Venerable Thomas Belchiam
Greenwich Franciscan Martyr of England
Born unknown
Died 3 August 1537, England
Venerated in Roman Catholicism

Venerable Thomas Belchiam (1508-1537) was an English Franciscan who died in Newgate Prison in the reign of Henry VIII. He is a Catholic martyr, declared venerable by Pope Leo XIII.[1] The year of death is in question: the Victoria County History for Kent puts the events in 1534.[2]


He was a friar of the convent at Greenwich. He was imprisoned, with other Franciscans, for refusing to take the oath of the royal supremacy, and declaring the king to be a heretic. He wrote a sermon on the text, 'Behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses' (Matt. xi. 8), in which he lashed the vices of the court and the avarice and inconstancy of the clergy. At the intercession of Thomas Wriothesley some of the friars were released. Belchiam was kept in Newgate, where he died of starvation on 3 August 1537. A copy of his sermon, found in the prison after his death, was brought to Henry VIII, who was affected by it, but had it burnt. Another copy was preserved by the friars, and Thomas Bourchier, writing in 1583, expressed a hope that it might be published; which apparently was never done.



PD-icon.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWikisource-logo.svg "[[s: (DNB00)|]]". Dictionary of National Biography, 1885–1900. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 

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