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The Tudor Society
  • Monday Martyr – The 1555 Canterbury Martyrs

    A photo of Martyrs Monument, Martyrs Field Road, Canterbury

    This week’s #MondayMartyrs are the Canterbury Martyrs of 1555.

    Protestants William Coker, William Hopper, Henry Laurence, Richard Colliar (or Collier), Richard Wright, and William Stere were burnt at the stake in Canterbury on 23rd August 1555, in the reign of Queen Mary I.

    Martyrologist John Foxe tells the story of these “Kentish men” who were “called forth and examined by Thornton, bishop of Dover, Nicholas Harpsfield, Richard Faucet, and Robert Collins”. Here are some facts about them, as shared in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs:

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  • Monday Martyr – Protestant John Denley

    Woodcut of the martyrdom of Master John Denley

    This week’s #MondayMartyr is John Denley, who was burnt at the stake in Uxbridge for his Protestant faith on 8th August 1555, in the reign of Queen Mary I.

    Protestant poet Thomas Brice recorded Denley’s execution in his 1559 work “A Compendious Regester”*, writing:

    “When Denly died at Uxbridge towne,
    With constant care to Christe’s cause;”

    Martyrologist John Foxe states that Denley was from Maidstone in Kent and that when he was travelling in Essex with his friend, John Newman, in June 1555 to visit “their godly friends” in the county, both men were apprehended by Edmund Tyrrel, a justice of the peace, who searched them and found “the confessions of their faith in writing about them”.

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  • Monday Martyr – Lollard Thomas Harding

    A memorial stone to martyr Thomas Harding in Chesham

    This week’s Monday Martyr is Lollard Thomas Harding.

    Harding was in his sixties when he was sent to be burnt at the stake for heresy at Chesham, in Buckinghamshire, on 30th May 1532, in the reign of King Henry VIII. Thankfully, his suffering was cut short when he was killed by a blow to the head when a bystander threw a billet of wood at him.

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  • Monday Martyr – James Bainham

    This week's Monday Martyr is James Bainham, who, on 30th April 1532, in the reign of King Henry VIII, was burned at Smithfield.

    Bainham, who hailed from Westbury-on-Severn, Gloucestershire, was the youngest son of Sir Alexander Bainham and his wife, Elizabeth Langley (née Tracy), became a lawyer after entering London's Inns of Court. Bainham's maternal uncle had been a reformer and perhaps he influenced his nephew. According to John Foxe, Bainham was "an earnest reader of Scriptures, [and] a great maintainer of the godly".

    Bainham went on to marry the widow of reformer Simon Fish, a man who had been charged with heresy and was awaiting trial when he died of plague in 1531. Fish was the author of the religious pamphlet The Supplication of Beggars, which Anne Boleyn was said to have shared with Henry VIII. The pamphlet was an attack on the Catholic Church. Fish claimed that the Catholic clergy usurped the power of the state and stated that they were treasonous and corrupt. Fish also attacked the sale of indulgences and the doctrine of purgatory. Bainham came to the notice of Sir Thomas More, Henry VIII's Lord Chancellor, due to his links with Fish, and More had him brought to him for questioning. Bainham stood firm in his evangelical faith so More ordered his imprisonment in the Tower of London, where he was also allegedly tortured.

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  • Monday martyr – John Hullier

    An engraving of John Hullier's execution

    This week’s Monday martyr is Protestant martyr John Hullier (Hulliarde, Huller or Hullyer), who was burnt at the stake in Cambridge for his Protestant faith on Maundy Thursday 1556, 2nd April, in the reign of Queen Mary I.

    Martyrologist John Foxe tells is that Hullier was educated at Eton before becoming a scholar and then a “conduct”, a chaplain, at King’s College, Cambridge, in 1539. Some time after that, he became curate of Babraham, near Cambridge, and had “divers conflicts with the papists” after preaching at King’s Lynn. This led to him being questioned by Dr Thomas Thirlby, Bishop of Ely, who sent him to be confined in Cambridge Castle and then the Tolbooth in Cambridge, where, according to Foxe, he was imprisoned for three months.

