Patrons of the Society
St Richard Gwyn
He was born in Wales. He studied at Oxford and then at St John’s College, Cambridge, but his studies were interrupted in 1558 when Elizabeth I ascended the throne and Catholics were expelled from the universities. He returned to Wales and became a teacher. He married and had six children.
He was leant on to become an Anglican and succumbed briefly to the pressure, but returned to the faith after a sudden illness and remained steadfast in it thereafter. He frequently had to change his home and place of work to avoid fines and imprisonment, but he was finally arrested in 1579, and after escaping and spending a year and a half on the run, he spent the rest of his life in prison.
He was fined astronomical sums for not attending the Anglican church, and was carried to church in irons more than once; but he would disrupt the service by rattling his irons and heckling, which led to further astronomical fines but was not otherwise useful.
The problem for the legal system was that Richard Gwyn was quite obviously guilty and needed to be executed, but could not conveniently be found guilty of anything in particular. Eventually enough evidence was invented to sustain a charge of high treason, which was a charge vague enough to be usable against anyone whose actions were inconvenient to the state, rather like today’s anti-terrorism legislation. He was convicted after a show trial in 1583. He was hanged, drawn and quartered at Wrexham on 15 October 1584.
This history is by Kevin Jones - LMS rep for Wrexham
St Margaret Clitherow
Under Queen Elizabeth I, Margaret, like all Catholics, was forced to worship in the Anglican Church but attended Mass, which was being celebrated in secret in people’s houses.
In 1571, she married John Clitherow, a sheep farmer and butcher, who owned a shop on The in York. John was also in charge of the bridge which spanned the nearby River Ouse. He was a widower with two children, William and Thomas. In time John and Margaret were to have two of their own, Henry and Anne.
John Clitherow was also a Special Constable and was duty bound, under the Sheriffs in York, to find and arrest Catholics. Out of love for her, he allowed Margaret to continue to attend Mass in secret. Laws made it compulsory for everyone to attend services in the Church of England on Sundays. The penalty for not doing so was imprisonment, release from which was after payment of a fine. Margaret refused to attend the Church of England and was arrested on many occasions. Each time, John would pay the fine for her release.
Margaret found life in prison was hard and the food, such as it was, made her ill. However, she was able to meet and talk to other Catholics and they would pray together. It was during her time in prison that she learnt to read and write, which enabled her to read prayer books and literature on the lives of the saints.
Being a Catholic priest, and harbouring a priest, became punishable by death. Margaret had set up a room, at the top of the shop on The Shambles, where priests would say Mass and live in hiding. Eventually, the shop was raided by the Sheriff and Margaret, together with her children, were arrested and taken to prison. Out of fear, one of her boys made known the secret room, where, raiding it, the Sheriff found priest’s vestments and other things used for the saying of Mass.
Margaret was brought to trial and accused of being a traitor and helping enemies of the Queen. She refused to plead to the charge, saying she had not done nothing wrong, and for this she was sentenced to be put to death without trial.
Margaret was kept in prison for ten days. Whilst there, she sent her hat to her husband as a sign that she loved him, and her shoes to her daughter Anne as a symbol that Anne should try to follow in her mother’s footsteps and be a good devoted Catholic.
On 25th March 1586, at 8am, Margaret was taken to the toll booth on the bridge which spanned the River Ouse, where she changed in to a simple dress and then knelt down and prayed. She was made to lie on the ground and a stone was placed under her back. A heavy wooden door was placed on top of her and, slowly, the Sheriff placed rocks on top of the door, crushing her painfully as the stone dug into her back. Fifteen minutes later Margaret died.
Margaret Clitherow was beatified in 1929 and canonized on 25th October 1970, as one of the Forty English Martyrs. A relic, said to be her hand, is held at the Bar Convent in York.
In 2012, The Latin Mass Society announced the establishment of six patrons, including well-known figures from the worlds of music, journalism, politics and the law. This marked a major advance for the LMS and for the cause of the Traditional Latin Mass in England and Wales which are both attracting the support of mainstream figures within the Church. Sadly, Prince Rupert Loewenstein, our sixth patron, died in 2014, and Colin Mawby died in 2019.
Dr James MacMillan CBE
Dr MacMillan composed the setting for the Beatification Mass of John Henry Newman and is well known for his tireless campaigning for excellence in Church music.
A convert to Catholicism, former editor of the Daily Telegraph and a prominent national journalist and political commentator.
Lord (Brian) Gill
Former Lord President of the Court of Session (Scotland's most senior judge) who was honoured with a papal knighthood in 2012. He has supported the Traditional Latin Mass for many years.
Sir Adrian FitzGerald
President of the Irish Association of the Knights of Malta, a former mayor of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and previously a Chairman of the Governors of the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School.