Forty Martyrs of England and Wales

Forty Martyrs of England and Wales
Died 1535–1679, England and Wales
Venerated in Catholic Church
(England and Wales)
Canonized 25 October 1970, Vatican City, by Pope Paul VI
Feast 4 May (England) 25 October (Wales)
Notable martyrs Edmund Campion, S.J.

The Forty Martyrs of England and Wales are a group of Catholic men and women executed for treason and related offences between 1535 and 1679. Many were sentenced to death at show trials, or with no trial at all.

The martyrs

Canonization process

Following beatifications between 1886 and 1929, there were already numerous martyrs from England and Wales recognised with the rank of Blessed. The bishops of the province identified a list of 40 further names; reasons given for the choice of those particular names include a spread of social status, religious rank, geographical spread and the pre-existence of popular devotion. The list of names was submitted to Rome in December 1960. Out of 20 candidate cases for recognition as answered prayers (because a miracle is required for canonization) the alleged cure of a young mother from a malignant tumour was selected as the clearest case. Pope Paul VI granted permission for the whole group of 40 names to be recognised as saints on the strength of this one miracle. The canonization ceremony took place in Rome on 25 October 1970.[1]

Liturgical feast day

In England, these martyrs were formerly commemorated within the Catholic Church by a feast day on 25 October, which is also the feast of Saints Crispin and Crispinian, but they are now celebrated together with all the 284 canonized or beatified martyrs of the English Reformation on 4 May.[2]

In Wales, the Catholic Church keeps 25 October as the feast of the Six Welsh Martyrs and their companions. The Welsh Martyrs are the priests Philip Evans and John Lloyd, John Jones, David Lewis, John Roberts, and the teacher Richard Gwyn.[3] The companions are the 34 English Martyrs listed above. Wales continues to keep 4 May as a separate feast for the beatified martyrs of England and Wales.[4]

See also


  1. Malcolm Pullan (30 April 2008). The Lives and Times of Forty Martyrs of England and Wales 1535 - 1680. Athena Press. pp. xvii–xxii. ISBN 978-1-84748-258-7. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  2. National Calendar for England, Liturgy Office for England and Wales, accessed 31 July 2011
  3. National Calendar for Wales, Liturgy Office for England and Wales, accessed 31 July 2011
  4. Ordo for Wales, Diocese of Menevia, accessed 11 August 2011
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