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“I believe, right worshipful, that you are not ignorant of what has been determined concerning me [by the Council of Brabent]; therefore I entreat your lordship and that by the Lord Jesus, that if I am to remain here during the winter, you will request the Procureur to be kind enough to send me from my goods which he has in his possession, a warmer cap, for I suffer extremely from cold in the head, being afflicted with a perpetual catarrh, which is considerably increased in this cell. A warmer coat also, for that which I have is very thin: also a piece of cloth to patch my leggings: my overcoat is worn out; my shirts are also worn out. He has a woolen shirt of mine, if he will be kind enough to send it. I have also with him leggings of thicker cloth for putting on above; he also has warmer caps for wearing at night. I wish also to have his permission to have a lamp in the evening, for it is wearisome to sit alone in the dark. But above all, I entreat and beseech your clemency to be urgent with the Procureur that he may kindly permit me to have my Hebrew Bible, Hebrew Grammar, and Hebrew Dictionary, that I may spend my time with that study. And in return, may you obtain your dearest wish, provided always it be consistent with the salvation of your soul. But if, before the end of the winter, a different decision be reached concerning me, I shall be patient abiding the will of God, to the glory of the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ, whose Spirit, I pray, may ever direct your heart. Amen. W. Tindale”
William Tindale (or Tyndale), the English translator and reformer, said that when he sat imprisoned in the state prison at castle Vilvorde in the long cheerless nights of the winter of 1535. They strangled him and burned his body on (Foxe says) the 6th of October the next year after a lengthy trial. Police raids on his printing work, the treachery of people he trusted, the relentless hounding he endured from the Archbishop of Canterbury and Thomas More, a long imprisonment and trial before being strangled for heresy at a bit over forty years of age makes absorbing reading. It’s a bit more than “absorbing”.
A reader invited me to comment on our whining and complaining disposition despite our many comforts. I thought to do it here. Think instead I’ll let the above letter speak for itself.