TO many people in Leominster, August 27 will pass without much fanfare.

But at St Ethelbert’s Church on the Bargates, a host of people will gather to remember a Herefordshire man who was hanged, drawn and quartered 400 years ago to the day, for preaching his Catholic faith and failing to take the Oath of Supremacy.

Roger Cadwallador was a priest who was born in Stretton Sugwas in 1568 before his religious calling took him to Reims in France, where he was ordained subdeacon, and then onto Valladolid in Spain.

But after returning to Hereford, a five-year search was made for him because he refused to take the Oath of Supremacy, an act forcing anyone in church office in England to swear allegiance to the monarch as the supreme governor of the Church of England.

He was eventually caught just outside Hereford on Easter Sunday, 1610, and thrown in the city’s jail by then Bishop of Hereford, Robert Bennet.

Father Frank Slater, of St Ethelbert’s Church, said: “Roger wouldn’t take the oath so he was thrown in jail in Hereford which is the city where he did his missionary work.

“Hereford was where he was supposed to be executed but there was an epidemic in the city at the time so he was walked in shackles to Leominster.”

He was thought to have been allowed a boy to walk by his side to take some of the weight from the iron links wired to the shackles.

Roger Cadwallador was eventually executed on August 27, 1610, close to Leominster Corn Square when hundreds turned out to watch – although it didn’t quite go according to plan.

“The execution was carried out by unskilled masons and it took a long time,” said Father Slater.

“Usually people would applaud but on this occasion they booed because of the clumsiness of it.

“It was a barbaric way for him to be put to his death.”

Following the brutal death, his skull was buried in the Bargates area of the town, on the site of St Ethelbert’s.

“We have a window dedicated to Roger Cadwallador here,” said Fr Slater.

And the church’s dedication to its early Catholic member doesn’t end there.

To mark 400 years since Roger Cadwallador’s death, a service takes place at St Ethelbert’s from 7.30pm on August 27 to remember him.

All are welcome to attend.