Thomas Bilney, the Norwich Martyr: "The Father of the English Reformation"
The County of Norfolk boasts many famous sons and daughters. The names of city streets, pubs and schools bear witness to their lives. But of all those born in the county, the man who arguably made the biggest impact on English society is almost forgotten. His name is Thomas Bilney.
Born in 1495, possibly in the hamlet of East Bilney near Fakenham, Bilney is regarded as the "First Protestant Martyr", however the author disputes this fact. His gift of Tyndale's translation of the New Testament to Katherine Manne, anchoress of the Norwich Dominican Friary, and his crusade against saints and relics in a tour of towns and villages across East Anglia probably sealed his fate. On 17 March 1531 he was led to Lollards’ Pit a former quarry north of the city of Norwich and burnt at the stake.
This pamphlet tells his story.