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, February 5, 2015

5 February 1555 A.D. English Reformed Martyr, Dr. Rowland Taylor—A Letter to His Son, a Legacy Letter.

5 February 1555 A.D.  English Reformed Martyr, Dr. Rowland Taylor—A Letter to His Son, a Legacy Letter.

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:

Dr. Rowland Taylor was an Anglican Minister of Hadleigh, England in the 1500s. He lived and worked among his people.  He faithfully studied the Scriptures. He preached Reformed theology to his people (=Biblical theology). He warned his people about Romanist corruptions and doctrines. He cared for the poor and the sick.  He was married and the father of 9 children. 

King Edward VI died in 1553.  We know the rest of the story.  Queen Mary 1 accessed to the throne in 1553 and life for Reformed Churchmen went to seed.

Romanist sympathizers still existed since the old ideas still had some currency. 

Some of Dr. Taylor’s enemies hired a priest to say a Mass in his church.  Before the Mass was started, Dr. Taylor rushed in declaiming the service as illegal and full of doctrinal idolatries and errors.  Word cycled back to Mary’s Chancellor.  Dr. Taylor was summoned to London, imprisoned, and sentenced to the stake for refusal to submit to Papal jurisdiction, doctrines, worship and piety.

On 5 February 1555 A.D., Dr. Taylor wrote a legacy letter to his wife and children:

“I say to my wife and to my children, The Lord gave you unto me, and the Lord hath taken me from you and you from me: blessed by the name of the Lord! I believe that they are blessed which die in the Lord.  God careth for sparrows, and for the hairs of our heads.  I have ever found Him more faithful and favourable than is any father or husband. Turst ye, therefore, in Him by the means of our dear Savior Christ’s merits.  Believe, love, fear and obey Him; pray to Him, for He heath promised to help.  Count me not dead, for I shall certainly live and never die.  I go before, and you shall follow after, to our long home…I have bequeathed you to the only Omnipotent.

“I say to my dear friends….and to all others which have heard me preach, that I depart hence with a quiet conscience as touching my doctrine, for the which I pray you thank God with me. For I havfe, after my little talent, declared to others those lessons that I gathered out of god’s Book, the blessed Bible. `Therefore, if I, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you any other Gospel than that ye have received,’ God’s great curse be upon that preacher!

“Beware, for God’s sake, that ye deny not God, neither decline from the word of faith, lest God decline from you, and so do ye everlastingly perish.  For God’s sake, beware of Popery, for though it appear to have in it unity, yet the same is vanity and anti-Christianity, and not on Christ’s faith and verity.

“Beware of sin against the Holy Ghost, now after such a light opened so plainly and simply, truly, thoroughly and generally to all England.

“The Lord grant all men His good and Holy Spirit, increase of His wisdom, condemning the wicked world, hearty desire to be with God, and the heavenly company; through Jesus Christ, our only Mediator, Advocate, Righteousness, Life, Sanctification, and Hope. Amen. Amen. Pray. Pray.

“Rowland Taylor, departing hence in sure hope, without all doubting of eternal salvation.  I thank God, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, my certain Saviour. Amen. 5th of February, anno 1555.

5 days later, 10 February 1555, Dr. Rowland Taylor, Minister, Reformed Pastor, Church of England cleric, husband, father of nine, and shepherd of many, was burned at the stake. 

Holding up both hands, he called on God, “Merciful Father of heaven, for Jesus Christ my Saviour’s sake, receive my soul into Thy hands.”


  1. Why are these stories routinely told at VOL and other Anglican sites in America?
  2. What about Nashotah House?
  3. Where’s purgatory in this?
  4. What about the “merits” of Christ, the justifying cause?  Dr. Taylor explicitly mentions it.  Why did Danny Dunlap, REC-turned-TEC cleric, D.Phil. (Ox), and big TFO deny that “Christ’s righteous merits” were integral to the English Reformation?  Why did he feel the REC ditched him?
  5. Ever heard any of the ACNA chaps talk about the theology of Dr. Taylor?  Centrality of the Bible, sufficiency of the Bible for doctrine, Christ’s justification, and assurance of salvation?  Or, warnings against “Popery?”
  6. Were these issues ever discussed with Jim Packer’s ECT-arrangements with Chuck Colson and Nieuhaus?
  7. How does Dr. Taylor’s letter square with Reformed theology?
  8. What BCP was Dr. Taylor using with his congregation?
  9. What were the after-results, locally and with his family, after his burning at the stake?  Impact on his parishioners?
  10. Why have some modern historians tried to airbrush these things from history?  Why does Prof. David Daniell make that charge?  We’ve argued this issue at other places.
  11. Why did the Tractaholics try to diminish, belittle, ahbor, and dismiss the English Reformation?
  12.  Why did the REC-APA merger fall through?  Was the APA-outfit a TFO operation?  And the REC as a TFO-operation?
  13.  What assessment can be offered about Foxe’s Acts and Monuments?  Why was there an effort to dismiss Foxe in the whole and main?


Williamson.  Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.  228-41.

Ryle, John Charles. Light from Old Times.  Moscow, ID: Nolan, 2000. 121-34.

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