We passed through the crowds gathered round the locust clock (apparently 5.3 million visitors came to Cambridge last year) and went down a narrow alley opposite King's College to the church of St. Edward King and Martyr. On the ancient church door was pinned a notice to keep the door shut. However, it was ajar held by an empty beer crate. Entering the darkness the drop in temperature was startling. By many degrees!
With gratitude many of the group sat while I described how this had been the college chapel for Latimer and Bilney. Outside the bishop's authority it could therefore be the one place in Cambridge where Reformation truths could ignite. And on Christmas Eve 1525, one of the reformers Robert Barnes preached the first Reformation sermon in England. He had known Luther and come to Cambridge to head up an Augustinian monastery. The pulpit from which he preached is still at the front. Called Latimer's pulpit you are not allowed to climb it but many of us touched its pitted surface. This is where it first happened! On a side wall a plaque marks how reformers had met at the White Horse Inn as new ideas fermented before this church became the birthplace of the reformation. It also notes how Barnes, Bilney and Latimer were all burned to death for their witness.
The professor leading the group, sitting in the welcome cool, said: 'It's hard for us now to realize just how revolutionary all this was. Everything was changed.' We stayed there for several minutes quietly reflecting. Revolutionary, yes. In the cool, wow!