Imagine a time when you could be sent to jail because you didn’t go to Mass (the Catholic service). There was a time in England’s history when this was the case. Queen Mary (also known as Bloody Mary) was reigning and it truly was a reign of terror for those seeking to follow God and the Bible.
William Hunter was a young adult who was one of those following the Bible instead of blindly following the Queen and her new laws. It was decreed that all must go to Mass. However, young Hunter did not go to Mass. Instead he stayed home and read his Bible.
When the sheriff caught him, he explained that he had been reading his Bible, which was worship. Therefore, he had obeyed the edict, just not in the required way. Then Bishop Bonner of London got involved. At first Bonner tried coaxing William with money and a little bit of public honor, but William refused to be bought with worldly things. He was then placed in stocks for two days without food or water.
After two days, he still refused to obey the Queen, so he was sent to a dismal prison for nine months-all for reading the Scriptures. Bishop Bonner wearied of trying to convince Hunter to attend Mass. He then sent him to his home village of Brentwood to be burnt as a heretic.
On March 26, 1555, the young Bible reader was burned alive. He was only nineteen, but he died without fear and with Psalm 51 on his lips.