“Campion went to the local grammar school and then, age 12, to the new Christ’s Hospital school for orphans and the poor. In August 1553, he was chosen to make a ceremonial address to Queen Mary as she passed through London. Campion was able academically and went to St John’s College, Oxford, at the age of 15 (which was not unusual in those days). He was awarded his degree in 1564 and became a Fellow of the University. In 1566, he was again chosen to make a formal speech of welcome before the new Queen, Elizabeth I, when she visited Oxford. Much impressed with Campion, Elizabeth ensured he had friends and patrons at Court.”
… [things went downhill, and he fled to France]
“Campion was persuaded, against his better judgement, to join the new mission to England. On 16th June 1580, Fr Robert Persons SJ landed at Dover as the Superior of the new mission. On 24th June, Campion followed, disguised as a jewel merchant. Campion moved between the houses of Catholics (the Recusants) who practiced their religion in secret. At one such house, Lyford Grange in Oxfordshire, he was betrayed and arrested on 17th July 1581, barely a year after he had set foot in England.
“He was imprisoned and tortured in the Tower of London and tried at Westminster Hall in November 1581. Condemned for treason, he was dragged on a hurdle to Tyburn where he was martyred with Fr Alexander Briant SJ and Fr Ralph Sherwin. He was hanged and then, before he was dead, his genitals cut off, his entrails ripped out and burned before him, his head hacked off and his body quartered.” Age 41.
This story coincides with the entry titled, Shakespeare’s Recusancy.
For a complete list of the English martyrs, which includes Southwell, visit