Foxe's Book of Martyrs
The Visitation of the Universities -- Burning of the Dead Bodies of Bucer and Phagius -- With the Cruel Handling of God's Saints in Other Parts of the Realm, in the Year 1557.
Cardinal Pole, three years after his return into England, having somewhat withdrawn his mind from other affairs of the realm, and having in all points established the Romish religion, began to have an eye to the university of Cambridge, which place among others specially seemed to need reformation. To perform this charge were chosen Cuthbert Scot, not long before consecrated bishop of Chester; Nicholas Ormanet, an Italian, arch-priest of the people of Bozolo, in Verona, professed in both the laws, and bearing the name of the pope's datary; Thomas Watson, bishop of Lincoln; John Christopherson, bishop of Chichester; and Henry Cole, provost of the college of Eton. These persons thus appointed sent their letters, with the cardinal's citation, before to Dr. Andrew Perne, vice-chancellor then of Cambridge, with the other commissioners associate, commanding him to warn all the graduates of the university, in their name, to be in readiness against the 11th day of January, betwixt eight and ten of the clock, in the church of St. Mary the Virgin; willing him especially to be there himself in presence, and also to set forward all the residue, to whose charge it belonged, that they should search out all statutes, books, privileges, and monuments appertaining to the university, or to any of the colleges, or finally to any of themselves; and these to present before them at the day appointed, and every man to appear there personally.
After this, upon the 24th of December, the vice-chancellor with the heads of the houses, meeting together in the schools, it was there concluded that the visitors' charges should be borne by the university and colleges, (which then cost the university a hundred pounds thick,) and also that no master of any college should suffer any of the fellows, scholars, or ministers to go forth of the town, but to return before the visitation. The inquisitors arrived at Cambridge on the 9th of January; and the day after they interdicted the two churches, namely, St. Mary's, where Bucer, and St. Michael's, where Paulus Phagius lay buried. On the 11th, being the day appointed, the vice-chancellor of the university, with the masters and presidents of the colleges, and all the graduates of every house, were commanded to appear before the said commissioners. They assembled in great number to Trinity college, having the university cross borne before them; and in the Gatehouse a form was set and covered with cushions, and carpet on the ground, for the visitors. Master John Stokes, common orator of the university, one of the popish superstition, (for none but such, in those days, might be promoted to any worship,) made an oration in the name of all the rest; and when he had ended, the bishop of Chester answered thereto.
These things being finished, they were brought processionaliter to King's college, by all the graduates of the university, where was sung a mass of the Holy Ghost with great solemnity, nothing wanting in the behalf that might make to the setting forth of the same. From thence they attended all upon the legates to St. Mary's church, which we declared before to have been interdicted; in the which place, forsomuch as it was suspended, although no mass might be sung, yet there was a sermon made in open audience by master Peacock in the Latin tongue, preaching against heresies and heretics, as Bilney, Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley, etc. The which being ended, they proceeded eftsoons to the visitation, where first Dr. Harvy did, in the cardinal's name, exhibit the commission to the bishop of Chester, with a few words in Latin. Which being accepted, and by master clerk openly read to the end, then the vice-chancellor with an oration did exhibit the certificate under his seal of office, with the cardinal's citation annexed, containing every man's name in the university and colleges, with the officers and all the masters of houses. After the formal solemnity of these things thus accomplished, all the masters of the houses only being cited, every man for awhile departed home to his own house, with commandment to be at the common schools of the said university at one of the clock the same day.
The next day being the 12th of January, they resorted to the King's college to make inquisition, either because the same was chief and sovereign of all the residue, or else because that that house had been counted, time out of mind, never to be without a heretic (as they termed them) or twain: and at that present time, albeit many of late had withdrawn themselves from thence, yet they judged there were some remaining still.
The order and manner how they would be entertained of every college, when they should come to make inquisition, they themselves appointed, which was in this sort. They commanded the master of every house, together with the residue, as well fellows as scholars, appareled in priest-like garments, (which they call habits,) to meet them at the uttermost gate of their house towards the town: the master himself to be dressed in like apparel as the priest when he harnesseth himself to mass; saving that he should put on uppermost his habit, as the rest did. The order of their going they appointed to be in this wise: the master of the house to go foremost; next unto him, every man in his order as he was of degree, seniority, or of years. Before the master should be carried a cross and holy water to sprinkle the commissioners withal; and then, after that, the said commissioners to be censed. And so after this meeting and mumbling of a few devotions, they determined with this pomp and solemnity to be brought to the chapel.
