St Swithun Wells

In the 16 Century, Brambridge in Hampshire (UK) was in the hands of the Roman Catholic family of Wells, who seem to have had numerous retainers at Highbridge, Allbrook, and Boyatt.

Swithun Wells was born in Brambridge about 1536. He was the youngest of the five or six sons of Thomas Wells.

For six years (probably 1576-82) he kept a school for young gentlemen at Monkton Farleigh, Wiltshire.

Swithun Wells made Brambridge a refuge for priests, and two or three masses were said in his house each day.

He went later to London in 1585 and took a house in Grays Inn Lane, near Holborn, where on November 1st 1591, Topcliffe, the priest-catcher, broke in on Father Genings and a number of others saying mass. Swithun was not with them but was arrested when he returned home.

Gennings and Wells were executed on 10th December 1591 at Gray's Inn Lane, opposite Wells house and another five were executed at Tyburn.

His last words were of pardon to his persecutor, Topcliffe: "God pardon you and transform you from Saul to Paul. . .I heartily forgive you."

Mrs. Wells was reprieved, and died in prison in 1602