Oxford Martyrs Memorial recalls a fiery-past
OXFORD has long been one of our nation’s greatest cities of learning. And as such, it has always been a hot bed for passionate intellectual and spiritual debate.
So it’s not surprising that Oxford’s theologians and scholars were at the heart of the tumultuous Reformation caused when King Henry VIII split from the Roman Catholic Church and created the Church of England in the 16th Century.
The Oxford Martyrs Memorial in St Giles Street, Oxford, with its imposing spiky tower recalls one of the darkest and bloodiest chapters in British history.
While King Henry VIII had created Anglicanism, his daughter and successor, Queen Mary Tudor steadfastly retained her Roman Catholic beliefs taught to her by her mother, Catherine of Aragon.
Queen Mary Tudor – who reigned from 1553 to 1558 following her father’s death – became known as “Bloody Mary” for the many executions she ordered in her attempt to revert England back to Roman Catholicism.
In less than four years, Queen Mary ordered about 300 Protestants be burned at the stake for refusing to recant their heresy.
The memorial in St Giles Street commemorates the three Oxford Martyrs – Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer and Anglican bishops Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer – who were executed on the orders of Queen Mary for refusing to revert back to Roman Catholic Church.