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The Padley Story

The year of 1588 was a dark one for Catholicism in England.  It was High Treason for any priest ordained abroad to be in the Kingdom, and anyone harbouring such priests was liable to be put to death.

As fears of a Spanish Catholic invasion grew, persecution of recusants (people who refused to recognise the Queen's supreme religious authority in England) was increasing.  In the early morning of 12 July 1588, Padley Manor, the residence of the recusant John Fitzherbert was raided.  Two travelling priests – Nicholas Garlick and Robert Ludlam – were staying overnight.  The priests and everyone else in the Hall were arrested. Garlick and Ludlam along with another priest Richard Simpson, were brutely executed in Derby a fortnight later.

An annual Pilgrimage to Padley in honour of the martyrs began in 1898. (Follow this link for a report of the 2010 Pilgrimage led by Archbishop Vincent Nichols). In 1931 Mgr. Charles Payne of the Diocese of Nottingham bought the property and restored the building which , due to boundary changes, is now owned by the Diocese of Hallam.  In 1934 the altar stone, which had been hidden by the Fitzherbert family shortly before their arrest was discovered buried in the garden.  It was restored to its rightful place in what would have been the domestic chapel of the house and to its rightful place in a story of constancy and of those who bravely kept the light of their faith burning through the dark centuries.