The Tudor Society
  • 17 March – Alexander Alesius and his terrifying vision of Anne Boleyn

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th March 1565, Scottish theologian and Reformer Alexander Alesius (also known as Ales, Aless), died in either Leipzig or Edinburgh.

    Alesius wrote a huge number of theological works, was friends with reformers Philip Melancthon and Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, but had a row with the Bishop of London at one point.

    Let me tell you a bit more about Alexander Alesius and also a terrifying vision or nightmare he experience in the early hours of 19th May 1536, the day of Queen Anne Boleyn’s execution.

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  • Alexander Ales (Alesius)

    On 17th March 1565, Alexander Ales (also known as Alesius and Aless), theologian and reformer, died in Edinburgh, Scotland.*

    Alexander Ales was born Alexander Allane or Alan at Edinburgh on 23 April 1500. From the age of twelve he was educated at the University of St Andrews, at St Leonard’s College, graduating BA after three years there. Ales became friends with theologian Philip Melancthon in 1532 when Ales began studying at Wittenberg University, and he began to be concerned with making the Bible available in the vernacular. He published an open letter to James V of Scotland in 1533, Alexandri Alesii epistola contra decretum quoddam episcoporum in Scotia, appealing for him to annul recent legislation making it illegal to own or distribute the New Testament in the vernacular. When the Catholic Johannes Cochlaeus, countered this with a letter to James accusing Ales of translating the New testament and sending it to Scotland, and claiming that it would cause unrest, Ales answered with Alexandri Alesii Scotti responsio ad Cochlei calumnias. In this letter, Ales emphasised how Continental reformers were simply trying to lead people back to the Bible and the teaching of the Early Church.

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