I had never heard of them until just a few days ago I read an article about them. I would like to share their story.
Between 1506 and 1521, seven people were burned at the stake in Amersham which is located about 27 miles northwest of London. These people were "Lollards" which meant that they were followers of John Wycliffe. Their names were William Tylsworth, John Scrivener, Thomas Barnard, James Morden, Robert Rave, Thomas Holmes and Joan Norman. What was their crime? They wanted the Bible to be translated into their native tongue which was English so that they could read and understand it. At that time in England, the only "legal" Bibles were Bibles which were written in either Greek or Latin. The translating of the Bible into English so that the common individual could read the Word of God for themselves was forbidden and even punishable by death.
In 1931 a monument was erected which read:
In the shallow of depression at a spot 100 yards left of this monument seven Protestants, six men and one woman were burned to death at the stake. They died for the principles of religious liberty, for the right to read and interpret the Holy Scriptures and to worship God according to their consciences as revealed through God's Holy Word.
I am looking at my Bible at the moment and thinking about how men and women were willing to face death so that I might be able to read God's Word in my native language. I am thinking about the sacrifice they made and wondering, are we willing to do the same? I am thinking about how there are those within the Church today who criticize, condemn and even suggest that these precious brothers and sisters whose blood was spilled and died painful, horrible deaths had it coming to them because of disobedience!
We must never forget that the Good News was delivered into our hands because there were men and women who were willing to share it at all cost... even if it meant losing their own lives. Are we willing to do the same?