Three days long lasted the inquisition there. This was now the third day of their coming, and it was thought that the case of Bucer and Phagius was delayed longer than needed. The vice-chancellor and the masters of the colleges assembled at the common schools, where every man gave his verdict what he thought meet to be done in this matter of Bucer. After much debating, they agreed altogether in this determination: that forasmuch as Martin Bucer, while he lived, had not only sowed pernicious and erroneous doctrine among them, but also himself had been a sectary and famous heretic, erring from the catholic church, and giving others occasion to fall from the same likewise, a supplication should be made to the lords commissioners, in the name of the whole university, that his dead carcase might forthwith be digged up, (for so it was needful to be done,) to the intent that inquisition might be made as touching his doctrine, etc. They gave the same verdict, by common assent, upon Phagius also.
The day after, the vice-chancellor, Andrew Perne, waited upon the commissioners, according to the appointment, about seven of the clock in the morning. He had scarce declared the cause of his coming, but he had not only obtained his suit, but also even at the very same time received the sentence of condemnation, for taking up of Bucer and Phagius, fair copied out by Ormanet the datary himself, which was soon after signed with the common seal of the university.
This condemnation being openly read, then Dr. Perne desired to send out process to cite Bucer and Phagius to appear, or any others that would take upon them to plead their cause, and to stand to the order of the court against the next Monday. The commissioners condescended to his request, and the next day process was out to cite the offenders. This citation Vincent of Noally, their common notary, having first read it over before certain witnesses appointed for the same purpose, caused to be fixed up in places convenient, to wit, upon St. Mary's church-door, the door of the common schools, and the cross in the market-stead. In this was specified, that whosoever would maintain Bucer and Phagius, or stand in defence of their doctrine, should, at the eighteenth day of the same month, stand forth before the lord commissioners in St. Mary's church, and there every man should be sufficiently heard what he could say.
When the day came, and that neither Bucer nor Phagius would appear at their call in the court, not that any put forth himself to defend them, the commissioners put off the judgment day unto the 26th of the same month. Upon this day the vice-chancellor was sent for to their lodging, with whom they agreed concerning the order of publishing the sentence. And because there should want no solemnity in the matter, they commanded him further to warn the mayor of the town to be there at the day appointed with all his burgesses.
On the day aforesaid all met together in St. Mary's church, where, after reciting the process, Dr. Scot, one of the inquisitors, made a long oration; after which he read the sentence condemning Bucer and Phagius of heresy. He then commanded their bodies to be digged out of their graves, and being degraded from holy orders, delivered them to the secular power; for it was not lawful for such innocent persons as they were, abhorring from all bloodshed, and detesting all desire of murder, to put any man to death!
Upon the 6th day of February, their dead bodies were borne into the market-place, (Bucer in the chest that he was buried, and Phagius in a new,) with a great train of people following them. This place was prepared before, and a great post was set fast in the ground to bind the carcases to, and a great heap of wood was laid ready to burn them withal. The chests were set up on end, with the dead bodies in them, and fastened on both sides with stakes, and bound to the post with a long iron chain as if they had been alive. Fire being forthwith put to, as soon as it began to flame round about, a great sort of books that were condemned with them were cast into the same.
In the mean time that they were roasting in the fire, Watson went into the pulpit in St. Mary's church, and there, before his audience, railed upon their doctrine, as wicked and erroneous, saying that it was the ground of all mischief that had happened of a long time in the commonweal. Many things he slanderously and falsely alleged against Bucer, whose doctrine either he would not understand, or else he was minded to slander. And yet he was not ignorant that Bucer taught none other things than the very same whereunto he and Scot, in the reign of king Edward the sixth, had subscribed to with their own hands.
