|Death: ||Jul. 4, 1533|
Greater London, England
Frith was born to an innkeeper named Richard Frith in Sevenoaks Inn at Westerham, Kent, England (now known as The Grasshopper on the Green, it has a plaque in his memory, as does the town church of St Mary's). He went to Sevenoaks Grammar School. He was further educated at Eton College before being admitted as a scholar to Queens' College, Cambridge, although he received his Bachelor of Arts degree as a member of King's. While Frith was at Cambridge, his tutor was Stephen Gardiner, who would later take part in condemning him to death. He also met Thomas Bilney a graduate student of Trinity Hall, and began to have meetings concerning the Protestant Reformation. It may have been at one of these meetings that Frith met with William Tyndale. After graduating in 1525, Frith became a junior canon at Thomas Wolsey's Cardinal College, Oxford. While in Oxford, Frith was imprisoned, along with nine others, in a cellar where fish was stored, due to his possession of what the University's officers considered "heretical" books. Frith was released and fled England, joining Tyndale who was then residing in Antwerp.Sir Thomas More was the Chancellor of England at the time that Coxe had pushed for and gained Frith's freedom from imprisonment. He issued a warrant for Frith's arrest on a charge of heresy. Frith was sent to the Tower when he was caught trying to escape to Holland. While imprisoned in the Tower, Frith composed a book on his views of purgatory and presented it to a tailor named William Holt, a man whom made his acquaintance there. Holt made out to be a friend and supporter of Frith's ideas, only to take the composition given him by Frith himself and bring it to the hands of More. Upon reading Frith's book, More wrote his own composition in response. Later More would condemn Frith to death, eventually burning him at the stake. Eventually transferred from the Tower to Newgate Prison, Frith refused to stop his controversial writing. When William Tyndale learned of Frith's plight, he tried to bolster the prisoner's spirits with a pair of letters that still survive. "If your pain", Tyndale counseled, "proves to be above your strength, pray to your Father in that name, and he will ease it."
Frith was tried before many examiners and bishops, and produced his own writings as evidence for his views that were deemed as heresy. He was sentenced to death by fire and offered a pardon if he answered positively to two questions: Do you believe in purgatory, and do you believe in transubstantiation? He replied that neither purgatory nor transubstantiation could be proven by Holy Scriptures, and thus was condemned as a heretic and was transferred to the secular arm for his execution on June 23, 1533. He was burned at the stake on July 4, 1533 at Smithfield, London
Cremated, Ashes scattered.
Created by: David Martin
Record added: Jan 23, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 104035141
A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of ones birth. Ecc.7|
Added: Jan. 23, 2013