These two saints are buried in one basilica in the catacombs and they share the joint patronage of Woodbastwick Church, the only Anglican Church in England with this dedication.
Sebastian is thought to have joined the Roman army in about 283 AD and carried out many acts of love and charity. In 286, when his Christianity was finally discovered he was sentenced to death by the Emperor Diocletian and shot by his own archers. His wounds healed but he was finally stoned to death. Stories of Sebastian have inspired great works of art portraying him as a youth pierced by arrows. A copy of The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian (1475) by the Pollaiuolo brothers, hangs in Woodbastwick Church. In Medieval times, Sebastian's help was sought against plague, the sores reminding people of the arrow wounds in Saint Sebastian's flesh. Renowned for endurance, he is the patron saint of athletes and soldiers.
Saint Fabian (236 - 250 AD) is said to have been a farmer visiting Rome on the day that a Pope was to be elected. A dove settled on his head and this was taken by the crowd as a sign through the Holy Spirit that he was worthy of election. The Holy Church of Rome enjoyed a period of relative peace and flourished under the reign of Fabian who is recorded as a maker of many rules and regulations. The tolerant Emperor Philip died in 249 and was succeeded by Decius, a ruthless enemy of Christianity. Christians were ordered to deny Christ or face torture and death but many, including Fabian, refused and were martyred for their faith.