The next day following, the aforesaid Scot, bishop of Chester, with much ceremonial solemnity, reconciled the two churches of St. Mary and St. Michael, which we declared to have been interdicted before. After this they bestowed a few days in punishing and amercing such as they thought had deserved it. Some they suspended from giving voices either to their own preferment or that of any other; some they forbade to have the charge of pupils; others they chastised wrongfully without any desert, punishing contrary to all right and reason; and last of all they set forth certain statutes by the which they would have the university hereafter ordered.
The commissioners were now ready to go their ways; and the university, coveting to show some token of courtesy to them for so great benefits, dignified Ormanet and Cole with the degree of doctorship, for all the residue had received that order before. Thus, at length, were sent away these peacemakers, that came to pacify strifes and quarrels, who, through provoking every man to accuse one another, left such gaps and breaches in men's hearts at their departure, that to this day they could never be closed nor joined together again!
Having thus considered the doings of these iniquisitors at Cambridge, we will proceed to discourse of the despiteful handling of Peter Martyr's wife at Oxford. For because the one university should not mock the other, like cruelty was also declared upon the dead body of the said Peter Martyr's wife, an honest, grave, and sober matron, while she lived, and of poor people a great helper, who departed this life in the year of our Lord 1552. Brooks, bishop of Gloucester, Nicholas Ormanet, datary, Robert Morewen, president of Corpus-Christi college, Cole and Wright, doctors of the civil law, came thither as the cardinal's visitors; and, among other things, had in commission to take up this good woman again out of her grave, and to consume her carcase with fire, not doubting but that she was of the same religion that her husband had professed before.
To be short, after these visitors had sped the business they came for, they gat them to the cardinal again, certifying him that, upon due inquisition made, they could learn nothing upon which by the law they might burn her. Notwithstanding the cardinal, a good while after, wrote to Marshal, the dean of Frideswide's, that he should dig her up, and lay her out of Christian burial, because she was interred nigh unto St. Frideswide's relics, sometime had in great reverence in that college. Dr. Marshal, like a pretty man, calling his spades and mattocks together in the evening, caused her to be taken up and buried in a dunghill.
Howbeit, when it pleased God under good queen Elizabeth to give quietness to his church, Dr. Parker, archbishop of Canterbury, Edmund Grindal, bishop of London, Richard Goodrick, with divers others, her majesty's high commissioners in matters of religion, willed certain of that college to take her out of that unclean and dishonest place where she lay, and solemnly, in the face of the whole town, to bury her again in a more decent and honest monument. Wherefore master James Calfield, then sub-dean of the college, diligently provided that from Marshal's dunghill she was restored and translated to her proper place again, yea, and withal coupled her with Frideswide's bones, that in case any cardinal will be so mad hereafter to remove this woman's bones again, it shall be hard for them to discern the bones of her from the other.
Moreover, the commissioners under the good queen Elizabeth, having also received commission to make reformation of religion in the university of Cambridge and other parts of the realm, decreed that the aforesaid Bucer and Phagius should be set in their places again. For the performance whereof they addressed their letters to the vice-chancellor and the graduates of the university, when by the verdict and open consent of the whole university they were fully restored, and all acts done against them and their doctrine repealed and disannulled, about the twenty-second day of July, in the year of our Lord 1560.
In January 1557, ten godly and Christian martyrs were committed unto the fire, and there consumed to ashes, by Thornton, suffragan of Dover, and Nicholas Harpsfield, archdeacon of the said province. Their names were John Philpot, Matthew Bradbridge, and Nicholas Final, of Tenterden; William Waterer and Thomas Stephens, of Biddenden; Stephen Kempe or Norgate; William Hay of Hythe; Thomas Hudson of Selling; William Lowick of Cranbrooke; William Prowting of Thornham. Of these, six were burned at Canterbury, about the 15th of January; two at Ashford the day following; and other two at Wye, about the same month.
On the 8th of the next month following, which was February, came out another bloody commission from the king and queen, to kindly up the fire of persecution, as though it were not hot enough already. After this commission was given out at London, the new inquisitors, especially some of them, began to ruffle, and to take upon them not a little; so that all quarters were full of persecution. And prisons almost full of prisoners, namely, in the diocese of Canterbury, whereof (by leave of Christ) we will say more anon.
