On 8 December 1527 two scholars, Thomas Bilney and Thomas Arthur, carried penitential faggots at St Paul's Cross as a token of abjuration of heresy. With this act both men formally cleansed their souls and brought about their reconciliation with the Church. Far from being the end of a story, however, this ceremony proved to be the beginning of a controversy which has survived until the present day. For Thomas Bilney subsequently renounced his abjuration and became a significant figure in the early Reformation in England, eventually dying at the stake as a relapsed heretic in 1531. And yet, despite the importance attributed to him as a reformer, Bilney is now, as he was then, an ambiguous figure whose relationship with the Catholic Church and precise beliefs have never been conclusively determined. Many writers have claimed Bilney as a champion of their particular causes or have sought to identify his place in the wider movements of the Reformation. For the Protestant John Foxe he was a martyr, albeit a flawed one, for the reformed faith, who refused to the last to be intimidated into a second abjuration. For Sir Thomas More, in somewhat mischievous mood, he was a Catholic saint brought to realise the error of his ways at the stake and reconciled to the Church with almost his last breath.