The Popular History of England of Society and Government from the Earliest Period to Our Own Times, Volume III

The Popular History of
England of Society and Government from the Earliest Period to Our Own Times, Volume III

Chapter LXVI.

Of all the heroes of the Reformation, Rowland Taylor is, to our minds, the most interesting, because the most natural. Of a hearty, bluff English nature, full of kindliness and pleasantry, he is perfectly unconscious of playing a great part in this terrible drama, and goes to his death as gayly as to a marriage-feast.

Fuller says that those “who admire the temper of Sir Thomas More jesting with the axe of the executioner, will excuse our
Taylor making himself merry with the stake.” He has been compared to Socrates in his simplicity and jocularity, his affection for his friends, and his resolution to shrink from no danger rather than compromise the goodness of his cause.*

The account which Fox has given of Rowland Taylor is held to be only inferior to the eloquence and dignity of the Phædon of Plato.†It is difficult to give the spirit of such a narrative without impairing its force; but we may select one or two of its more remarkable points. Taylor had been chaplain to archbishop Cranmer; but having been appointed rector of Hadleigh, in
Suffolk, he devoted himself most zealously to the duties of his parish. He was married, and had nine children.

Soon after the accession of Mary some zealous papists took forcible possession of his church, and brought a priest to perform mass. Taylor remonstrated, with more wrath than worldly prudence, against what he called popish idolatry; and he was cited to appear in
London before the chancellor. He was strongly urged to fly; and his faithful servant, John Hull, who rode with him to
London, entreated him to shun the impending danger, and declared that he would follow him in all perils.

He came before Gardiner, with whom his long conference ended by the overpowering argument,” Carry him to prison.” He remained in confinement for about a year and three quarters, when he was brought before the commissioners and condemned as a heretic. His degradation was performed by Bonner; the usual mode being to put the garments of a Roman Catholic priest on the clerk-convict, and then to strip them off.
Taylor refused to put them on, and was forcibly robed by another.” And when he was thoroughly furnished therewith, he set his hands to his sides, and said, ‘How say you, my lord, am I not a goodly fool? How say you, my masters, if I were in Cheap should I not have boys enough to laugh at these apish toys?'”

The final ceremony was for the bishop to give the heretic a blow on his breast with his crosier-staff. “The bishop’s chaplain said, ‘My lord, strike him not, for he will sure strike again.’ ‘Yes, by St. Peter, will I,’ quota Dr. Taylor, ‘the cause is Christ’s, and I were no good Christian if I would not fight in my Master’s quarrel.’ So the bishop laid his curse on him, and struck him not.” When he went back to his fellow prisoner, Bradford, he told him the chaplain had said he would strike again; “and by my troth,” said he, rubbing his hands, “I made him believe I would do so indeed.” We give the scene as we find it, as an exhibition of character and of manners. What Heber calls “the coarse vigor of his pleasantry” may justly appear to some as foolish irreverence. But under this rough contempt of an authority which he despised there was in this parish priest a tenderness and love most truly Christian.

At two o’clock on a February morning one of the sheriffs of London led Taylor out of his prison, to deliver him to the sheriff of
Essex, in Aldgate, “Now when the sheriff and his company came against St. Boto??h Church,
Elizabeth, his daughter, cried, saying, ‘O my dear father! Mother, mother, here is my father led away.’ Then cried his wife, ‘Rowland, Rowland, where art thou?’ for it was a very dark morning, that the one could not see the other. Dr. Taylor answered, ‘Dear wife, I am here,’ and stayed. The sheriff’s men would have led him forth, but the sheriff said, ‘Stay a little, masters, I pray you, and let him speak to his wife;’ and so they stayed. Then came she to him; and he took his daughter Mary in his arms, and he, his wife, and
Elizabeth kneeled down and said the Lord’s Prayer: at which sight the sheriff wept apace, and so did divers other of the company.

After they had prayed, he rose up and kissed his wife, and shook her by the hand, and said, ‘Farewell, my dear wife, be of good comfort, for I am quiet in my conscience. God shall stir up a father for my children.’ And then he kissed his daughter Mary, and said, ‘God bless thee, and make thee his servant:’ and kissing
Elizabeth, he said, ‘God bless thee, I pray you all stand strong and stedfast unto Christ, and his words, and keep you from idolatry.’ Then said his wife, ‘God be with thee, dear Rowland. I will with God’s grace meet thee at Hadleigh.’

And so he was led forth to the Woolsack [an inn], and at his coming out, John Hull, before spoken of,stood at the rails with Dr. Taylor’s son. When Dr. Taylor saw them, he called them, saying, ‘Come hither, my son Thomas;’ and John Hull lifted up the child and set him on the horse, before his father. Then lifted he up his eyes towards heaven, and prayed for his son; laid his hand on the child’s head, and blessed him; and so delivered the child to John Hull, whom he took by the hand and said, ‘Farewell, John Hull, the faith fullest servant that ever man had.’ And so they rode forth; the sheriff of
Essex, with four yeomen of the guard, and the sheriff’s men leading him.”

The narrative of Fox conducts the condemned man by slow steps to his beloved Hadleigh. He is placid and even merry to the last. He jests upon his burly and corpulent frame, and holds that the worms in Hadleigh churchyard will be deceived, for the carcass that should have been theirs will be burned to ashes. He asks to be taken through Hadleigh. The streets are lined with his old parishioners. He could see them, but they could not look upon his face, which had been covered through his journey with a hood, having holes for the eyes and mouth. In Hadleigh there still stand some almshouses, built by William Pykeham, the rector, at the end of the fifteenth century.

