Monday, 18 June 2018

Saint Richard of Chichester and his Ecclesiastical statutes, Catholic Bishop and Saint of England


This weekend (June 16th 2018) saw us remember the life and witness of Saint Richard of Chichester. Saint Richard is local to Mary's Dowry Productions, being 20 miles away from where we are. His relics were housed in the once Catholic Cathedral in Chichester until the Protestant Reformation when they were destroyed. Saint Richard is often portrayed as an Anglican Saint, when in fact he was as Roman Catholic as you can get. He was so outspoken about the importance of the rubrics of the Mass and the sacredness of the priesthood that he made a lot of enemies. He valued the 7 Sacraments, fasted, wore a hair shirt and defended the Truths of the Catholic Faith in many blunt ways. St Richard also condemned 'married clergy' and wrote his famous statutes for pulling up priests in their vocation and duties.

In our film about St Richard we take a look at the history of Chichester, once a Roman Catholic city, looking at the Roman walls that remain around the city and the history of the Cathedral, as well as on location in Tarring where St Richard lived while exiled from the Cathedral by the king. It was in Tarring that he cultivated figs and we visit the ancient fig gardens too. More importantly, we present St Richard's life and words and how relevant he is to Catholics today.
Saint Richard of Chichester film is available worldwide on DVD at this link:

Film making at Mary's Dowry Productions for June


We have been working our way through a variety of films we shot footage for over the past year and a half and have now reached our film about Saint Mary Mazzarello. We decided to do a film about St Mary when we organised a filming day for Saint Don Bosco. Because we were on location for the whole day acquiring imagery of Saint Don Bosco we included separate shots from the life of St Mary Mazzarello, who founded the female branch of the Salesians with Don Bosco, and St Dominic Savio, who was one of St Don Bosco's students at the Oratory.

The actual motives for Mary's Dowry Productions making a film about St Don Bosco came from two factors:

1) We had read a book called 'The 40 Dreams of St Don Bosco' and his dream/vision of Hell had made a lasting impression! So we wanted to be able to put these Truths in film
2) One of our parishioners reminded us visually of St Don Bosco!

As well as filming for Saint Don Bosco we arranged to film for St Jacinta Marto on the same day too.
So we organised costumes, parishioners and sets to feature alongside our narrative and other images and filmed back in January 2017 for numerous productions. As always, Mary's Dowry Productions works on the smallest of budgets and sales of DVDs goes towards costumes, set production costs and feeding our enthusiastic 'actors' on the day. We are a film apostolate and love to share the lives of the Saints, especially the English Martyrs.

One of our local primary school teachers at English Martyrs Primary School was keen to be involved so we cast her as St Mary Mazarello. We also involved several of the school children who also attend our parish church of the English Martyrs.
All our cast are natural actors and portray the atmosphere we seek of gentleness, holiness, reflection and authentic spirituality in the settings we place them in.

Our films about Saint Don Bosco and St Dominic Savio are now complete and this month of June 2018 we have managed to record the narrative for our film about St Mary Mazarello.
St Mary's story is very simple and yet so very rich with everything we love about the Catholic Faith. Her calling and vocation was, as she said, to save her soul by educating and instructing in the Truths of the Faith the young girls and women of Mornese, Italy when their circumstances were difficult and even dangerous. St Don Bosco was drawn to St Mary's holiness and vocation and worked with her to found the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, the Salesian counterpart of his order. He was as a father to St Mary and the sisters. St Mary designed the habit the nuns wore and when she was elected superior she said that Our Lady would be superior and St Mary would be Our Lady's vicar.
St Mary died aged 44 after a difficult illness and many painful sufferings that she was able to offer up for the salvation of souls. We are looking forward to starting editing our film about St Mary Mazzarello and making it available on DVD over the coming months.

Our films are available here:

Latest Catholic film news June 2018! Information and projects update, Ma...

