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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Saint JOHN KEMBLE, Priest, 1679



HE was eighty years old, and had toiled on the Mission for fifty-four years, when he was taken at Pembridge Castle, Herefordshire, by Captain Scudamore.

Disguised altar used at Pembridge Castle

Though warned of his coming seizure, he said, "As he had but a few years to live he would gain by suffering for the faith, and therefore would not abscond. He was committed to Hereford gaol, ordered up to London, and thence back to Hereford. In this last journey he suffered terribly from a painful malady, which necessitated him riding sideways. In prison he was frequently visited by Captain Scudamore's children, and he gave them many good things, their father being, he said, his best friend. On the scaffold he said, " It will be expected I should say something; but as I am an old man it cannot be much. Not having any concern in the plot, neither believing there is any, I die only for the old Roman Catholic religion, which first made England Christian, and whosoever would be saved must die therein. I beg pardon of all I have offended, and forgive those that have caused my death." From the local tradition that he smoked on his long walk to the gallows, the last pipe of the evening has been called the "Kemble pipe."

" Old age is a crown of dignity when it is found in the ways of justice."—PROV. xvi. 31.

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