In the late 19th century, researchers discovered a Latin letter signed by a W Tindalus, or William Tyndale, the famous translator who gave the English-speaking world its first vernacular Bible.
The letter was written not long before his death and was addressed to an authority at the prison in Vilvoorde. The bitter cold and darkness of his cell had become insufferable. He knew there was no hope of acquittal and that he would be executed.
This letter was not a plea for mercy. Instead, he begins by asking for a few simple comforts to pass the time: ‘I entreat your lordship to send a warmer cap. I suffer extremely from cold in the head,’ he wrote. ‘A warmer coat also… my overcoat is worn out.’ The letter continues on to ask ‘permission for a lamp in the evening, for it is wearisome to sit alone in the dark.’
‘But above all, I entreat permission to have my Hebrew Bible, a Hebrew grammar, and a Hebrew dictionary.’