TAKE A LOOK AT our latest Vlog for an update on Mary's Dowry Productions current filming projects as we work on several new film biographies of the Saints and English Martyrs this year:

New website update for mobile devices


We are in the process of updating our website to make it easier to use on mobile devices.
Mary's Dowry Productions has two websites, our main one being:
We have been working on our website hosted at:
this past month for a refreshed look and ease of use on iPhones, iPads etc... and it has been very successful. Over the next few weeks we will be pointing our 'org' website to our '' website, DVDs and CDs will all continue to be shipped throughout the world, the only difference will be the new look and the mobile friendly use.
Check out our website here:

and take a look at our DVD section to see our whole range of Saints and English Martyrs films.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Are you drawn to the Carmelite spirituality? Six Carmelite Films - a NEW Catholic DVD resource


Over the past 10 years, Mary's Dowry Productions has produced a variety of films specifically on the lives and spirituality of several Carmelite Saints. We have now made our six Carmelite Saint films available in a 6 disc DVD box set, being able to reduce the overall price of this due to the use of less materials and production costs!
We have managed to keep the price of each of our DVDs at £10 for the past several years, wanting to make them available as as low a cost as possible to help share the stories and accounts of the Saints and Martyrs of the Church. By having this new Box Set we are able to make available 6 individual films on 6 DVDs at the cost of 3. This is especially great news for the many schools and seminaries who support our apostolate as well as people wishing to have a spiritually informative marathon and encounter with six amazing Carmelite Saints of the Church.

The '6 Carmelite Films' box set comprises of:


 We love the Carmelite Saints and are proud to have Saint Simon Stock as one of our countrymen. He was an important Carmelite friar of 13th Century England, well loved by the Carmelite Order. He was also given the Brown Scapular devotion by Our Lady that is especially recommended to the faithful as a powerful Sacramental today.
Saint Edith Stein and Blessed Titus Brandsma take us from 13th Century England to 20th Century Nazi Europe, where these two Carmelite Saints gave their lives in martyrdom for Christ and the Catholic Church.
Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint John of the Cross were not only major figures in the Catholic Counter Revolution of the 16th century, but both are doctors of the Church and well beloved Saints.
And of course, Saint Therese of Lisieux is one of the most popular Saints of the Church today. We look especially at her Last Conversations and her Carmelite spirituality.

Mary's Dowry Productions loves the Carmelite Saints and Martyrs and is especially pleased to be able to make this NEW box set available on the lives and messages of these six great Carmelite Saints of the Church.

For more information CLICK THE LINK BELOW:

The Church Militant - fighting the enemies of the Church - England and her Catholic heroes


Mary's Dowry Productions was founded in 2007 due to the inspiring account of the life and martyrdom of St Philip Howard, the Earl of Arundel. He was a cousin of Queen Elizabeth I and lived a worldly life at court until he heard the Jesuit missionary priest St Edmund Campion defend the Catholic Faith in the Tower of London. St Philip converted to the Catholic Faith and became a leader of the Catholic faithful in England. The Catholic faithful suffered great persecution and hardships from the Elizabethan Protestant government. Those who remained loyal to the True Faith, the ancient Catholic religion of England, a country known for centuries as Mary's Dowry (consecrated by the Kings of England to Our Lady as Her Dowry), were known as recusants. Recusants refused to attend the state Protestant services and many of them helped to hide hunted Catholic missionary priests. The Mass, Sacraments, sacramentals (such as rosaries) and even lighting devotional candles were all illegal. Yet these recusants kept the Faith alive and remained steadfast in the face of terrible threats and punishments. They were the Church Militant of Penal Times.
Saint Margaret Ward was a recusant Catholic and a member of the Church Militant. A young Catholic single woman, Margaret was especially devoted to the Catholic priesthood and worked with the underground Catholic movement that smuggled about forbidden Sacramentals and organised missionary routes for Catholic priests.
When Saint Margaret heard that a Catholic priest in Bridewell prison had renounced his priesthood and the Catholic Faith, she began to visit him with the intention of encouraging him to remain strong. Eventually, fearing for his soul, Saint Margaret decided to break him out of prison where he was still vacillating and had the courage to enlist the help of an Irish Catholic boatman. She smuggled rope into the prison cell and the priest agreed to break out. All would have gone well had not the priest cried out loudly when he landed on the ground, alerting the guards.
St Margaret was arrested, as was the Irish boatman, Blessed John Roche. Margaret was detained for 10 days, tortured, questioned, harassed and offered her freedom if she told the government the names of other recusant priests and denounced the 'Popish Religion'.
She refused and remained loyal to the end.
Saint Margaret Ward was hanged at Tyburn by order of the Queen and government for her Catholic Faith. She is, along with St Philip Howard, one of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales.
Both St Margaret and St Philip worked tirelessly as part of the Church Militant.
Saint Margaret Ward is a powerful and important Catholic intercessor today.

