Friday, April 20, 2018

April 20, Part Three: Blesseds Richard Sergeant and William Thomson

The second set of beatified martyrs today have connections with Anne and Roger Line, two Catholic converts who married and were both disinherited by their fathers because they had become Catholics. Father William Thomson was arrested at the Line's house: as a result of that arrest, he would be hanged, drawn, and quartered while Roger Line and Anne's brother William Heigham would be exiled. Roger sent Anne funds from the Continent until he died and then she found employment with Father John Gerard, SJ as the manager of his safe house for Jesuits in London.

Blessed Richard SargeantEnglish martyr, executed at Tyburn, 20 April, 1586. He was probably a younger son of Thomas Sergeant of Stone, Gloucestershire, by Katherine, daughter of John Tyre of Hardwick. He took his degree at Oxford (20 Feb., 1570-1), and arrived at the English College, Reims, on 25 July, 1581. He was ordained subdeacon at Reims (4 April, 1582), deacon at Soissons (9 June, 1582), and priest at Laon (7 April, 1583). He said his first Mass on 21 April, and left for England on 10 September. He was indicted at the Old Bailey (17 April, 1586) as Richard lea alias Longe. With him was condemned and suffered Blessed William Thomson, a native of Blackburn, Lancashire, who arrived at the English College, Reims, on 28 May, 1583, and was ordained priest in the Reims cathedral (31 March, 1583-4). Thomson was arrested in the house of Roger Line, husband of the martyr St. Anne Line in Bishopsgate St. Without, while saying Mass. Both were executed merely for being priests and coming into the realm. 

Blessed William ThomsonWilliam Thomson was born in Blackburn and educated at the local grammar school before going to Rheims where he was ordained in 1584. For the next two precarious years he worked in the London area where he lived secretly in a house in Bishopsgate St. Without owned by Roger and Anne Line (who was herself later martyred and subsequently canonised as one of the forty martyrs). Here he was arrested and was executed at Tyburn for being a Catholic priest on April 20th 1586.

These two martyrs are among the 85 Martyrs of England and Wales beatified by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1987.

Next up: three more martyrs, including one with another connection to St. Anne Line and the safe house she managed in London: Blessed Francis Page, SJ.

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