Thomas Matthews Bible
This page is from an original 1537 copy of the Thomas Matthews Bible, the second complete English Bible, but the first English Bible translated from the original Biblical languages of Hebrew and Greek. It was published by John Rogers, under the pseudonym Thomas Matthews, which had been used by William Tyndale who was influential in Rogers converting from Catholicism to Protestantism and with whom Rogers worked on the translation. After Tyndale was martyred in 1536 Rogers continued his work.
Rogers had little to do with the actual translation but wrote some valuable prefaces and marginal notes, and it is said this was the first English Bible commentary. His work was largely used by those who prepared the Great Bible of 1540 out of which in turn came the Bishops’ Bible of 1568 and the Authorized Version of Kings James in 1611. The Bible was printed in Antwerp, and during that time Rogers pastored in Wittenberg, Germany where at least one of his 10 children were born. He returned to England in 1548.
When Mary Tudor, a Catholic, took the throne, Rogers preached against the “pestilent Popery, idolatry and superstition of the Roman Catholic Church.” Ten days later he was arrested and sent to Newgate Prison for several years.
Rogers, born in 1507, was executed on Feb. 4, 1555, the first of hundreds killed by Mary Tudor who became known as “Bloody Mary.” Eyewitnesses said he died cheerfully, and even his children were “comforting him in such a manner that it seemed as if he had been led to a wedding rather than an execution.” He was written about in the original Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, but the more modern abridged version of the book does not include him.
Steve Strang is a direct descendent of John Rogers. He considers Rogers his most famous ancestor, and is proud to have this Bible page as a part of his collection of framed original Bible pages. A family genealogy Steve found said one line of the family were descendents of “John Rogers the Martyr”, but there was no proof—only family tradition. Steve researched John Rogers and the Thomas Matthews Bible at the British Museum in London and through Ancestry.com and was able to establish this lineage.
John Rogers, born 1507 Warwickshire, England
>> his son, Bernard F. Rogers, b. 1543, Wittenberg, Germany
>> his son, Thomas Matthews Rogers, b. 1565, England
>> his son, Thomas Rogers, b. 1585 Stratford Upon Avon, England
>> his son, James Rogers, b. 1615, Stratford Upon Avon, England,
>> his son, Samuel Rogers, b. 1640, British colony of Connecticut
>> his daughter, Mary Rogers Gilbert, b. 1667, British colony of Connecticut
>> her son, Samuel Gilbert, b. 1687, British colony of Connecticut
>> his son, Ebenezer Gilbert, b. 1732, British colony of Connecticut
>> his daughter, Mercy Gilbert Fox, b. 1764, British colony of Connecticut
>> her son, Neziah Gilbert Fox, b. 1792, Connecticut, USA
>> his son Erastus John Fox, b. 1817, New York, USA
>> his daughter, Ella Fox Anderson, b. 1865, Michigan, USA
>> her daughter, Agnes Anderson Strang, b. 1893, Michigan, USA
>> her son, Edward Strang, b. 1925, Michigan, USA
>> his son, Steve Strang, b. 1951, Missouri, USA