Our film about St Margaret Ward is available on DVD from:

Monday, 23 April 2018

Saint Edmund Campion, The Martyrs Walk and The Sistine Chapel Reproducton - 10 years on


In 2008 Mary's Dowry Productions produced three DVDs.

Saint Edmund Campion: A Hero Returns Catholic DVD

St. Edmund Campion: A Hero Returns: The life, mission and death of English Jesuit priest and Martyr Saint Edmund Campion are remembered in this film from Mary’s Dowry Productions. 
Follow the journey of a man with a mission to minister to the persecuted Catholics of Elizabethan England. From the universities of Oxford, to the Court of Queen Elizabeth I, through Ireland, France and Rome and back across the channel to illegally re-enter England as a Jesuit Priest, Saint Edmund Campion is pursued by spies and priest-hunters, writes his famous ‘Brag’ and ‘Ten Reasons’, is captured, tortured, imprisoned in the infamous Tower of London, and is subjected to trials and debates. Determined to remain loyal to his Catholic Faith, Saint Edmund Campion is eventually sentenced to a traitor’s death and gives his life on Tyburn Gallows in 1581. He died aged 41, a Catholic priest and a faithful Englishman. 

This film presents Saint Edmund Campion’s journey using dramatic visuals and narration told from his own perspective. A challenging and important story for Catholics today. 

Our unique film production style has been praised worldwide for not only presenting facts and biographical information but an authentically Catholic and prayerful film experience. Mary’s Dowry Productions was established in 2007 - a Catholic Film Production Apostolate based in the United Kingdom. Many of our films have been broadcast on EWTN, BBC and SKY. Visit us online for more information. Length and Format: The film runs for 1 hour and 5 minutes and is available on Region Free DVD worldwide.

The Martyrs Walk - DVD

The Martyrs Walk: Take a walk through the streets of historic London as a group of pilgrims trace the last steps of the English Martyrs from Tower Hill to Tyburn. Step back in time and meet several of the Martyrs such as St. Thomas More, St. Henry Morse, St. Robert Southwell and St. Anne Line and learn how they willingly gave their lives for the Catholic Faith in England during a time of great persecution against the Church.

London is filled with our Catholic heritage, including sites of ancient Catholic churches. Most especially is the spot of the infamous Tyburn tree where many of our English Martyrs stood and witnessed to the Truths of our Catholic Faith. The Martyrs Walk begins at Tower Hill, pausing at the very spot where Saints Thomas More and Saint John Fisher were beheaded for refusing to join King Henry VIII in schism. Tyburn Convent stands by the final destination of Saints such as Anne Line who worked with the Catholic underground in Elizabethan England, keeping secret safe houses for priests who were hunted by the government for celebrating the outlawed Catholic Mass, Sacraments and devotions.

Steeped in history, with footage filmed on the 2008 Martyrs Walk, a blend of historic facts, images and fascinating details, this is an experience in history that honours the memories of the magnificent, determined and heroic English Martyrs. Mary’s Dowry Productions’ unique film style has been praised worldwide for not only presenting facts and information but an authentically Catholic and prayerful film experience.

How I painted the Sistine Chapel Ceiling

In 1993, sign writer Gary Bevans completed the only known copy of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Ceiling on the roof of his local Sussex parish church. In this film he takes us through the whole process of the painting from his inspiring trip to Rome in 1987 to its completion five and a half years later. With never-before-seen footage from Gary's own video camera, which he kept on the scaffolding tower, a variety of photographs, interviews and details, the viewer will see the ceiling as it was before any painting began, watch Prophets appear from nowhere, visit the tower and tour the church, see Old Testament scenes and figures and astonishing architectural details painted directly onto the roof and so much more.

The narration is by the artist and the film was produced in 2007 by his family.

Length and Format: The film runs for 50 minutes and is available worldwide on Region Free DVD.

