Today we mark the death of Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridby in 1555 – they were two of the three famous Oxford Martyrs, along with Archbishop Cranmer, commemorated by John Foxe.
The Oxford Martyrs were tried for heresy in 1555 and burned at the stake in Oxford, for their religious beliefs and teachings, during the Marian persecution of protestants in England. Latimer was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and Bishop of Worcester before the Reformation, and later Church of England chaplain to King Edward VI.
Ridley was a Bishop of London (the only bishop called “Bishop of London and Westminster” and he signed the letters patent giving the English throne to Lady Jane Grey. On 9 July 1553 he preached a sermon at St Paul’s cross in which he affirmed that the princesses Mary and Elizabeth were bastards. Ridley burned extremely slowly and suffered a great deal: his brother-in-law had put more kindling on the pyre, in order to speed his death, but they caused only his lower parts to burn.
Latimer is supposed to have said to Ridley, “Be of good comfort, and play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.”
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.