Taylor, “stopping by the almshouses, cast out of a glove to the inmates of them such money as remained of what charitable persons had given for his support in prison, his benefices being sequestrated; and missing two of them he asked, ‘Is the blind man and the blind woman that dwelt here alive?’ He was answered, ‘Yea, they are there within.’ Then threw the glove and all into the window, and so rode forth.”

When he came to Aldham Common, where he was to suffer, he said, “Thanked be God, I am even at home;” and lighting from his horse he tore the hood from his head. “When the people saw his reverend and ancient face, and long white beard they burst out with weeping tears, and cried, saying, ‘God save thee, good Dr. Taylor.'” He would have spoken to them; but a guard thrust a tipstaff into his mouth. As they were piling the fagots a brutal man cast a fagot at him, which wounded him so that the blood ran down his face. “O friend,” said he, “I have harm enough; what needed that?” Let us draw a veil over his sufferings, and see only the poor woman who knelt at the stake to join in his prayers, and would not be driven away.



The history of D. Rouland Taylour, which suffered for the truth of Gods word, under the tyranny of the Romain Bishop. 1555. the 9th day of February.

The history of D. Rouland Taylour, which suffered for the truth of Gods word, vnder the tyranny of the Romain Bishop. 1555. the. 9. day of February.

Actes and Monumentes of the church, pp. 1445ff.

Hadley towne commended. THe town of Hadley was one of the first that receaued the word of God in all
England at the preachinge of Maister Thomas Bilney. Thomas Bilney: By whose industry the Gospell of Christ had such gracious successe, and toke such roote there, that a great number of that Parishe became exceedinge well learned in the holy scriptures, as well women as men: so that a man might haue found among them many that had often read the whole Bible thorow, and that could haue sayd a great part of S. Paules Epistles by hart, & very well and readely haue geuen a godly learned sentence in any matter of controuersie. Their children and seruantes were also brought vp and trayned so diligently in the right knowledge of Gods word, that the wholl towne seemed rather an Vniuersitie of the learned, then a towne of Clothmaking or labouring people: And that most is to be commended, they were for the more parte faythfull followers of Gods worde in their liuing.

In this towne was Doctor Rouland Taylor, Doctor in both the Ciuil and Canon lawes, D. Taylour, a Doctour in both lawes, and a dyuyne. and a right perfect Diuine, parson. Who at his first entring into his benefice, dyd not, as the common sort of beneficed men do, let out his Benefice to a Farmer, that should gather vp the profites, and set in an ignoraunt vnlearned Priest to serue the Cure, and so they may haue the fleece, little or nothing care for feedinge the flocke: But contrarily he forsooke the Archbyshoppe of Caterbury Thomas Cranmer Archb. of
Canterbury. Thomas Cranmer with whom he before was in housholde, and made his personall abode and dwellinge in Hadley among the people committed to his charge. Where he as a good Shepheard, A good shepheard and his conditions. abyding and dwelling among hys sheep, gaue him selfe wholly to the study of holy Scriptures, most faythfully endeuouring him selfe to fulfill that charge, which the Lord gaue vnto Peter, saying: Iohn 2. Peter louest thou me? Feede my Lambes, Feede my sheep, Feede my sheepe. Feede with worde. This loue of Christ so wrought in hym, that no Soday nor holy day passed, nor other tyme when he might get þe people together, but hee preached to them the word of God, the Doctrine of their Saluation.

Not onely was his worde a preaching vnto them, but all his lyfe and conuersation was an example of vnfayned christian life, and true holynes. He was voyd of all pride, huble, and meeke as any child: so that none were so poore, but they might boldly, as vnto their father, resort vnto him, neither was hys lowlines childysh or fearfull: but as occasion, tyme, and place required, he would be stout in rebuking the sinfull, and euil doers: so that none was so rich, but he would tell hym playnly his fault, with such earnest and graue rebukes as became a good Curate and Pastor. He was a ma very milde, voyd of all rancour, grudge, or euyll will, ready to doe good to all men, readely forgeuing his enemyes, and neuer sought to do euill to any.

To the poore that were blinde, lame, sicke, bedred, or that had many children, he was a very Father, a carefull patrone, and diligent prouider, in so much that he caused þe parishioners to make a generall prouision for them: and he him selfe (beside the continuall reliefe that they alwayes founde at hys house) gaue an honest portion yerely, to the common almes boxe. Comendacion of D. Taylours wyfe and his children. His wife also was an honest, discrete and sober matorne and his children well nourtred, brought vp in the feare of God and good learnyng.

To conclude, he was a right and liuely image or paterne of all those vertuous qualities described by S. Paule in a true Byshop, a good salt of the earth sauourly byting the corrupt maners of euill men, a light in Gods house set vpon a Candlesticke for all good men to imitate and folow.

Thus continued this good Shephearde among his flocke, gouernyng and leadyng them through this wildernes of the wicked world, all the dayes of the most innocent and holy kyng of blessed memory, Edward the vj. But after it pleased God to take kyng Edward from this vale of misery vnto his most blessed rest, the Papistes, The Papistes and their natural workes. who euer sembled and dissembled, both with kyng Henry the eight and kyng Edward his sonne, now seyng the tyme conuenient for their purpose, vttered their false hypocrisie, openly refusing all good reformation made by the sayd two most godly kynges, and contrary to that they had all these two kynges dayes preached, taught, written, and sworne, they violently ouerthrew the true doctrine of the Gospell, and persecuted with sword and fire all those that would not agree to receiue agayne the Romaine Byshop as supreme head of the vniuersall Churche, and allow all the errours superstitions, and idolatries, that before by Gods word were disproued and iustly condemned, as though now they were good doctrine, vertuous, and true Religion.

