Meditations and Prayers – John Bradford (1510 -1555)

Meditations and Prayers – John Bradford (1510 -1555)

00:00 Meditation on the Lord’s Supper
09:28 A Brief Admonition Written by Master Bradford in a New Testament of a Friend of His
11:18 Prayer for the Presence of God
16:23 A Sweet Contemplation of Heaven and Heavenly Things
24:12 A Meditation of the Life Everlasting, the Place Where it Is, and the Incomparable Joys Thereof
32:51 Meditation of the Blessed State and Felicity of the Life to Come
39:48 Prayer for Deliverance from Trouble, Being a Godly Prayer Made by John Bradford
46:25 Prayer in the Time of Persecution
53:26 Paraphrase of Psalm 79
01:10:37 A Very Godly Prayer of One Standing at the Stake Ready to Be Burnt for Christ’s Gospel’s Sake


Bradford in prison with bishops, from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs
Bradford was born in the village of Blackley, near Manchester in 1510. He was educated at a grammar school. Talented with numbers and money, he later served under Sir John Harington of Exton in Rutland as a servant. Through his good influence and abilities in auditing and writing, he gained favour and trust with his employer and at the Siege of Montreuil in 1544, occupied the office of paymaster of the English army during the wars of Henry VIII. Later, he became a law student at the Inner Temple in London. Through the contact and preachings of a fellow student, he became acquainted with and converted to the Protestant faith. This caused him to abandon his legal studies and in 1548, he took up theology at Catharine Hall (now St Catharine’s College), University of Cambridge. In 1549 he was awarded his MA and in that same year was appointed to a fellowship at Pembroke College, Cambridge.

Meditations and Prayers – John Bradford (1510 -1555)

Bradford Appeasing the Riot at St. Paul’s Cross
At this institution he was often referred to with the nickname “Holy Bradford” not from malice but out of respect for his dedication to God and his unselfish attitude. In August 1550 he was ordained deacon by Bishop Nicholas Ridley and appointed as his personal chaplain. He began preaching in churches in London under the mentorship of Ridley and Hugh Latimer. His gifts in preaching the Biblical faith led to his appointment in 1551 as Chaplain to King Edward VI and Prebendary of St Paul’s Cathedral. He continued as a Fellow of Pembroke and as a roving preacher, mainly in London, Lancashire and Cheshire.

Following the death of Edward VI in 1553, Mary I ascended to the throne bringing the threat of reprisals against opponents of Catholicism. In the first month of the new monarch’s reign, Bradford was arrested and imprisoned on the seemingly trivial charge of “trying to stir up a mob” and committed to the Tower of London. Although seemingly trivial, at the time “stirring up a mob” was a serious and dangerous act, leading to riot and possible death, and certainly major disturbance to society. During his time in prison, he continued to write religious works and preach to all who would listen. For a time whilst in the Tower, Bradford was put in a cell with three other reformers, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer. Their time was spent in careful study of the New Testament.

On 31 January 1555, Bradford was tried and condemned to death. Bradford was taken to Newgate Prison to be burned at the stake on 1 July. Bradford was given a special “Shirt of Flame” by a Mrs. Marlet, for whom he had written a devotional work. This was a clean shirt that was sewn specifically for the burning, made in the style of a wedding shirt. “This clothing with a new shirt to wear at the stake became a common feature at the burnings, a way of signaling support for and honouring the victim, as though he were being dressed as a bridegroom for a wedding.” Also, the ceremonial donning of the shirt of flame could be seen as similar to the priest donning his vestments, thus subverting Catholic ritual. “…and so the martyr might pray over and kiss the shirt before putting it on… underlining their oneness with Christ and the fact they were willing to die…”

A large crowd delayed the execution, which had been scheduled for 4 o’clock in the morning, as many who admired Bradford came to witness his death. He was chained to the stake at Smithfield with a young man, John Leaf. Before the fire was lit, he begged forgiveness of any he had wronged, and offered forgiveness to those who had wronged him. He then turned to Leaf and said, “Be of good comfort brother; for we shall have a merry supper with the Lord this night!” A century later, in his Worthies of England, Thomas Fuller wrote that he endured the flame “as a fresh gale of wind in a hot summer’s day, confirming by his death the truth of that doctrine he had so diligently and powerfully preached during his life.”

Bradford is commemorated at the Marian Martyrs’ Monument in Smithfield, London.

About Rich Moore

I will be sharing videos from my YouTube channel to this blog in the hope that others might be blessed and God glorified. Here is a description of my channel: A large video collection of classic hymns, contemporary Praise and Worship songs, and the works (audio books, devotional readings, and sermons) of men greatly used of God, such as: Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, A.W. Tozer, A.W. Pink, John Owen, Oswald Chambers, Andrew Murray, John MacArthur, E.M. Bounds, John Bunyan, George Whitefield, and many more, covering topics on many aspects of the Christian life. May your time spent here be blessed. "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30)
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