|Martyrs Chapel Altar|
"St Robert Southwell (1561-1595)
St Robert was brought up at Roffey Place near Horsham and was related to the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley through his grandmother. Brought up in a staunchly Catholic environment during a time of Catholic persecution he was sent to France , at the age of 15 to be educated and to become a Jesuit priest. From the beginning he showed signs of having a gift for writing; one of his poems, New Heaven, New War was incorporated into a carol by Benjamin Britten in 1942.
St Robert returned to England to work secretly as a priest and became Chaplain to Anne, wife of Philip Howard, 1st Earl of Arundel. He was betrayed under torture by the daughter of one of the Catholic families he ministered for and was imprisoned. In 1595 he was hung, drawn and quartered, having been charged by the Privy Council with treason, a charge he denied, pointing out that his only purpose had been to administer the sacraments according to the rite of the Catholic Church. He stands as an exemplar of fidelity and integrity.
One of our Catholic primary schools in Horsham is named after the Saint
St Philip Howard (1557-1595)
St Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel, is the patron saint of our diocese of Arundel & Brighton. St Philip was a favourite at the dazzling court of Queen Elizabeth I and his daughter was baptised into the Protestant faith and named after the Queen.
However St Philip had long battled with his desire to return to the Catholic faith of his baptism. When he heard the charismatic teachings of Edmund Campion, he could no longer deny the longings of his soul and was received back into the Catholic faith in 1584. He was arrested and condemned to death as a traitor to the Queen.
St Philip was incarcerated into the Tower of London for eleven years and denied the opportunity to see his wife and child. The Saint was afforded comfort and companionship from his faithful dog and, through letters, he formed a close bond of friendship with St Robert Southwell. St Robert’s letters to St Philip were later published as An Epistle of Comfort. The Queen offered pardon if he would take up the Protestant faith, but he refused and remained in the Tower until his death, aged 36.
St Thomas Garnet (1575-1608)
St Thomas Garnet was born in Southwark into a prominent Catholic family. He was educated at Horsham Grammar School and then, because all English Colleges had been turned over to Protestant authority, continued his education abroad.
At the time of the Gunpowder Plot, St Thomas was arrested and interrogated to provide information about his uncle, Henry Garnet, who was subsequently executed for his alleged involvement in the conspiracy. St Thomas was banished to the continent where he was ordained as a Jesuit priest.
Only six weeks after his return, St Thomas was arrested, found guilty of being a Catholic priest and executed on 23 June 1608. His bravery and selfless service earned him a well-deserved place amongst the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales."
Thank to David White from the parish for this article