In the begynnyng of this rage of Antichrist, a certaine Petigentleman after the sorte of a Lawyer, called Foster a lawyer, and Iohn Clerke of Hadley, to notorious Papistes. Foster, beyng Steward and keeper of Courtes, a man of no great skill, but a bitter persecutour in those dayes, with one Iohn Clerke of Hadley, which Clerke had euer bene a secrete fauourer of all Romish Idolatry, cospired wt the sayd Clerke to bring in the Pope & his maumentrie agayne into Hadley Church. For as yet Doct. Taylour, as a good shepheard, had retained & kept in his Churche, the godly Churchseruice and reformation made by kyng Edward, & most faythfully and earnestly preached agaynst the Popish corruptios, which had infected the whole countrey round about.

Therefore the foresayd Foster and Clerke hyred one Iohn Auerth a right popish priest. Iohn Auerth, Person of Aldam, a very money Mammonist, a blynd leader of the blynd, a Popish Idolatour, and an open Aduouterer and whoremonger, a very fitte Minister for their purpose, to come to Hadley and there to geue the onset to begyn agayne the Popish Masse.

To this purpose they builded vp with all hast possible the aultar, entendyng to bring in their Masse agayne, about the Palme Monday. But this their deuise tooke none effect: Marke how vnwillingly the people were to receaue the papacy agayne. for in the night the aultar was beaten downe. Wherfore they built it vp agayne the second tyme, and layd diligent watch, lest any should agayne breake it downe.

On the day folowyng came Foster and Iohn Clerke, brynging with them their Popish Sacrificer, who brought with hym al his implementes and garmentes, to play his Popish Pageaunt, whom they and their men garded with swordes and bucklers lest any man should disturbe hym in his Missall Sacrifice.

When Doctour Taylour, who ( D. Taylours custome to study. accordyng to his custome) sat at his booke studying þe word of God, heard the bels ryng, he arose and went into the Churche, supposing some thyng had bene there to be done, accordyng to his Pastorall office: and commyng to the Churche, he founde the Church doores shut and fast barred, sauyng the Chauncell doore, which was onely latched: Where he entryng in, and commyng into the Chauncell, saw Masse brought into Hadley with swordes and bucklers. a Popish Sacrificer in his robes, with a broad new shauen crowne, ready to begyn his Popish sacrifice,beset roud about with drawen swords and buckelers, lest any man should approch to disturbe him.

Then sayd Doctour Taylour: D. Taylour rebuked the deuill. Thou Deuill, who made thee so bold to enter into this

church of
Christ, to prophane and defile it with this abhominable Idolatry? With that start vppe Foster, and with an irefull and furious countenaunce, sayd to Doctour Taylour: thou traytour, what doest thou here, to let and disturbe the The Papistes cal all their trupery the Queenes proceedinges. For you must remember that Antichrist rayneth by an others arme, and not by his owne power. Reade Daniell, of the king of faces the 8. chapter. Queenes proceedynges? Doctour Taylour aunswered: I am no traytour, but I am the shepheard that God & my Lord Christ hath appointed to feede this his flocke: wherfore I haue good authoritie to be here: & I commaude thee, thou Popish Wolfe, in the name of God to auoyde hece, and not to presume here with such Popish Idolatry, to poyson Christes flocke.

The sayd Foster: wilt thou traytourly hereticke make a commotion, & resist violently the Queenes proceedynges.

D. Taylour here playeth a right Elias. 3. Reg. 18.> Doctour Taylour auswered: I make no comotion, but it is you Papistes that maketh commotions and tumultes. I resist onely with Gods word, agaynst your Popish Idolatries, which are agaynst Gods word, the Queenes honor, & tend to the vtter subuersio of this realme of Englad. And further thou doest agaynst the Canon law, which commaundeth that no Masse be sayd, but at a consecrate aultar.

When the person of Aldam heard that, hee began to shrinke backe, & would haue left his saying of Masse. The start vp Iohn Clerke, and sayd: M. Auerth, he not afrayd, ye haue a * * Superaltare is a stone consecrated by the Byshops, commonly of a foote long which the Papistes cary in stead of an aulter, when they masse for money in gentlemens houses. Superaltare. Goe forth with your busines man.

Then Foster with his armed me, tooke Doctour Taylour, and led him with strong hand out of the Church, and the Popishe Prelate proceeded in his Romishe Idolatry. Doct. Taylours wife, who folowed her husband into the Churche, when she saw her husband thus violently thrust out of his Church: she kneeled downe, & held vp her handes, and with loude voyce sayd: I beseeche God the righteous Iudge to auenge this iniury, that this Popish Idolatour this day doth to the bloud of Christ. Then they thrust her out of the Church also, and shut to the doores: for they feared that the people would haue rent their Sacrificer in peeces. Notwithstandyng, one or two threw in great stones at the windowes, and missed very litle the Popish Masser.

Thus you see how without consent of the people, the Popishe Masse was agayne set vppe, The Papistes argumentes wherewith they maintayne their doctrine. with battayle aray, with swordes and buckelers, with violence and tyranny: which practise the Papistes haue euer yet vsed. As for reason, law, or Scripture, they haue none on their part. Therfore they are the same that sayth: Sap. 2. The law of vnrighteousnes is our stregth: Come let vs oppresse the righteous without any feare. &c.

Within a day or two after, with all hast possible, this Foster and Clerke made a complaint of Doctour Taylour, by a letter written to Steuen Gardiner Byshop of Winchester, and Lord Chauncellour.

When the Byshop heard this, he sent a letter missiue to Doct. Taylour, D. Taylour cited by a letter missiue. commaundyng him within certaine dayes, to come and to appeare before him vpon hys allegiaunce, to aunswere such complayntes as were made against hym.

