I recently read a small booklet by the Protestant Alliance (www.protestant-alliance.org), entitled 'The Protestant Martyrs of Amersham'. Upon reading of the horrific persecutions of Rome against the early reformers, my mind was instantly drawn back to the scenes broadcast by the media, of the supposedly 'Protestant' Church of England (CofE) welcoming the Pope to British shores in 2010. The Papal flag was hoisted above Westminster Abbey, and as I remember it, the Archbishop even proceeded to 'pray' with the Pope, portraying a perverse united front between the CofE and Rome. How far we have fallen, spiritually, as a nation!
Sadly, the likes of Rowan Williams forget that the Catholic 'church' is none other than the Great Whore prophesied in the Book of Revelation, who sits on the seven hills; and clothed in purple and scarlet, is "drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus" (Revelation 17). She has never repented of her evils, and hates Christ as much now as ever she has.
May all Christians who would label themselves 'Protestant', and who own their own Bibles (which Rome would've murdered you for only a couple of hundred years ago) remember that the Catholic system is antichrist, and have nothing whatsoever to do with her.
An excerpt from 'The Protestant Martyrs of Amersham' is included below.
Seven names are engraved on the Memorial of those who were cruelly burned to death in a nearby hollow. William Tylsworth, in 1506 and John Barnard, James Marden, John Scrivener, Robert Rave, Thomas Holmes and Joan Norman all burned in 1521. On one of the side panels appear the names of four Amersham men who died elsewhere in the same great cause - Robert Cosin of Great Missenden at Buckingham in 1506, Thomas Chase who was murdered by the Bishop's servants at his Palace at Wooburn in 1514, Thomas Man, a leader of the Lollards, who was arrested in London and burned in 1518 at Smithfield but was a native of Amersham, and Thomas Harding, who had moved to Chesham and was burned there in 1532.
William Tylsworth seems to have been a leader of the Lollards in the district, and may have possessed a Wycliffe Bible or portion of Scripture. In 1506, in the reign of Henry VII, Bishop Smith of Lincoln made a very determined effort to get rid of the Lollards and his wrath descended on the hapless people of Amersham. The Episcopal Palace was close by at Wooburn and beneath it were dungeons for such a time as this.Search was made from house to house for Wycliffe's writings, every inducement was given to those who would inform on their neighbours. Information about the gatherings of these simple Christians was obtained and a persecution was begun that was to be remembered for years to come. 1506 was called the year of the Great Abjuration (recantation) for long afterward. (John Foxe was a much more careful historian than many of his enemies have been willing to admit. He used as the source of his knowledge the registers of the Bishops and the testimony of eye witnesses, that were still alive in Amersham in his day, who called this the Great Abjuration). The purpose of the Bishop was to make an example of a leader and to strike terror into his followers. It was with this in mind that William Tylsworth was burned. The persecutors made his married daughter, Joan Clerk, light the pile of faggots that consumed her father. It is recorded that she and her husband were of the 60 that were made to abjure. They were branded on the cheek with a hot iron, made to wear the symbol of the flaming faggot and forced on certain festival days to parade with a lighted torch in the hand and a faggot of wood on the shoulder. If they again expressed "heretical" opinions they were burned without mercy. William Tylsworth died but there was no popular revolt against the evils in the Church of his time. The beginnings of the Reformation could be glimpsed but Church and State combined to crush the followers of Wycliffe and Tylsworth. It would have been comparatively easy to think that the cause of Truth was lost. A freely read English Bible was still more than 20 years away. England was still benighted by Roman Catholic darkness. We hope that Tylsworth saw the rays of the brighter dawn and died not only in the faith of Jesus Christ but in the conviction that Truth would yet be vindicated.