Oxford Martyrs<tr><td colspan="2" style="text-align: center;">
Latimer Ridley Foxe burning

The burning of Latimer and Ridley, from a book by John Foxe (1563).</td></tr><tr><td> Born</td><td> England</td></tr><tr><td>Died</td><td>1555, 1556, Oxford, England</td></tr><tr><td>Means of martyrdom</td>

<td>burned at the stake</td></tr><tr><td>Venerated in</td> <td>Anglican Communion</td></tr><tr><td>Feast</td> <td>October 16</td></tr>

The Oxford Martyrs were tried for heresy in 1555 and subsequently burnt at the stake in Oxford, England, for their religious beliefs and teachings.

The three martyrs were the bishops Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, and the Archbishop Thomas Cranmer.


The three were tried at University Church of St Mary the Virgin, the official church of Oxford University on the High Street. The martyrs were imprisoned at the former Bocardo Prison near the still extant St Michael at the Northgate church (at the north gate of the city walls) in Cornmarket Street. The door of their cell is on display in the tower of the church.

The martyrs were burnt at the stake just outside the city walls to the north, where Broad Street is now located. Latimer and Ridley were burnt on 16 October, 1555. Cranmer was burnt five months later on 21 March 1556.

A small area cobbled with stones forming a cross in the centre of the road outside the front of Balliol College marks the site. The Victorian spire-like Martyrs' Memorial, at the south end of St Giles' nearby, commemorates the events. It is claimed that the scorch marks from the flames can still be seen on the doors of Balliol College (now rehung between the first and second quads). [1]


There has been an attempt to connect the Oxford Martyrs with the nursery rhyme Three Blind Mice.[2] It has been speculated that the rhyme refers to Queen Mary I of England blinding and executing the three Oxford Martyrs.[3] However, Ridley, Hugh Latimer, and Thomas Cranmer were burned, but not blinded.[4]


Joseph Martin Kronheim - Foxe&#039;s Book of Martyrs Plate V - Latimer before the Council

"Latimer before the Council", from an 1887 edition of Foxe's Book of Martyrs illustrated by Kronheim.

Joseph Martin Kronheim - Foxe&#039;s Book of Martyrs Plate VII - Death of Cranmer

"Death of Cranmer", from the same.

Notes and references

  2. The Annotated Mother Goose, Bramhall House (1962)
  3. Espoused by Albert Jack, Pop Goes the Weasel: The Secret Meanings of Nursery Rhymes, Allen Lane (2008). ISBN 978-1846141447
  4. The Annotated Mother Goose, Bramhall House (1962)

See also

External links

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