When Doctour Taylours frendes heard of this, they were exceedyng sory and agreeued in mynde: whiche then foreseyng to what end the same matter would come, seyng also all truth and iustice were troden vnder foote, and falsehode wyth cruell Tyranny were set aloft and ruled all the whole route: D. Taylours frendes would haue hym flye. his frendes I say came to hym, and earnestly counselled hym to departe and flye, alledgyng and declaryng vnto hym, that hee could neither be indifferently heard to spake his conscience and mind, nor yet looke for iustice or fauour at the sayd Chauncellours handes, who as it was well knowen, was most fierce and cruell: but must needes (if he went vp to hym) wayte for imprisonement and cruell death at his handes.

Then sayd D. Taylour to his frendes: Deare frendes, I most hartely thanke you, for that ye haue so tender a care ouer me. The valiant courage of D. Taylour in Christes cause. And although I know, that there is neither iustice nor truth to be looked for at my aduersaries handes, but rather imprisonment and cruell death: yet know I my cause to be so good and righteous, and the truth so strong vpo my side, that I will by Gods grace go and appeare before them and to their beardes resist their false doynges.

Then sayd his frendes: M. Doctour, we thinke it not best so to do. You haue sufficiently done your duety, and testified the truth, both by your godly Sermons, and also in resistyng the Person of Aldam, wyth other that came hyther to bryng in agayne the popish Masse. And for as much as our Sauiour Christ willeth and biddeth vs, Math. 10. that when they persecute vs in one Citie, we should flye into an other: we thinke in flying at this tyme ye should do best, keepyng your selfe agaynst an other tyme whe the Church shall haue great neede of such diligent teachers, and godly Pastors.

Oh (quoth Doct. Taylour) what wil ye haue me to do? I am now olde, and haue already liued to long to see these terrible and most wicked dayes. Flye you, and do as your conscience leadeth you. I am fully determined (with Gods grace) to go to the Byshop, & to his beard to tell him that he doth nought. God shall well hereafter rayse vp teachers of his people, whiche shall with much more diligence and fruite teach them, then I haue done. For God will not forsake his church, though now for a tyme he trieth and correcteth vs, and not without a iust cause.

As for me, I beleue before GOD, I shall neuer bee able to do GOD so good seruice, as I may do now: nor I shall neuer haue so glorious a callyng as I now haue, nor so great mercy of GOD profered me, as is now at this present. For what Christen man would not gladly dye agaynst the Pope and his adherentes? I know that the Papacie is the kyngdome of Antichrist, The Papacy a kingdome of lyes. altogether full of lyes, altogether full of falsehode: so that all their doctrine, euen from Christes Crosse be my speede and S. Nicholas, vnto the end of their Apocalyps, is nothyng but Idolatry, superstition, errours, hypocrisie and lyes.

Wherefore I beseeche you, and all other my friendes, to pray for me, and I doubt not, but God will geue me stregth and his holy spirite, þt all myne aduersaries shall haue shame of their doynges.

When his frendes saw hym so constaunt, and fully determined to go, they with weepyng eyes commended hym vnto God: and he within a day or two prepared him selfe to his iourney, leauyng his cure with a godly old Priest, named Syr Rich. Yeoman D. Taylours Curate, and Martyr of Christ. Syr Richard Yeoman, who afterward for Gods truth was burnt at

There was also in Hadley one Iohn Alcocke of Hadley troubled for Gods truth, and dyed in prison. Alcocke, a very godly man, well learned in the holy Scriptures, who (after sir Richard Yeoman was driuen away) vsed dayly to reade a chapter, and to say the English Letany in

Church. But hym they fet vp to
London, and cast him in prison in Newgate: where after a yeare imprisonment he dyed.

But let vs returne to Doctour Taylour agayne, who beyng accompanyed with a seruaunt of his owne, named Iohn Hull, Doctour Taylours iourney. tooke hys iourney towardes
London. By the way this Iohn Hull a faythfull seruaunt to D. Taylour. Iohn Hull laboured to cousell and perswade him very earnestly to flye, and not to come to the Byshop, and profered himselfe to go with him to serue him, and in all perils to venter his lyfe for him, and with him.

But in no wise would Doctour Taylour consent or agree thereunto, but said: Oh Iohn, shal I geue place to this thy counsell & worldly perswasion, and leaue my flocke in this daunger? Remember the good shepheard Christ, which not alonely fed his flocke, but also dyed for his flocke. Him must I folow, and with Gods grace will do.

Therefore good Iohn pray for me: and if thou seest me weake at any tyme, comfort me, and discourage me not in this my godly enterprise and purpose. Thus they came vp to
London, and shortly after Doctour Taylour presented him selfe to The first meting betwene Winchest. and D. Taylour. the Byshop of Winchester Steuen Gardiner, then Lord Chauncellour of

For this hath bene one great abuse in England these many yeares, that such offices as haue bene of most importaunce and wayght, haue commonly bene committed to Byshops and other spirituall men, whereby three deuilish mischiefes and inconueniences haue happened in this Realme, to the great dishonour of God, and vtter neglecting of the flocke of Christ: the which. three be these.

First, they haue had small leysure to attende to theyr pastorall cures, which thereby haue bene vtterly neglected and left vndone.

Secondly, it hath also puft vp many Bishops and other spirituall persons into such hautynes and pryde, that they haue thought no noble man in the Realme worthy to be their equall and fellow.

