Henry Garnet SJ 1555-1606
Henry Garnet SJ 1555-1606, with Garnet's Straw, on which is blood fell at this execution, transforming it miraculously with his image

Henry Garnet SJ

Henry Garnet was born in 1555 in Derbyshire. He travelled to Rome to become a Jesuit in 1575 and after studying and teaching for 11 years, returned as a missionary to England in 1586,a period of extreme danger for Catholics.  Garnet’s brethren were regularly betrayed and arrested, tortured and executed.  Victims included Robert Southwell, with whom Garnet had travelled to England, and William Weston, the only other Jesuit in England at the time of his return.  Garnet thus became superior of the English mission.   He ministered secretly to recusant Catholics, moving from safe house to safe house at great risk, to celebrate the sacraments and the principal liturgical events.  When he became aware of plots against the Crown, he consistently advised against them.  In 1604 he told the authorities of what became known as the Bye Plot, foiled mainly through his intervention.  A year later he became aware of the much more serious Gunpowder Plot through information given under the seal of confession.  Once all the main conspirators had been tried and condemned and therefore unable to given evidence, Garnet, with four companions, was finally captured at Hindlip Hall, Worcestershire.  He was tried and executed in May 1606, despite lack of any evidence that he was a conspirator.