In the mean time, about the town of Colchester, the wind of persecution began fiercely to rise; insomuch that three-and-twenty together, fifteen men and eight women, were apprehended at one clap, of the which one escaped. The other twenty-two were driven like a flock of Christian lambs to London, with two or three leaders with them at most, ready to give their skins to be plucked off for the gospel's sake. When they entered into the towns their keepers called them into array, to go two and two together, having a band or line going between them, they holding the same in their hands, having another cord every one about his arm, as though they were tied. And so were they carried up to London, the people by the way praying to God for them, to give them strength. Notwithstanding the bishops, afraid belike of the numbers to put so many at once to death sought means to deliver them; and so they did, drawing out a very easy submission for them, or rather suffering them to draw it out themselves: notwithstanding divers of them afterward were taken again and suffered as hereafter ye shall hear (God willing) declared.
In this story of persecuted martyrs, next in order follow five others burned at London, in Smithfield, on the 12th of April. Their names were, Thomas Loseby, Henry Ramsey, Thomas Thirtel, Margaret Hide, and Agnes Stanley; who being, some by the lord Riche, some by other justices of peace, and constables (their own neighbors) at the first accused, and apprehended for not coming to their parish churches, were in the end sent unto Bonner, bishop of London; and, by his commandment, the 27th day of January were examined before Dr. Darbyshire, then chancellor to the said bishop. In their answers they confessed there was one true and catholic church, whereof they steadfastly believed, and thought the church of Rome to be no part or member thereof; so in the same church they believed there were but two sacraments, that is to say, baptism and the supper of the Lord.
After this, the 1st day of April, they were again convented before the bishop in his palace at London, where little appeareth to be done, except it were to know whether they would stand to their answers, and whether they would recant or no. But when they refused to recant and deny the received and infallible truth, the bishop caused them to be brought into the open consistory, the 3rd day of the same month of April, where, first understanding by them their immutable constancy and steadfastness, he pronounced the sentence of condemnation against them, and charged the sheriff of London with them; who being thereunto commanded, the 12th day of the same month, brought them into Smithfield, where altogether in one fire most joyfully and constantly they ended their temporal lives, receiving there-for the life eternal.
After these, moreover, in the month of May, followed three others that suffered in St. George's-fields in Southwark: William Morant, Stephen Gratwick, with one King. Among other histories of the persecuted and condemned saints of God, I find the condemnation of none more strange nor unlawful than of this Stephen Gratwick: who first was condemned by the bishops of Winchester and Rochester, which were not his ordinaries. Secondly, when he did appeal from those incompetent judges to his right ordinary, his appeal could not be admitted. Thirdly, when they had no other shift to colour their inordinate proceedings withal, they suborned one of the priests to come in for a counterfeit and false ordinary, and sit upon him. Fourthly, being openly convinced and overturned in his own arguments, yet the said bishop of Winchester, Dr. White, neither would yield to the force of truth, nor suffer any of the audience assistant once to say, God strengthen him. Fifthly, as they brought in a false ordinary to sit upon him, so they pretended false articles against him which were no part of his examinations, but of their devising, to have his blood. Sixthly and lastly, having no other ground nor just matters against him, but only for saying these words, "That which I said, I have said," they read the sentence against him.
I showed a little before, how after the universal proclamation was sent and set forth by the king and queen in the month of February last, the storm of persecution began in all places to rise, but yet in no place more than in the country and diocese of Canterbury, especially by reason of Richard Thornton suffragan of Dover, and Harpsfield archdeacon of Canterbury, who of their own nature were so furious and fiery against the harmless flock of Christ, that there was no need of any proclamation to stir up the coals of their burning cruelty, by reason whereof many a godly saint lyeth slain under the altar, as in divers places of this book appear.
On the 18th of June were seven Christian and true faithful martyrs of Christ burned at Maidstone, whose names here follow: Joan Bradbridge of Staplehurst; Walter Appleby of Maidstone; Petronil, his wife; Edmund Allin of Fritterden, and Katherine, his wife; John Manning's wife, of Maidstone; and Elizabeth, a blind maiden. As concerning the general articles commonly objected to them in the public consistory, and the order of their condemnation, it differeth not much from the usual manner expressed before, neither did their answers in effect much differ from the others that suffered under the same ordinary, in the foresaid diocese of Canterbury.
