Tuesday, July 29, 2003

30 JULY

On 30 July in 1540 Blessed Thomas Able, Blessed Richard Fetherstone, and Blessed Edward Powell were hanged, drawn, and quartered at Smithfield for opposing the religious pretentions of Henry VIII.

All three were priests and theologians who had been appointed to defend the marriage bond between Henry and Catherine of Aragon. They remained strong supporters of the validity of that marriage and refused to approve of the marriage with Anne Boleyn. They were condemned by bills of attainder when they also refused to sign the oath of succession which acknowledged Henry head of the Church in England.

At the same time and place (of their execution) three Protestants were burned as heretics, which provoked a Frenchman who was there to comment on the strange ways of the English, "those who are for the pope are hanged, and those who are against him are burned."

from Bowden's Mementoes of the Martyrs and Confessors of England and Wales (yes! I found my copy at long last!)