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  • A priest in the Little Ease, death from plague, and heretics meet their ends – January 25 – 31, Part 1

    On 25th January 1540, Jesuit priest and martyr, St Edmund Campion, was born in London. Although he was close to the Earl of Leicester and William Cecil at one point, he ended up being thrown into the Tower of London’s Little Ease and being executed as a traitor. Let me tell you his story in today’s video.

    On 26th January 1528, diplomat and courtier Sir Francis Poyntz died of the plague.

    On 27th January 1556, in the reign of Queen Mary I, Bartholomew Green, also known as Bartlet Green, was burnt at the stake for heresy with six other Protestants. He could have got away with receiving communion according to Protestant rites, but he did something that brought him to the attention of the queen and her government. Find out what he did, and about his sad end…

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  • 10 January – There never was so obstinate a heretic

    On this day in Tudor history, 10th January 1532, Protestant martyr Thomas Dusgate, also known as Thomas Benet, was burned at the stake at Livery Dole in Heavitree, near Exeter.

    Benet was a zealous Reformer and got into trouble when he posted anti-Catholic bills on Exeter Cathedral’s door. He refused to recant, and it was said that “there never was so obstinate a heretic”.

    Find out about this Protestant reformer, who sought advice from Martin Luther regarding his trouble with lust, in today’s talk.

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  • 18 December – Heretic John Philpott’s sad end

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th December 1555, John Philpott, former Archdeacon of Winchester, was burned at the stake for heresy at Smithfield.

    Philpott had done a lot in his 40 years, including studying in Italy, upsetting Bishop Gardiner, and supporting fellow Protestants from his prison cell, and he died a courageous death at Smithfield in the reign of Queen Mary I. Find out more about him in today’s talk from Claire Ridgway, founder of the Tudor Society.

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  • 4 February – The burning of John Rogers

    On this day in Tudor history, the first English Protestant martyr, John Rogers, was burned in the reign of Queen Mary I. Let me tell you more about him and his fate.

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  • Walter Marsh, Protestant martyr and spy

    Not many people have heard of Walter Marsh, an Englishman who was burned to death in Rome’s Campo dei Fiori after having his tongue cut out, his right hand cut off and his skin scorched with torches, so I thought I’d share what I’ve found out about him and how he came to this brutal end in Rome.

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  • Coventry Martyrs Robert Glover and Cornelius Bungey

    The Coventry Martyrs' Monument

    On 19th September 1555, the Protestant martyrs, Robert Glover and Cornelius Bungey (Bongey), who are two of the twelve Coventry Martyrs, were burned at the stake at a site in Little Park Street, Coventry.

    Martyrologist John Foxe gives the date of their burnings as “about the 20th day” in his 1563 Acts and Monuments, but fellow martyrologist the Reverend Thomas Brice gives the date as the 19th in his A Compendious Regester of 1559 and Foxe actually used Brice’s Regester as a source. Brice’s work, which can be found in Volume IV of Edward Arber’s An English Garner is a register of those martyred between 4th February 1555 and 17th November 1558. The names and locations of those martyred are recorded in six-line doggerel stanzas with the date in the margin. Of Glover and Bungey, Brice simply writes:

    “September 19 When GLOVER and CORNELIUS
    Were fiercely brent at Coventry;”

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  • 2 August 1581 – Burning of Richard Atkins

    On this day in history, 2nd August 1581, Protestant Richard Atkins was burned to death before St Peter’s in Rome. It is said that as he was taken to St Peter’s, his back and breast were burned by men holding torches and that his right hand was then cut off and his legs burned first to prolong his suffering.

    Why such an awful and prolonged death?

