Today, my diocese commemorates St Edmund Arrowsmith S.J., St Ambrose Barlow, Blessed James Bell and John Finch ( Laymen), Richard Hayhurst, Robert Nutter O.P. and Edward Thwing, Thurston Hunt and Robert Middleton S.J., John Thules, and Roger Wrenno ( layman) plus Edward Bamber, John Woodcock O.F.M. and Thomas Whitaker. All of these were martyred in the city of Lancaster beteenn the 1580's and 1646. They met their deaths close to the present Cathedral of St Peter.
As an historian I should know more about them but I don't. They were all great men who laid down their lives for the Mass and the authority of the Pope. They suffered cruel torments and a hideous death. Yet, by all accounts went bravely and cheefully to their deaths. I think it is very sad that their memory is fading. We rarely talk about the English Martys these days. Many years ago I remember some ecumenical enthusiast actually saying talking about the martys was a hindrance to ecumenism.
Someone has composed these excellent texts for the Mass we can celebrate on this day. All 3 prayers contain references to Bishop Challoners "memoirs of the martyrs" . Thus, "grieving for England are the words of Edmund Arrowsmith, court of conscience are the words of Ambrose Barlow and cheefulness refers to Edward Bamber.
Almighty Father, may those who died on the Hill above Lancaster, grieving for England, which they prayed God to convert, be our patrons now in heaven that our lives may witness to the faith they professed
Father, as we bring you our gifts in memory of the men who died, justified in the court of conscience, we pray that our offering may proceed from a pure heart.
Father, mindful of the cheerfulness and courage with which our martyrs faced a barbarous death, we pray that through the gift of the Eucharist our one desire may be to do your holy will.