Archive for Martyrdom

24 July 1588 – Blessed Nicholas Garlick

Posted in Death penalty, Hanged, drawn & quartered, Martyred with tags , , , , , on July 24 by Last Writes

‘Seducing’ the Queen’s subjects, that’s what Nicholas Garlick was found guilty of in 1588. Sadly his crimes were not racy as they sound.

Rome, if you want to

A priest by trade, he was a Catholic through and through, and despite harsh laws against anyone found spreading his religion, Garlick contrived to commit the cardinal sin.

As we’ve mentioned in relation to likes of Margaret Pole about 40-odd years beforehand, England was in the throes of the Reformation – which included a move away from the Pope towards Protestantism.

With the monarch (Elizabeth I) catapulted in to the prestigious religious top slot, the pro-Pope Catholics were in a tailspin.

But, hey, you can’t keep a good Catholic down and Garlick found illicit ways and means to spread the word.

Chopped and diced

Needless to say, the law eventually caught up with the 33ish-year-old and Garlick was roasted by his interrogators, alongside two other priests by the names of Robert Ludlam and Richard Simpson.

According to various sources devoted to Catholicism, the trio was found guilty and sentenced to death for heresy: ‘That you and each of you be carried to the place from whence you came, and from thence be drawn on a hurdle to the place of execution, and be there severally hanged, but cut down while you are alive; that your privy members be cut off; that your bowels be taken out and burnt before your faces; that your heads be severed from your bodies; that your bodies be divided into four quarters, and that your quarters be at the Queen’s disposal; and the Lord have mercy on your souls.’

The very next day, the priests were strung up, before being rudely relieved of their bits and bowels, which were burned in front of them, then what was left was quartered.

Bits and bods

Their various bits were then strewn about Derby in a bid to put any would-be supporters off the thought of pursuing the same religion.

Apparently Garlick was still conscious when the second bit excruciatingly took place, but he, indeed all three met their fates so stoically that they were posthumously promoted to martyrs – the road to being blessed ended in 1987, when John Paul II successfully beautified them.

Also on this day

24 July 1923 – William Griffiths

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9 June 1716 – Baba Banda Singh Bahadur

Posted in Beheaded, Death penalty with tags , , on June 9 by Last Writes

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur A Sikh man, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, stuck out as a heroic revolutionary amid a backdrop of oppression in 18th-century Northern India. He fought for the Punjabi people inspired by his guru and his deep-set beliefs, and met a painfully bloody end for his insurrection. Now he’s hailed as a martyr to the cause and a full-blown hero of the day.

Sikh to the back teeth

Why? Basically, Banda was fighting against Mughal-Muslim rule, which had a habit of executing, by fair means and foul, key gurus, whom the Sikhs revered. Incensed by this ill-treatment, he rose up in arms against his enemies and managed to enlist the help of fellow Sikhs.

He managed to get up the Mughal-Muslims’ noses and it wasn’t long before they declared Jihad on Banda. The problem was that they were way more equipped than Banda’s men. While Banda had the numbers, the troops were made up of townsfolk and so only carried spears, bows and arrows and swords etc.

Khan get no satisfaction

The opposers, while lower in number, had guns, cannons and archers, besides which the army was trained to do the job. Couple that with horses and elephants, and you remember that scene from ‘Lord of the Rings: Return of the King’, when those huge mammoth-like creatures turn up and start taking side-swipes at the heroes? Yep, like that, the odds were grim. Under the helm of Wazir Khan the Mughal-Muslims were a full-on force against the disadvantaged Sikhs.

Nevertheless they clashed and, thanks to superb tactics, the underdogs won the day – they even bumped off Khan and stuck his head on a spear, revelling in the heady victory.

Banda on the run

In a seemingly unstoppable advance, Banda set forth as far as Lahore amassing disgruntled inhabitants and swelling his numbers as he went. But it was there that things started to turn a bit spicy. His antics had caught the attention of the belligerent Emperor Shah, who started passing laws against Sikhs and ordering them to be killed.

This forced Banda up into hiding in the hills where he got married and even had a kid. But the militant in him mobilised and he was off to fight the good fight pretty sharpish. The problem was that he was too outnumbered this time – they held out for about eight months before the sheer force of the opposition caused the Sikhs to buckle.

Banda was captured following a bloodbath. Roughly 740 men were taken prisoner and the near enough the same again were beheaded and their decapitated heads were carted off as proof of the Mughal-Muslims’ successes, while another couple of hundred were stuck on spikes.

As they entered Delhi, each solider had a head stuck on his bayonet, and the executions en mass began. The leaders of the insurrection were given the choice – turn to Islam or face death. They chose death.

Child torture

But the captors saved the worst fate for Banda and his four-year-old son. First they tortured the little boy in front of his dad, then they asked Banda to stab his own child to death. Naturally, Banda wouldn’t have a bar of it so they did it for him, right there in front of him.

They then turned to the man himself and the torture began. They stuck a dagger in his right eye and out popped his eyeball, then the left promptly followed. What happened next is a quote from a number of sources:

“The cruel devil then took his sword and slashed off Banda’s left foot, then both his arms. But Banda’s features were still calm as if he was at peace with his Creator. Finally they tore off his flesh with red-hot pincers, and there being nothing else left in their book of tortures, they cut his body up into a hundred pieces, and were satisfied.”

He was ultimately decapitated, aged around 56 years old, and left to languish in Sikh minds as a hero of the day.

If you can’t get enough of the gory details, check out write-ups from authors such as: Thornton, Elphinstone, Mohammed Harisi, Daneshwar, Khafi Khan to name a few.

Also on this day

9 June 1939 – Ray Anderson

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5 June 851 – St Sancho – a Martyr of Córdoba

Posted in Death penalty, Impaled, Martyred with tags , , , , , on June 5 by Last Writes

St Sancho (aka Sanctius or Sancius) was just one of a barrage of executions in Spain, who made up the Martyrs of Córdoba spanning the mid-800s.

He was one of 48 people who spoke out against Muslim rule. In doing so, they were all killed for their Christian beliefs. He, in particular, had been a prisoner of war and the soldier died for refusing to take on the Islamic faith.

Deemed fanatics by their own side, what hope did these people have? They were all found guilty of blasphemy and sentenced, in the main, to be beheaded.

Sancho skewered

What sets our man apart from the droves is that he was impaled. We’re not sure why he earned a different sentence to the others – maybe it was because he was the only soldier among them. The other were priests, nuns, deacons and laypeople – but as an early example and one who bucked the trend, we’ve chosen St Sancho to represent the other martyrs.

However, one thing they did all have in common is that they publically chose Christianity above the Muslim faith – some spoke out against Muhammad, while others, born of mixed marriages, chose Christianity over their equally inherent Islamic faith.

Also on this day

5 June 1805 – William Field and John Gregory

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