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Venerable Waire

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English friar and martyr, hanged, drawn, and quartered at St. Thomas Waterings in Camberwell (a brook at the second milestone on the Old Kent Road), 8 July, 1539. All authorities agree that there were four martyrs at this time and place, and all agree that one of them was the Vicar of Wandsworth, Surrey. It is certain that the name of the last was John Griffith, generally known as Ven. John Griffith Clarke, and that he was chaplain to Henry Courtenay, Marquis of Exeter, who was executed, 9 December, 1538, or 9 January, 1538-39, and that he was also Rector of Dolton, Devon. Stow is the only person to mention "Friar Waire". Sander speaks of "a monk whose name was Mayer"; but he wrote in Latin and his work was printed abroad. It is clear that Waire was a friar, for both Wriothesley and Lord Lisle's servant, John Husee, speak of two friars as having suffered with Griffith. Of the two unnamed martyrs we know that one was a priest and Griffith's curate or chaplain at Wandsworth. The other was either a friar, as Wriothesley and Husee say, or one of Griffith's servants, as is asserted by Stow and Sander. It is possible that Friar Waire is to be identified with Thomas Wyre, one of the signatories to the surrender of the Franciscan friary of Dorchester, 30 September, 1538. However, it is uncertain to what order he belonged. If he was a Franciscan it is remarkable that his death is not recorded in the "Grey Friars' Chronicle", and that no mention is made of him in such English Franciscan martyrologists as Bouchier or Angelus a S. Francisco.


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