Timeline of Rowland Taylor (early & mid 16th century)

Birth | 95 Thesis | Receives L.L.D. degree | Tyndale’s death | Cranmer’s chaplain | Luther dies | Archdeacon | Canterbury | First arrest | Mary | King’s Bench | Gardiner | Sentenced to death | Churchyard | Burned at the stake at Aldham Common


The Gutenberg Bible is printed.


Henry VIII succeeds Henry VII, Tudor, and marries Catherine of Aragon (divorces her in 1533). Marriage produces one child, Mary. Henry VIII will reign until 1547.


Rowland Taylor is Born.


Erasmus’ first Greek New Testament (First printed Greek New Testament). Many revisions follow.


Dr. Martin Luther posts his 95 Thesis on the Castle Door of Wittenberg in October. Protestant Reformation formally begins.


Septuagint printed by Aldus in Italy.

Zwingli begins Reformation in Switzerland.


Field of Cloth of Gold: Francois I of France meets Henry VIII but fails to gain his support against Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V.

Luther excommunicated.

Tyndale goes home to Gloucester, begins translating.


Henry VIII receives the title “Defender of the Faith” from Pope Leo X for his opposition to Luther.


First Edition of Luther’s German New Testament is published.


William Tyndale’s English New Testament is secretly printed in the city of Worms by protestant supporters.


Coverdale preaches against the mass, is compelled to leave England.


Sir Thomas More intensifies his persecution of Protestants, becomes Lord Chancellor. Anyone who read Tyndale’s English Bible will suffer a ‘painful death’.

Henry VIII dismisses Lord Chancellor Thomas Wolsey for failing to obtain the Pope’s consent to his divorce from Catherine of Aragon; Sir Thomas More appointed Lord Chancellor; Henry VIII summons the “Reformation Parliament” and begins to cut the ties with the Church of Rome


Taylor received the L.L.B degree, Cambridge University.

Henry VIII tries to secure the Pope’s annulment of his marriage to Catherine (1530-1534). Click here to learn about Henry’s religious policy.

Augsburg Confession – Philip Melanchthon.


Taylor is Principal of Borden Hostel.


Frith is burned at the stake by Thomas More for denying the ‘Real Presence’ of Christ in the elements of Communion.

Henry VIII divorces Catherine of Aragon, prepares for final break with Rome and the repudiation of Papal supremacy.

Thomas More denounces Tyndale for his writing entitled “The Obedience of a Christian Man” which defends the view that a man is not obligated to obey the King if he is asked to sin.

Thomas Cranmer is appointed Archbishop of Canterbury by Henry VIII. Returns to England and declares Henry’s marriage to Catherine void.

Henry plans to wed Anne Boleyn and does so in 1533. Anne is crowned Queen on 1 June. Boleyn is pregnant at marriage and gives Henry a daughter, Elizabeth, on 7 September. The child was to become Queen Elizabeth I.


Taylor received the L.L.D degree, Cambridge University.

Cranmer petitions Henry for creation of an authorized English version.

Luther’s first complete German Bible.

Geneva becomes independent Protestant commonwealth.


King Henry VIII issues ‘Act of Supremacy’ – requires the heads of all households to take oath that the King is the Supreme Head of the Church of England and not the Pope. Four monks and a priest resist and are hung, drawn and quartered on 4 May 1535.

Tyndale’s last revised New Testament is published. Tyndale is denounced as a heretic by Charles V’s officers in the Netherlands, May 1535. Tyndale is tried and condemned.

Coverdale’s Bible published in England. (first printed English Bible).


Tyndale is sentenced to death, strangled and burnt at the stake in October.

Anne Boleyn is executed for ‘infidelity’ by Henry VIII, May 1536. Henry marries Jane Seymour in late May.

October, Jane dies in childbirth but gives birth to lone male heir – Edward.

Dissolution of monasteries in England begins under the direction of Thomas Cromwell, completed in 1539.

Calvin publishes his Institutes of the Christian Religion.

The “Ten Articles” of King Henry VIII.

1530’s, Late

Taylor served as Hugh Latimer’s chaplain and comissary general of the Diocese of Winchester.


March – Taylor is collated by Latimer to the parish church of Hanbury.


Latimer resigns and Taylor is taken under the wing of Cranmer, serving as chaplain. Ordained by Cranmer and admitted to the parish church of St. Swithins in Worcester. Given royal license to preach and did so in the diocese of London.

Great Bible (dedicated to Henry VIII) published and authorized in England.

English parliament adopts the Act of Six Articles, reaffirming various Roman Catholic teachings.

Lutherans” subjected to persecutions.


Henry VIII marries Anne of Cleves following negotiations by Thomas Cromwell.

July 1540, Henry married the adulterous Catherine Howard – she was executed for infidelity in March 1542.


Catherine Parr became Henry’s wife in 1543, providing for the needs of both Henry and his children until his death in 1547.

English Parliament bans Tyndale’s version and all public reading of Bible by laymen.


16 April , Taylor is presented to the living of Hadleigh.


Council of Trent convened.


Martin Luther dies.

Council of Trent decrees that the Latin Vulgate (with Apocryphal books) is authoritative version of Scripture.

Henry VIII bans Coverdale version.


