Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Thomas Tichborne, priest and martyr

Tyburn was busy on April 20th 1602. At least three great priests won their crowns that day; Fr Thomas Tichborne, Fr Robert Watkinson and Fr Francis Page.

Father Tichborne belonged to an old Hampshire Catholic family and went to Rheims to study in 1584 and then on to Rome in 1587.
Returning to England to take up his priestly duties he was quickly arrested and thrown into prison.
A daring rescue by Thomas Hackshot and Fr Tichborne's cousin, Nicholas, resulted in an attack on his jailer as he was transferring the prisoner. The jailer was knocked to the ground and Fr Tichborne was freed.
Both Thomas Hackshot and Nicholas Tichborne were soon apprehended and endured unspeakable tortures before being executed on 20th August 1601.

Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, Chideock Dorset
Fr Tichborne remained at large until he met an apostate priest by the name of Atkinson in the street. Recognising him, Atkinson shouted out: "Stop the priest" to which Fr Tichborne responded with absolute truth and aplomb: "I am no more a priest than yourself".

On 20th April 1602 he suffered hanging drawing and quartering at Tyburn with his two brother priests.
Fr Atkinson was able to celebrate Mass in his cell on the day of execution and eyewitnesses state that about his head shone a 'bright light like a ray of glory'. This lasted from the consecration until communion.


1 comment:

  1. Your posts keep making me cry! That's a good cry though, one that mingles joy with sorrow. I will never be as brave as those men, I fear, even though I can use brave words to declare my beliefs, I wonder if my actions would prove it.