John Rogers (Martyr) - Encyclopedia

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JOHN ROGERS (c. 1500-1555), English Protestant martyr, was born in the parish of Aston, near Birmingham, and was educated at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1526. Six years later he was rector of Holy Trinity, Queenhithe, London, and in 1534 went to Antwerp as chaplain to the English merchants. Here he met William Tyndale, under whose influence he abandoned the Roman Catholic faith, and married an Antwerp lady. After Tyndale's death Rogers pushed on with his predecessor's English version of the Cld Testament, which he used as far as 2 Chronicles, employing Coverdale's translation (1535) for the remainder and for the Apocrypha. Tyndale's New Testament had been published in 1526. The complete Bible was put out under the pseudonym of Thomas Matthew in 1537; it was printed in Antwerp, and Richard Grafton published the sheets and got leave to sell the edition (150o copies) in England. Rogers had little to do with the translation, but he contributed some valuable prefaces and marginal notes. His work was largely used by those who prepared the Great Bible (1539-40), out of which in turn came the Bishop's Bible (1568) and the Authorized Version of 1611. After taking charge of a Protestant congregation in Wittenberg for some years, Rogers returned to England in 1548, where he published a translation of Melanchthon's Considerations of the Augsburg Interim. In 1550 he was presented to the crown livings of St Margaret Moyses and St Sepulchre in London, and in 1551 was made a prebendary of St Paul's, where the dean and chapter soon appointed him divinity lecturer. He courageously denounced the greed shown by certain courtiers with reference to the property of the suppressed monasteries, and defended himself before the privy council. He also declined to wear the prescribed vestments, donning instead a simple round cap. On the accession of Mary he preached at Paul's Cross commending the "true doctrine taught in King Edward's days," and warning his hearers against "pestilent Popery, idolatry and superstition." Ten days after (16th August 1553), he was summoned before the council and bidden to keep within his own house. His emoluments were taken away and his prebend was filled in October. In January 1554 Bonner, the new bishop of London, sent him to Newgate, where he lay with.

John Hooper, Laurence Saunders, John Bradford and others for a year, their petitions, whether for less rigorous treatment or for opportunity of stating their case, being alike disregarded. In December 1554 parliament re-enacted the penal statutes against Lollards, and on January 22nd, 1555, two days after they took effect, Rogers with ten others came before the council at Gardiner's house in Southwark, and held his own in the examination that took place. On the 28th and 29th he came before the commission appointed by Cardinal Pole, and was sentenced to death by Gardiner for heretically denying the Christian character of the Church of Rome and the real presence in the sacrament. He awaited and met death (on the 4th of February 1555 at Smithfield) cheerfully, though denied even an interview with his wife. Noailles, the French ambassador, speaks of the support given to Rogers by the greatest part of the people: "even his children assisted at it, comforting him in such a manner that it seemed as if he had been led to a wedding." He was the first Protestant martyr of Mary's reign, and his friend Bradford wrote that "he broke the ice valiantly." The following divines of the same name may be distinguished: - John Rogers (1572?-1603), Puritan vicar of Dedham, Essex, "one of the most awakening preachers of the age." - John Rogers (1610-1680), ejected vicar of Croglin, Cumberland, and the founder of Congregational churches in Teesdale and Weardale, where he evangelized the lead miners. - John Rogers (1679-1729), one of George II.'s chaplains, famous for his share in the Bangorian controversy (1719), his Vindication of the Civil Establishment of Religion (1728), and his Persuasives to Conformity, addressed to Dissenters (1736) and to Quakers (1747). - John Rogers (1740?-1814), leader of the Irish seceding divines, minister of Cahans, Co. Monaghan. - John Rogers (1778-1856), rector of Mawnan, Cornwall, and the owner of the Penrose and Helston estates; a good botanist and mineralogist, and a distinguished Hebrew and Syriac scholar.

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