Summer 1547
is employed as a preacher for the royal visitiation within the dioceses of Lincoln, Peterborough, Oxford, and Lichfield and Coventry.

15 August 1547
Taylor became canon of Rochester.

King Henry VIII dies; King Edward VI (King of England: Duke of Somerset acts as Protector) succeeds, reigns until 1553.


Taylor appointed archdeacon of Bury St. Edmund. In London at Whitsuntide preaching at the request of the lord mayor.


Introduction of uniform Protestant service in England based on Edward VI’s Book of Common Prayer.


Taylor called to serve on a commission against anabaptists. Helped administer the vacant diocese of Norwich.


Taylor appointed one of the six preachers of Canterbury, made archdeacon of Cornwall in the Diocese of Exeter. Served on commission to revise the ecclesiastical laws.

Archbishop Cranmer publishes Forty-two Articles of religion.


Taylor helped administer the vacant diocese of Worcester.

John Knox refuses offer to become an English bishop.


Taylor‘s first arrest. Brush with ecclesiastical authorities on a probable charge of heresy fromhaving preached a sermon in Bury St. Edmunds.

King Edward VI dies, and Lady Jane Grey briefly reigns (nine days).

Mary I, Tudor, replaces Jane and rules as ‘Bloody Mary‘ until 1558.


Mary reverses the reforms of Edward and enforces Romanism in England.

Lady Jane Grey is executed.

26 March 1554
The Privy Council ordered Sir Henry Doyle and one Foster to arrest Rowland Taylor and one Henry Alskewe (or Askew in Foxe) and bring them before the Council on 26 March 1554 to appear before Gardiner. Kept in King’s Bench prison.

6 May 1554
John Hooper wrote to Taylor and his fellow prisoners, Robert Ferrar and John Philpot, discussing a proposed disputation in Cambridge in which they would represent the protestants.

8 May 1554
Taylor was one of the signatories to a letter of 8 May 1554 protesting against a proposed disputation at Cambridge.


22 January 1555
Rowland Taylor (Vicar of Hadleigh), Rogers, Hooper, Bradford, Lawrence Saunders (Northamptonshire), William Barlow (former Bishop of Bath and Wells), Edward Crome (writer at Cambridge) and others are examined by a commission of leading bishops and lawyers. Lord Chancellor presides at hearings.

Crome recants and was pardoned. Barlow equivocates and is taken to Tower of London but not executed.

Taylor wrote an account of his examination by Stephen Gardiner on and also wrote defending clerical marriage. Probably was taken at this time to Compter prison in London. Jailer allows Mrs. Taylor to visit Rowland in prison.

29 January 1555
Taylor was brought before Gardiner at St. Mary Overy’s on 29 January 1555.

30 January 1555
Taylor was excommunicated and sentenced to death by Stephen Gardiner on 30 January 1555. His condemnation, degradation, last supper with his family and his will.

4 February 1555
Rogers is burned alive at Smithfield and thus becomes the first Protestant martyr of Queen Mary.

Taylor, Hooper and Saunders were all degraded from priesthood in a formal ceremony.

7 February 1555 (estimate)
is taken to Hadleigh again, leaving Compter prison. His wife waits for him, with Elizabeth and Mary, in the early morning hours at St. Botolph’s churchyard in the city. They exchange a few words. Margaret promises she will be present at Hadleigh during his execution.

Taylor is handed over to the Sheriff of Essex at Chelmsford.

8 February 1555
was burned in the park at Coventry, Mary’s second martyr.

9 February 1555
Taylor’s journey to Hadleigh and execution there on 9 February 1555 in Aldham Common.

Has three children at time of death: grown-up son who was Catholic. Adopted daughter named Elizabeth (age 13) and own daughter , younger, named Mary.

Aldham Common is an open space outside of town. People line the streets to watch the procession to the stake. Taylor is quite popular.

His wife and daughters are waiting near the stake but the guards allow but a few words. They do allow him to speak longer to his son Thomas.

Taylor is fastened to the stake and a local butcher is ordered to set light to a faggot and throw it on the stake. He refuses and feigns lack of strength, Finally, a couple bystanders throw a lighted faggot onthe stake and it burns well quickly.

Warwick, a guard who had grown angry with Taylor’s refusal to recant, as well as the support Taylor was receiving from the locals, throws a burning faggot and hits Taylor in the face. Shorthly thereafter, Warwick hits Taylor over the head with a halbard and kills Taylor instantly.

Taylor and Hooper become the 3rd and 4th martyrs of Queen ‘Bloody’ Mary.

9 February 1555
also is burrned at the stake at Gloucester.


Bloody Mary’s reign ends and Elizabeth I reigns from 1558 – 1603 when the House of Tudor gives way to the House of Stuart.


Elizabeth repudiates Romanism. Act of Supremacy makes her head of Church of England.

Romanist bishops expelled.

Coverdale and other leading Protestants return to England.


  • Foxe’s Book of Martyrs – http://www.hrionline.ac.uk/foxe/
  • Craig, John. “Reformers, Conflict, and Revisionism: The Reformation in Sixteenth-century Hadleigh,” The Historical Journal, 42, 1 (1999), pp. 1-23.
  • Ridley, James. Bloody Mary’s Martyrs: The Story of England’s Terror. 2002.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: