Bartholomew Legate

1575?-1612. Last heretic burnt in London. Born in Essex, he became a cloth merchant, and when business took him to Zealand he became a preacher among the Seekers.* Expecting a new revelation, he held that meanwhile there was no true church or true baptism, nor any “visible Christian.” He rejected the Mennonite tenet of the celestial origin of Christ's body as an “execrable heresy.” By 1604, though believing in propitiatory sacrifice, he had concluded that Christ was only a man, but born free from sin. In 1611 with his brother Thomas, Bartholomew was imprisoned, charged with heresy. King James I took a personal interest and tried to convince him of error, but found Legate incorrigible. In February 1612 Legate appeared before a formidable consistory of episcopal, clerical, and legal assessors. Thirteen articles of heresy were cited. Found guilty and handed over to the secular arm for execution, he refused to recant and was publicly burnt. Legate was reportedly of good appearance, articulate, and of excellent character.