“A bold patient Sufferer for ye Lord Jesus”
November 29, 1685 – George Fownes died in the Gloucester, England jail. The faithful clerk of the Broadmead Church in Bristol inserted the event into the records of the church in the following words, “…having been kept there for Two years and about 9 months a Prisoner, unjustly and maliciously, for ye Testimony of Jesus and preaching ye Gospel, Fownes dyed. He was a man of great learning, of a sound Judgment, an able Preacher, having great knowledge in Divinity, Law, Physic, & c.; a bold patient Sufferer for ye Lord Jesus, and ye Gospel he preacht.” From the Broadmead records we discover that Pastors Thomas Ewins, Tomas Hardcastle, and George Fownes were all imprisoned unjustly for the cause of Christ. But many other Baptist ministers endured imprisonments, and some died in jail merely because of their convictions. Francis Bamfield suffered for eight years in Dorchester jail. Thomas Delaune suffered in Newgate prison. John Miller was a prisoner for ten years in Newgate. Henry Forty was incarcerated for twelve years at Exeter. Joseph Wright, a man of great piety and learning, pastored at Maidstone but was imprisoned in the common jail there for twenty years. Thomas Helwys fled to Amsterdam but in time became convinced that he and the others had been wrong to flee persecution. Believing it was his duty to return to England and witness of the truth, he went to London in 1611 with 12 of his followers and settled at Spitalfields. He appealed to the King to grant liberty of conscience and for his convictions “Newgate Prison” became his home. He died in Newgate, barely forty years of age. The Broadmead church was founded by John Canne. He was the first to prepare and publish the English Bible with marginal references.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins /Thompson/, pp. 497-98.