On the 19th of the said month of June, four women and three men were burnt together at Canterbury: namely, John Fishcock, Nicholas White, Nicholas Pardue, Barbara Final, widow; Bradbridge's widow, who was thought to be with child; Wilson's wife, and Benden's wife. The latter was accused of her own husband, and kept in prison nine weeks upon bread and water, lying upon a little short straw between a pair of stocks and a stone wall, during all which time she never changed her apparel, whereby she became at the last a most piteous and loathsome creature to behold. Being brought to the place where they should suffer for the Lord's cause, they undressed themselves joyfully to the fire; and being ready thereto, they all (like the communion of saints) kneeled down and made their humble prayers unto the Lord, with such zeal and affection as even the enemies of the cross of Christ could not but like it. When they had made invocation together, they rose and went to the stake, where, being compassed with horrible flames of fire, they yielded their souls and lives gloriously into the hand of the Lord, unto whose eternity the Son of God bring us all. Amen.
Matthew Plaise, a weaver, of the same county of Kent, and a faithful Christian, was apprehended and imprisoned likewise for the testimony of a good conscience, in the castle of Canterbury. He was brought to examination before the bishop of Dover, and Harpsfield the archdeacon; but what became of him after, whether he died in prison, or was executed, or delivered, I have as yet no certain knowledge.
In the town of Lewes were ten faithful servants of God put in one fire the 22nd day of June, whose names follow: Richard Woodman; George Stevens; W. Mainard; Alexander Hosman, his servant; Thomasin a Wood, Mainard's maid; Margery Moris; James Moris, her son; Dennis Burgis; Ashdon's wife; and Grove's wife. Of the which number, Richard Woodman was the first. He was by his occupation an iron-maker, in the parish of Warbleton, Sussex, in the diocese of Chichester, about the age of thirty years. The occasion of his first apprehension was this: There was a man named Fairebanke, who sometime had been a married priest, and served the cure of Warbleton, where he had often persuaded the people not to credit any other doctrine but that which he preached in king Edward's days. But in the beginning of queen Mary's reign, this Fairebanke preached contrary to that which he had before taught. Whereupon Richard Woodman, hearing him so to preach contrary to himself, admonished him of his inconstancy, how beforetime he had taught them one thing, and now another, and desired him to teach them the truth. For the which words he was apprehended, and brought before master John Ashbornham, master Tonston, master Culpepper, and master Roberts, justices of peace in the county of Sussex, and by them committed to the King's Bench, where he continued from June, the space almost of a year and a half; and from thence was transferred by Dr. Storey into Bonner's coal-house, where he remained a month before he came to examination.
At length, the same day when master Philpot was burned, which was the 18th of December, he with four other prisoners was set at liberty by Bonner himself. Notwithstanding, shortly after he was sought for again, and at last found out and taken by means of his father, brother, and certain other friends, and so was sent up again to London to bishop Bonner, where he remained in the coal-house for the space of eight weeks. He was there six times examined, and twenty-six times before, so that his examinations were in all thirty-two, from his first apprehension to his condemnation. With Woodman also were burnt the nine others; of which number the eight last were apprehended (as is said) either the same day or the second or third day before, and so with the said Woodman and Stevens were together committed to the fire; in the which space no writ could come down from London to the justices for their burning. Wherefore what is to be said to such justices, or what reckoning they will make to God and to the laws of this realm, I refer that to them that have to do in the matter.
After these ten above-named, about the same time and month, one Ambrose died in Maidstone prison, who else should have been burnt in the like cause and quarrel as the others were.
In the registers of Gilbert, bishop of Bath and Wells, I find a certificate made to king Philip and queen Mary, of one Richard Lush, there condemned and given to the secular power to be burnt for the cause of heresy; and also a certificate directed by the bishop aforesaid to the king and queen, whereby we have apparently to understand that the said Richard Lush, thus condemned by bishop Bourne, was there burnt and executed, unless peradventure in the mean season he died, or was made away in the prison, whereof I have no certainty to express.
