which I have seen with mine eyes, good and laudable. Whether it can be so I refer to your Lordships' consideration. I hold me still to that wherein I was born and bred, and find nothing taught in it but great virtue and sanctity, and so by the grace of God I will live and die in it.