There are no First Class relics of Blessed John Henry Newman available.
When his coffin was exhumed from his grave in the Birmingham Oratory’s cemetery at Rednal in 2010, prior to his beatification, it was discovered that his body had completely decayed during the time since his burial there in 1890.
He had been buried in a wooden coffin in very damp ground. Over the years in that damp soil the coffin and his body had totally decomposed. In addition, at his own prior request, his coffin had been covered with a layer of mould that was softer in composition than the clay and lime of Rednal cemetery. We are sure that he specified this so that his body would decompose and disappear from this earth as quickly as possible. This intention was consistent with the modest way he had lived his Oratorian vocation, faithfully adhering to one of St.Philip Neri’s most characteristic maxims which he frequently gave as advice to his sons; amare nesciri – love to be unknown.
The Second Class relics which were previously available (ex indumentis, etc.) have now been distributed, in response to the many requests received from around the world.