Posts Tagged “George Marsh”
This year 2015 is the anniversary of the births of Scottish reformer John Knox, 17th century Puritan Richard Baxter and of the Protestant Reformed martyr, George Marsh.
Marsh was born in Deane, Bolton in 1515. He was a farmer by trade and married at the age of 25 and upon the death of his wife around 1548-49, he attended Cambridge during the English reformation and became Curate to Lawrence Saunders. He was hunted down during the reign of Mary Tudor and he handed himself in at Smithills hall, Bolton. He stood trial at Lathom House, and was imprisoned at Lancaster Castle and taken to Chester where he would stand trial at the Cathedral and where he was condemned a heretic and burned alive at the stake in Spittle Boughton on April 24th 1555.
As part of this, I think it is vital to the Christian Church that we always remember our own history and that we keep alive the memory of those who suffered for the testimony to the Word of God.
During the reign of Mary Tudor (1553-1558), at least 300 Protestant Christians were executed for their refusal to submit to the doctrines and demands of the Roman Catholic Church. They held the Bible in their hands and could not deny what is written in favour of the doctrines of men.
Today there are many political spin doctors within large Churches who seek to remember the reformation but move on from it. But the truth be told, we can’t. We see the likes of Rick Warren trying to persuade people to unite with Rome and look to what unites us rather than what divides us. But when its all said and done, the divide is made: The Roman Catholic Church has made the division and their views of Protestants are far more extreme than any fundamentalist Protestant could ever be.
In 1995 Pope John 11 apologised for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in burnings at the stake, yet in reality it was not his place to apologise in the 20th century for something that happened in the 16th century. Each man is responsible for his own actions, not for the deeds of others.
My aim is not to create more division between Protestants and Catholics, because as far as I am concerned, the divide is made. Anyone who believes what is written in the Bible cannot have unified fellowship with any Churches who forthright deny the Truth. We can talk together, debate together, reason together, and learn to live without harming anyone, but we cannot unite as one in Faith. On that we must stand strong.
The reformers of the 16th century knew this and they would not conform to false teaching no matter what the cost. George Marsh was one of them and he lost everything for the cause of the Gospel, even his own life.
My appeal to all Churches throughout the world who hold to the Reformed tradition, would you please consider remembering the life of the martyr and indeed all the martyrs at this vital time in our history. It is important to stress that this 500th anniversary will never occur again, so it is the responsibility of the Christian Church to remember our brethren in Christ.
If you have access to a pulpit and your a Deacon, or Dean, Curate, Priest, Elder or Pastor and are willing to tell this story at your local Church, you can find the story of George Marsh in the Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. If you do not have a copy, you can find it online or you can find sources at Deane Church’s website or if you wish, you can watch a documentary I produced on Marsh which is available free on YouTube
I will also be giving a sermon on the life of George Marsh on Sunday 19th April 2015 at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Manchester. All welcome.
“Martyr George Marsh” A new documentary on Protestant preacher and martyr, George Marsh. Direct from the maker of “The Apostles at Paphos” is a powerful and touching story in many ways and is a story that England should ‘never forget’.
Starting in the year 1515 from the birthplace of George Marsh at Deane, Bolton in Lancashire, moving towards the later death of his wife and Marsh’s time studying Theology at Cambridge and working as a minister in London and Lincoln, the story moves towards the death of Protestant King Edward V1 in 1553 and the ascending of the Roman Catholic Mary 1 to the throne and her persecution of protestants that followed. The story tells how George Marsh returned to Lancashire to preach and see his family, where his presence caught the attention of the authorities and a charge was put out by the Earl of Derby, of Lathom House to Master Barton of Smithills hall, Bolton, to find George Marsh and charge him to appear trial before the Earl and his council. Marsh handed himself in at Smithills and was charged to appear before the Earl of Derby and he stood trial at Lathom House and was imprisoned at Lathom and was afterwards sent to Lancaster Castle where he was imprisoned for several months before being taken to Chester where he stood trial yet again and was condemned to death. He was burned alive at the stake on April 24th 1555 by order of the Bishop of Chester, Dr Cotes.
Two years in the making, the documentary ‘Martyr George Marsh’ has a unique structure and feel. The film is written, produced, directed and presented by Theologian (B.Th, Th.M) and Singer/Songwriter Simon Peter Sutherland (stage name: Shimeon).
Following the theme, Simon Peter begins his research at Chetham’s Library, Manchester and tells the story of George Marsh from historic sites at Deane, Deane Parish Church, Deane Clough, Smithills Hall, Lathom, Ormskirk Parish Church, Lancaster Castle and Chester Cathedral, the Northgate and Gallows hill.
The documentary bases its proof text upon the earliest account of George Marsh from the grand narrative contained in the earliest 16th century prints of “Acts and Monuments” (The Foxe’s book of Martyrs) by John Foxe. The oldest known narrative of the George Marsh story and an account published using the actual text of George Marsh himself. The research for the film has been done at and from the archives of Chetham’s Library, John Rylands Library and Bolton Central Library.
Simon Peter Sutherland has also composed and produced the soundtrack for the documentary and has also provided some traditional hymns as a backdrop.
In conclusion, Simon Peter Sutherland has produced a fine and well researched documentary, which in a time where many are concerned for the future of England, Simon draws upon the past, that a nation may never forget their own history, lest they find themselves condemned to repeat it.
The documentary is none profit and its release will include a free internet distribution.
Picture format: 1080i
Audio format: Stereo
Release date: 5 November 2013