|Birth||1 January 1567, Lichfield, Lichfield, Staffordshire, Staffordshire|
|Death|| 10 December 1591, Gray’s Inn, London Borough of Camden, Greater London, England|
(aged 24 years)
Saint Edmund Gennings (1567 – 10 December 1591) was an English martyr, who was executed during the English Reformation for being a Catholic priest. He came from Lichfield, Staffordshire. His name is sometimes spelled Jennings.
Edmund was a thoughtful, serious boy naturally inclined to matters of faith. At around sixteen years of age he converted to Catholicism. He went immediately to the English College at Rheims where he was ordained a priest in 1590, being then only twenty-three years of age. He immediately returned to the dangers of England under the assumed name of Ironmonger. His missionary career was brief. He and Polydore Plasden were seized by Richard Topcliffe and his officers whilst in the act of saying Mass in the house of Saint Swithun Wells at Gray’s Inn in London on 7 November 1591 and was hanged, drawn and quartered outside the same house on 10 December. His execution was particularly bloody, as his final speech angered Topcliffe, who ordered the rope to be cut down when he was barely stunned from the hanging. It is reported that he uttered the words, Sancte Gregori ora pro me while he was being disembowelled, and that the hangman swore, Zounds! See, his heart is in my hand, and yet Gregory is in his mouth. O egregious Papist. Saint Swithun Wells was hanged immediately afterwards. The martyrdom of Edmund Gennings was the occasion of several extraordinary incidents, chief of which was the conversion of his younger brother John, who later wrote his biography, published in 1614 at Saint-Omer.
Edmund Gennings was canonized as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales by Pope Paul VI on 25 October 1970. His feast day, along with that of the other thirty-nine martyrs, is on 25 October.