Last Heretic Burned

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History on 11th April

Last Heretic Burned

Lichfield, Staffordshire The 11th of April 1612 AD

Though for certain crimes (not least counterfeiting) the punishment for many years more continued to be burning at the stake, the last heretic to meet that awful fate did so in 1612.
James Wightman from Burton-upon-Trent was a radical Christian with views most closely mirroring those of the Anabaptists. He was it seems a prolific pamphleteer and giver of sermons, who inevitably came to the attention of the authorities. He was examined by learned theologians, even King James I giving his opinions on the case (and condemning Wightman). Prior to his fatal meeting with the flames Wightman recanted on a previous occasion as they licked about his body. On April 11 1612, however, having begun his preaching again, he was burned at the stake, his cries to be spared a second time ignored as the fuel was stacked higher.

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