William Tyndale

William Tyndale (1494 - 1536)

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William Tyndale
Born in North Nibley, Gloucestershire, Englandmap [uncertain]
Ancestors ancestors
Son of [uncertain] and [uncertain]
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in Vilvoorde Castle, Antwerp, Belgiummap
Profile last modified | Created 11 Mar 2011 | Last significant change: 11 Jan 2019
15:47: Juli Ann (Brown) Harvey posted a message on the page for William Tyndale (1494-1536). [Thank Juli Ann for this]
This page has been accessed 943 times.

Categories: Berkeley, Gloucestershire | Magdalen Hall, Oxford | Catholic Priests | Protestant Reformation Leaders | Protestant Martyrs of the English Reformation | Notables.

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  • This biography has blank spots that need editing/fleshing out by someone with access to a Tyndale biography.
  • The language could use some tuning up. Tyndale's importance as one of the key figures in the Protestant Reformation should make us stay as scholarly as possible, and avoid judgements, where possible.
  • There should be a discussion about the question of his parents' identity.


William Tyndale is Notable.

William Tyndale was born in Gloucestershire around 1494. He was educated at Oxford, [1] then at Cambridge. He lived at the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, and like his contemporary, Martin Luther, he was a reformer interested in allowing individuals direct access to the Bible, rather than having it interpreted to them (selectively) by priests and other Latin speakers.

John Wycliffe had translated the Bible from Latin into English almost 200 years before, but since the printing press had not yet been developed, Wycliffe's bible had not been widely circulated. His action was threatening enough to the Roman Catholic church that even though he died in 1384 of natural causes, he was posthumously declared a heretic about 30 years later.

Tyndale was ordained as a priest in 1521, and worked as a tutor and chaplain. His radical views were considered dangerous enough, however, that the Bishop of London would not permit him to serve as a priest.

Tyndale was a skilled linguist, fluent in several languages, who felt called to translate the Bible into English. He began by translating the New Testament into English from Greek. In the Roman Catholic church of the early sixteenth century, it was considered it an act of heresy to translate the Bible to the language of the common people. By 1524, Tyndale was in real danger, and fled England for Europe to continue writing. While in Germany, he studied under Martin Luther.

In 1534, King Henry VIII of England broke with the Roman Catholic church. Tyndale believed that the newly established church of England could use his bible to help establish its own identity. He began to worry less about hiding his whereabouts.

However, Tyndale had misjudged the political situation. In fact, English officials had grown concerned that if the common people had access to the bible, they would become less dependent on the clergy and aristocracy, possibly even rising up, as the peasants in Germany had done in 1524. England had experienced its own peasant's revolt in 1381, and could not afford it happening again. The king secretly put a bounty on Tyndale's head, dispatching agents to discover his whereabouts in Europe.

At that point, Tyndale was living at Antwerp, a port city where he would be able to smuggle English Bibles to England. However, Antwerp was a Roman Catholic city. While there, Tyndale began translating the Old Testament from Hebrew. He was discovered in Antwerp by English agent Henry Phillips, and was arrested under the authority of the Holy Roman Emperor. Tyndale was imprisoned at Vilvorde, near Brussels for 18 months before standing trial for heresy.

His official heresy was not the actual translation of the Bible, but his statements of protestant theology. However, his translation of the Bible was the greater threat to the English monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church.

William Tyndale's last words were reportedly "Lord, open the king of England's eyes." Tyndale was strangled, then burned at the stake in October 1536 by local authorities at Vilvorde.

Three years later, King Henry accepted Tyndale's Bible, which became the basis for the King James bible, first published in 1611. The King James Version was the first government-authorized English version of the Bible, although the Geneva Bible was published first, in Switzerland with Tyndale's translation, but no approval from the British crown. It has been estimated that about 85% of the King James Bible came directly from Tyndale's.

In fact, the process of translation required Tyndale to invent so many new terms that he is considered to have been a major shaper of modern English language. Just a few common phrases that originated in Tyndale's Bible include: "gave up the ghost", "powers that be", and "salt of the earth".


  1. Foster, Joseph. Alumni Oxonienses: The Members of the University of Oxford, 1500-1714. Oxford: Parker and Co., 1888-1892. p. 1489. Accessed at Ancestry.com. Oxford University Alumni, 1500-1886 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.
  • Daniell, David, William Tyndale: A Biography. Yale University Press. 2001.
  • Herzel, Catherine, Great Christians: Their Response and Witness. Lutheran Church Press, Philadelphia. 1964.
  • Greenfield , B.W. -

Notes Relating to the Family of Tyndale, of Stinchcombe and Nibley, in Gloucestershire. pp123-4. Information relating to William Tyndale alias Huchyns

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On 11 Jan 2019 at 15:47 GMT Juli Ann (Brown) Harvey wrote:

I haven't read all of the comments however has anyone watched the doc. "The forbidden book" ? It gives a lot of history on William. Also how he died. He was burned at the stake and the Books of the Bible he had written in English was used for kindling. The Roman Church forbid anyone to translate the Bible as William had.

On 29 Dec 2018 at 15:40 GMT Robin Wood wrote:

This William Tyndale was according to R W Greenfileds research the brother of Richard Tynedale not his son.

UNless otherwise disputed I intend to make theappropriate changes in a weeks time The William Tyndale (Not the Martyr) who was Richards son, died bef 1 feb 1523 (see page 373 of Greenfields artcle in the Genealogist)

On 15 Nov 2018 at 14:43 GMT Mike Edwards wrote:

On 13 Sep 2018 at 12:09 GMT Robin Wood wrote:

I have no objection to teh Project Group managing the profile. Indeed I welcome it.

I do not have agreat deal on William as a lot is available widely on the net, My interest has always to try and ensure his parents are correctly identified particularly the TYndales where a great number of Web users seem to insist he was related to a margaret tyndale daughter of Amphilis Coningsby which is untrue! Keep up the good work.

On 13 Sep 2018 at 00:09 GMT Gillian Thomas wrote:

Hi Robin, I am one of the leaders of the England Project. I'm not sure if Vivienne mentioned to you that the England Project would like to take on the management of this profile as per https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Help:Project_Protection. We welcome your ongoing involvement and encourage you to consider joining the England Project. In terms of the parentage of William and his brothers, I'm marking the parents as uncertain and will add some research notes in due course to address the issue. Please feel free to edit those, as you are much more expert on this family than I am.

On 4 Sep 2018 at 23:59 GMT Donald McDonald wrote:

Source of parentage:-

Pedigree of the family of Tyndale of Stinchcombe and Nibley. By Greenfield. Page 373. William used both (or was known as) Tyndale and Huchyns. William Tyndale is the son of Richard Tyndale and Tebota Huchyns

On 3 Sep 2018 at 13:49 GMT Robin Wood wrote:

I am still not convinced of his parentage, NO source has yet been provided to substantiate the suggested parents, Comments please

On 1 Sep 2018 at 23:37 GMT Donald McDonald wrote:

One son worth noting is William Tyndale, 1494-1536 was Bible translator Source: Biographical Summaries of Notable people.

I found this reference but have not read it.

On 18 Mar 2018 at 20:34 GMT Donald McDonald wrote:

William Tyndale is the son of Richard Tyndale and Tebota Huchyns according to my to family papers.

On 3 Dec 2017 at 04:57 GMT Des Connors wrote:

His parents may be Richard Tyndale and Tebota Huchyns. 1455-1501...according to Geni world tree and Family Search.

more comments

William is 25 degrees from Robin Helstrom, 20 degrees from Katy Jurado and 18 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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