Reformation Martyrs


Foxe’s Book of Martyrs is famous in evangelical circles. I have read that he wrote with quite an agenda. Does anyone know of an internet source which gives the other side of the story (Catholic martyrs of the reformation) or a balanced view?

English Confessors and Martyrs (1534-1729)

Martyrs of the English Reformation (Unknown Binding)
by Malcolm M Brennan


A good read is Edmund Campion by Evelyn Waugh.
Campion was an Oxford scholar and priest who was martyred under Elizabeth I.
I have read Foxe’s book and, yes, it had a mighty Protestant agenda.


Protestants killed Catholics and Catholics killed Protestants.

It’s an ugly period in our history.


I read FBOM years ago and was appalled at the carnage supposedly done by the Catholic Church. But as a Pentecostalist I never heard about the Catholic martyrs only that the Church did these wicked deeds for no good reason at all.

Now, real history is much more complex than Fox would have us believe, and it is clear to any unbiased reader that he had an agenda.

Many people that Protestants celebrate as martyrs slain for their Evangelical beliefs were nothing of the kind. They were dangerous heretics who believed in things that Evangelicals would be horrified to hold to. And conversely, they denied basic Christian teachings that Evangelicals would say were essentials of the faith, such as the divinity of Christ and the sacredness of marriage.

If people want to throw Protestant “martyrs” in the faces of Catholics they would do well to be sure they actually were martyrs to the truth and not merely heretics whom they themselves, in the times of such martyrs, would have piled on the wood and happily seen burned at the stake.


This is true.


There are reliable works on the period. Cobbett’s* Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland*; Mons. Philip Hughes’ The Reformation in England (Three Volumes); Eamon Duffy’s Stripping of the Altars.

We endure to this day the terrible effects of Henry’s “divorce.” I would argue that there is not an modern ill that cannot be traced to it directly or indirectly.

Chris C.


[quote=Steadfast]Protestants killed Catholics and Catholics killed Protestants.

It’s an ugly period in our history.

True - but we have to remember that the overseeing of religious matters was considered to be an integral part of the running of a political state at that time. There was nothing in the way of separation of Church and State as we understand it.

Kings and Dukes and so forth considered themselves to be divinely appointed, and for this reason were responsible for the spiritual as well as physical welfare of their subjects and their territories.

So anything in the way of heresy, or unorthodox or distasteful religious practices (such as witchcraft) was also considered to be treason against one’s king or other secular ruler as well. Hence secular states often taking over the execution of heretics after the Church courts and Inquisitions had found them guilty of such. This practice went all the way back to the Roman Empire, it certainly wasn’t something newly invented at the time of the Reformation.


Wow, Lily! Someone who actually has knowledge of times past. I’m very impressed.


Awww shucks, 'tweren’t nothing :o

It’s a byproduct of having studied history at university because I actually enjoyed it rather than having been forced to in any way :slight_smile:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit