Edward Wightman, the last Baptist to be executed by the fires of the stake at Lichfield outside the St. Mary’s Catholic Church on April 11, 1612. Bishop Neile of Lichfield and his coadjutors, who acted as Royal Commissioners on the occasion, were manifestly “forgers of Lies. “ Thomas Crosby mentions that “many of the heresies they charge upon him are as foolish and inconsistent, that it very much discredits what they say.” What was the real cause of his martyrdom? “Among other charges brought against him were these: ‘That the baptizing of infants is an abominable custom; that the Lord’s supper and baptism are not to be celebrated as they are now practiced in the church of England; and that Christianity is not wholly professed and preached in the church of England, but only in part’ “ Though they found him guilty of many heresies, some of which were probably unknown to him, even by name, the account that he claimed “the use of baptism to be administered in water only to converts of sufficient age and understanding.” Was true.
What kind of man really was Edward Wightman? His son, grandson, great grandson, for two more generations all pastored Baptist churches in America! That is a great tribute to his faith.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: A History of the Baptists, by John T. Christian /A History of the English Baptists, by Joseph Ivimey.