Bamber, Edward, Bl.

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Priest, martyr; alias Helmes, Reding, Reading, England; b. ca. 1600 at the Moor, Poulton-le-Fylde or at Carlton, Blackpool, Lancashire; d. Aug. 7, 1646, hanged, drawn, and quartered at Lancaster under Charles I. Many of the details of Bl. Edward's life are uncertain. He was educated abroad (Valladolid, Douai, or Seville and St. Omer). Following his ordination (1626), he was sent to England, where the governor of the castle observed him kneel down to thank God upon disembarkation at Dover. He was imprisoned, but soon released into exile.

He was probably chaplain at Standish Hall, near which he was arrested soon after his second return. En route to Lancaster Castle he was lodged at the Old-Green-Man Inn near Claughton-on-Brock, and managed to escape from his drunken keepers. A Mr. Singleton of Broughton Tower (who had been warned in a dream to help him), sheltered and assisted him during the next 16 years.

Arrested the third time (1643), Bamber was committed to Lancaster Castle, where he remained in close confinement for three years, escaped once, and was recaptured. At his trial with two other priests, BB. Thomas whitaker and John woodcock, two former Catholics testified that Bamber had administered the sacraments, and he was condemned to die.

Bamber, who was known for his zeal and courage in pastoral work, instruction, and disputation, suffered with great constancy. He reconciled to the Church a felon executed with him, and encouraged his fellow martyrs to die bravely.

An ode composed on his death is still extant. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on Nov. 22, 1987 with George Haydock and Companions.

Feast of the English Martyrs: May 4 (England).

See Also: england, scotland, and wales, martyrs of.

Bibliography: r. challoner, Memoirs of Missionary Priests, ed. j. h. pollen (rev. ed. London 1924). j. h. pollen, Acts of English Martyrs (London 1891).

[k. i. rabenstein]