These three films and other DVDs on the lives of the Saints and English Martyrs are available from:

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Saint Bega of Bees, Lindisfarne, Saint Aidan and an early hermit Saint

An important early Saint

Saint Bega was born in Ireland to a noble family. When her father arranged for Saint Bega to marry the son of a Viking king, Saint Bega decided to flee her home. Led by her guardian angel, Saint Bega escaped the palace during the night and headed for the shore. Since there were no vessels for her to escape in, she cut a large piece of turf and placed it on the waters, praying for a great miracle and promising to dedicate her entire being in service and praise of God. She stood upon the turf and miraculously floated across the seas to the coast of Cumberland and Saint Bees. It was here that Saint Bega made herself a hermitage on the coast where she led a life of deep prayer and solitude.
She would have remained there for the rest of her life had not the threat of attack from pirates scouting the coast become a frightening and dangerous situation.
Saint Bega trusted in the guidance of her angel who had given her a bracelet (this was an important relic of Saint Bega until the Protestant Reformation). She left her hermitage and traveled to Northumbria and the court of the Catholic king Oswy. Seeking his advice and placing her life in his hands, the wise Catholic king called for Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne who met with Saint Bega.
It was decided that in order to safeguard Saint Bega's shining purity and virginity, Saint Bega should join a convent and live in enclosure with the nuns. Saint Aidan himself gave Saint Bega the veil and acted as her spiritual director.
Numerous miracles accompanied Saint Bega's life.
Sadly, after the Protestant Reformation, devotion to Saint Bega and trust in her intercession fell by the wayside. Saint Bega recently came to memory when a popular author wrote a fictional novel using the idea of Saint Bega as the basis of his character.
Her life, however, has always been safeguarded by the Church as an example of holy Catholic purity and devotion and she is now remembered in a film that not only presents facts, details and historical information about Saint Bega of Bees, but a prayerful and spiritual film encounter.

Saint Bega of Bees is available on DVD worldwide from

Saint Bega stands as a powerful help for those asking her protection for their purity, for a greater purity and for other intentions too. She is one of our great Catholic Saints and is also favoured by those who seek solitude and the intercession of the early anchoresses.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Filming for OUR LADY OF KNOCK DVD, witness accounts, apparition of Our Lady in 1879, Mary's Dowry Productions Catholic films

New film on DVD coming soon from Mary's Dowry Productions

Opening scenes - three visionaries at Knock
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions

On Saturday March 24th 2018, Mary's Dowry Productions organised a filming day with our group of friends/parishioner actors to recreate images from the lives of three Saints and the events surrounding the apparitions of Our Lady of Knock in 1879. 

We wanted to be able to make available a film about Our Lady of Knock and realized that our usual filming location at the 18th century barn attached to our local parish church would be perfect. We also had a set inside that would double up for our film about Saint Gemma Galgani and a location for Archdeacon Cavanagh, who was parish priest of Knock at the time of the Apparition.

A growing group of visionaries at Knock in 1879
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions
For our film, we asked our parish priest to portray Monsignor Horan, known as 'the builder of knock', who was parish priest of Knock from 1967 to his death in 1986. We also asked a friend and three Irish parishioners to record witness testimonies of specific visionaries of Knock for use in the film.

Our parish priest portray Monsignor Horton
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions

A parishioner who actually lived in Knock records narration
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions

One of our Irish parishioners records witness testimony
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions
The story of the apparitions at Knock is very straight-forward and was simple for us to film. The witnesses to this silent apparition gradually arrived in a specific sequence of events that we were able to recreate. Our location was the side of the barn located next to our parish church of The English Martyrs which was similar to where the apparition in Knock took place at the side of the parish church of Knock in 1879.

A prayer card of the apparition at Knock
Showing the parish church of Knock and apparition location in 1879

A photograph of Archdeacon Cavanagh who was parish priest of Knock at the time of
the apparition
For our filming recreation we directed our actors who were portraying the witness in sequence as to how the vision took place. The first witness was Mary McLoughlin, housekeeper to Archdeacon Cavanagh, who was walking home and noticed what she thought to be a new devotional display of life-sized statues in front of the parish church. She stared  but continued on to Mary Byrne's house not too far away.

Mary McLoughlin passes the parish church of Knock
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions
Mary McLoughlin and Mary Byrne walked back past the parish church of Knock and Mary Byrne stopped in astonishment, noticing the 'statues' too except that she realized they were in fact displaying signs that they were vivid, alive and real. She and Mary McLoughlin drew closer and gazed at the scene which would last three hours.

