Plasden, Polydore, St.

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London martyr of 1591; b. probably London, 1563;d. there, Dec. 10, 1591. He is thought to have been the son of a humble craftsman. After studies at the English College formerly at Douai, then at Rheims, he was ordained in Rome in 1586. In the same year he signed the oath "to proceed to England for the salvation of souls," and in 1588 he did so. Little is known of his movements in the next few years, but possibly he labored in Sussex. In November of 1591, he was in London with Bl. Edmund gennings and was in the house of Swithun wells when agents of the English government discovered them during the celebration of Mass. Plasden and Gennings, as Roman priests, were tried and sentenced for high treason; the others were condemned for aiding and abetting them. During his trial, Plasden defended his priestly calling. Later, on the scaffold, he protested his loyalty to Queen Elizabeth while remaining faithful to his religious convictions. Sir Walter Raleigh, who supervised the execution, ordered leniency, directing that he be hanged until dead before the process of dismembering began. Plasden was beatified in 1929 and canonized on Oct. 25, 1970, as one of the martyrs of england, scotland, and wales.

Feast: Dec. 10; Oct. 25; May 4.

Bibliography: r. challoner, Memoirs of Missionary Priests, ed. j. h. pollen (rev. ed. London 1924). j. gennings, Life and Death of Ven. Edmund Gennings (London 1887). Publications of the Catholic Record Society 5:131133, 204208. j. h. pollen, Acts of English Martyrs (London 1891) 98126.

[a. m. c. forster]