Thirdly, where they by this meanes knew the very secretes of Princes, they beyng in such hygh offices, haue caused the same to be knowen in Rome, afore the kynges could accomplishe and bryng their ententes to passe in
England. By this meanes hath the Papacy bene so maintayned, and thynges ordered after their wils and pleasures, that much mischief hath happened in this Realme and others, sometyme to the destruction of Princes, and sometyme to the vtter vndoyng of many common wealthes.Now when Gardiner saw Doctour Taylour, he according to his common custome all to reuiled him, callyng him knaue, Traytor, hereticke, with many other villanous reproches: which all Doctour Taylours patience, and magnaminitye. Doctour Taylour heard patiently, and at the last sayd vnto him:

See this web page (examination)



Links related to Rowland Taylor

Links related to Dr. Rowland Taylor and other Reformers

Various links on Reformers, Tudor-England and general background information

Books written referring to Rowland Taylor

  • Fox’s (or Foxe’s) Book of Martyrs. Many editions available.
  • The LIFE OF ROWLAND TAYLOR, BY Rev William James Brown.
  • The Impact of the English Reformation 1500-1640 (Arnold Readers in History)
    by Peter Marshall (see page 45).
  • Daniel Defoe: The Life and Strange, Surprising Adventures
    by Richard West (Page 300)
  • The Mammoth Book of Eyewitness Britain: Eyewitness Accounts of Great Historical Moments from 55 B.C. to A.D. 2000
    by Jon E. Lewis
  • Bloody Mary’s Martyrs: The Story of England’s Terror
    by Jasper Ridley (Page 61)
  • The Lollards, by Richard Rex (Page 124)

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 –
  • 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.

The Setting (life and times) of Rowland Taylor

Understanding the setting and key terms for the life and death of Dr. Rowland Taylor (1510-1555)

Persecutions | Queen Mary Tudor, I | Thomas Cranmer | Protestantism | Roman Catholic Church | Reformation | Counter-Reformation | Martin Luther | William Tyndale | John Calvin

Persecutions in England During the Reign of Queen Mary

The premature death of that celebrated young monarch, Edward VI, occasioned the most extraordinary and wonderful occurrences, which had ever existed from the times of our blessed Lord and Savior’s incarnation in human shape. This low-spirited event became speedily a subject of general regret. The succession to the British throne was soon made a matter of contention; and the scenes which pursued were a demonstration of the serious affliction in which the kingdom was involved. As his loss to the nation was more and more unfolded, the remembrance of his government was more and more the basis of grateful recollection. The very awful prospect, which was soon presented to the friends of Edward’s administration, under the direction of his counsellors and servants, was a contemplation which the reflecting mind was compelled to regard with most alarming apprehensions. The rapid approaches which were made towards a total reversion of the proceedings of the young king’s reign, denoted the advances which were thereby represented to an entire resolution in the management of public affairs both in Church and state.

Alarmed for the condition in which the kingdom was likely to be involved by the king’s death, an endeavor to prevent the consequences, which were but too plainly foreseen, was productive of the most serious and fatal effects. The king, in his long and lingering affliction, was induced to make a will, by which he bequeathed the English crown to Lady Jane, the daughter of the duke of Suffolk, who had been married to Lord Guilford, the son of the duke of Northumberland, and was the granddaughter of the second sister of King Henry, by Charles, duke of Suffolk. By this will, the succession of Mary and Elizabeth, his two sisters, was entirely superseded, from an apprehension of the returning system of popery; and the king’s council, with the chief of the nobility, the lord-mayor of the city of London, and almost all the judges and the principal lawyers of the realm, subscribed their names to this regulation, as a sanction to the measure. Lord Chief Justice Hale, though a true Protestant and an upright judge, alone declined to unite his name in favor of the Lady Jane, because he had already signified his opinion that Mary was entitled to assume the reins of government. Others objected to Mary’s being placed on the throne, on account of their fears that she might marry a foreigner, and thereby bring the crown into considerable danger. Her partiality to popery also left little doubt on the minds of any, that she would be induced to revive the dormant interests of the pope, and change the religion which had been used both in the days of her father, King Henry, and in those of her brother Edward: for in all his time she had manifested the greatest stubbornness and inflexibility of temper, as must be obvious from her letter to the lords of the council, whereby she put in her claim to the crown, on her brother’s decease.

When this happened, the nobles, who had associated to prevent Mary’s succession, and had been instrumental in promoting, and, perhaps, advising the measures of Edward, speedily proceeded to proclaim Lady Jane Gray, to be queen of England, in the city of London and various other populous cities of the realm. Though young, she possessed talents of a very superior nature, and her improvements under a most excellent tutor had given her many very great advantages.

Her reign was of only five days’ continuance, for Mary, having succeeded by false promises in obtaining the crown, speedily commenced the execution of her avowed intention of extirpating and burning every Protestant. She was crowned at Westminster in the usual form, and her elevation was the signal for the commencement of the bloody persecution which followed.

Who was queen Mary Tudor, I?

Mary I (born Mary Tudor) (1516–58), daughter of Henry VIII, reigned 1553–58. Having regained the throne after the brief attempt to install Lady Jane Grey in her place, Mary attempted to reverse the country’s turn towards Protestantism, which had begun to gain momentum during the reign of her brother, Edward VI. She married Philip II of Spain, and after putting down several revolts began the series of religious persecutions which earned her the name of `Bloody Mary’. She died childless and the throne passed to her Protestant sister, Elizabeth I. – The OXFORD World ENCYCLOPEDIA

Mary, a Catholic, married Philip II of Spain. She repealed the laws establishing Protestantism in England and re-established Roman Catholicism. Often referred to as “Bloody Mary” she is noted for her persecution of Protestants. She dealt equally harshly with the Irish. She confiscated lands belonging to the O’Moores and the O’Connors in counties Laois and Offaly, renaming them Queen’s County and King’s County in honour of herself and her husband. The dispossessed chieftains waged a guerrilla war against the English settlements. Under the pretext of holding a peace conference with them, the English invited the O’Moores and the O’Connors to Mullaghmast where they had them and their families treacherously murdered. – Visit web site

Who was Thomas Cranmer?

