The One Hundred and Five Martyrs of Tyburn – 27 February 1601

Venerable Mark Barkworth, Benedictine priest
Venerable Roger Filcock, Jesuit priest
Anne Line, widow

It was the Benedictine Father who sang on his way to Tyburn in the bitter cold and falling snow. Again, as he stood in the cart with his companion priest, the ropes about their necks, “Haec dies quam fecit Dominus exultemus,” he sang, and the Jesuit took up the words of the Easter anthem, “Etlaetemurinea.” Father Barkworth was born in Lincolnshire, and became a convert of the Catholic Faith at the age of twenty-two. Having gone to Flanders and thence to Spain, he returned to England to work on the mission. In order to remind the spectators of the debt England owed to the children of Saint Benedict, he desired to be martyred in the monastic habit. A minister cried out: “Repent of your sins and remember that Christ has given His life for you.” The monk devoutly kissed the rope, “And so am I now giving my life for Him, and would I had a thousand lives to lay down for Him.”

Venerable Roger Filcock, who witnessed the death of his two companions before he suffered himself, was born at Sandwich, in Kent. The two martyrs were lifelong friends, and Father Barkworth had a prophetic presentiment when he wrote shortly before the event: “My mind tells me that we shall die together, who have so long lived together.”

Anne Line, weak of body but strong of soul, was the first of the three to be martyred. Her desire of martyrdom had been increased by a vision she had had of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament bearing His Cross and beckoning her to follow Him. On Candlemas Day, 1601, the pursuivants, suspecting she harboured a priest, broke in while Father Page was saying Mass. He had time to escape, but the brave widow was hurried off to prison and soon afterwards condemned. At Tyburn she declared with a loud voice: “I am sentenced to death for harbouring a Catholic Priest, and so far I am from repenting for having so done, that I wish with all my soul that where I have entertained one I could have entertained a thousand.”

- from The One Hundred and Five Martyrs of Tyburn, by The Nuns of the Convent of Tyburn, 1917