Mary Byrne hurries to fetch her brother Dominick to come and see the apparition
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions
Mary Byrne tells us in part of her detailed witness account:

"I beheld, all at once, standing out from the gable, and rather to the west of it, three figures which, on more attentive inspection, appeared to be that of the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph and St. John. That of the Blessed Virgin was life-size, the others apparently either not so big or not so high as her figure."

Mary Byrne hurried away to fetch her brother Dominick who answered the door to his sister and tells us: "She exclaimed: ‘Come Dominick, and see the image of the Blessed Virgin, as she had appeared to us down at the chapel.’ Dominick hurried to the apparition site and joined Mary and his sister, astonished and moved by what he saw.

Mary Byrne hurries to fetch her brother Dominick Byrne
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions

Dominick arrives to witness the apparition at Knock
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions
Dominick hurried to fetch his cousin, also named Dominick Byrne (senior) and gradually other people were informed and hurried to witness. The 15 witnesses to the apparition ranged in ages from 5 years old to 74 years of age.

15 witness gathered in total at Knock
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions

Witness - 11 year old Patrick Hill
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions
Eleven year old Patrick Hill told the official Commission of Inquiry:
"St. John was dressed like a bishop preaching; he wore a small mitre on his head; he held a Mass Book, or a Book of Gospels, in his left hand; the right hand was raised to the elevation of the head; while he kept the index finger and the middle finger of the right hand raised; the other three fingers of the same hand were shut; he appeared as if he were preaching, but I heard no voice; I came so near that I looked into the book. I saw the lines and the letters. St. John did not wear any sandals. 

His left hand was turned towards the altar that was behind him; the altar was a plain one, like any ordinary altar, without any ornaments. On the altar stood a lamb, the size of a lamb eight weeks old – the face of the lamb was fronting the west, and looking in the direction of the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph. Behind the lamb a large cross was placed erect or perpendicular on the altar. Around the Lamb I saw angels hovering during the whole time, for the space of one hour and a half or longer; I saw their wings fluttering, but I did not perceive their heads or faces, which were not turned to me."

Visionaries at Knock
©2018 Mary's Dowry Productions

Witnesses to the apparition at Knock
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions

Visionaries at Knock
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions

A Knock visionary
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions
Mary McLoughlin tells us that she hurried to fetch the Very Reverend Bartholomew Aloysius Cavanagh also known as Archdeacon Cavanagh to come and see the apparition and told him it would be worth his while to go and witness the beautiful things at the gable of the church. The Archdeacon appeared to make nothing of what Mary McLoughlin said and did not go, but the following morning, when he heard from the others who had seen the apparition, the Archdeacon recalled what his housekeeper had said. The Archdeacon would come to keep diaries of the events and cures that followed the apparition and was part of the commission of inquiry to interview the witnesses. He worked tirelessly to serve the growing number of pilgrims and offered many daily Masses, confessions and kept a large correspondence.

Mary McLoughlin tells Archdeacon about the apparition before the gable
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions

Archdeacon Cavanagh listens to the witnesses the following morning
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions

The witnesses tell Archdeacon Cavanagh about the apparition at Knock
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions

Recreating Archdeacon Cavanagh
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions
The 15 witnesses recited the rosary and gazed at the silent, profound apparition of Our Lady, St Joseph, St John the Evangelist, the Altar, Lamb and Cross at Knock for three hours until it disappeared. The apparition at Knock was one of silence yet it had a very important meaning. Approved by the Catholic Church and now a major place of pilgrimage, graces and cures of all kinds are obtained at the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock.

The vision has been called a 'Eucharistic vision' of Knock. The Irish people had remained courageous and steadfast to the Mass during the Penal years and, like the recusant Catholics of England, had suffered much for their faithfulness from the time of the Reformation and during those long harsh Penal years.

A Benedictine monk from Buckfast Abbey wrote after visiting the Knock Shrine, “It would seem that Knock is meant to be not only a Shrine of Our Lady, but also that its mission is to increase still further the wonderful love for the Mass which has been so marked a feature of Irish piety throughout the centuries.” The apparition was given for the world and is an important part of the Catholic Church today.