(1489–1556) English cleric, a founding father of the English Protestant Church. He served Henry VIII on diplomatic missions before becoming Archbishop of Canterbury in 1532. He annulled Henry’s marriages to Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, and Anne of Cleves. During Edward VI’s reign, he was chiefly responsible for liturgical reform including the First and Second English Prayer Books (1549 and 1552) and the Forty-Two Articles (1553). He supported Lady Jane Grey’s succession in 1553; after Queen Mary’s accession he was tried for high treason, then for heresy, and finally burnt at the stake in Oxford. – The OXFORD World ENCYCLOPEDIA

What is Protestantism?

Protestant — A member or adherent of any of the Christian bodies that separated from the Roman Catholic Church at the Reformation. The term was coined after the imperial Diet summoned at Speyer in 1529, and derives from the `Protestatio’ of the reforming members against the decisions of the Catholic majority. These adherents of the Reformation were not merely registering objections: they were professing their commitment to the simple faith of the early Church, which they believed had been obscured by the unnecessary innovations of medieval Roman Catholicism. Since then, Protestants are those who accept the principles of the Reformation, as opposed to Catholic or Orthodox Christians. Luther, Zwingli and Calvin founded the largest of the original Protestant branches, and there were other more radical groups, such as the Anabaptists.

All the early Protestants shared a conviction that the Bible was the only source of revealed truth and it was made available to all in vernacular translations. While not all Protestants agree on all the issues, most reject papal authority and repudiate transubstantiation, purgatory, special veneration of the Virgin Mary, and invocation of the saints. The importance of the sacraments is also diminished, with only baptism and the Eucharist being accepted by most. The OXFORD World ENCYCLOPEDIA

What is the Roman Catholic Church?

The Christian Church that acknowledges the pope as its head, especially that which has developed since the Reformation. It has an elaborately organized hierarchy of bishops and priests. Popes are traditionally regarded as successors to St Peter, to whom Christ entrusted his power. In doctrine the Roman Catholic Church is characterized by strict adherence to tradition combined with acceptance of the living voice of the Church and belief in its infallibility. The classic definition of its position was made in response to the Reformation at the Council of Trent (1545–63). During this period the Catholic Church responded to the challenge of Protestantism by the movement known as the counter-reformation, which brought about various reforms and a draconian tightening of Church discipline. During the Enlightenment the Church increasingly saw itself as an embattled defender of ancient truth, a belief that culminated in the proclamation of Papal Infallibility in matters of doctrine in 1870. – The OXFORD World ENCYCLOPEDIA
What is the Reformation?

The 16th-century movement for reform of the doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic Church, ending in the establishment of Protestant, or Reformed, churches.

The starting point of the Reformation is often given as 1517, when the German theologian Martin Luther launched his protest against the corruption of the papacy and the Roman Catholic Church, although he was breaking no new controversial ground. In fact, most of the Reformation movements laid stress, not on innovation, but on return to a primitive simplicity. Luther’s theological reading led him to attack the central Catholic doctrines of transubstantiation, clerical celibacy, and papal supremacy. He also called for radical reform of the religious orders. By 1530 the rulers of Saxony, Hesse, Brandenburg, and Brunswick, as well as the kings of Sweden and Denmark had been won over to the reformed beliefs. They proceeded to break with the Roman Church, and set about regulating the churches in their territories according to Protestant principles.

In Switzerland, the Reformation was led first by Zwingli, who carried through antipapal, antihierarchic, and antimonastic reforms in Zurich. After his death the leadership passed to Calvin, in whose hands reforming opinion assumed a more explicitly doctrinal and revolutionary tone. Calvinism became the driving force of the movement in western Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Scotland, where in each case it was linked with a political struggle. Calvinism was also the main doctrinal influence within the Anglican Church. In Europe the reforming movement was increasingly checked and balanced by the Counter-Reformation. The era of religious wars came to an end with the conclusion of the Thirty Years War (1618–48). The OXFORD World ENCYCLOPEDIA

What was the Counter-Reformation?

A revival in the Roman Catholic Church between the mid-16th and mid-17th centuries. It had its origins in reform movements which were independent of the Protestant Reformation, but it increasingly became identified with, and took its name from, efforts to `counter’ the Protestant Reformation. There were three main ecclesiastical aspects. First a reformed papacy, with a succession of popes who had a notably more spiritual outlook than their immediate predecessors, and a number of reforms in the church’s central government initiated by them. Secondly, the foundation of new religious orders, notably the Oratorians and in 1540 the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), and the reform of older orders, notably the Capuchin reform of the Franciscans. Thirdly, the Council of Trent (1545–63), which defined and clarified Catholic doctrine on most points in dispute with Protestants and instituted important moral and disciplinary reforms within the Catholic Church, including the provision of a better education for the clergy through theological colleges called seminaries. All this led to a flowering of Catholic spirituality at the popular level, but also to an increasingly anti-Protestant mentality. The movement became political through its links with Catholic rulers, notably Philip II of Spain, who sought to re-establish Roman Catholicism by force. The stalemate between Catholics and Protestants was effectively recognized by the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, which brought to an end the Thirty Years War and in a sense concluded the Counter-Reformation period. The OXFORD World ENCYCLOPEDIA
Who was Martin Luther (1483–1546) ?

