Our Lady & St Joseph Saints & Martyrs

Our Saints and Martyrs

Both churches share a primary dedication to our Lady, Mary, Mother of Jesus. The second dedication at Warwick Square is to St Joseph the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus. At Warwick Bridge the secondary dedication is to a Saxon period saint: born in Northumberland in 634, St. Wilfrid was educated at Lindisfarne and then spent some time in Lyons and Rome. Returning to England, he was elected abbot of Ripon in 658 and introduced the Roman rules and practices in opposition to the Celtic ways of northern England. In 664, he was the architect of the definitive victory of the Roman party at the Conference of Whitby. He was appointed Bishop of York and after some difficulty finally took possession of his See in 669. He labored zealously and founded many monasteries of the Benedictine Order.

Our local martyr from the penal times of the Reformation period is Blessed Christopher Robinson. Blessed Christopher was born at Woodside, near Westward, Cumberland. He was admitted to the English College at Reims in 1589, and was ordained priest and sent on the English mission in 1592. Two years later he was a witness of the condemnation and execution of St John Boste at Durham and wrote a graphic account. His labours seem to have been mainly in Cumberland and Westmoreland, though details are unknown.

Eventually, he was arrested and imprisoned at Carlisle, by the Anglican Bishop John May. May’s successor, Henry Robinson, who may have been a relative, did his best to persuade him to save his life by conforming to the Church of England. Under the anti-Catholic laws passed by Queen Elizabeth I, which had outlawed Catholic priests from coming into the realm, he was condemned to death and executed.