Sunday 25th October marks the 50th anniversary of the canonisation of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. The Forty Martyrs of England and Wales which honours the hundreds of British Catholics who suffered persecution and died for their faith between 1535 and 1679 following the dispute between the Pope and King Henry VIII. Although some have been canonised or beatified, the true number of those who died on the scaffold or in prison, or were tortured or persecuted for their faith, is not known. The cause of about three hundred martyrs was introduced in Rome in 1850. By 1935, nearly two hundred Reformation martyrs had been beatified but only two of these had been canonised: in 1936, Cardinal John Fisher and Sir Thomas More, Henry VIII’s chancellor, became the first Englishmen to be made saints since 1401. In 1970, the Vatican selected forty martyrs to represent the full group; on 25th October 1970 they were canonised by Pope Paul VI. The martyrs celebrated today came from every walk of life: rich and poor; married and single; men and women; priests, religious and lay people. They are remembered for their constancy of faith and courage in the face of persecution, which lasted almost a hundred and fifty years and left a permanent mark on English culture. Please see the parish website for more detailed information about the history of the Forty Martyrs. The Saints we commemorate: 1535 St John Houghton; St Robert Lawrence; St Augustine Webster; St Richard Reynolds. 1539: St John Stone. 1577 St Cuthbert Mayne. 1585 St Edmund Campion; St Ralph Sherwin; St Alexander Briant. 1582 St John Payne; St Luke Kirby. 1584 St Richard Gwyn. 1586 St Margaret Clitherow. 1588 St Margaret Ward. 1591 St Edmund Gennings; St Swithun Wells; St Eustace White; St Polydore Plasden. 1594 St John Boste. 1595: St Robert Southwell; St Henry Walpole; St Philip Howard. 1598 St John Jones.1600 St John Rigby.1601 St Anne Line; 1606 St Nicolas Owen. 1608 St Thomas Garnet. 1610 St John Roberts. 1612 St John Almond. 1628 St John Almond. 1628 St Edmund Arrowsmith. 1641 St Ambrose Barlow. 1642 St Alban Roe. 1645 St Henry Morse, 1654 St John Southworth. 1679 St John Plessington; St Philip Evans; St John Lloyd; St John Wall, St John Kemble; St David Lewis. Holy English Martyrs, pray for us.