German Protestant theologian, the principal figure of the German Reformation. From 1508 he taught at the University of Wittenberg, latterly as professor of scripture (1512–46). He began to preach the doctrine of justification by faith rather than by works; his attack on the sale of indulgences with his 95 theses (1517) was followed by further attacks on papal authority, and in 1521 Luther was condemned and excommunicated at the Diet of Worms. At a meeting with Swiss theologians at Marburg (1529) he opposed Zwingli and gave a defence of the doctrine of consubstantiation (the presence in the Eucharist of the real substances of the body and blood of Christ); the next year he gave his approval to Melanchthon’s Augsburg Confession, which laid down the Lutheran position. His translation of the Bible into High German (1522–34) contributed significantly to the spread of this form of the language and to the development of German literature in the vernacular. – The OXFORD World ENCYCLOPEDIA

Who was William Tyndale (c.1494–1536)?

English translator and Protestant martyr. Faced with ecclesiastical opposition to his project for translating the Bible into English, Tyndale went abroad in 1524, never to return to his own country; his translation of the New Testament (c.1525–26) was published in Germany. He then translated the Pentateuch (1530) and Jonah (1531), both of which were printed in Antwerp. Tyndale’s translations later formed the basis of the Authorized Version. In 1535 he was arrested in Antwerp on a charge of heresy, and subsequently strangled and burnt at the stake. – The OXFORD World ENCYCLOPEDIA

Who was John Calvin (1509–64) ?

French Protestant theologian and reformer. He began his theological career in France, but was forced to flee to Basle in Switzerland after embracing Protestantism in the early 1530s. He attempted a re-ordering of society on reformed Christian principles, with strong and sometimes ruthless control over the private lives of citizens. From 1541 he lived in Geneva, where he established the first Presbyterian government. He exerted an important influence on the development of Protestant thought; his theological system, Calvinism, was further developed by his followers, notably Theodore Beza (1519–1605). – The OXFORD World ENCYCLOPEDIA

Where did Taylor live?

Hadley | Hadleigh | Suffolk, England

Rowland Taylor
lived in Hadley, England when he was the rector at the time of his death in 1555 A.D.

HADLEIGH, a market town in the Sudbury parliamentary division of Suffolk, England; 70 m. N.E. from London, the terminus of a branch of the Great Eastern railway. Pop. of i,~rban district (1901), 3245. It lies pleasantly in a well-wooded country on the small river Brett, a tributary of the Stour. The church of St Mary is of good Perpendicular work, with Early English tower and Decorated spire. The Rectory Tower, a turreted gate-house of brick, dates from c. 1495. The gild-hall is a Tudor building, and there are other examples of this period. There are a town-hall and corn exchange, and an industry in the manufacture of matting and in malting. Hadleigh was one of the towns in which the woollen industry was started by Flemings, and survived until the 18th century. Among the rectors of Hadleigh several notable names appear, such as Rowland Taylor, the martyr, who was burned at the stake outside the town in 1555, and Hugh James Rose, during whose tenancy of the rectory an initiatory meeting of the leaders of the Oxford Movement took place here in 1833.Source:

Suffolk, England
A county of eastern England; area 3,797 sq km (1,466 sq miles); pop. (1991) 629,900; county town, Ipswich. The county, which gives its name to a black-faced breed of sheep and a breed of draft horse, is divided into seven districts.

The Story of Taylor’s Martyrdom

The Life and Conduct of Dr. Rowland Taylor of Hadley

(Chapter 16 in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs)

Dr. Rowland Taylor, vicar of Hadley, in Suffolk, was a man of eminent learning, and had been admitted to the degree of doctor of the civil and canon law.

His attachment to the pure and uncorrupted principles of Christianity recommended him to the favor and friendship of Dr. Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, with whom he lived a considerable time, until through his interest he obtained the living at Hadley.

Not only was his word a preaching unto them, but all his life and conversation was an example of unfeigned Christian life and true holiness. He was void of all pride, humble and meek as any child; so that none were so poor but they might boldly, as unto their father, resort unto him; neither was his lowliness childish or fearful, but, as occasion, time, and place required, he would be stout in rebuking the sinful and evildoers; so that none was so rich but he would tell them plainly his fault, with such earnest and grave rebukes as became a good curate and pastor. He was a man very mild, void of all rancor, grudge or evil will; ready to do good to all men; readily forgiving his enemies; and never sought to do evil to any.

To the poor that were blind, lame, sick, bedrid, or that had many children, he was a very father, a careful patron, and diligent provider, insomuch that he caused the parishioners to make a general provision for them; and he himself (beside the continual relief that they always found at his house) gave an honest portion yearly to the common almsbox. His wife also was an honest, discreet, and sober matron, and his children well nurtured, brought up in the fear of God and good learning.

He was a good salt of the earth, savorly biting the corrupt manners of evil men; a light in God’s house, set upon a candlestick for all good men to imitate and follow.

Thus continued this good shepherd among his flock, governing and leadning them through the wilderness of this wicked world, all the days of the most innocent and holy king of blessed memory, Edward VI. But on his demise, and the succession of Queen Mary to the throne, he escaped not the cloud that burst on so many besdie; for two of his parishioners, Foster, an attorney, and Clark, a tradesman, out of blind zeal, resolved that Mass should be celebrated, in all its superstitious forms, in the parish church of Hadley, on Monday before Easter. This Dr. Taylor, entering the church, strictly forbade; but Clark forced the Doctor out of the church, celebrated Mass, and immediately informed the lord-chancellor, bishop of Winchester of his behavior, who summoned him to appear, and answer the complaints that were alleged against him.

