Powell, Edward, Bl.

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Theologian, priest, and martyr; b. Wales, c. 1478; d. hanged, drawn, and quartered at Smithfield (London), July 30, 1540. Powell, a fellow of Oriel College, Oxford (1495), earned his master's and doctorate in theology (1506) at Oxon. He was sometime rector of Bleadon, Somerset, and held a number of prebends.

King Henry VIII, who regarded Powell highly, ordered the priest to publish a reply to Martin luther. This took the form of a dialogue in three books entitled Propugnaculum summi Sacerdotii Evangelici, ac septem Sacramentorum, aeditum per virum eruditum, sacrarum literarum professorem Edoardum Poelum adversus Maratinum Lutherum fratrem famosum et Wiclifistan insignem (London 1523), which won praise from the University of Oxford.

Powell was among those theologians selected to defend the legality of the marriage of Catherine of Aragon in the royal divorce proceedings. In connection with this, he wrote the Tractatus de non dissolvendo Henrici Regis cum Catherina matrimonio (London). Powell debated Hugh Latimer, then fell into further disfavor by denouncing Henry's marriage to Anne Boleyn.

He was discharged from the proctorship of Salisbury in January 1534. Upon refusing to take the Oath of Succession (November 1534), he was attainted for high treason along with Bishop John Fisher of Rochester, deprived of his benefices, and imprisoned in the Tower of London. Following a six-year confinement, he was executed together with BB. Thomas abell and Richard fethers ton. They were beatified by Pope Leo XIII on Dec. 29, 1886.

Feast of the English Martyrs: May 4 (England); July 30 (Wales).

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

Bibliography: r. challoner, Memoirs of Missionary Priests, ed. j. h. pollen (rev. ed. London 1924; repr. Farnborough 1969). j. h. pollen, Acts of English Martyrs (London 1891).

[k. i. rabenstein]