Franciscan martyr (d. 1537)
Belchiam, THOMAS, VENERABLE, a Franciscan martyr in the reign of Henry VIII, date of birth uncertain; d. August 3, 1537. He boldly opposed the king's first divorce, and denounced the tyrant as a heretic. He wrote a book addressed to his brethren, beginning with the text: "They that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses", in which he rebuked the faithless bishops, who were afraid to tell the king the truth. The book seems to be lost, but one copy got into Henry's hands, and he is said to have been moved to tears by reading it, though he soon repented of this weakness. Belchiam and some thirty of the Observant Franciscans were thrown into prison, where they perished of hunger.