Saint of the Day – 30 June – Blessed Philip Powell OSB (1594 – 1646) Priest, Martyr, Benedictine Monk – born on 2 February 1594 in Tralon, Brecknockshire, England and died by being hang, drawn and quartered on 30 June 1646 at Tyburn, London, England. He is also remembered on 4 May with the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. Also known as – Philip Morgan, Philip Powel, Philip Prosser.
Philip Powell was the son of Roger and Catherine Powell (nee Morgan) and was brought up to the law by David Baker, afterwards Dom Augustine Baker OSB. At the age of sixteen he became a student in the Temple, London but went to Douai three or four years later to study for the Priesthood.
He was Ordained a Priest in 1618 and was professed a Monk on 15 August 1619, having studied under Dom Leander Jones OSB. He was next made Cellarer of St Gregory’s Monastery, Douai and then was sent on the English mission on 7 March 1622. He lived with Dom Baker OSB for sixteen months in Gray’s Inn Lane, London. For the following twenty years he was Chaplain to various families in Devon and Somerset until the Civil War broke out.
After serving as a Chaplain to Royalist troops, he tried to make his way to Monmouthshire in 1646. He was arrested off the Mumbles on 22 February 1646 by Capt Crowther, who kept him confined in his ship for two months in Penarth Roads and then sent him by sea to London. There he was confined in St Catherine’s Gaol, Southwark, where the harsh treatment he received brought on a severe attack of pleurisy.
His trial, which had been fixed for 30 May, did not take place till 9 June, at Westminster Hall. He was found guilty of being a Catholic Priest and was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn.
It is recorded that when informed of his death sentence, Powell exclaimed “Oh what am I, that God thus honours me and will have me to die for His sake?” and called for a glass of sack (or sherry).
At the instance of the Common Council of London, his head and quarters were not exposed but were buried in the old churchyard at Moorfields.
The Martyr’s Crucifix, which had formerly belonged to Feckenham, last Abbot of Westminster, is preserved at Downside, with some of his hair and a cloth stained with his blood.
He was Beatified by Pope Pius XI on 15 December 1929.