Visionaries at Knock 1879
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions

Witnessing the apparitions of Knock 1879
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions

Patrick Walsh witnessed a scene of light from a distance in his fields
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions

Witnesses at Knock 1879
Mary's Dowry Productions

Witness at Knock 1879
Mary's Dowry Productions
We look forward to producing our film about Our Lady of Knock over the coming year which will be available worldwide on DVD from:

The films of Mary's Dowry Productions have been internationally praised for not only presenting facts, information and historical details but also a n authentically Catholic, prayerful and spiritual film experience.

Our Lady of Knock - coming soon from Mary's Dowry Productions

Sunday, 15 April 2018

In the wrecks (wracks) of Walsingham - attributed to Saint Philip Howard, English Martyr

Attributed to Saint Philip Howard, the Earl of Arundel and English Martyr
(Screenshots from 'Our Lady of Walsingham DVD - © 2012 Mary's Dowry Productions)

The ruins of Walsingham Abbey
© 2012 Mary's Dowry Productions

A Lament for Our Lady's Shrine at Walsingham

 In the wracks of Walsingham 
Whom should I choose 
But the Queen of Walsingham
 to be my guide and muse.

 Then, thou Prince of Walsingham,
 Grant me to frame Bitter plaints to rue thy wrong,
 Bitter woe for thy name. 

Richeldis de Faverches was asked by Our Lady to build a replica of the house
of the Annunciation on her grounds in Walsingham
© 2012 Mary's Dowry Productions

Bitter was it so to see 
The seely sheep 
Murdered by the ravenous wolves 
While the shepherds did sleep. 

Bitter was it, O to view 
The sacred vine, 
Whilst the gardeners played all close, 
Rooted up by the swine. 

Bitter, bitter, O to behold 
The grass to grow 
Where the walls of Walsingham 
So stately did show. 

A pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Walsingham
© 2012 Mary's Dowry Productions

Such were the worth of Walsingham 
While she did stand, 
Such are the wracks as now do show 
Of that Holy Land. 

Level, level, with the ground 
The towers do lie, 
Which, with their golden glittering tops, 
Pierced once to the sky. 

Where were gates are no gates now, 
The ways unknown 
Where the press of peers did pass 
While her fame was blown. 

Saint Philip Howard, Earl and Martyr
© 2012 Mary's Dowry Productions

Owls do scrike where the sweetest hymns 
Lately were sung, 
Toads and serpents hold their dens 
Where the palmers did throng. 

The lament features in our Walsingham DVD
© 2012 Mary's Dowry Productions

Weep, weep, O Walsingham, 
Whose days are nights, 
Blessings turned to blasphemies, 
Holy deeds to despites. 

A photo of The restored Slipper Chapel
© 2012 Mary's Dowry Productions

Sin is where Our Lady sat, 
Heaven is turned to hell, 
Satan sits where Our Lord did sway
 -- Walsingham, O farewell!

-Composed by Saint Philip Howard during his visit to Walsingham with his cousin Queen Elizabeth I

Plaque to indicate where the Holy House once stood
© 2012 Mary's Dowry Productions

Our films:
Our Lady of Walsingham


Saint Philip of Arundel

are available on DVD worldwide from our online shops and through AMAZON

This poem is also often titled 'In the Wracks of Walsingham' - wracks is the old form of wrecks but it does its double duty in its association with 'racks'.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Getting to know Saint Alban Roe - one of our English Martyrs - one of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales and the Catholic history of England

The lives of the English Martyrs - Catholic history of England

Producing a film about one of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales

Saint Alban Roe - English Martyr - Benedictine Priest
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions
Insubordinate, pugnacious, gregarious and outspoken - not the dispositions one would expect of a Catholic Saint and English Martyr - but Saint Alban Roe is one of 40 men and women canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970 as a Saint and a Martyr for Christ and His Catholic Church, and Saint Alban's virtues shine out of history to blaze brightly as a torch of faith, Truth, inspiration and relevance today.

As Mary's Dowry Productions makes its way through the production of individual films about the English Martyrs, especially the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales, we are always struck by each Martyr's story and biography, especially from this latter group. We have been interested in making a film about Saint Alban Roe who gave his life at the triple Tyburn gallows in 1642 for many years and are now pleased to be in film production for this DVD.

