Today we celebrate the Campion Day Mass. This year, we are unable to be together as a school community today, but everyone is taking part spiritually from their Playrooms. It is wonderful to share this special liturgy with the wider Stonyhurst Family through technology.

Campion Day has been celebrated here at Stonyhurst since 1886 - the year when Edmund Campion was made a saint. Part of this tradition is the procession of the relics to the altar of St Peter’s Church by the Heads of the Line.

Here is the reliquary which contains the rope which tied Edmund Campion to the wicker hurdle which dragged him from the Tower of London to Tyburn on 1 December 1581 to be executed for his Catholic faith and for being a Jesuit Priest.

The rope was smuggled out of England to Rome, where it was presented to Robert Persons SJ who became the Founder of the English College in St Omers – now Stonyhurst. His picture takes pride of place in the Top Ref. The rope clearly meant a great deal to Persons, as he wore it around his waist until he died in 1610. From that point it has been associated with St Omers College and thereafter with Stonyhurst.

These are the words of Campion himself from 1581, the year he was executed:

‘I have no more to say but to recommend your case and mine to Almighty God,

the Searcher of Hearts,

who send us his grace,

and see us at accord before the day of payment,

to the end we may at last be friends in heaven,

when all injuries shall be forgotten.’