On this day*, in 1595, the forces of our late Sovereign Liege Lord King Philip, commanded by Carlo de Amesquita, landed in Cornwall in the area of Penzance and harried the neighbourhood. They burned a number of churches defiled by dissident worship, but left unburned the chapel of S Mary in Penzance. They did this because an admirable English Catholic captain, Richard Burley of Weymouth, who was guiding them, informed them that it had been used for Catholic worship. Since the same could be said for the other churches which were burned, in as far as they were medieval churches used for Catholic worship before the Schism, the captain presumably meant that the chapel in Penzance was still being used for Catholic worship. This would fit in with a body of evidence for such Recusant activities in Cornwall until quite late in the reign of Bloody Bess.
At Paul the church was burned; and an interesting detail survives. The Spaniards, devout and exemplary Catholics, were horrified to discover an idol in Paul church: a wooden horse. The realisation that Protestants were even more abandoned to error than they had suspected ... that they actually sacrificed to horrible hippomorphic heathen deities ... increased their pious wrath and they made a special point of burning it. (I have a theory here: that what they found may have been preserved from the early Middle Ages when, in many places, a wooden donkey gave dramatic verisimilitude to the Palm Sunday Procession.)
Then, on August 3 or 4*, Mass was solemnly sung on a hilltop near Paul, and the Commander of the expedition before sailing away vowed that when the Faith had been restored to England, a chapel would be built there ex voto.
What I want to know is: Why does the Latin Mass Society do nothing to commemorate these stirring events?
What great fun all this is.
*Well, they landed on August 2 Old Style. Of course, this was July 23 New Style. So if it was August 4 Old Style when the Spaniards celebrated their hilltop Mass before departing, that would have been July 25 New Style, the Feast of S James. See my post for July 25.