Christian Churches of God

No. 290B




The Inquisition in Britain:

Forty Decades for Repentance


(Edition 1.5  20060728-20160522)


The last “burning at the stake” in Britain occurred in 1612 and was conducted by the Church of England. It was not the last execution as they continued on through the century but it was the last burning of a martyr for so-called “heresy” against the Trinitarian Church in Britain.






Christian Churches of God

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(Copyright ©  2006, 2016 Wade Cox)


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The Inquisition in Britain: Forty Decades for Repentance


The Nightmare Begins

The Holy Roman Empire was declared in 590 by Gregory I. The larger of the Christian groups, with state backing, began enforcing the fabricated doctrines of Constantinople (381) and Chalcedon (451). It referred to them as the credo (creed) of the Council of Nicaea but those canons were lost and it actually was that of Constantinople in 381.


The imposition of Catholic error was effected by the power of the Angles who were converted to Catholicism from 597 CE with the visit of Augustine of Canterbury. Under force of arms the Celtic Church in Britain was forced to adopt Catholic doctrines from the Synod of Whitby in 664 at Hilda’s Abbey. These early aspects are covered in the papers General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122); The Role of the Fourth Commandment in the Historical Sabbath-keeping Churches of God (No. 170) and Origin of the Christian Church in Britain (No. 266). The Sabbatarian Churches of God were slowly driven underground in Britain from that time. By 1054 they were underground also in Wales and also then in Scotland under Queen Margaret.


The Catholic Church was not content to simply drive the Church underground: it wanted to eradicate the Church in its entirety because the flame of Bible truth was kept alive by its adherents.


The Inquisition Commences

The Inquisition was commenced by the Roman Catholic Church in earnest from the Lateran Council of 1179. In 1177 from the 102nd Jubilee Satan moved against the Church of God. The Monk, Raymond of Daventry was sent to invigilate the Waldensian Barbes on his way to the Second Lateran Council in the Second year of the 103rd Jubilee. From this Council the Church was declared to be anathema and was to be persecuted. As usual the leaders were defamed and the doctrines were misrepresented as they were to be continually falsified over the centuries.


In 1190 the Council of Genoa declared that all the Sabbatarians or “heretics” – meaning those in disagreement with the Roman Catholic Church – were to be delivered up in chains to be burned at the stake.


This was carried out fairly quickly and in 1191, which was the Second Sabbath Year of the 103rd Jubilee, the major burnings took place at Oxford, England with the burning of the Paulicians (Pauliani termed also Publicani).


This commenced the worst phase of English Trinitarian persecutions of the Faith. The Faith went totally underground but the effect was to develop an interest in the Bible. That was to develop into the Fifteenth century publication of the Geneva Bible. The Catholic Church in England tried to stamp out the importation of Bibles. The clergy did not want the people reading the Bible in their own language, as they would be exposed as teaching incorrect doctrines. They could not stop the flow of Bibles and the Reformation in England was underway. Richard Cox, bishop of Ely, encouraged Bible Study and in the Sixteenth century, Henry VIII broke with Rome due to the powerful public upsurge in Bible understanding. He banned Christmas for the pagan festival it was.


However, the Trinitarian establishment clung to control through persecution and misrepresentation.


People continued to be burned at the stake in England until the year 1612 which was the Fifth Sabbath Year of the 111th Jubilee


The last person to be burned at the stake was Edward Wightman. The following is the Wikipedia article regarding him.

Edward Wightman (December 20, 1566 - April 11, 1612), a Baptist, was the last person to be executed for heresy in England by burning at the stake.

Edward Wightman was born at Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire. He married Frances Darbye of Hinckley on September 2, 1593. Edward and Frances settled in Burton-Upon-Trent, and they had seven children—2 boys and 5 girls. Wightman ran a successful mercer's business for a number of years in Burton. He denounced infant baptism and became a minister of the Baptist Church.

In 1611, Wightman presented a petition to King James, expounding his beliefs. For his beliefs, he was tried, found guilty of heresy and sentenced to death. Sentence was pronounced on December 14, 1611. The charges brought against him included eleven distinct heresies. Part of the charge was that he believed "that the baptizing of infants is an abominable custom; that the Lord's Supper and baptism are not to be celebrated as they now are in the Church of England; and that Christianity is not wholly professed and preached in the Church of England, but only in part." Other charges included several unheard of opinions. His contemporaries said that if Edward really held all the opinions of which he was accused, he would have been either an idiot or a madman, and, if so, he ought to have had the prayers of his persecutors rather than to have them put him to a cruel death.