In the month of July next ensued the martyrdom of Simon Miller, of Lynn, and Elizabeth Cooper, of Norwich. They were condemned by the bishop or Norwich and his chancellor, about the 13th day of July. Being at the stake to be burnt, when the fire came unto the good woman she a little shrank thereat, crying, "Hah!" which, when the said Simon heard, he willed her to be strong and of good cheer; "for, good sister," said he, "we shall have a joyful and sweet supper:" whereat she being as it seemed thereby strengthened, stood as still and as quiet as one most glad to finish that good work which before most happily she had begun. So, in fine, she ended her life with her companion joyfully, committing her soul into the hands of Almighty God.
Mention was made a little before of twenty-two which were sent up prisoners together from Colchester to London, the which through a gentle submission put unto them were afterwards released and delivered. In the number of these was one William Mount of Much-Bentley, in Essex, husbandman, with Alice his wife, and Rose Allin, maid, the daughter of the said Alice Mount; which coming home again to their house refrained themselves from the unsavoury service of the popish church, and frequented the company of good men and women, which gave themselves diligently to reading, invocating and calling upon the name of God through Christ; whereby they so fretted the wicked priest of the town, called sir Thomas Tye, and others like unto him, that casting their heads together, they made a pestilent supplication to the lord Darcy, in the name of the whole parish, praying his lordship to award a warrant for the said William Mount, his wife, and Rose her daughter.
When Judasly this wicked priest had thus wrought his malice against the people of God, within awhile after the storms began to arise against these poor persecuted, William Mount and his company, whereby they were enforced to hide themselves. At last, on the 7th day of March, being the first Sunday in Lent, by two of the clock in the morning, one master Edmund Tyrrel (who came of the house of those Tyrrels who murdered king Edward the fifth and his brother) took with him the bailiff of the hundred, called William Simuel, dwelling in Colchester, and the town constables of Much-Bentley, with divers others a great number; and besetting the house of the said William Mount round about, called to them at length to open the door: which being done, master Tyrrel with certain of his company went into the chamber where the husband and wife lay, willing them to rise; "for," said he, "you must go with us to Colchester castle." Mother Mount hearing that, being very sick, desired that her daughter might first fetch her some drink. Then Tyrrel gave her leave, and bade her go. So the daughter, Rose Allin, took a stone pot in one hand, and a candle in the other, and went to draw drink for her mother; and as she came back again through the house, Tyrrel met her, and willed her to give her father and mother good counsel, and advertise them to be better catholic people.
Rose. Sir, they have a better instructor than I; for the Holy Ghost doth teach them, I hope, which I trust will not suffer them to err.
Tyrrel. Why, art thou still in that mind, thou naughty housewife? Marry, it is time to look upon such heretics indeed.
Rose. Sir, with that which you call heresy do I worship my Lord God; I tell you truth.
Tyrrel. Then I perceive you will burn, gossip, with the rest, for company's sake.
Rose. No, sir, not for company's sake, but for my Christ's sake, if so I be compelled; and I hope in his mercies if he call me to it, he will enable me to bear it.
So Tyrrel, turning to his company, said, "Sirs, this gossip will burn: do you not think it?" "Marry, sir," quoth one, "prove her, and you shall see what she will do by and by." Then that cruel Tyrrel, taking the candle from her, held her wrist, and the burning candle under her hand, burning crosswise over the back thereof so long till the very sinews cracked asunder, as witnessed by William Candler, then dwelling in Much-Bentley, who was there present and saw it. In which time of his tyranny, he said often to her, "Why, whore! wilt thou not cry? Thou young whore! wilt thou not cry?" Unto which she always answered, that she had no cause, she thanked God, but rather to rejoice. He had (she said) more cause to weep than she, if he considered the matter well. In the end, when the sinews (as I said) brake, that all the house heard them, he then thrust her from him violently, and said, "Ah! strong whore; thou shameless beast! thou beastly whore!" etc., with such like vile words. But she, quietly suffering his rage for the time, at the last said, "Sir, have ye done what ye will do?" And he said, "Yea; and if thou think it be not well, then mend it." "Mend it!" said Rose; "nay, the Lord mend you, and give you repentance, if it be his will. And now if you think it good, begin at the feet and burn to the head also: for he that set you a work shall pay you your wages one day, I warrant you." And so she went and carried her mother drink, as she was commanded.
