Down the Tyburn trail

I toured London with some friends and Father Mark Vickers on foot, and one thing about the tour particularly moved me.

It was the trail of martyrdom which started at Westminster Hall and ended at Tyburn.

Whilst some people glorified what was known as the Reformation during the age of the Renaissance and beyond, let us not forget... that the clergy and lay people helping others in need were caught, tried in Westminster and convicted for apparant "high treason against the Queen", thrown into prison, racked, hung onto walls, given enough bread and water to keep them alive, and finally dragged to Tyburn, where they were to be hanged, drawn and quartered just like felons - for their convictions. Now when we hear and read about things like this, and when we read the records associated with it, even those divided in faith would unanimously agree that it is a breach of the right to life, as well as the freedom of conscience and practice. And obviously when I hear about people being tortured and then hanged, drawn and quartered, I come to the direct conclusion that the Reformation didn't reform anything in this case ; it only made things worse. It has caused a great divide of consciousness among Englishmen, and because the faith proliferated and spread to Asia and Africa during colonial times, the divide has extended to cover the whole world.

These people who went to Tyburn died for their faith. These people died for their good acts towards others. Quite a large number of them were executed even though they were well-loved by the public. The people who helped them were also eventually captured and hanged. Keep in mind that hanging, drawing and quartering was reserved for felons of all kinds. With the rough justice system that was in practice at the time, even petty thieves and pickpockets were sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered. Now, among these people going to die, there were people who had done none of what a felon would've done to deserve the punishment. The officers putting this into effect wanted to snuff out the faith. The more hostile and brutal they were in doing this, the better for them, so it seemed. But the people who were about to die at the hands of their executioners called it "the sweet way to heaven".

We took the long road to Tyburn, and we knew what it was all about, and some time after I arrived at Tyburn for the Mass, I wept.

I'm not good with names, and if I forget names in real life, I'd surely forget names being read out to me. I only came across St John Fisher after browsing through names of people tried in Westminster Hall. But surely he wasn't the only one. I do remember, though, how these bloody incidents happened. Recounting them would take several more posts.

Regardless, many questions popped up in my head. How weak were they when they began ? Do we wait for bloodshed to see redemption ? Are we going to love without fail, even if one day it means we do so at the cost of our own lives ? And most of all, do we fix our eyes on the One who gave them to us ?

Coming soon :
Down the Tyburn trail, in visuals


Post a Comment