The name of John Southworth will always hold a special place in the long list of the Blessed Martyrs who gave their lives for the preservation of the Faith of the Catholic Church in England. Of all those English Secular Priests who were martyred with such barbarous cruelty at Tyburn, of him alone do we possess the mortal remains. I t was to the interest of the persecutor that their mangled and dismembered bodies should be scattered to the winds, treated with every kind of ignominy, and forgotten as soon as possible. In the case of John Southworth, Providence intervened and has treasured for us the body which his soul made the instrument of heroic deeds of constancy, and of a glorious elide It is, at the same time, a lasting witness to the savage hatred shown by Protestant bigotry in those days to the champions of Catholic truth; a witness of special importance in these days when there is a tendency to gloss over the essential difference between Catholic and Protestant. When John Southworth lived and toiled and died, the difference was clearly known and fully acknowledged. In the case of every one of our Martyrs it is evident that, had they been willing to call them selves Protestants and give up the name of Catholic, to abjure the Mass and accept the Protestant 'Communion Service,' none would have been brought to trial for treason, or put to death as a traitor. The issue was a purely religious one, and the charge of treason a miserable subterfuge, devoid of proof of any kind, whereby Englishmen, than whom none were ever more loyal to their country, were doomed to death because they were determined to give to God the things that are God's whilst they gave all allegiance to Caesar in the things that are truly Caesar's. Father Purdie is the fully accredited witness of the finding in Douay, and of the bringing to England, of the body of the holy Martyr. With great care he has compiled the record of his life. In so doing he merits the thanks of all those, both Catholics and Protestants, who are desirous of knowing the real history of the religious changes in England.
Albert B Purdie, Brother Hermenegild TOSF, Paperback, ISBN 10: 1484818474, ISBN 13: 9781484818473