Oxford Martyrs

The Oxford Martyrs were Protestants tried for heresy in 1555 and burnt at the stake in Oxford, England, for their religious beliefs and teachings, during the Marian persecution in England.

Oxford Martyrs
Latimer Ridley Foxe burning.jpg
The burning of Latimer and Ridley, from the Book of Martyrs by John Foxe (1563)
Died1555, 1556, Oxford, England
Means of martyrdomBurned at the stake
Venerated inAnglican Communion
FeastOctober 16

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 the University of Oxford on the High Street. The men were imprisoned at the former Bocardo Prison near the 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 men were burnt at the stake just outside the city walls to the north, 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 paved with granite setts 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, notably in the early part of the novel 'The Negotiator' by Frederick Forsyth, 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).


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