April 26 – His ears were nailed to the pillory

April 25, 2019

Venerable Edward Morgan

Engraving of the Star Chamber.

Welsh priest, martyr, b. at Bettisfield, Hanmer, Flintshire, executed at Tyburn, London, 26 April, 1642. His father’s Christian name was William. Of his mother we know nothing except that one of her kindred was Lieutenant of the Tower of London. From the fact that the martyr was known at St. Omer as John Singleton, Mr. Gillow thinks that she was one of the Singletons of Steyning Hall, near Blackpool, in Lancashire. Of his reported education at Douai, no evidence appears; but he certainly was a scholar at St. Omer, and at the English colleges at Rome, Valladolid, and Madrid. For a brief period in 1609 he was a Jesuit novice, having been one of the numerous converts of Father John Bennett, S.J. Ordained priest at Salamanca, he was sent on the English Mission in 1621. He seems to have laboured in his fatherland, and in April, 1629, was in prison in Flintshire, for refusing the oath of allegiance. Later about 1632 he was condemned in the Star Chamber to have his ears nailed to the pillory for having accused certain judges of treason.

West View of Newgate by George Shepherd. Newgate gaol in 1810. For much of its history, the “Old Baily” court was attached to the gaol.

Immediately afterwards he was committed to the Fleet Prison in London, where he remained until a few days before his death. He was condemned at the Old Bailey for being a priest under the provisions of 27 Eliz., c. 2 on St. George’s Day, 23 April, 1642. At the same time was condemned John Francis Quashet, a Scots Minim, who subsequently died in Newgate Prison. The last scene of the martyrdom is fully given (apparently by an eyewitness) in Father Pollen’s work cited below.

CHALLONER, Memoirs of Missionary Priests, II (Manchester, 1803), 110; GILLOW, Bibl. Dict. Eng. Cath., s. v.; POLLEN, Acts of English Martyrs (London, 1891), 343; Calendar State Papers Domestic 1628 -29; 1631-33 (London, 1859-1862), passim.

John B. Wainewright (Catholic Encyclopedia)


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