The Oxford Martyrs - Broad Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Dragontree
N 51° 45.261 W 001° 15.455
30U E 620267 N 5735153
Quick Description: The Oxford Martyrs were burnt for their faith in 1555-56. A stone plaque commemorates this event here in Oxford city centre.
Location: Southern England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 7/28/2012 1:37:19 PM
Waymark Code: WMEZHD
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 9

Long Description:
Surmounted by a coat of arms and sheltered beneath a stone canopy the plaque is a subtle yet poignant reminder of the past struggle for religious freedom. The Oxford Martyrs are remembered in various parts of the city but here we see where they were executed for their faith.

Wikipedia describes the Oxford Martyrs:visit link

'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 Anglican bishops Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley and Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury.


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 south, 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 Front Quadrangle and Garden Quadrangle).


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

A possible interpretation of the 'blinding' refers to the fact that Cranmer believed that by recanting his Protestant faith he would save his life. Only when he realised he would be burnt anyway did he recant his earlier recantation and embrace Protestantism again, just before he was excuted. In some ways Mary could have been said to have blindsided Cranmer by leading him to believe he could save himself and executed him anyway and as such 'cut off his tail with a carving knife.' Another possible interpretation is not that they were blinded, but they were blind, in that they rejected Catholicism.'

The plaque reads:

'Opposite this point
near the Cross in the
middle of Broad Street
one time Bishop of Worcester
Bishop of London and
Archbishop of Canterbury
were burnt for their
faith in 1555 and 1556.

Relevant Website: [Web Link]

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