Monday 1 February 2021

Saint Anne Line and the Feast of the Purification


Saint Anne Line was arrested in Elizabethan England on 2nd February 1601 when her house was raided during the feast of the Purification, also known as Candlemas. On this day a blessing of candles traditionally takes place before the Mass, and it was during this rite that the raiders burst in and made arrests. The priest, Fr Francis Page, managed to slip into a special hiding place prepared by Anne Line and afterwards to escape, but she was arrested.

She was tried at the Sessions House on Old Bailey Lane on 26 February 1601 and told the court that so far from regretting having concealed a priest, she only grieved that she "could not shelter a thousand more." Sir John Popham, the judge, sentenced her to death for the felony of assisting a seminary priest. Saint Anne Line was hanged on 27th February 1601.

She was executed immediately before two priests, Fr. Roger Filcock and Fr. Mark Barkworth, who received the more severe sentence of hanging, drawing and quartering. At the scaffold she repeated what she had said at her trial, declaring loudly to the bystanders: "I am sentenced to die for harbouring a Catholic priest, and so far I am from repenting for having so done, that I wish, with all my soul, that where I have entertained one, I could have entertained a thousand."

The lives of the English Martyrs in film from Mary's Dowry Productions - 'Saint Anne Line: The Safe House Keeper' produced 2010, more here: 

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