England

St Alban

Saint Alban was the first British Christian martyr. Along with his fellow saints Julius and Aaron, Alban is one of three martyrs remembered from Roman Britain.

St Bede – (672 / 673 – May 26, 735)

Was a Northumbrian monk, author and scholar. His book, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, gained him the title “The Father of English History”. In 1899, Bede was made a Doctor of the Church by Leo XIII; he is the only native of Great Britain to achieve this designation (Anselm of Canterbury, also a Doctor of the Church, was originally from Italy).

St Edward the Confessor – (c. 1003 – 5 January 1066)

Son of Æthelred the Unready and Emma of Normandy, was one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England and is usually regarded as the last king of the House of Wessex, ruling from 1042 to 1066. Edward was canonized in 1161 by Pope Alexander III. From the reign of Henry II of England to 1348 he was considered to be the patron saint of England, when he was replaced in this role by Saint George, and he has remained the patron saint of the Royal Family.

St Thomas of Canterbury – (1118 – 29 December 1170)

Later also known as Thomas à Becket, was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 until his death in 1170. He is venerated as a saint and martyr by both the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. He engaged in conflict with Henry II of England over the rights and privileges of the Church and was assassinated by followers of the king in Canterbury Cathedral. Soon after his death, Pope Alexander canonised him and the murdered priest was elevated to sainthood.

St John Fisher – (c. 19 October 1469 – 22 June 1535)

Was an English Roman Catholic Bishop, cardinal and martyr. He shares his feast day with Saint Thomas More on 22 June in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints and 6 July on the Anglican calendar of saints. Fisher was executed by order of King Henry VIII during the English Reformation for refusing to accept him as Head of the Church of England. He is the only member of the College of Cardinals to have suffered martyrdom.

St Margaret Clitherow – (1556 – March 25, 1586)

Is an English saint and martyr, sometimes called “the Pearl of York”. She was executed for refusing to testify to hiding priests so as to prevent a trial that would entail her children being made to testify and therefore they would be tortured, and she was executed by being crushed to death – the standard punishment for refusal to plead. She was beatified in 1929 by Pope Pius XI and canonised in 1970 by Pope Paul VI along with other martyrs from England and Wales.