MORE than 50 people who were martyred in York dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries have been remembered at a special ceremony.

The men and women, who were killed for their political, economic or religious views, were the subject of a special service at York Tyburn, on Knavesmire and close to Tadcaster Road.

About 50 people turned out to remember the matyrs’ sacrifice. The event was organised by the Knights of St Columba 95, a Catholic lay organisation.

The prayers were led by Father John Bane, of English Martyrs’ RC Church, in Dalton Terrace.

Fr Bane told the congregation: “One person’s actions can have tremendous effect on other people; in this case for a sad end, but in many cases, thankfully, to a good end.”

The congregation prayed for all Christians persecuted for their faith today, including people in regions of conflict including Syria.

Among the names read out during the service were those of George Errington, William Knight, and William Gibson, who befriended a former minister in prison, and tried to help him return to the Catholic church. The three were hung, drawn and quartered in 1596, and their heads displayed on Micklegate Bar.

Others remembered in the service were Thomas Percy, Earl of Northumberland, who was beheaded under Elizabeth I, and Nicholas Postgate, known as Martyr of the Moors, who lived and worked in Ryedale and the North York Moors, and was one of the last Catholics to be executed for their faith in England in 1679.

Martyrs remembered

The martyrs: John Rochester, priest, Carthusian; James Walworth, priest, Carthusian monk; Robert Aske, leader of the Pilgrimage of Grace; Thomas Percy, Earl of Northumberland; William Lacy, priest; Richard Kirkham, priest; James Thompson (alias Hudson), priest; William Hart, priest; Richard Thirkeld, priest; Hugh Taylor, priest; Marmaduke Bowes, layman; Margaret Clitherow , laywoman; Francis Ingelby, priest; Robert Bickerdyke, layman; John Finglow, priest; Edmund Sykes, priest; George Douglas, priest; Alexander Crow, priest; Edward Burden, priest; John Amias (alias Anne); Robert Dalby, priest; William Spencer, priest; Robert Hadesty, layman; Robert Thorpe, priest; Thomas Watkinson, layman; Anthony Page, priest; Edward Osbaldeston, priest; Alexander Rawlins (alias Feriman), priest; Henry Walpole, Jesuit priest; George Errington, layman; William Knight, layman; William Gibson, layman; Henry Abbott, layman; William Anlaby, layman; Thomas Warcop, layman; Edward Fulthro, layman; John Bretton, layman; Peter Snow, priest; Ralph Grimston, layman; Richard Horner, priest; Christopher Wharton, priest; James Harrison, priest; Anthony Bates, layman; Thomas Welbourne, layman; John Fulthering, layman; Matthew Flathers, priest; Thomas Atkinson, priest; John Lockwood, priest; Edmund Catherick; Brian Cansfield, priest (killed by Puritans); Nicholas Postgate, priest; Thomas Twing