One of our regular trips around Great Britain is a visit to Oxford, the “city of dreaming spires”, so called because of the splendid architecture all around, including the many churches and university chapels (hence “spires”) thus illustrating its Christian heritage.
Take a walk down Broad Street (locally known as “The Broad”) and it is buzzing with students, tourists, and locals. But look closely and you will find a darker side to this amazing city, for there, in the middle of the road (now an on-street eating place) you will find a cross, set in the original cobblestone; the “Martyr’s Memorial”. Simple and without fanfare, it tells of the martyrdom, by being burnt at the stake, of three leading Protestant churchmen, who refused to give up their faith when Queen Mary, a devout Catholic, acceded to the throne in 1553.
Opposite, on the wall of Balliol College, there is a simple plaque which reads as follows:
Opposite this point
near the Cross in the
middle of Broad Street
one time Bishop of Worcester
Bishop of London and
Archbishop of Canterbury,
were burnt for their
faith in 1555 and 1556.
Amongst all the grandeur of this city, seeing this unremarkable memorial to the witness of faith is truly humbling and brings to mind a passage from one of Paul’s letters to the Corinthians:
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.2 Corinthians 12:10
To find out more, please click this link.
The feature image for this post shows the “Martyr’s Cross” on Broad Street, Oxford.