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This week in Christian history: English Protestant leader martyred, the ‘Great Ejection’

English Reformation leader martyred – Aug. 19, 1531

Thomas Bilney
Thomas Bilney (1495-1531), a leader in the English Protestant Reformation who was martyred for his beliefs. |

This week marks the anniversary of when Thomas Bilney, an influential leader in the early stages of England’s Protestant Reformation, was burned at the stake for his beliefs.

A scholar and Catholic priest, Bilney came to accept the Reformation and in 1531, he was arrested and executed for distributing the English translation of the Bible by William Tyndale.

The United Kingdom-based group, The Christian Institute, labeled Bilney “a forgotten hero” and credited him as being “the first martyr of the reformation on English soil.”

“Though Bilney is often overlooked as a mere minor character in a larger work, he played an important part in the early English Reformation,” continued the Institute.

“Bilney was faithful with what God had given him. He preached and undertook good works among the poor, the sick and the prisoners. He stood up for the faith, even though it cost him everything.”

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