The Memorable Martyrdom of John Travers, DD

May 31, 2018

In 1537, John Travers¹ was imprisoned and burned at the stake by order of Henry VIII of England.

When the tribunal of judges asked if he had wrote against the English heresy in which he maintained the defense of the Primacy of the Pope. Being arraigned for this before the king’s court and questioned by the judge on the matter he fearlessly replied “With these fingers” said he holding out the thumb index and middle fingers of his right hand “those were written by me and of this deed in so good and holy a cause I neither am nor will be sorry.”

Thereupon being condemned to death, among other atrocious punishments inflicted, that the glorious hand was cut off by the executioner and thrown into the fire to be burnt. Although his body was burned, those three fingers remained intact, nor was it possible to burn them.


¹Fr. John Travers was born in Dublin, joined the Hermits of St. Augustine, became the Chancellor of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin and wrote “On the Authority of the Roman Pontiff” which rejected Henry the VIII’s idea of being head of the Church.

Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 628

Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, Vol. II, 1896, p. 459

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