Wednesday, October 6, 2010

There and Back Again--and Again

On October 6, 1588 Father John Hewitt (aka Weldon, aka Savel) was martyred at Mile End Green in the East End of London. His date of birth is not known, but he first attended Caius College at Cambridge and then went to the Continent to study for the priesthood at Reims.

After receiving minor orders in 1583 he returned to England; he was arrested and exiled in 1585. He came back to England and was exiled a second time to the Spanish Netherlands in 1587. There the Earl of Leceister, Robert Dudley, who was leading an English campaign against Spain in support of the Dutch revolt, captured him and sent him back to England for trial.

Father Hewitt is one of the Armada martyrs; he was arraigned and found guilty of seeking ordination from the Catholic Church and of coming to England to practice his priestly ministry.

The fact that he was exiled twice from England demonstrates that the government sometimes ameliorated its treatment of Catholic priests--many Catholic laity would also be exiled for protecting a priest or for obdurate recusancy, refusing to attend official Church of England services. But he kept returning to England to fulfil his mission!


  1. Hi Stephanie-
    Found your blog and am finding it very educational. I also ordered your book from Eighth Day Books.
    Don't know if you keep up on the Anglo-Catholic/Roman Catholic blog discussions on the coming Anglican Ordinariate but this blog fits right into it. It's like an English Catholic Patrimony link from King Henry the VIII down through history.
    I believe it was your post on the Last Catholic Queen I saw on one of those blogs and followed it here.
    Keep up the good work and Many Blessings!

  2. Thank you very much, Matthew. Yes, I've seen that blog. I'll be interested in hearing your thoughts about "Supremacy and Survival".