Saint of the Day – 4 May – St Richard Reynolds OSsS (c 1492-1535) Martyr, Monk of the Bridgettine Order (the Order of the Most Holy Saviour (Ordo Sanctissimi Salvatoris – abbreviated OSsS). St Richard was the first man to refuse the oath of supremacy of the King over the Church and the Pope. Born IN 1492 in Devon, England and died by being hanged, drawn and quartered on 4 May 1535 at Tyburn, London, England. Additional Memorial – 25 October of one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. Patronages – of St Richard Reynolds Catholic College in Twickenham. The College is the federation of St Richard Reynolds Catholic High School and the new St Richard Reynolds Catholic Primary School. Beatified on 29 December 1886 by Pope Leo XIII (cultus confirmed) and Canonised on 4 May 1970 by Pope Paul VI (Decree of Martyrdom).
Richard Reynolds was a Bridgettine Monk of the Syon Abbey, founded in Twickenham by Henry V. He was born in Devon in C 1492, educated at Corpus Christi, Cambridge, and joined the Bridgettine Abbey in 1513. Cardinal Pole is quoted as saying that Reynolds was the only English Monk well-versed in the three principal languages of Latin, Greek and Hebrew.
Dom Hamilton is of the opinion that as Reynolds was the most renowned spiritual counselor of the Syon community, he would have likely been consulted by Elizabeth Barton, the Holy Maid of Kent, who had been executed at Tyburn almost a year prior for speaking out against the King’s marriage to Anne Boleyn. Richard had previously arranged a meeting between Elizabeth Barton and St Thomas More. It was his connection to Barton that particularly compromised Richard in the view of the Crown officers.
Richard was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower around the middle of April 1535, along with the Carthusian Priors John Houghton, Robert Lawrence and Augustine Webster (a monk of Sheen Priory in Richmond). All four were tried for the denial of the royal supremacy of Henry VIII.
Against Reynolds, there was the additional charge of attempting to dissuade people from submitting to the King’s authority over the Church. A witness claimed that Richard had stated, that the “Dowager Princess” (Queen Catherine of Aragorn) was the true Queen. Richard denied that he had declared an opinion against the King, except in confession, as compelled thereto. The practice of suborning penitents to accuse their confessors was another evil method of arresting and subjecting Catholics to deny their Faith.
All four were executed on 4 May 1535 by drawing and quartering at Tyburn Tree in London, after being dragged through the streets. Also Martyred with them on that day, was Blessed John Haile the Parish Priest of Isleworth . The quarters of the body of St. Richard – the first man to refuse the oath – were chopped to pieces and hung in different parts of London.