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Atkins, Richard (1559?–1581), protestant martyr, was the son of William Atkins and a native of Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire. In early summer 1581 he arrived in Rome. The anonymous Copie of a Double Letter (1582?), probably by the Jesuit Robert Persons from an eyewitness account, describes him as 'of no great yeres', a 'nailesmithe' by trade, short, with auburn hair, a reddish beard, and hardened hands, unlettered except that he could rudely write his name and read 'a litle new testament tourned out of Beza his latin' into English. The ...

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Bainham, James (d. 1532), lawyer and protestant martyr, was the youngest son of Sir Alexander Bainham and Elizabeth Langley, née Tracy, of Westbury-on-Severn in Gloucestershire, and nephew through his mother of Sir William Tracy, the evangelical landowner from Toddington in Gloucestershire whose will was refused probate in 1531 because of its heretical content. The source of his early education is unknown, but he probably attended a grammar school for he knew both Latin and Greek; later he was admitted to the inns of court and became a lawyer. However, he did not confine his energies to the law; he also espoused the evangelical faith articulated so eloquently in his uncle's will. ...

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Bayfield [alias Somersam], Richard (d. 1531), Benedictine monk and protestant martyr, was born at Hadleigh in Suffolk of unknown parentage. His alias, presumably a locative surname, suggests that his family originated at Somersham, a few miles north-east of Hadleigh. He was professed at ...

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Bilney, Thomas (c. 1495–1531), evangelical reformer and martyr, known as Little Bilney on account of his short stature, was born in Norfolk, most likely at Norwich. Of his parents nothing is known, except that they survived him. Sent up to Cambridge at an early age (...

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Bland, John (d. 1555), protestant martyr, was born at Sedbergh, Yorkshire, and was educated by Roger Lupton, the provost of Eton College, before becoming a fellow of St John's College, Cambridge, where he took the degree of MA in 1536. According to John Foxe...

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Boste, John [St John Boste] (1544–1594), Roman Catholic priest and martyr, was born at Wellyng Manor, Dufton, Westmorland, the younger of two sons of Nicholas Boste, of Wellyng Manor, and his wife, Janet Hutton, of Hutton Hall in Penrith. Boste went to Queen's College, Oxford...

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Bradford, John (c. 1510–1555), evangelical preacher and martyr, was a native of the parish of Manchester. His parents are said to have been of gentle birth, but little is known for certain of his family, except that he had at least three sisters. He attended ...

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Cardmaker, John (c. 1496–1555), clergyman and protestant martyr, was born at Exeter. Nothing is known of his parents and all that is recorded of his early years is that he was admitted to the Franciscan order under age. After sixteen years' study at ...

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Davies [Dai], William (d. 1593), Roman Catholic priest and martyr, was born at Croes-yn-eirias in the parish of Llandrillo-yn-Rhos, Denbighshire, son of William Dai and grandson of Dafydd (Dai) Nantglyn, the most distinguished harpist of his day. His mother (or stepmother) was Katherine Evans...

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Dusgate [Benet], Thomas (d. 1532), protestant martyr, was born in Cambridge. Nothing is known about his parents and his early years are entirely obscure. He was a scholar of Christ's College and took his bachelor's degree in 1522–3. He was officially a fellow of ...

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Ferrar, Robert (d. 1555), bishop of St David's and protestant martyr, was born at Ewood in Midgley in the parish of Halifax, Yorkshire. In the early 1520s he found a living at the Augustinian priory of St Oswald in Nostell, Yorkshire, where he was ordained an acolyte and subdeacon on 21 May 1524. On 24 September 1524 he was ordained a deacon at ...

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Forrest, Henry (d. 1533?), protestant martyr, is identified with the student of that name who appears fleetingly on record as a determinant, designated 'pauper', in St Leonard's College at St Andrews University in 1526. There, in all probability, he imbibed the Lutheran beliefs circulating in the university and may well have witnessed ...

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Forret, Thomas (d. 1540?), protestant martyr, was the son of Thomas Forret, master stabler to James IV. He had travelled abroad and studied at Cologne, where he matriculated in 1515, before entering the Augustinian abbey of Inchcolm in the Firth of Forth. The Augustinians were active in the world and ...

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Frith, John (1503–1533), evangelical theologian and martyr, was born at Westerham in Kent. His family moved to Sevenoaks, where his father, Richard, became an innkeeper. He was sent as a boy to Eton College, and from there went to Cambridge, apparently as a scholar to ...

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Gennings, Edmund [St Edmund Gennings] (1566–1591), Roman Catholic priest and martyr, was born in Lichfield, Staffordshire, possibly the son of John Gennings (fl. 1555–1579), innkeeper and bailiff, and his wife (fl. 1566–1581). He was brought up as a protestant and was 'of modest behaviour in childhood, little given to play, much delighted to view the heaven and stars' (...

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Glover, Robert (d. 1555), protestant martyr, came of gentry stock in Warwickshire. He was one of three brothers, each of whom was attracted to protestant views under Henry VIII. The youngest brother, William, was probably the author of an adulatory letter to Anne Boleyn...

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Green, Bartholomew [Bartlet] (1529/30–1556), protestant martyr, was born in the parish of St Michael Bassishaw, in the city of London. Bartholomew, or Bartlet, Green attended Oxford, where he proceeded BA in 1547. He was converted to protestantism at Oxford, where he attended Peter Martyr's...

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Hooper, John (1495x1500–1555), bishop of Gloucester and Worcester and protestant martyr, was born some time between 1495 and 1500. Little can be said for sure about either his place of origin or his parents. According to Hooper himself, his father was wealthy; there is some evidence to suggest that he had prospered in the cloth trade. Tradition has always claimed that ...

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Hugh Latimer (c. 1485–1555) by unknown artist, 1555 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Latimer, Hugh (c. 1485–1555), bishop of Worcester, preacher, and protestant martyr, was born at Thurcaston, a village north of Leicester. Most accounts of his life mention the passage in a court sermon of 1549 referring to his parents and their hard-won prosperity: 'My father was a yeoman, and had no lands of his own, only he had a farm of ...