On this day in 1554, a warrant was issued for the arrest of a farmer and preacher by the name of George Marsh. At that time Marsh was a Curate in the Church of England and had been to Cambridge and had run a school and ministered in both London and Lincoln. Upon learning the Church of England had swayed over to popular culture and had committed the apostate act of bowing the knee to Roman Catholicism, Marsh left his ministry and returned to his home town to preach in Bolton, Deane, Bury, and Eccles. A warrant was issued by the Earl of Derby for preaching without a licence, and after hearing about this Marsh wondered around the area of Deane Church, and the following morning he received a letter from a friend who advised that he should in no wise flee, but abide and “boldly confess the faith of Jesus Christ.”
In those days, the authorities gave the reformers the option of either leaving the country and going to Germany or Geneva. At that time the reformation was in full bloom in those countries. After reading the letter Marsh chose to stay and handed himself in to the local sheriff, master Barton.
It was a very costly decision. Marsh stood a small trial at Smithills Hall, and was sent to Latham, Lancaster, and eventually to Chester where he was burned at the stake on April 24, 1555.
May we never forget.