On Saturday March 24th 2018, Mary's Dowry Productions recreated several key moments from the life of Saint Alban Roe for a DVD about this interesting and inspiring Martyr. In this blog post we share screenshots from our upcoming film which we will use to help people unfamiliar with his biography to get to know this great Saint and English Martyr better.


Saint Alban Roe as a young man before his call to the Benedictine Vocation
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions 
Renowned for his strong character, explosive nature, deep devotion and heroic service to Christ and the persecuted Catholic Church in 16th and 17th Century England, Saint Alban Roe led a fascinating life caught up in the dramas of England during three changeable and dangerous eras:

Elizabethan England:
England was ruled by Queen Elizabethan I and her Protestant Government with its army of priest hunters, the triple Tyburn gallows, the banning of the Catholic Mass, Sacraments, priests and devotions as well as executions of men, women, priests and religious who remained faithful to the ancient Faith of England. Saint Alban was born in the early 1580's at the height of the Elizabethan persecutions of the Catholic Church and during the time of the executions of priests such as Saint Edmund Campion and Saint Alexander Briant;

Jacobean England:
Following Queen Elizabeth's death, James I of England succeeded the throne on 24th March 1603. Saint Albarn Roe was in his early twenties. Although Protestant, King James began talks with high ranking Catholics and made many promises to stop the vicious persecutions and offer toleration, yet he took advice from the fiercely anti-Catholic Parliament. Elizabethan penal laws were increased, fresh waves of persecutions began, the failed 'Gunpowder Plot' incited even stronger persecution of Catholics and under King James I Catholics became virtually non-persons and many priests and laymen were executed;

King Charles I and the Civil War:
With his unshakable belief in the divine rights of kings, the Protestant Charles I succeeded to the throne on March 1625 with a new Catholic wife - Saint Alban Roe was, at this time, a Benedictine monk in his 40's. A short time of peace and tolerance came for Catholics in England at this time but Parliament refused to retract the Penal laws. In 1628 parliament demanded King Charles (a high Anglican) rigorously enforce the penal laws and in this year many Catholics were put to death.
During King Charles I personal rule without parliament from 1629-1640 there was a period of toleration and although priests were condemned to death by court, King Charles and his wife ensured the executions were not exacted. Catholics continued to be subjected to enormous fines for refusing to attend Protestant services. Long Parliament, filled with anti-Catholic Puritans, fought among themselves and split the Houses of Lords and Commons and in 1641 Civil War broke out.
 During the rule of Long Parliament, almost 30 priests were executed, including St Alban Roe.
Catholics supported the Monarchy in the Civil War because the Puritan alternative was too ghastly for them to contemplate. The King was accused of raising a Catholic army, Parliament passed a law in which Catholic Doctrine, especially the Mass, was ridiculed and condemned and the Pope described as the Antichrist. King Charles was beheaded in 1649 and Catholics were once more plunged into despair. (The lives and times of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales - Malcolm Pullan)  


 Saint Alban Roe was born as Bartholomew Roe in Suffolk in the early 1580's and was educated at Cambridge University (formerly a Catholic university). He was naturally argumentative, often hostile towards those who did not agree with him, opinionated, loud and full of zeal for his beliefs. He grew up to be a very aggressive Protestant and was anti-Catholic and anti-papacy in his views.

Visiting friends
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions
The turning point in Bartholomew's life came when he was visiting friends in Saint Albans (a Divine link to his future religious name) and during their conversations they told him about a Catholic who was incarcerated in prison in the city. Determined to point out the errors of the Catholic prisoner's ways, Bartholomew marched over to the prison and set about persuading the prisoner of the error of his papist beliefs. However, the prisoner was sincere, devout and resolute in his Catholic Faith and argued so convincingly that Bartholomew had a crisis and began to doubt his Protestant beliefs.

A recusant Catholic and St Alban Roe
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions
A time of soul searching, discussions, reflection, reading and speaking with Catholic priests followed and finally, after a great deal of thought and research, Bartholomew converted to the Catholic Faith in 1607. This was not a light conversion. Bartholomew gave his whole heart to Christ and heard within his soul Christ calling him to the Sacred Catholic priesthood. He wished others to find the fullness of the treasure of God's Truth in the ancient Catholic Faith and so, filled with zeal and determination, Bartholomew set out illegally from England to train for the priesthood abroad at the English college in Douai. But his explosive manner and outspoken criticisms of his superiors saw him expelled from the college. He didn't leave quietly and campaigned against the authorities. He was then led to join the Benedictines in Lorraine and was professed under the name of Fr Alban of Saint Edmund in 1614 and ordained a priest in 1615.

