Franke, Peter (d. 1538)

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Peter Franke, an Anabaptist leader and preacher in Flanders and England, was burned at the stake with his wife and Jan Mathijsz van Middelburg in Smithfield (London) on 29 November 1538. He is probably identical with Pieter de Bontwerkere (Peter the Furrier), who led Pauwels Vermaete, a Flemish preacher and martyr, to the Anabaptist faith.

Franke is included with the English Reformers in a Catholic satirical poem, "A Genealogye of Heresye," written by John Huntington about 1540:

Next after him (that is, John Lambert)

Came in a limb

Of Antichrist

An Anabaptist

One Peter Franke

Which said full rank

That Christ and God

Take not manhood

Of Mary the Virgin

Which was without sin.

John Bale in A Mysterye of Inyquyte (1542), which is a refutation of Huntington's verses, declares that Franke's life was pious, for his death was "godly and perfect." His "patient suffering" was instrumental in converting some at Colchester from "papism into true repentance, whereas nothing before could convert them." "For in his death confessed he the Lord Jesus Christ to be his only saviour and redeemer, which is the true seal of the servant of God." Although the Melchiorite view of the Incarnation was prevalent among Anabaptists in England, Bale claims Franke "died in no such wicked opinion as many have credibly reported."


Bale, John. A Mysterye of Inyquyte. 1542: fols. 53 recto—57 recto.

Chronicon ab anno 1189 ad 1556 in the Monumenta Franciscanae, The Rolls Series. 1858: 202.

Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic of the Reign of Henry VIII: Vol. XIII/2, 374.

Verheyden, A.L.E. Het Brugsche Martyrologium (12 October 1527-7 Augustus 1573). Brussels, [1944]: 45. Available in full electronic text at:

Author(s) Irvin B Horst
Date Published 1956

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MLA style

Horst, Irvin B. "Franke, Peter (d. 1538)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 4 Mar 2021.,_Peter_(d._1538)&oldid=148814.

APA style

Horst, Irvin B. (1956). Franke, Peter (d. 1538). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 4 March 2021, from,_Peter_(d._1538)&oldid=148814.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pp. 372-373. All rights reserved.

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