David Lewis (martyr)

David Lewis (Martyr)

David Lewis (martyr)

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David Lewis (1616 - 27 August 1679) was a Catholic priest and martyr. Lewis was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970 as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales and is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church.

Early life

Lewis was born at Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, in 1616 and raised as a Protestant.

At 16 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 Catholic priest. Three years later, he became a Jesuit.

Arrest and execution

He was arrested in November 1678, at Llantarnam in Monmouthshire, and condemned at the Assizes in Monmouth in March 1679 as a Catholic priest and for saying Catholic Masses. Like John Wall and John Kemble, he was then sent to London to be examined by Titus Oates (the originator of the Popish Plot) and others.

He was brought for trial at the Lenten Assizes in Monmouth on 16 March 1679. He was brought to the bar on a charge of high treason – for having become a Catholic priest and then remaining in England.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge of being an accessory to the Popish Plot, but five or six witnesses claimed they had seen him say Mass and perform other priestly duties. For this Lewis was found guilty and sentenced to death by Sir Robert Atkins. The condemned priest was brought to Newgate Prison in London with John Kemble (Herefordshire) and questioned about the "plot". Oates, William Bedloe, Dugdale and Prace were unable to prove...
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