Amersham Martyrs Memorial

Nominated by: Dick Vardy

In 1931 a memorial to the Martyrs of Amersham was erected on the hill near Rectory or Parsonage Woods, by Ruccles Field.

The memorial can be approached either by a footpath leading from St. Mary’s Church, or from a footpath leading from Station Road.

The memorial was built to commemorate the Martyrs who were burnt at the stake in 1521. The Reformation had some roots in the Amersham.

Prior to the Reformation, Lollards were condemned by the Church for such actions as reading the Bible in English and meeting and developing their own ideas.

As punishment and to deter others, 6 were burnt at the stake high above Amersham, so the flames and smoke would be seen by all and act as a warning. The daughter of one of the martyrs was forced to light the fire.

2011 was the 500th anniversary of the death of the first Amersham Martyr and Amersham Museum put on a community play about this in March 2011, which was re-enacted in 2016.

The play told the story of 16th century Amersham. The seven Martyrs were burned at the stake during the reign of Henry VIII in 1511 and 1521 for their religious beliefs.

I nominate this object because it represents an important early facet of Buckinghamshire’s fierce independence from what it’s people saw as overweening, corrupt authority – in this case the Catholic Church. This struggle continued – as shown by local support for the Parliamentarians in the Civil War.

I feel, in its own way, the Martyrs Memorial is a monument to the struggle to bring England to the democratic condition we enjoy today.

Find out more on the Amersham News website.

The Amersham Martyrs Memorial was nominated by Dick Vardy