The doctor upon the receipt of the summons, cheerfully prepared to obey the same; and rejected the advice of his friends to fly beyond sea. When Gardiner saw Dr. Taylor, he, according to his common custom, reviled him. Dr. Taylor heard his abuse patiently, and when the bishop said, “How darest thou look me in the face! knowest thou not who I am?” Dr. Taylor replied, “You are Dr. Stephen Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, and lord- chancellor, and yet but a mortal man. But if I should be afraid of your lordly looks, why fear ye not God, the Lord of us all? With what countenance will you appear before the judgment seat of Christ, and answer to your oath made first unto King Henry VIII, and afterward unto King Edward VI, his son?”

A long conversation pursued, in which Dr. Taylor was so piously collected and severe upon his antagonist, that he exclaimed:

“Thou art a blasphemous heretic! Thou indeed blasphemist the blessed Sacrament, (here he put off his cap) and speakest against the holy Mass, which is made a sacrifice for the quick and the dead.” The bishop afterward committed him into the king’s bench.

When Dr. Taylor came there, he found the virtuous and vigilant preacher of God’s Word, Mr. Bradford; who equally thanked God that He had provided him with such a comfortable fellow- prisoner; and they both together praised God, and continued in prayer, reading and exhorting one another.

After Dr. Taylor had lain some time in prison, he was cited to appear in the arches of Bow-church.

Dr. Taylor being condemned, was committed to the Clink, and the keepers were charged to treat him roughly; at night he was removed to the Poultry Compter.

When Dr. Taylor had lain in the Compter about a week on the fourth of February, Bonner came to degrade him, bringing with him such ornaments as appertained to the massing mummery; but the Doctor refused these trappings until they were forced upon him.

The night after he was degraded his wife came with John Hull, his servant, and his son Thomas, and were by the gentleness of the keepers permitted to sup with him.

After supper, walking up and down, he gave God thanks for His grace, that had given him strength to abide by His holy Word. With tears they prayed together, and kissed one another. Unto his son Thomas he gave a Latin book, containing the notable sayings of the old martyrs, and in the end of that he wrote his testament:

“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 be 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 favorable, than is any father or husband. Trust 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 hath 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.”

On the morrow the sheriff of London with his officers came to the Compter by two o’clock in the morning, and brought forth Dr. Taylor; and without any light led him to the Woolsack, an inn without Aldgate. Dr. Taylor’s wife, suspecting that her husband should that night be carried away, watched all night in St. Botolph’s church-porch beside Aldgate, having her two children, the one named Elizabeth, of thirteen years of age (whom, being left without father or mother, Dr. Taylor had brought up of alms from three years old), the other named Mary, Dr. Taylor’s own daughter.

Now, when the sheriff and his company came against St.

Botolph’s church, Elizabeth cried, saying, “O my dear father! mother, mother, here is my father led away.” Then his wife cried, “Rowland, Rowland, where art thou?”-for it was a very dark morning, that the one could not well see the other. Dr. Taylor answered, “Dear wife, I am here”; and stayed. The sheriff’s men would have led him forth, but the sheriff said, “Stay a little, masters, I pray you; and let him speak to his wife”; and so they stayed.

Then came she to him, and he took his daughter Mary in his arms; and he, his wife, and Elizabeth kneeled down and said the Lord’s Prayer, at which sight the sheriff wept apace, and so did divers others of the company. After they had prayed, he rose up and kissed his wife, and shook her by the hand, and said, “Farewell, my dear wife; be of good comfort, for I am quiet in my conscience. God shall stir up a father for my children.”

All the way Dr. Taylor was joyful and merry, as one that ccounted himself going to a most pleasant banquet or bridal. He spake many notable things to the sheriff and yeomen of the guard that conducted him, and often moved them to weep, through his much earnest calling upon them to repent, and to amend their evil and wicked living. Oftentimes also he caused them to wonder and rejoice, to see him so constant and steadfast, void of all fear, joyful in heart, and glad to die.


When Dr. Taylor had arrived at Aldham Common, the place where he should suffer, seeing a great multitude of people, he asked, “What place is this, and what meaneth it that so much people are gathered hither?” It was answered, “It is Aldham Common, the place where you must suffer; and the people have come to look upon you.” Then he said, “Thanked be God, I am even at home”; and he alighted from his horse and with both hands rent the hood from his head.

His head had been notched and clipped like as a man would clip a fool’s; which cost the good bishop Bonner had bestowed upon him. But when the people saw his reverend and ancient face, with a long white beard, they burst out with weeping tears, and cried, saying: “God save thee, good Dr. Taylor! Jesus Christ strengthen thee, and help thee! the Holy Ghost comfort thee!” with such other like good wishes.

When he had prayed, he went to the stake and kissed it, and set himself into a pitch barrel, which they had put for him to stand in, and stood with his back upright against the stake, with his hands folded together, and his eyes towards heaven, and continually prayed.

They then bound him with the chains, and having set up the fagots, one Warwick cruelly cast a fagot at him, which struck him on his head, and cut his face, sot hat the blood ran down. Then said Dr. Taylor, “O friend, I have harm enough; what needed that?”

Sir John Shelton standing by, as Dr. Taylor was speaking, and saying the Psalm Miserere in English, struck him on the lips:

“You knave,” he said, “speak Latin: I will make thee.” At last they kindled the fire; and Dr. Taylor holding up both his hands, calling upon God, and said, “Merciful Father of heaven! for Jesus Christ, my Savior’s sake, receive my soul into Thy hands!” So he stood still without either crying or moving, with his hands folded together, until Soyce, with a halberd struck him on the head until his brains fell out, and the corpse fell down into the fire.

Thus rendered up this man of God his blessed soul into the hands of his merciful Father, and to his most dear Savior Jesus Christ, whom he most entirely loved, faithfully and earnestly preached, obediently followed in living, and constantly glorified in death.