Martyr Monday: John Denley, 1555



One day, on the way to visit some friends, John Denley was stopped and searched by the authorities, who found his written confession of faith. Denley believed the Church was built upon the apostles and prophets, with Christ as its head, and that the present state church, the Church of England, was not part of this true Church. In his time, many of its teachings were not according to the Bible.

For this he was turned over to a local government official, who turned him over to the bishop for questioning. Denley would not back down from his statement of faith, so he was condemned to die and turned over to the sheriff.

Within six weeks, he was sent to the stake to be burned. When they lit the wood beneath him, Denley showed no fear. He cheerfully sang a psalm as the flames rose around him. One of his tormentors picked up a piece of wood and threw it at him, hitting him in the face. He hoped to anger or silence Denley, but Denley only responded,

“Truly, you have spoiled a good old song.”

Then he spread his arms again and continued to sing until he died.


Story from “Jesus Freaks”, VOM (