John Frith

c.1503-1533. Protestant martyr. Born at Westerham and educated at Eton and King's College, Cambridge, he was made junior canon by Wolsey of his newly founded Cardinal College (Christ Church), Oxford. He was briefly imprisoned in 1528 for his Lutheran views. In Marburg he helped Tyndale* in his translation work. He returned to England in 1532 where his writings against the doctrines of purgatory (A Disputation of Purgatory, 1531, combating Sir Thomas More and Bishop Fisher) and transubstantiation precipitated his arrest on the orders of More on a charge of heresy. He refused to recant, was condemned to death, and burned at Smithfield. Some ten works are credited to him, including one of the first antipapistical books in English, An Epistle to the Christian Reader: Antithesis wherein are compared together Christ's Acts and our Holy Father the Pope's (1529). Several were written in the Tower or in Newgate Prison in defense of his views.