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David Lewis




St. David Lewis, one of the Catholic Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. He was born at Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, in 1616 and raised as a Protestant. At sixteen years of age, while visiting Paris, he converted to Catholicism and subsequently went to study in Rome, where in 1642 he was ordained as a priest. Three years later he became a Jesuit.

In 1647 he returned home and, for over thirty years, worked in South Wales, with his base at the Cwm, a hamlet located in Herefordshire, which is sheltered between the high ridges of the Welsh Black Mountains to the west and Malvern Hills to the east. At the Cym, the Jesuits maintained two remote farmhouses, which also functioned as a shelter for hunted priests.

He was arrested in November 1678, at Llantarnan in Monmouthshire, and condemned as a Roman Catholic priest and for saying Catholic masses at the Assizes in Monmouth in March 1679. Like St John Wall and St John Kemble, he was then sent to London to be examined by Titus Oates (the originator of the Popish Plot) and others. He was finally brought back to Usk in Monmouthshire for his execution by hanging, drawing and quartering on 27 August 1679. After the Titus Oates affair (1679-80) the remaining Welsh-speaking Catholic clergy were either executed or exiled.

Together with St. John Wall, St. John Kemble and 37 other martyrs, St. David Lewis was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970 as the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.


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