    Anthony Munday, in his 1582 book The English Romayne Lyfe, recounts Atkins’ ‘crimes’ in a chapter dedicated to him. He tells of how Atkins, a Hertfordshire man, travelled to Rome and went straight to the English College there, the Catholic seminary, and told the priests that he had come “to rebuke the great misorder of your lives” and he called their pope “the Antechrist”. They reported him to the Inquisition who examined him and then released him. But then:

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  • 17 July 1555 – The burnings of Margaret Polley and Christopher Wade

    On this day in history, 17th July 1555, Protestants Margaret (Margery) Polley and Christopher Wade (Waid) were burned for heresy. Wade was a linen-weaver from Dartford and Polley was a widow from Pepenbury, Tunbridge Wells.

    Martyrologist John Foxe described Margaret Polley as being “in the prime of her life, pious, charitable, humane, learned in the Scriptures, and beloved by all who knew her” and “the first female martyr in England”, although surely that title actually belongs to Anne Askew, who was burned for heresy in 1546.

    Here is John Foxe’s account of the condemnations and burnings of Polley and Wade:

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  • 30 April 1532 – The burning of James Bainham, Protestant martyr

    On this day in history, 30th April 1532, in the reign of King Henry VIII, lawyer James Bainham was burned at Smithfield.

    Bainham was married to the widow of reformer Simon Fish, a man who had also been charged with heresy…

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  • 30 March – The burning of Bishop Robert Ferrar and the will of Queen Mary I

    There are two important “on this day in history” events for today and they’re both from the reign of Mary I.

    On 30th March 1555, Robert Ferrar, Bishop of St David’s, was burnt at the stake at Carmarthen. It is not known when Ferrar was born but he came from Midgley, in Halifax, and had found a living at St Oswald’s Augustinian priory in Yorkshire by the early 1520s. He studied at Cambridge and Oxford, graduation from Oxford BTh in 1533 and it was while he was at Oxford that he became involved in selling Protestant books, something for which he was imprisoned twice.

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  • William Hunter, a nineteen-year-old martyr

    On 26th/27th March* 1555, nineteen-year-old William Hunter, a silk-weaver’s apprentice, was burned at the stake in Brentwood, Essex, for heresy.

    His story is told in John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and you can read the chapter on Hunter online at http://www.exclassics.com/foxe/foxe275.htm, but here is brief overview…

    William Hunter was an apprentice to silk-weaver Thomas Taylor in London when Mary I came to the throne. After refusing to attend mass and receive communion at Easter 1554, he was threatened with being hauled before the Bishop of London.

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  • Anne Askew by Roland Hui

    Today we have a guest post from Roland Hui as part of his book tour for his debut book “The Turbulent Crown: The Story of the Tudor Queens”.

    MadeGlobal Publishing is giving away a copy of Roland’s book at each stop and all you need to do at this stop is to leave a comment below saying which queen or queen consort you feel had the most turbulent life. Leave your comment before midnight on 8th March 2017. One comment will be picked at random and the person contacted for their details.

    Over to Roland…

    When Henry VIII married Katharine Parr in 1543, the general opinion was that the King had chosen most wisely. Unlike his previous wife, Katheryn Howard, this Katharine was no young lady with a sordid past, but a mature, sensible widow. The new Queen was also known for her piety.

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  • 4 February 1555 – The burning of John Rogers

    On this day in history, 4th February 1555, John Rogers, clergyman and Biblical editor, was burned at the stake at Smithfield.

    Rogers was the first English Protestant burned in Mary I’s reign after being condemned as a heretic. he refused the chance of a last-minute pardon if he recanted, and died bravely. His wife and eleven children, one being newborn and at the breast, attended his burning. Martyrologist John Foxe recorded that Rogers “constantly and cheerfully took his death with wonderful patience, in the defence and quarrel of the Gospel of Christ.”

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  • John Rogers, the first Protestant martyr of Mary I’s reign

    On this day in history, 4th February 1555, John Rogers, clergyman and Biblical editor, was burned at the stake at Smithfield. Rogers was the first England Protestant burned in Mary I’s reign after being condemned as a heretic. he refused the chance of a last minute pardon if he recanted, and died bravely. His wife and eleven children, one being newborn and at the breast, attended his burning. Martyrologist John Foxe recorded that Rogers “constantly and cheerfully took his death with wonderful patience, in the defence and quarrel of the Gospel of Christ.”

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