William Tyndale
Location in the Abbey: South choir aisle
Type of memorial: Tablet
Type of material: Marble

A memorial tablet to William Tyndale, Bible translator, was unveiled in the south choir aisle of Westminster Abbey in 1938, the gift of Sir Robert Rankin, M.P. It consists of a black marble tablet within an alabaster frame, in each corner of which is a rose, partly gilded. The gilded inscription reads:

"This tablet was placed here in the year of Our Lord 1938 in thankful commemoration of William Tyndale B:1490 D.1536 translator of the Holy Scriptures into the language of the English people. A martyr and exile in the cause of liberty and pure religion, he fulfilled the precept which he had taught "There is none other way into the kingdom of life than through persecution and suffering of pain and of very death after the example of Christ"'.

His translation of the Bible into English, though incomplete, greatly influenced the translation of the 1611 Authorized Version for its substantial accuracy and fine literary style.

He was born in Gloucestershire but his parents are unknown. His brothers were Richard, Edward and John. He was educated locally and at Magdalen Hall, Oxford and was soon ordained. While a children's tutor he translated a work of Erasmus into English. Tyndale went to London to enlist support for producing an English New Testament, translated from the Greek, but he had to go to Germany to have it printed. It was not popular with the church authorities in England and many copies were burned in 1526. He lived abroad and in Antwerp and revised his text in 1534 and started a translation of the Old Testament. But he was arrested, his crime being heresy as he was a Lutheran. In October 1536 he was burnt at the stake.

A photo of the memorial can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

Further reading:

"William Tyndale" by J.F.Mozley, 1937

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004.