On this day in 1555 – George Marsh was burned at the stake

George Marsh was born in Deane in Cheshire in 1515. He had a quiet upbringing and was a farmer by trade.

Marsh was married at the age of 25 but his wife died and Marsh left his children in the care of his parents and Marsh entered into Cambridge University where he had a change of religion from Catholic to Protestant.

In 1552 Marsh was ordained a deacon by the Bishop of London, Nicholas Ridley and in the following year Marsh became the curate at Leicestershire’s Church Langton and London’s All Hallows Bread Street. The previous owner of this role was Lawrence Saunders who was a preacher who fell out of favour with Queen Mary I for his Protestant beliefs. When Saunders was arrested in 1554 Marsh headed north to spread the Protestant word.

An arrest warrant was issued for George Marsh for heresy by Edward Stanley, 3rd Earl of Derby. Justice Barton of Smithills Hall, Bolton sent servants to arrest Marsh at his mother’s home. However, Marsh gave himself up to the authorities and was taken for examination. It is rumoured that Marsh was reinforcing his Protestant faith so much that he stamp his foot so hard he left a footprint in the floor. Marsh refused to recant and was taken to Lancaster Gaol. He stayed here for almost a year where he read his bible and prayed with people from the town via his window.

There were many attempts to get Marsh to convert back to the Roman Catholic faith. He was taken to the gaol at Northgate, Chester where he stood trial in Chester Cathedral under the Bishop of Chester, George Cotes.

Marsh was sentenced to death by burning and whilst on the stake was again offered the chance to recant and return to the Catholic faith. Again refusing Marsh was burned on 24th April 1555 in Boughton. After his death his friends and followers collected his ashes and buried them in St Giles cemetery.

George Marsh

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