William Flower was a 16th-century English Protestant martyr. His story is recorded in Foxe's Book of Martyrs . He was burnt to death on 24 April 1555 at St. Margaret's churchyard, Westminster, London.
The Actes and Monuments, popularly known as Foxe's Book of Martyrs, is a work of Protestant history and martyrology by Protestant English historian John Foxe, first published in 1563 by John Day. It includes a polemical account of the sufferings of Protestants under the Catholic Church, with particular emphasis on England and Scotland. The book was highly influential in those countries and helped shape lasting popular notions of Catholicism there. The book went through four editions in Foxe's lifetime and a number of later editions and abridgements, including some that specifically reduced the text to a Book of Martyrs.
Westminster is a government district and former capital of the Kingdom of England in Central London within the City of Westminster, part of the West End, on the north bank of the River Thames. Westminster's concentration of visitor attractions and historic landmarks, one of the highest in London, includes the Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral.
Flower was born in Snailwell in Cambridgeshire. While still a boy he was sent to Ely Cathedral to live as a Benedictine monk. Upon the suppression of the monasteries he began working as priest. He then lived in various places around the country. He was married in Tewkesbury Abbey to Alice Pulton with whom he had three children. He worked for some time as a doctor and surgeon, despite lacking any qualifications to do so, and also as a schoolmaster in Northamptonshire. Finally he moved to Lambeth with his family, although spent much of his time away from home.
Snailwell is a small village and civil parish in East Cambridgeshire, England around 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) north of Newmarket.
Cambridgeshire is a county in the East of England, bordering Lincolnshire to the north, Norfolk to the north-east, Suffolk to the east, Essex and Hertfordshire to the south, and Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire to the west. The city of Cambridge is the county town. Modern Cambridgeshire was formed in 1974 as an amalgamation of the counties of Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely and Huntingdon and Peterborough, the former covering the historic county of Cambridgeshire and the latter covering the historic county of Huntingdonshire and the Soke of Peterborough, historically part of Northamptonshire. It contains most of the region known as Silicon Fen.
Ely Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in the city of Ely, Cambridgeshire, England.
Flower was a Protestant, and for many years had rejected the doctrine of transubstantiation. On Easter Day 1555, intending to assault the celebrant at what he saw as a Popish mass, he made his way across the Thames to St Margaret's Church, Westminster. He had intended to do the same on the previous Christmas Day at St Pauls Cathedral, but arriving at the cathedral he had not the resolve to do so. This time, however, he entered St Margaret armed with a wood-knife (a large cleaver used by hunters for disjointing carcasses). He struck the priest administering the sacrament on the head and again on his arm, wounding him grievously and causing his blood to spill into the chalice containing the consecrated hosts. A great tumult ensued and Flower was seized and taken to Newgate prison.
Transubstantiation is, according to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, the change of substance or essence by which the bread and wine offered in the sacrifice of the sacrament of the Eucharist during the Mass, become, in reality, the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
Brought before Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London at the consistory court, Flower eventually repented for injuring the priest but refused to repent for the reason why he had done so. Bonner excommunicated him and then turned him over to the secular court whereupon he was sentenced to have his hand cut off and then be burnt at the stake.
Edmund Bonner was Bishop of London from 1539–49 and again from 1553-59.
The Bishop of London is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of London in the Province of Canterbury.
On 24 April 1555 Flower was brought to St Margaret's Church and outside the churchyard was tied to a stake and his right hand cut off. Flower did not flinch at this:
And thus fire was set unto him, who burning therein, cried with a loud voice, "O the Son of God, have mercy upon me! O the Son of God, receive my soul!" three times; and so his speech being taken from him, he spake no more, lifting up, notwithstanding, his stump with his other arm, as long as he could. And thus endured this constant witness and faithful servant of God the extremity of the fire, being therein cruelly handled, by reason that to his burning little wood was brought; so that for lack of faggots, there being not sufficient to burn him, they were fain to strike him down into the fire; where he lying along (which was doleful to behold) upon the ground, his nether part was consumed in the fire, whilst his upper part was clean without the fire, his tongue in all men's sight still moving in his mouth.
