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Burning Deaths of Heretics in History

A number of people have been burned to death for being accused of heresy. Examples of the practice are shown through the deaths of the following people who were accused or proven to have shown a difference of opinion in religion. Oftentimes, victims of this method of execution voiced their opinions that religious reform should take place, and for those beliefs , they were condemned. In this article, you will meet a handful of victims.

William Tyndale (1490,1536) , Towards the end of his life, William Tyndale became a leading figure in Protestant reformism. The English scholar and translator is best known for completing a great deal of the translations of the Bible. In 1535, he was arrested and jailed in the castle of Vilvoorde, which was located outside of Brussels. He remained there for over a year before he was tried for heresy. His punishment was being choked, impaled and burnt on a stake in 1536. The Tyndale Bible would still influence others , spreading the ideas of the Reformation across English-speaking cultures.

John Frith (1503,1533) , The English Protestant priest and writer played an important role in the Christian debate on persecution and toleration. He was in favor of being more tolerant towards other religions. However, he was later tried before many examiners and bishops. His own writings were used as evidence for his views, as others tried to prove a case of heresy against him. He was eventually sentenced to death by fire.

John Hooper (died 1555) , The English churchman was a King Edward-era bishop of Gloucester and Worcester, who was burned in Gloucester in 1555. The Protestant Reformer was killed during what was known as the Marian Persecutions, where punishments were given to people in favor of religious reform. This took place during the reign of Mary I of England and was connected to the growing hatred of the queen, who was dubbed ‘Bloody Mary.’ Hooper was one of the First Four Martyrs , joining three other religious leaders who were all burned at the stake in 1555.

James Bainham (died 1532) , Bainham was an English lawyer and Protestant reformer who was burned as a heretic in 1532. Bainham was a member of the Middle Temple while practicing law. In 1531, he was accused of heresy and according to a source; he was imprisoned and flogged before being sent to the Tower of London to be racked. It was More’s desire that he would learn of the identities of other heretics by getting a confession out of Bainham. The examination of Bainham dealt with his belief in purgatory, confession and other beliefs. They also questioned him on the works of William Tyndale and John Frith (which he had owned). In the end, he was deemed a heretic and burned at the stake.

The van Beckums (died 1544) , With a lot of attention being placed on the case, Ursula van Beckum was a noble Dutch Anabaptist , a Protestant Christian that belonged to the Radical Reformation movement that took place in 16th century Europe. She was executed for heresy in the Netherlands (along with her sister-in-law Maria van Beckum), In 1542, the Anabaptists were deemed heretics in the country and people were arrested and sentenced to death as a result.