Sunday, 19 January 2020

Forgotten Hero - Blessed Nicholas Woodfen, priest, 21 January 1586.

His true name was Nicolas Wheeler. He was born at Leominster, Herefordshire, and in the school of that town he was esteemed highly for his abilities. He performed his priest’s studies at Douay and Rheims, and was ordained at the latter town, 25 March 1581. He was sent on the English Mission the following June, and arrived in London in a state of great necessity, having, as he said, no money to buy food and scarce clothes for his back. A fellow-priest, Father Davis, whose address he found, supplied his immediate needs and introduced him to Catholics, and by the help of Mr. Francis Brown, Lord Montague’s brother, a lodging was found for him at a haberdasher’s in Fleet Street. There,disguised as a lawyer,he laboured with great profit among the members of the Inns of Court, for he had a handsome presence, affable and courteous manners, and great power of attraction. But Morris, the pursuivant, found him out and forced him to flee. He was again nearly caught with Father Davis in his next hiding-place at Sir T. Tresham’s house at Hoxton, but his hour was not yet come. The third time, however, he fell into the pursuivant’s hands he was tried, sentenced, and suffered with great constancy at Tyburn, 21 January 1586.



From: Father Henry Sebastian Bowden. “Venerable Nicolas Woodfen, Priest, 1586”. Mementoes of the English Martyrs and Confessors, 1910. 

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