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Smithfield Martyrs Memorial

Smithfield Martyrs’ memorial

Route
Come out of the gate, turn right.

Background information

This marble plaque records the names of Protestant martyrs who were burnt alive at the stake in Smithfield. As it was outside the old city walls, Smithfield was a place of execution. Three hundred Protestants were burnt at the stake during the reign of Queen Mary as she tried to return England to the Catholic religion (1553-1558). This plaque remembers the first martyrs, John Rogers, John Bradford and John Philpot. John Rogers’ wife and eleven children were with him at the end. His wife, holding his baby, encouraged him not to recant his Protestant beliefs. It is said he repeated, ‘Only Christ for me’ until his life ended.

Reflections

  • What is your most important belief?
  • Does force and fear work as a way of changing beliefs?

Activities

  • Explore religious stories of bravery, such as the Muslim story of Bilal, the first muezzin, Bhai Kanhaiya from the Sikh tradition, who helped his enemies, and David fighting Goliath from the Jewish and Christian traditions. What do these stories share?  What has inspired these people?
  • Invent a charity that is set up in the name of one of these brave religious figures. Who would the charity help? What would be the slogan and message of the charity?

If you have time, go through Smithfield Market which has exhibitions of the history of the area displayed.

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