St Richard Reynolds feast day was celebrated
on Thursday, 5th May. There was a memorial
Mass at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament,
Heavitree, Exeter (EX1 2QJ) at 9.30am followed
by refreshments in the Richard Reynolds Centre.
St Richard was a Bridgettine monk of Syon
Abbey who, in 1535, was the first man to refuse
to take the Oath of Supremacy making King
Henry VIII the supreme head of the Church in
He was executed at Tyburn on 4th May 1535 by
being hung, drawn and quartered. The quarters
of his body were chopped to pieces and hung in
different parts of London including upon the
gateway of Syon Abbey itself at Twickenham.
The actual ornate section of gateway was
preserved by the monastic community of Syon
and is now in the Martyrs' Chapel at Blessed
Sacrament, Exeter alongside a terracotta plaque
of the saint by sculptor, Geoffrey Preston.
In the Richard Reynolds Centre there was also
a display of the new English edition of the
Syon Breviary, recently published to
celebrate the 600th anniversary of the
foundation of Syon Abbey in 1415 by King
Henry V. The display was also in the
Martyrs' Chapel at all Masses the following
weekend and copies of this lovely prayer book,
the 'Daily Office of Our Lady', will be available
to buy with any profit going to the parish.
Parish priest, Fr Jonathan Stewart said, "We
commemorate the martyrdom of St Richard
Reynolds not only for his fidelity to the Church
but also because we believe he was a member of
the Reynolds family who lived nearby at Pinhoe,
where he was born in 1492.
"Any proceeds from the sale of the Syon
Breviary," he added, "will go towards restoring
the Reynolds plaque by Geoffrey Preston, which
is in need of a little repair."
ABOVE: The ornate piece of Syon Abbey's gateway, which bore part of the body of St Richard Reynolds after his martyrdom,
now rests in the Martyrs' Chapel at Blessed Sacrament Church, Heavitree, Exeter
alongside the saint's memorial wall plaque by sculptor, Geoffrey Preston.
Saint Richard, one of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales, was canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1970.
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