Friday, October 21, 2016

There's Just Something about Those Thwings

St. John of Bridlington or St. John Thwing or Thweng, is a Yorkshire saint of the fourteenth century and an ancestor of two recusant era martyrs, Blesseds Edward and Thomas Thwing, uncle and nephew. Saint John was born in 1320 near Bridlington:

John was schooled in the village from the age of five, before completing his studies at Oxford.

He then entered the Augustinian Canons Regular community of Priory of Bridlington. He carried out his duties with humility and diligence, and was in turn novice master, almsgiver, preacher and sub-prior. He became Canon of the Priory in 1346 and was eventually elected Prior in 1356. John initially declined out of humility, but after being re-elected, probably in 1361, that he took on the duties of Prior in January 1362. He served as Prior for 17 years before his death on 10 October 1379.

There's a connection between Henry V and St. John:

St John of Bridlington was commended for the integrity of his life, his scholarship, and his quiet generosity. He was the last English saint to be canonised before the English Reformation. King Henry V attributed his victory at Agincourt to the intercession in heaven of this Saint John and of Saint John of Beverley. Women in difficult labour may pray to St John of Bridlington as their patron saint and he is also associated with the local fishing industry.

Of course Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries led to the destruction of his shrine:

At the English Reformation Henry VIII was asked to spare the magnificent shrine of the saint, but in vain; it was destroyed in 1537. The nave of the church, restored in 1857, is all that now remains of Bridlington Priory

In fact, the last Prior might also be considered a saint as  martyr, for he stood up against the Dissolution of the Monasteries and participated in the Pilgrimage of Grace, according to BHO:

The last prior, William Wood, took part in the Pilgrimage of Grace, was attainted of high treason on 17 January 1537,(fn. 47) and with the Abbots of Fountains and Jervaulx, the ex Abbot of Rievaulx and the ex-Prior of Guisborough, was put to death, the property of the house being then treated as forfeited to the Crown. (fn. 48)

A letter is extant from Prior Wood to Thomas Cromwell, (fn. 49) the exact date of which is uncertain, in reply to one advising the prior to recognize Henry VIII as patron and founder, or to appear before one of the king's councillors. Prior Wood pleaded that he was 'deteyned with divers infirmities' of body 'and in lyke manner am feble of nature, so that without great jeopardie of my lyffe, I cannot, nor am not hable to labor in doing of my deuty to appere before your mastershipp,' &c. The prior therefore sent his brother to represent him.

Another letter, printed more than once elsewhere, is from Richard Bellasys, one of the commissioners for the suppression of monasteries, (fn. 50) to Cromwell, and bears date 14 November 1538. After relating how he had treated Jervaulx Abbey, the writer goes on to say, 'As for Byrdlington I have doyn nothing there as yet, but spayrethe itt to March next, bycause the days now are so short, and from such tyme as I begyn I trust shortly to dyspatche it after such fashion that when all is fynished, I trust your Lordshipp shall think that I have bene no evyll howsbound in all such things as your Lordshipp haith appoynted me to doo.'

No comments:

Post a Comment