The authorities first carried out an aborted attempt at execution. When the flames started to burn Wightman, he shouted out something that seemed to imply that he had changed and was ready to accept the faith of the Church of England. The sheriff released him from the stake. Wightman refused to make a formal retraction and continued to preach his "heresies"; he was a few weeks later again tied to the stake and his body burned on April 11, 1612 at Lichfield. This same year another Baptist, Thomas Helwys, wrote A Short Declaration of the Mistery of Iniquity, a plea for religious liberty in England.

Very little is known about the subsequent fate of his wife and children, though it is known that his two sons later emigrated to Rhode Island.

Such executions probably had the effect of turning the English people against execution for religious beliefs. Although a few were executed after Wightman, he was the last person to be burned at the stake in England.



A History of the Baptists, by John T. Christian

A History of the English Baptists, by Joseph Ivimey

The Baptist Heritage: Four Centuries of Baptist Witness, by H. Leon McBeth

Retrieved from


The reason that his two sons migrated to Rhode Island was because the Sabbatarians had gone there in the Mayflower and settled America. They were forced to relocate to Rhode Island through persecution from the same mindless bigots that followed them to America (see the paper The Dutch Connection of the Pilgrim Fathers (No. 264)).


People were still executed but burning was stopped in England at least. It was a capital offence to deny the Trinity even in the mid- 1600s in England. The last person executed for heresy in Britain, in 1697, was a Scottish student at Edinburgh University, Thomas Aikenhead, who was reported to the authorities by his classmates for denying the Trinity. He was actually tried for blasphemy and not the considered beliefs of the Unitarian Wightman above. Most of us would indeed consider what he said to be blasphemous.

An important milestone in the history of blasphemy concerns a young medical student at the University of Edinburgh in the 1690s called Thomas Aikenhead. Aikenhead engaged in spirited conversations with his friends and fellow students on matters of religion. Accounts by at least five of those friends formed the basis for his indictment before the Scottish Privy Council which alleged that Aikenhead, shakeing off all fear of God and regaird to his majesties lawes, have now for more than a twelvemoneth by past...[vented] your wicked blasphemies against God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, and against the holy Scriptures, and all revealled said and affirmed, that divinity or the doctrine of theologie was a rapsidie of faigned and ill-invented nonsense, patched up partly of the morall doctrine of philosophers, and pairtly of poeticall fictions and extravagant chimeras,...

According to the evidence of his friends, Aikenhead called the Old Testament ‘Ezra’s fables’, and the New Testament ‘the History of the Imposter Christ’. Aikenhead had affirmed that Jesus ‘learned magick in Egypt, and that coming from Egypt into Judea, he picked up a few ignorant blockish fisher fellows, whom he knew by his skill and [sic] phisognomie, had strong imaginations, and that by the help of exalted imaginatione he play’d his pranks’, that is, miracles.

The indictment and evidence in the case present for the most part a consistent account of what Aikenhead had said, and Aikenhead and his counsel seem not to have disputed the reports offered as evidence. The summation of the indictment noted that Aikenhead claimed that he ‘preferred Mahomet to the blessed Jesus’, and continued with a recital of claims:

and that you have said that you hoped to see Christianity greatly weakened, and that you are confident that in a short tyme (sic) it will be utterly extirpat, and you have been so bold in your forsaid blasphemies, that when you have found yourself cold, you have wished to be in the place that Ezra calls Hell, to warme yourself there’.

This latter remark was made outside the Tron kirk, apparently in August.

(cf. Helen Pringle Section Ch 3 Are we capable of offending God? Taking blasphemy seriously  Section 1 Religion, Sacrilege and Blasphemy in Australia at


Pringle’s comments about the views regarding Islam and the impact of multiculturalism had risen even then.

The mention of the Prophet is of course a very interesting aspect of Aikenhead’s case to us today. I think that too often we assume that multiculturalism and the problems it raises are something new to modernity, and that older societies were more homogeneous in action and belief than was actually the case. Aikenhead was tried at the end of a century of civil conflict and war in England, a conflict which concerned the place of God in civil and political matters and which revolved in part over who wore what on their heads. Aikenhead was allegedly more loyal to the Prophet than to any of the warring Christian dispositions. Patrick Midletoune, a fellow student, testified that Aikenhead had told him that ‘Mahomet was both the better airtist and polititian than Jesus’. Although some of the sources of Aikenhead’s ideas are clear, it is possible that Aikenhead knew of the extraordinary work by Henry Stubbe, An Account of the Rise and Progress of Mahometanism. As Abdal Hakim-Murad notes, the vehemence of some seventeenth century polemics against Islam also suggests that there was more sympathy for Islam within English Dissenter circles at that time than is commonly acknowledged. The minister Robert Wylie hushed the critics of the action against Aikenhead by arguing that ‘no man shuld in the face of a people spitefully revile & insult the object of their adoration,’ adding that, after all, ‘a Christian could not be innocent who should rail at or curse Mahomet at Constantinople’.


