Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

22 Jan 1555 A.D. High-stakes Reformed Churchman murdered. Mr. (Rev.) John Bradford, Church of England, Prebendary of St. Paul’s interrogated, sentenced, and burned

22 Jan 1555 A.D.  High-stakes Reformed Churchman murdered.  Mr. (Rev.) John Bradford, Church of England,  Prebendary of St. Paul’s interrogated, sentenced, and burned.

Dr. Rusten tells the story.

Rusten, E. Michael and Rusten, Sharon. The One Year Christian History. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2003.  Available at:



King Edward VI of England had died and religious turmoil was roiled with the successor, Queen Mary 1.  Edward had been crowned in 1547 at the age of 9, but died in 1553.  Mary removed the legislation that protected the Reformed Churchmen.  The anti-Reformation policy was on.

In 1553, Mr. (Rev.) John Bradford, like 100s of others, had to flee their Protestant pulpits.

He was arrested.  He preached to the prisoners twice a day.

After the usual go-around of questioning and the pursuit of recantation by the Anglican-Italians, on 22 Jan 1555, he was sentenced to the usual Anglo-Italian answer for everything—death or murder-by-burning.

One afternoon, the wife of the prison keeper came to Mr. Bradford and said, “Oh, Mr. Bradford, I bring in heavy news…Tomorrow you must be burned.  Your chain is now a-buying [sic] and soon you must go to Newgate…”

Early that evening, the evening before his murder by the Papists, Mr. Bradford said goodbye to his friends, lifting his cap and saying, “I thank God for it; I have look for the same for a long time, and therefore it cometh not suddenly; the Lord make me worthy thereof."

The next morning, about 9 AM, Mr. Bradford [note, not “Father” by “Mr.” Bradford, a word for TFOs] was led out of Newgate.  He prayed.  He removed his coat and walked to the stake.

Mr. Bradford said to a soon-to-be-fellow martyr, “Be of good comfort, brother, we shall have a merry supper with the Lord this night.”  They both died.

They both, with many others, lit a fire that burned for some time in England until its recent diminishment and belittlement by liberals and TFOs in the 19th-20th centuries. At the present time, it’s hard to know if the light will ever be rekindled.


  1. Why does the story of the English Reformation get so little press at VOL?
  2. Was there a serious agenda-driven effort to debunk and belittle Foxe’s Acts and Monuments by Tractarians?
  3. Who would genuinely die for their faith these days?  Why doesn’t Rick Warren and Joel Osteen, with their related ilk, ever tell these stories?  What about Crouch’s TBN-outfit?
  4. Why would a Tractholic like Wally Grundsorf, Anglican Province of America, laugh at the English Reformation?  Yes, we have a very believable eyewitness report about Wally and one of his Tracto-SSC axemen.  What about ACNA-Jack and ACNA-Keith?  What were the genuine issues of the Reformation and why was there an anti-Reformation movement in the Church of England?
  5. Why are The Thirty-nine Articles so neglected?


Bradford, John. Writings of the Rev. John Bradford.  Available in Kindle at: .  There is also an edition in the Parker Society series. 

Ryle, J.C. Five English Reformers. Rev. ed. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1981. 120-138.

“The Life of John Bradford.” The Theology Network. 2014. UCCF: The Christian Unions.” . Accessed 5 Apr 2014.

Williamson, David. History of the Kings and Queens of England. New York: Konecky, 1988.

Williamson, G.A., ed. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Boston: Little, Brown, 1965. 263-9.

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