October 6 is the date generally given to the execution of William Tyndale, in 1536. He was an English scholar, reformer, and Bible translator. Early on Henry VIII read his works as they were passed to him by Anne Boleyn, particularly his “Obedience of a Christian Man.” He had written a translation of the Bible into English in 1525. And in 1530 he wrote The Practice of Prelates, which opposed the annulment of Henry’s marriage with Katherine of Aragon.
Tyndale was living in Europe, in Hamburg and Cologne, and Henry became committed to capturing him, and bringing him back to England to be tried as a heretic. Tyndale was betrayed to imperial authorities, and seized in Antwerp in 1535. He was sentenced to be burned to death, even though Cromwell himself tried to intercede on his behalf.
Tyndale "was strangled to death while tied at the stake, and then his dead body was burned". His final words, spoken "at the stake with a fervent zeal, and a loud voice", were reported as "Lord! Open the King of England's eyes." The traditional date of commemoration is 6 October, but records of Tyndale's imprisonment suggest that the actual date of his execution might have been some weeks earlier. John Foxe gives 6 October as the date of commemoration, but gives no date of death.
Within four years, four English translations of the Bible were published in England including Henry VIII’s official Great Bible. All were based on Tyndale's work.
That’s your Tudor Minute for today. Remember you can dive deeper into life in 16th century England through the Renaissance English History Podcast at englandcast.com.