The Order in England is blessed with many English saints, who act both as intercessors and examples to people living and working in our own troubled age. Blessed David is one of them.
Sir David Gunston (or Gonson) was a member of an English naval family who was received into the Order at the Auberge of England in Valetta on 20 October 1533.
He served on the ships of the Order in the Mediterranean until 1540 when he returned to England, by which time Henry VIII had suppressed the Order in his kingdom by an Act of Parliament of 10 May 1540. David Gunston was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1540 and was condemned to death by an Act of Parliament in 1541 for denying the authority of the King in spiritual matters, and there is little doubt that he died in the cause of religion at the time when the Order was suppressed in England by Henry VIII. At Malta, against the name of Sir David Gonson in the register of the Knights of St. John, a subsequent hand has written "The Good Knight".
He was hanged, drawn and quartered at St. Thomas' Waterings, Southwark on 12 July 1541. Pius XI declared him Blessed on 15 December 1929.
Collect of the Mass.
O God, who made of blessed David a notable champion of the Catholic faith whose martyrdom shed glory on our Order, grant that he may stimulate us to defend the unity of your holy Church. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Blessed David Gunston, Pray for us and for England.