Saint Alban - a Benedictine monk and priest
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions
 Keen to assist the persecuted Catholics of Jacobean England, Saint Alban entered illegally into his homeland and spend three years dodging the authorities. He worked zealously in London until he was captured, arrested and thrown into prison for five years. In 1623, Saint Alban was included in King James' general amnesty so was released and sent into permanent exile. He returned to England to resume his missionary work, celebrating outlawed secret Masses throughout England until he was arrested by a despicable and notorious priest hunter called Francis Newton.

Secret Masses in England
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(left) The notorious professional priest hunter Francis Newton
Arrested by Francis Newton
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Production
Saint Alban spent the next 15 years in Fleet Prison in London! The Keeper was corrupt and there was a great deal of laxity which Saint Alban took advantage of. Saint Alban became the life and soul of the prison, with his gaiety and holiness even winning the hearts of his jailers who were invited to join in his games of cards while he regaled them with amusing stories. He offered secret Masses in his cell, heard confessions and was even allowed out during the day (where he continued his illegal ministry) providing he was back in his cell each night.

A secret Mass in Fleet Prison
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions
Recusant Catholics in Fleet Prison
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Hearing confessions in prison
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Cards with the jailer
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A game of cards
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions
 Eventually, when King Charles I left London and during the Civil War, the Long Parliament put a stop to such tolerance of Catholic priests in prison. Saint Alban was moved to Newgate prison and tried at the Old Bailey, charged with treason and sentenced to be executed for being a priest under 'Elizabeth 27' - this meant that he was to be hanged, drawn and quartered.
When the barbaric sentenced was pronounced Saint Alban exclaimed: "How little this is in comparison to what Christ suffered for me!"

Translating the works of St John Fisher
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions
After the sentence of death had been passed, Saint Alban had a couple of days to prepare for Martyrdom. He offered Mass in his cell with Fr Thomas Green, a condemned Catholic priest in his 80's, who was to die with St Alban at Tyburn. St Alban told the recusant Catholics gathered for Mass: "When you see our heads up on London Bridge, take it that they are there to preach to you, to proclaim that Faith for which we are about to die."

A final Mass in prison
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions
Fr Thomas Green (also known as Fr Reynolds) was frightened about their impending execution so Saint Alban spent time reassuring and encouraging him.

Fr Thomas and Saint Alban in prison
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions
 The road to Tyburn was lined with Catholics and when the two priests arrived their hands were kissed and people begged for their blessings.

Waiting for the Martyrs at Tyburn Gallows
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions

Kissing the hands of the Martyrs
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions
Kissing the hands of the Martyrs
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions

At the gallows
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions
At the triple Tyburn gallows, the two priests gave one another absolution and Saint Alban spoke to the executioner saying: "Pray do your duty neatly, for I have been a neat man all my life!" He spoke words of comfort to those who were to die with him and then he turned to the crowd declaring cheerfully "Well, here's a jolly company!" He gave all his money to the executioner, asking him to drink to his health but not to get too drunk! He then asked God to pardon his many sins and expressed his hope that his death would be in satisfaction for them. He forgave his persecutors and, after the two priests said the Miserere psalm in alternate verses they both called out the Name of Jesus and were turned off the ladder and hanged.

Ready to give their lives
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions

Giving absolution
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions

Saint Alban Roe
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions

Giving absolution
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions
After the priests had been executed, many recusant Catholics sought to gather blood soaked straw from beneath the infamous gallows as relics. A piece of the executioner's apron, soaked in the two priests blood, is preserved today at Downside Abbey.
Saint Alban Roe was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970 as one of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales. He remains a powerful intercessor for the Catholic faithful today, a beloved Saint and English Martyr.

Collecting the relics of the Martyrs
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions
Collecting relics and reverencing the Martyrs
© 2018 Mary's Dowry Productions
 Our film about Saint Alban Roe will be made available on DVD worldwide through our online shop:

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Saint Alban Roe - coming soon from Mary's Dowry Productions