On this day in 1556, some 20000 people gathered in Stratford to witness the burning at the stake by the Catholic Queen Mary Tudor of eleven Protestants accused of heresy. The eleven were Henry Allington, Laurence Parman, Henry Wye, William Hallywel, Thomas Bowyer, George Searles, Edmund Hurst, Lyon Cawch, Ralph Jackson, John Derifall, John Routh, Elizabeth Pepper and Agnes George. There is a memorial to them in the church of St John in Stratford.
There is another memorial to other Protestant martyrs of the time, including John Rogers, John Bradford and John Philpot, in West Smithfield, which is visited on our Wednesday morning walk “Historic Smithfield, Clerkenwell and Holborn – Fanfare and Plainsong” walk ( see picture below).
Many of those done to death here were later buried in the priory church of St Mary in nearby Clerkenwell (which after the Dissolution of the Monasteries became the parish church of St James).
By way of balance, there are various memorials to the countless Catholics executed by the Protestant Tudors – and Stuarts - in the church of St Etheldreda in Holborn, which is also visited on our Wednesday morning walk “Historic Smithfield, Clerkenwell and Holborn – Fanfare and Plainsong”.
There is another, near the site of the infamous “Tyburn Tree”, on Tyburn Convent.