Monday 25 June 2018

English Martyrs - Why are the English Martyrs so important for Catholics?

Why are the English Martyrs so important for Catholics?

St John Fisher
© Mary's Dowry Productions
English Martyrs. The English Martyrs give us an opportunity to remember some of our ancestors who willingly laid down their lives for their faith, Recalling their lives and accounts is an opportunity, too, to renew and strengthen our own faith in today's Church which is at once unchanging and also very different.

St Swithun Wells
© 2010 Mary's Dowry Productions
The Martyrs lived in times of religious persecution. Illustrations of the martyrs are not easy to come by. Some contemporary paintings exist in the English college at Valladolid, Spain, and there a few examples of stained glass windows dedicated to particular martyrs.

Blessed Margaret Pole
© Mary's Dowry Productions
The Martyrs were from every social class. Among them were highly educated men, prosperous landowners, sons and daughters from wealthy families, but there were also craftsmen, ordinary unskilled workers and serving men.

St Nicholas Owen
© Mary's Dowry Productions
Many of the priests came from well-to-do landed families. Francis Ingleby's home was Ripley Castle in Yorkshire, in the family's possession since the 14th century and still occupied by them today. Anthony Page was 'born of a gentleman's family' in Middlesex. But they came from the Yeoman class (landed people ranking below the gentry) too: Roger Cadwallador's father is described as 'a yeoman and man of substance.' There were professional and merchant classes a well, for instance, Thomas Bullaker's father was a medical doctor, Arthur Bell's father a lawyer, and Thomas More was the Chancellor of England.

St Thomas More
©Mary's Dowry Productions
St Thomas More
© Mary's Dowry Productions
 The laymen and women suffered mainly because they were closely involved with the hunted Catholic priests, helping them in one way or another with their ministry, such as Anne Line and Margaret Ward, Margaret Clitherow and Swithun Wells.

St Margaret Clitherow
© Mary's Dowry Productions
Jesuits and St Nicholas Owen
© Mary's Dowry Productions
St Margaret Ward
© Mary's Dowry Productions
St Swithun Wells
© Mary's Dowry Productions
Without the co-operation and assistance of such laymen and women, the priests simply could not function. Many 'received' the priests, to use the official legal term. They sheltered them in their homes and provided a base from which they could operate and where they could gather the faithful together with relative security for Mass and the Sacraments. These places were the 'safe houses' by means of which the underground Catholic Church of the time was able to survive.

The English Martyrs
© Mary's Dowry Productions
Thus Marmaduke Bowes in Yorkshire, even while still externally conforming to the Establish Church, gave hospitality to priests, to whom he 'opened his doors bountifully' and whom he 'received and entertained as gladly as any men could be'. His wife was brought before the Council of the North at York with him in 1585 on the charge of sheltering priests, but the case against her was not pursued.

The English Martyrs
After arrest the martyrs were carried off under guard and lodged in prison. Some of them spent just one short period in prison, a month or two awaiting trial; others were arrested and held captive more than once in the course of their ministry; others again were confined for years at a stretch.

The English Martyrs
St Robert Southwell
© Mary's Dowry Productions
English prisons in the 16th and 17th centuries were even less pleasant places that they are today and the martyrs confined in them had much to endure. Their gaolers treated them roughly and were often hostile to Catholics, though we do occasionally hear of sympathetic gaolers.

The English Martyrs
St Henry Morse
© Mary's Dowry Productions
Their fellow prisoners were murderers, thieves and criminals of all kinds, and no doubt their manners were often uncouth and their language coarse. The prison buildings were dark, forbidding places: the Tower of London, Newgate prison besides the Sessions House, old castles around the country like York Castle and Lancaster Castle.

St John Southworth
© Mary's Dowry Productions
In English winter the cold and damp must have been severe and the whole atmosphere gloomy and depressing. The food must have been bad and insufficient.
Dominican Robert Nutter spent 16 years of the 18 years he was on the English Mission in prison confinement. He was shackled with chains, tortured with a notorious instrument known as 'the Scavenger's daughter' and twice confined to an underground dungeon known as 'the pit'. He was deported but returned and spent several more years in London prisons. 16 years and 5 different prisons, with confinement in a dungeon and torture thrown in, all ending in death on the scaffold where he joyful offered his life and sufferings for the Catholic Faith.

English Martyr
St Polydore Plasden of Fleet Street, London
© Mary's Dowry Productions
English Martyrs
St Swithun Wells of Gray's Inn Lane, London
© Mary's Dowry Productions
It was dangerous to keep the memory of the martyrs alive on paper but accounts written found their way to English Catholic exiles on the continent and were preserved for us today.

Mary's Dowry Productions was established in 2007 with the desire to bring the memory of the lives of the English Martyrs to life through film. We have recreated film imagery of many of these Martyrs to assist in imagining the heroic missions, deeds and sacrifices that these great men and women of England offered for the Catholic Church.

English Martyrs
Several Martyrs at a secret Mass
© Mary's Dowry Productions
We were privileged to be present at the Beatification of the 85 Martyrs in Rome, 1987.

Blessed Margaret Pole
© Mary's Dowry Productions
The then Cardinal Basil Hume has left us some inspiring words about our English Martyrs;

English Martyr
St John Fisher - Bishop of Rochester
© Mary's Dowry Productions
"Several of these martyrs were lay people. They all lived in our land, walked the same fields and lanes, lived under the same skies and, to their contemporaries, appeared to be perfectly ordinary neighbours.

English Martyr
At the gallows
© Mary's Dowry Productions
 They show that sanctity is within the grasp of any of us.

English Martyr
St Edmund Campion arrives in England
© Mary's Dowry Productions
What was special about them was the way in which they were dedicated to Christ, steadfast in prayer and generous in the love and service they offered to their families, neighbours and friends.

English Martyr
On the rack
© Mary's Dowry Productions
The strength of their commitment to faith was stronger than all opposition, even death itself.

English Martyr
St Margaret Clitherow at The Shambles, York
© Mary's Dowry Productions
They are an inspiration to Christians of every Church in the daily following of Jesus Christ."
- Cardinal Basil Hume, 23rd February 1987.

The films of Mary's Dowry Productions have been broadcast on EWTN and Sky and featured on BBC. For a full listing visit:


Sunday 24 June 2018

Mary's Dowry Productions Website 24th June 2018

 will be down at for a couple of days as we make some important updates. These updates are to make viewing of our site and use of our online shop vastly improved on mobile devices.

Mary's Dowry Productions is also hosted at
which will not be affected by the updates.

All of our sites are the same design and content now with our original range of DVDs about the lives of the Saints and English Martyrs shipping globally.

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: