About Blessed Peter Snow

Blessed Peter Snow

Peter Snow

Blessed Peter Snow was born at or near Ripon. He belonged to a prominent family. Peter Snow arrived at the English College, Reims, on 17 April 1589. He became a priest on 31 March 1591. Six weeks later he set off for England and returned to Yorkshire.

Peter Snow was arrested about 1 May 1598, when on his way to York with Ralph Grimston of Nidd. Both were shortly after condemned by representatives of the anti-Catholic government (headed by Elizabeth I). Fr. Snow was convicted of treason because he was a Catholic priest and Grimston of felony, for having aided and assisted Fr. Peter Snow. They were martyred in York on the Knavesmire on 15 June 1598. Afterwards their severed heads were impaled on spikes and exposed in the town as a warning to all.

Very soon both would be venerated as members of that noble company of English Martyrs who gave their lives for the Faith during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Relics in Leeds Cathedral

In 1845, two skulls were discovered under the stone floor of the ancient chapel of Hazlewood Castle, near Tadcaster. At the time they were thought to be relics of two other English martyrs, John Lockwood and Edmund Catherick and the skulls were placed in a niche near the altar. In 1909, it was stated that they were the relics of Peter Snow and Ralph Grimston.

In 1968, after the Carmelites had bought Hazlewood, the skulls were removed for forensic examination. They were found to be of male adults, consistent with types found in the North of England in the 16th and 17th centuries. Both skulls had been impaled on a sharp object and the estimated age of the two victims ruled out the earlier attribution to John Lockwood and Edmund Catherick. It would however support the tradition that they were the relics of Peter Snow and Ralph Grimston.

Feast Day: Yorkshire Martyrs 30th. May.

In 2005, Archbishop Arthur Roche, then Bishop of Leeds, decided to place relics in Leeds Cathedral altar. He ordered reconstruction of their faces using the latest techniques from the University of Dundee. The reconstructed face pictures of Blessed Fr. Peter Snow and Ralph Grimston can be found on Leeds Cathedral webpage www.leedscathedral.org.uk

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