A Commemoration to the Three East Grinstead Martyrs

A Commemoration to the Three East Grinstead Martyrs

On a perfect summer’s evening on Monday 18th July the people of East Grinstead gathered outside Broadley Brothers in the High Street to pay their respects to the Three Protestant Martyrs. 

In some ways it was a stark reminder that 460 years ago to the very day, 18th July 1556, we were standing at the very spot where these brave people were burned at the stake for upholding their Protestant faith; “Faithful unto death”.

Of course, for the congregation of St. Swithun’s we are familiar with their history, how (Mother) Ann Tree, Thomas Dungate and John Forman were put to death for refusing to participate in the catholic mass which Mary I had instituted on her accession to the throne.

 We were reminded that many Catholics had suffered a similar fate when Henry VIII had begun the reformation and indeed that such politico-religious persecution continued into the reign of Queen Elizabeth I; and that sadly is still taking place in some countries in our world today.

At the time of their death in 1556 the town’s population stood at around 300 souls, it was heartening that so many current townsfolk, somewhere near that number,  were present at the unveiling of the plaque commemorating their sacrifice.


 The Greensted Singers sang a number of Tudor madrigals during which the Brownies hung friendship bracelets onto a Tree of Remembrance; and the local Soroptomists read some appropriate poetry. 

The evening closed with prayers and blessings led by the Revd. Canon Julia Peaty and Father Steven Purnell of Our Lady and St. Peter’s Church.

Finally, East Grinstead Town Mayor Bob Mainstone unveiled the memorial plaque which is situated on the wall of Broadly Brother’s shop in the High Street.

For more information on the East Grinstead Martyrs click ‘here’ to read a full report from our website

Lynn Ellis 

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