Lawrence, Robert, St.
LAWRENCE, ROBERT, ST.
Carthusian martyr; b. probably in Dorsetshire, date unknown; d. Tyburn, May 4, 1535. He received his LL.B. degree from Cambridge in 1508, and, according to Thomas Wriothesley, Earl of Southhampton, was once chaplain to the Duke of Norfolk. After his profession at the London Charterhouse, he succeeded Bl. John houghton as prior of Beauvale (1531). At the appearance of the decree of May 15, 1535, announcing Henry VIII as Supreme Head of the English Church, Lawrence went to London for the advice of Prior Houghton. He accompanied Houghton and Bl. Augustine webster, Prior of Axholme, in a visit to Thomas Cromwell for a modified form of the decree that they could accept in conscience. They were imprisoned in the Tower together with Bl. Richard Reynolds, a Bridgettine of Syon. On April 20 they were examined by royal commissioners and sent to Westminster Hall for trial. They pleaded innocent of any seditious opposition to the king, but were declared guilty by a jury that hesitated for two days until compelled to act by Cromwell. On May 4 in the company of Bl. John Haile, the aged vicar of Isleworth, these protomartyrs were set on hurdles and dragged to Tyburn, where they suffered the penalty of treason. They were hanged, cut down while alive, eviscerated, and quartered. In 1936 a benefactor attributing his restoration to health to Lawrence's intercession erected a small chapel in the Catholic church at Eastwood near Beauvale, to which the former altarstone of Beauvale priory was restored in 1940. The ruins of Lawrence's lodging are still preserved.
Feast: May 4; Oct. 25.
Bibliography: Contemporary accounts by m. chauncy, "DeB.B. Martyribus Carthusiensibus in Anglia," ed. f. van ortroy, Analecta Bollandiana 14 (1895) 268–283; "Martyrum Monachorum Carthusianorum in Anglia Passio minor," ed. f. van ortroy, ibid. 22 (1903) 51–78; Passion and Martyrdom of the Holy English Carthusian Fathers, tr. a. f. radcliffe (New York 1936). l. hendriks, London Charterhouse, Its Monks and Its Martyrs (London 1889). e. m. thompson, The Carthusian Order in England (New York 1930). l. e. whatmore, Blessed Carthusian Martyrs (London 1962).
[l. e. whatmore]