James Bainham (1532)



Christians of the Reformation sought each other out so that they could have fellowship and study Tyndale's Bible together. One such meeting was in a warehouse in Bow Lane and one of those attending was James Bainham. Bainham was the son of a Gloucestershire Knight and he was a man well read in the classics, a distinguished lawyer, respected by all for his piety and works of charity.

In 1531 he was arrested and taken to Sir Thomas More's house in Chelsea and from there to the Tower of London to be tortured on the rack. He was then summoned by the Bishop of London. Stokesley and More did everything they could to persuade him to turn back to the Catholic Church; he was pleaded with, threatened, his friends pleaded with him and in the end he abjured. He had to pay a £20 fine and do penance at St Paul's Cross. After that he was set free.

Bainham was filled with remorse at having agreed to stay with the Roman Church. His anguish was so great that all he could do to find peace was to accuse himself openly before God and man. So he went to St Austin's Church, sat down in the midst of the congregation and then at a certain moment he stood up and said: 'I have denied the truth'. Tears overtook him and then he continued saying, 'O my friends, rather die than sin as I have done...' He wrote similarly to the Bishop of London.

Bainham was arrested and taken to the bishops coal house where he was put in stocks for two weeks. He was then taken to the Tower of London where he was wipped regularly and then condemned to death. Pave, who conducted the execution, committed suicide a year later.

The following comes from Foxe's Book of Martyrs

The next person that suffered in this reign was James Baynham, a reputable citizen in London, who had married the widow of a gentleman in the Temple. When chained to the stake he embraced the fagots, and said, "Oh, ye papists, behold! ye look for miracles; here now may you see a miracle; for in this fire I feel no more pain than if I were in bed; for it is as sweet to me as a bed of roses." Thus he resigned his soul into the hands of his Redeemer.


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