 Pringle goes on to explain that:

Aikenhead was charged under Scotland’s two blasphemy acts. The 1661 Act passed by the first Scottish Parliament under Charles II mandated death for one who ‘not being distracted in his wits shall rail upon or curse God, or any of the persons of the blessed Trinity’. The 1695 post-Settlement Act upheld the 1661 Act and set out a graduated scale of penalties depending on the obstinacy of the offence by ‘whosoever shall in their wryteing or discourse denye, impugne or quarrell, or argue, or reason against the being of God, or any of the persons of the blessed Trinity, or the authority of the holy Scriptures, of the Old and New Testaments, or the Providence of God in the government of the world’. (ibid).


The problem was that the charges were usually made against people who pointed out simple inconsistencies between the Trinitarian religious system and the actual texts of the Bible. So many a true and dedicated believer could be and indeed had been killed for simply pointing out the unscriptural and illogical doctrine of the Trinity, which was invented for and passed at the Council of Constantinople in 381 CE and enforced on genuine believers and Bible students by the religious establishment ever since.


This was the last recorded execution for blasphemy in Britain. Soon after, the Scottish Privy Council began what was to be the last major witch-hunt in Scotland, the affair of the Renfrewshire witches. Macaulay’s history later linked the Aikenhead and Renfrewshire prosecutions as actions ‘worthy of the tenth century’, conducted by men whose ‘own understandings were as dark and their own hearts as obdurate as those of the Familiars of the Inquisition at Lisbon’. These men, Macaulay says, ‘perpetrated a crime such as has never since polluted the island’, executing Aikenhead for nothing more than ‘the prate of a forward boy’. The cruelty of the prosecution and sentence certainly did not go unremarked or unprotested at the time either. (Pringle Op Cit.).


The Blasphemy Statute of 1698 survived until recent times. The clause about the Trinity had already been rescinded in 1813, and the rest of Act was quietly repealed in 1967.


Many Christians espouse views that were once considered blasphemous and for which they would have been burned. Many of the Trinitarians who accuse others of heresy or blasphemy would have been burned under their own laws had they expressed the views they advance now regarding the erroneous nature of the Bible texts and the interpretation of many matters of doctrine other than the Trinity. In fact, the Trinity is the illogical error that holds many of these blasphemers and antinomians together in a morass of lawless incoherence. Michael Servitus was burned at the stake on 27 October 1553 in Geneva at the time of Calvin for denying the Trinity and infant baptism. Yet many Trinitarians today deny infant baptism yet hold the Trinity when they themselves would have been burnt as Wightman was.


So we see that religious freedom is accorded to many, even those we see as idolatrous. No longer is the denial of the majority religion of the state seen as a crime against the state. It is in that climate that the Churches of God are able to survive and to preach the gospel. Sir Isaac Newton saw the logical necessity of that happening for the gospel to be able to be preached in the Last Days and the Trinity exposed for the illogical unscriptural nonsense that it was. He was unable to do that in the climate in which he wrote as were William Whiston and Joseph Priestly and the other great minds of their times. These views compelled the great philosophers of the times also.


Both Atheists and Sabbatarians alike were excluded from many things because neither was allowed to make affirmations and indeed Atheists were excluded from taking their seat in Parliament because the speaker would not allow them and ejected them from the Parliament even when they wished to take the oath. This problem was solved by the Parliamentary Oaths Act of 1885. Similar restrictions in Scotland were removed by another Oaths Act in 1888. The establishment in the judiciary held that it was not necessary to honour contracts with such people.


US Law carried over from British Common Law. Rex v Taylor in 1676 stated that blasphemy was a Common Law offence, and this precedent was to be cited not only in England but also in America - since the English Common Law carried over to the Common Law of the USA. Courts in New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware have all agreed that blasphemy was a criminal offence under the Common Law. That meant in effect that the Trinitarians could persecute others.


Like England, Colonial America had blasphemy statutes as well as the Common Law. They punished Atheists and Blasphemers in much the same way as the Mother Country. Offenders were sometimes executed, sometimes flogged. Sometimes they were pilloried as well. Their tongues were bored with hot irons, bodkins or stilettos. Ears were cropped, noses split, and faces branded.



