Image of John Bradford


Lifetime: 1510 - 1555 Passed: ≈ 469 years ago


English Reformer



John Bradford

John Bradford, a prominent figure of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation in England, remains an inspirational and influential figure to this day. With his unwavering principles, profound works, and tragic fate, Bradford played a significant role in shaping religious and social landscapes during a time of tumultuous change. This essay explores the life, principles, notable works, philosophy, and lasting legacy of John Bradford, highlighting his enduring impact on both the Reformation movement and Christian history.

Who Was John Bradford?

John Bradford, born in Manchester, England in 1510, was a devout Christian and a significant figure during the reigns of King Edward VI and Queen Mary I. After studying at the prestigious University of Cambridge, he became a lawyer and a member of the Inner Temple in London. However, his spiritual journey led him to forsake his legal career and dedicate himself to the cause of religious reform.

Principles and Religious Convictions:

Bradford's unwavering commitment to the Protestant Reformation led him to embrace the principles of the Reformed tradition. He ardently believed in the authority of Scripture and the necessity of faith alone for salvation, challenging the prevailing Roman Catholic doctrine of his time. Bradford's steadfast convictions made him a key advocate for religious reform, advocating for the translation of the Bible into English and the rejection of various Catholic practices.

Notable Works and Influence:

Bradford's most notable work is "A Treatise of Repentance," a powerful exposition on the nature and significance of true repentance in the life of a Christian. This influential work remains widely read and regarded as a hallmark of Bradford's theological insight and depth of understanding. Additionally, he authored numerous letters, sermons, and tracts that emphasized the primacy of faith, the authority of Scripture, and the need for personal spiritual renewal.

Philosophy and Martyrdom:

Bradford's philosophy can be summarized by his unwavering commitment to God's truth, even in the face of persecution and martyrdom. Despite his eloquence and persuasive abilities, he humbly acknowledged his own sinfulness and the need for God's grace. Bradford viewed his impending execution as an opportunity to bear witness to his faith and encourage fellow believers to remain steadfast in their convictions.

Legacy and Remembrance:

John Bradford met a tragic end when he was burned at the stake for his religious beliefs in 1555 during the reign of Queen Mary I. His martyrdom, along with those of other reformers, contributed to the eventual triumph of the Protestant Reformation in England. Bradford's courage and steadfastness in the face of persecution continue to inspire believers worldwide, serving as a reminder of the enduring power of faith and conviction.

Interesting Facts about the Author:

  • Despite his deep spiritual commitment, Bradford had a warm and affable personality, earning him the nickname "Holy Bradford" among his contemporaries.
  • He actively ministered to the poor and those in prison, embodying his belief in the practical implications of Christian love and compassion.
  • Bradford's famous quote, often attributed to him during his time in prison, is "There, but for the grace of God, go I," reflecting his humility and acknowledgement of the human condition.


John Bradford's life was marked by his unyielding commitment to the principles of the Protestant Reformation, his profound theological insights, and his willingness to face martyrdom for his faith. His enduring legacy as a reformer and martyr for religious freedom has inspired countless believers throughout the centuries. Bradford's theological works, his philosophy of unwavering faith, and his ultimate sacrifice continue to resonate, reminding us of the importance of standing firm in our convictions, even in the face of adversity.

Books by John Bradford

Meditations and Prayers Cover image

Meditations and Prayers

Solitude Faith Reflection Christianity Life Religious Church Prayer Meditation

Discover a sacred sanctuary within the pages of "Meditations and Prayers" by John Bradford, a transformative collection that transports readers into the depths of spiritual contemplation and communion. Delve into the rich tapestry of Bradford's profo...