Visiting Ss. John Fisher and Thomas More.

June 22 is the feast of Ss. John Fisher and Thomas More, a key date in the life of the Patrimony. Pilgrims wishing to visit sites and shrines associated with them may find the following useful. Although St. John Fisher’s cathedral at Rochester is worth visiting, do not expect to see much about him there, although they have revived remembrance of St. William of Perth, a pre-Reformation saint (Nicholas Ridley, an Anglican bishop executed treason after supporting Lady Jane Grey against Queen Mary I IS heavly commemorated, however). Nearby, however,  is the beautiful Catholic church of St. John Fisher. The bodies of the two Saints are interred together – although unmarked – in the Tower of London’s Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula, near Tower Green where they were martyred. St. John Fisher’s head is buried under the floor near the entrance of the church of All Hallows by the Tower, while St. Thomas More’s is St. Dunstan’s, Canterbury.

St. Thomse More is well remembered in London’s Chelsea. Chelsea Old Church was his parish church: the only thing to survive its bombing in the Blitz was the altar-tomb commissioned for his family by the Saint. The local Catholic church partly commemorates him, and while his house is gone, its space is occupied by the Archdiocesan Seminary, Allen Hall – in their backyard remains the mulberry tree around which the More family used to play. By sheerest happenstance, an earlier  residence of the family was moved from Bishopsgate to the neigbourhood in the early 20th century.

If you find yourself in London, do visit the Martyrs’ shrine at Tyburn Convent, where relics of many of the hundreds of Catholics judicially murdered for our Faith can be venerated. Be sure to check with Catholic History Walks whenever planning a trip to London. Not only is chief guide Joanna Bogle a wealth of information and a lot of fun, she is a brilliant writer and a great friend of the Ordinariates.

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