By the mid-Nineteenth century so-called “Nonconformists” were no longer executed but they were still persecuted, and even today they are discriminated against in all fields and professions. In 1834/5 the crime of sacrilege along with that of “letter stealing” and “returning from transportation” were removed as capital offences. Thus the religious crime of sacrilege could not attract the death penalty but the charge could still attract penal servitude.


The Beginning of the End

In 1809 Napoleon Bonaparte disbanded the Holy Roman Empire and the dungeons of the Inquisition in Spain were emptied.


In 1812 the Anglo-American War was fought and the US retained its independence largely through the pressure on Britain and France in Europe and was able to purchase vast tracts of land from France in what is now the USA.


The Holy Roman Empire was reconstituted in 1815 with the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo. It was to last until the end of the last Inquisition in the Papal States and the revolutions in Europe ca 1850 (see The Role of the Fourth Commandment in the Historical Sabbath-keeping Churches of God (No. 170)).  It finally ended in its entirety in 1872, in the First year of the Last Sabbath cycle of the 117th Jubilee.


The Roman Catholic Church killed more people for genuine Bible study and adopting the Bible tenets than any other system or form of persecution in the history of the planet. That included all known plagues and devastations of any sort. The Lutherans took over from them at the Reformation in the Protestant States of Europe. They are only rivalled by the Communist purges of the Twentieth century.


The Lutheran and Catholic purges reached their climax under Adolf Hitler in the Nazi Holocaust, and the first concentration camp was established by the Lutheran Church near Hamburg. For details see the site:


 The Holocaust was from 1941 to 1944. Again the Holocausts started in a Sabbath Year and lasted to the Third year of the cycle, in this case from the Third Sabbath Year to the Third Year of the Fourth Sabbath Cycle of the 119th Jubilee.


It is evident that Satan used the corrupted Church, which is the Mystery of Iniquity, to persecute the Churches of God. They have been allowed to imprison and execute the faithful at these times in open declaration of the Faith.


The Symbols of the Time-Frames

So what do we make out of these coincidences of time-frames and Jubilees and Sabbaths and other periods? The answer is that God has allowed us to be dealt with in order to bring the planet under judgment.


Let us examine some of the sequences.


It was 433 years from the Second Lateran Council to the last burning at the stake in England. The burnings of the martyrs at Oxford were on the Second Sabbath Year of the 103rd Jubilee, exactly 14 years into the new Jubilee. This is the same effect as Satan asserting that we are also being sacrificed as offerings to our God. It is the same as mocking us and mocking God whom we serve.


In 1612 the period of execution by burning ended in the Sabbath Year of the Fifth Cycle of the 111th Jubilee, which is a number of grace. It is also an act of the Sabbath Sacrifice and Satan mocks us, and God again.


1612 is 421 years from the Sabbath of 1191 and the first burnings. It is thus eight Jubilees and three Sabbath cycles from start to finish and ends on a Sabbath Year as the burnings began.


Eight Jubilees are forty decades. Forty is the number of repentance. Ten is the number of the lamps in the Temple of God. Ten denotes ordinal completeness and a new commencement as 1 in the new series. The ten lamps represent the witness of the Church and the prophets and the Messiah to the planet.


Thus the English-speaking people have been given forty sequences of ten years to repent of their works and the persecution of the Churches of God.


In 2012, in the Fifth Sabbath Year of the cycle of the 120th Jubilee, the period of Forty decades ends. It is the equivalent of the Sanctification of the Simple and the Erroneous in year terms of the last 21 years before the Millennium (see the paper Sanctification of the Nations (No. 77)).


The persecution of the Anglo-Saxons, Cymry, Picts, and Scots of the Churches of God by the Trinitarians comes to its final end and the Witnesses of the Church will testify against it.


The year 2012 brings the sequence of the English-speaking people and their systems of inheritance and blessings and their iniquity full cycle, and they will be dealt with in full measure.


From 2012 to 2015, they, with the Gentile nations, will be dealt with and the system in Europe will also then be dealt with. Israel and its alliance will also be held to account and brought to repentance.


The Europeans will be brought to account for their continued persecution of the Faith up until the end of the Holocaust. Judah will then be brought to repentance. They will face the economic disasters that will bring the EU to its knees from Greece to Ireland and Spain. 2016 will see massive refugee crises and Islamic undermining of the nations.


The nations will be held to account and will be brought into judgment.


Under the Witnesses from 2019 to the Messiah and 2024 the world will be brought into subjugation to Jesus Christ.


God does nothing except that He warns the people to be dealt with through His servants the prophets. God works by number and by sequence according to the plan He set forth from the beginning according to His calendar system.


God is ever merciful and will spare those who call on Him and turn to Him in repentance.