The Martyrs' Plaque in the Cathedral carries the names of two priests who were executed because of their priesthood in Lancaster on this day in 1600: Blessed Robert Nutter and Blessed Edward Thwing.
Blessed Robert Nutter
Canon Billington writes, "[Robert Nutter], a Burnley man, was brother of Ven. John Nutter, who suffered [martyrdom] at Tyburn in 1584, and had himself been prisoner in the Tower about that time. Being sent into banishment, he returned and was then imprisoned at Wisbech from 1587 to 1600. Escaping, he went to Lancashire, where he was captured a tird time, sent to the assizes, and executed. 'He was a man of strong body but of a stronger soul, who rather despised than conquered death; and went before his companion to the gallows with as much cheerfulness and joy as if he had been going to a feast, to the astonishment of the spectators.' "
Blessed Edward Thwing
"Thwing was of a Yorkshire family, a man of admirable meekness and patience, suffering long with a painful infirmity. He was sent to the English mission in 1597, and laboured diligently till his arrest in 1600. He was condemned, and suffered with great constancy." Canon Billington then goes on to quote two letters written by Edward Thwing to Dr. Worthington, the president of the seminary at Douai; the letters were earlier published by historian Bishop Challoner. This short extract is very revealing: "This day the judges come to Lancaster, where I am in expectation of a happy death, if it so please God Almighty... I shall, if God makes me worthy, conclude an unhappy life with a most happy death... From Lancaster castle, the 21st day of July this holy year 1600."