This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

June 16 -- Feast of the Martyred Thomas Quartet

The story's pretty familiar -- Henry VIII appointed himself head of the Church of England so that he could grant himself a divorce.  Anyone who dissented was a traitor.  Executions followed.  From a hagiographic perspective, it was a gift that kept on giving.  Lots of martyrs were racked up (literally) following the promulgation of the Great Glutton's Oath of Supremacy. 

By coincidence, or perhaps design, four of the martyrs for June 16 happened to be named Thomas.  They didn't all die on June 16.  With several other Cathusian monks, they got gaffled up together on May 29 and thrown in Newgate Prison, chained to the wall to be starved to death. Some hung on longer than others, but they got batched up to be celebrated on the sixteenth.  The list below gives their names and dates of expiration. 

William Greenwood --- June 6
John Davy -- June 8
Robert Salt -- June 9
Walter Pierson -- June 10
Thomas Green -- June 10
Merciful Margaret Giggs Clement
Thomas Scryven -- June 15
Thomas Reding -- June 16

The remaining two were then fed, as Henry had a hankering for another round of public executions.  They hung on, waiting for the day when they'd be hanged, drawn, and quartered, but even with a little food to keep them going, they gave out before the order came. 

Richard Bere -- August 9
Thomas Johnson -- September 20

In the first week or so, the aptly named Margaret Clement bribed a jailer (gaoler) to let her in to feed the prisoners.  The administrators got suspicious, so she had to go to the roof and try to lower a bucket of food close enough to feed them.  It kept them going a couple of days, but it wasn't a viable solution to their problem.  

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