Burnley KSC plaque commemorates Catholic martyrs

(From left): Ray Williamson (Past Provincial Grand Knight), Rev Fr Peter Hopkinson, Steve Hird, and Trevor Ireland (Grand Knight KSC Burnley Council).
(From left): Ray Williamson (Past Provincial Grand Knight), Rev Fr Peter Hopkinson, Steve Hird, and Trevor Ireland (Grand Knight KSC Burnley Council).

The Burnley Council of the Knights of St Columba have a commissioned a plaque in St Mary's Church to commemorate three Burnley-born Catholic martyrs.

The brainchild of Steve Hird, the Council's Welfare Officer, the plaque is located between the Towneley Chapel and the main altar, and pays tribute to Blessed John Nutter, Blessed Robert Nutter, and Blessed Thomas Whittaker.

Steve said: "The Catholic Martyrs of Lancashire has always been of interest to me and I have noticed, when visiting Catholic churches in the Wigan area, memorials to Edmund Arrowsmith and George Haydock.

"I was aware that Burnley had three Martyrs, so I put the idea of a Memorial to Council 110 who were very supportive," Steve added. "Michael Kilburn did some research on dates of Martyrdom and a St Mary's parishioner, Elaine Ashton, helped with design."

After the finished article was shown to Father Peter Hopkinson (Parish Priest at St Mary's) and he had agreed to have it fixed in church, the memorial was dedicated and blessed at the Mass for the Feast of St Columba.

The plaque reads:

"In commemoration of the Burnley Martyrs:

Blessed John Nutter who died on 12 February 1584 and was beatified in 1928.

Blessed Robert Nutter who died on 26 July 1600 and was beatified in 1987.

Blessed Thomas Whittaker who died on 7 August 1646 and was beatified in 1987.

All of whom suffered martyrdom for their adherence to the word of God and their Catholic faith."