John Rogers was an English clergyman, Bible translator and commentator. He guided the development of the Matthew Bible in vernacular English during the reign of Henry VIII and was the first English Protestant martyr under Mary I of England who was determined to restore Roman Catholicism.
Hugh 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. In 1555 under the Catholic Queen Mary he was burned at the stake, becoming one of the three Oxford Martyrs of Anglicanism.
John Foxe was an English historian and martyrologist, the author of Actes and Monuments, an account of Christian martyrs throughout Western history, but emphasizing the sufferings of English Protestants and proto-Protestants from the 14th century through the reign of Mary I. Widely owned and read by English Puritans, the book helped to mould British popular opinion about the Catholic Church for several centuries.
William Hunter was a Marian martyr burnt to death in Brentwood, England at the age of 19 on March 27, 1555, on Ingrave Road. He had lost his job in London as a silk-weaver because he refused to attend the Catholic mass, despite an order that everyone in the City of London had to attend, and had come to live with his parents in Brentwood, but got into a dispute when discovered reading the Bible for himself in Brentwood Chapel. He refused to accept the Catholic dogma of transubstantiation according to which the bread and wine of the communion become the body and blood of Jesus.
Rowland Taylor was an English Protestant martyr during the Marian Persecutions.
The Ipswich Martyrs were nine people burnt at the stake for their Lollard or Protestant beliefs around 1515-1558. The executions were mainly carried out in the centre of Ipswich, Suffolk on The Cornhill, the square in front of Ipswich Town Hall. At that time the remains of the medieval church of St Mildred were used for the town's Moot Hall. Later, in 1644 Widow Lackland was executed on the same site on the orders of Matthew Hopkins, the notorious Witchfinder General.
Nicholas Shaxton was an English Reformer and Bishop of Salisbury.
John Bradford (1510–1555) was an English Reformer, prebendary of St. Paul's, and martyr. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London for alleged crimes against Mary Tudor. He was burned at the stake on 1 July 1555.
Thomas Harding was a sixteenth-century English religious dissident who, while waiting to be burnt at the stake as a Lollard in 1532, was struck on the head by a spectator with one of the pieces of firewood, which killed him instantly.
Robert Samuel was an English priest of East Bergholt in Suffolk, England who was imprisoned, tortured and burnt to death as a judicial execution under the Marian persecutions, and is commemorated as one of the Ipswich Martyrs. His sufferings are recorded in John Foxe's Book of Martyrs.
George Marsh was a Protestant martyr born in the parish of Deane near Bolton in 1515. He died in Boughton, Chester, on 24 April 1555 as a result of the Marian Persecutions carried out against Protestant Reformers and other dissenters during the reign of Mary I of England. His death is recorded in Foxe's Book of Martyrs.
Thomas Hawkes was an English protestant martyr who burned to death in 1555 during the Marian Persecutions rather than allow his son to be baptised into the Roman Catholic Church.
Thomas Benet from Cambridge, was an English Protestant martyr during the reign of King Henry VIII. In 1524, he moved to Torrington, North Devon, with his wife and family so that he could exercise his religious conscience more freely in a county where no one knew him. He was executed by burning on 15 January 1531, for heresy, at Livery Dole outside Exeter in Devon, under the supervision of Sir Thomas Dennis (c.1477-1561) of Holcombe Burnell, near Exeter, then Sheriff of Devon.
The Colchester Martyrs were 16th-century English Protestant martyrs. They were executed for heresy in Colchester, Essex, during the reigns of Henry VIII and Mary I. Their story is recorded in Foxe's Book of Martyrs.
Bartholomew or Bartlet Green (1530–1556), was an English Protestant martyr.
The Stratford Martyrs were eleven men and two women who were burned at the stake together for their Protestant beliefs, either at Stratford-le-Bow, Middlesex or Stratford, Essex, both near London, on 27 June 1556 during the Marian persecutions.
John Cardmaker was an English Protestant martyr.
The Stratford Martyrs Memorial is a memorial that commemorates the group of 11 men and two women who were burned at the stake together for their Protestant beliefs, at Stratford-le-Bow or Stratford near London in England on 27 June 1556, during the Marian persecutions.