Thomas Watts (Protestant martyr)
by Stone Bridge
Thomas Watts, a linen draper from Billericay, was a Protestant during the reign of the Catholic Queen Mary I in the mid sixteenth century.
In 1555, Watts was accused of being a heretic due to his faith and was charged with not saying mass and holding non-conformist meetings.
He was sent to Bishop Bonner, “the bloody bishop”, who was Bishop of London at the time. Bonner made several attempts to persuade Watts to recant, but he refused to give up his beliefs. He was therefore condemned to death.
On his return, Watts was held at The Lion Inn, by Stone Bridge, before being burnt at the stake in June 1555. The story of his martyrdom is told in John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.