With the said William Mount and his family was joined also in the same prison at Colchester another faithful brother, named John Johnson, of Thorpe, in Essex, labourer. Other six prisoners lay in Mote-hall, in the said town of Colchester, whose names were William Bongeor, glazier; Thomas Benold, tallow chandler; William Purcas, fuller; Agnes Silverside; Helen Ewring, wife of John Ewring, miller, who was one of the twenty-two prisoners mentioned before sent up in bands from Colchester to London. All these poor condemned lambs were delivered into the hands of the secular power; and on the 2nd day or August, 1557, betwixt six and seven of the clock in the morning, the last-named six were brought from More-hall unto a plat of ground hard by the town-wall of Colchester. All things being prepared for their martyrdom, these constant martyrs kneeled down and made their humble prayers to God; and when they had ended they rose and made them ready to the fire. When they were nailed at their stakes, and the fire about them, they clapped their hands for joy in the fire, that the standers-by, which were, by estimation, thousands, cried generally almost, "The Lord strengthen them; the Lord comfort them; the Lord pour his mercies upon them!" Thus yielded they up their souls and bodies into the Lord's hands, for the true testimony of his truth. The Lord grant we may imitate the same in the like quarrel (if he so vouch us worthy) for his mercy's sake. Amen. In like manner the said day in the afternoon, were brought forth into the castle-yard, to a place appointed, William Mount, John Johnson, Alice Mount, and Rose Allin aforesaid: which godly constant persons, after they had made their prayers, and were joyfully tied to the stakes, calling upon the name of God, and exhorting the people earnestly to flee from idolatry, suffered their martyrdom with such triumph and joy that the people did no less shout thereat to see it than at the others that were burnt the same day in the morning.
At the taking of William Mount and his family, the said Tyrrel searched the house for more company, and at last found one John Thurston and Margaret his wife there also, whom they carried with the rest to Colchester castle immediately. This John Thurston afterward, about the month of May, died in the said castle, a constant confessor of Jesus Christ.
Among other martyrs of singular virtue and constancy, one George Eagles deserveth not the least admiration, but is so much the more to be commended, for that he, having little learning or none, most manfully served and fought under the banner of Christ's church. For he, wandering abroad into divers and far countries where he could find any of his brethren, did there most earnestly encourage and comfort them, now tarrying in this town, and sometime abiding in that, certain months together, as occasion served, lodging sometimes in the country, and sometimes, for fear, living in fields and woods. Oftentimes he did lie abroad in the night without covert, spending the most part thereof in devout and earnest prayer. His diet was so above measure spare and slender, that for three years he used for the most to drink nothing but very water; and after, when he perceived that his body, by God's providence, proved well enough with this diet, he thought best to mure himself therewithal against all necessities.
Now when the said Eagles had profited Christ's church in this sort, by going about and preaching the gospel a year or two, and especially in Colchester and the quarters thereabout, a grievous edict was proclaimed in the queen's name throughout four shires, Essex, Suffolk, Kent, and Norfolk, promising the party that took him twenty pounds for his pains, doubtless a worthy hire to entice any Jew to treachery. At length it came to pass that this George, being seen by chance at Colchester upon Mary Magdalen's day, at which time they kept a fair in the town, should have forthwith been delivered to his adversaries, if he perceiving the same (as God would have it) had not conveyed himself away as fast as he could, a great multitude pursuing after, and seeking diligently for him. He first hid himself in a grove, and from thence stole into a cornfield, and so lay secretly couched that all his pursuers, saving one, past hope of taking him, were ready to depart their way. This one, having more subtlety and wicked craft in his head, climbed up into a high tree, there to view and espy if he might see Eagles anywhere stir or move. The poor man, thinking all sure enough by reason that he heard no noise abroad, rose up on his knees, and lifting up his hands, prayed unto God. And whether it were for that his head was above the corn, or because his voice was heard, the lurker, perceiving his desired prey that he hunted after, forthwith came down, and suddenly laying hands on him, brought him as prisoner to Colchester.
This George Eagles, not without great lamentation of divers good men, and great lack unto the church of God, (of which to his power he was a worthy instrument,) was committed to prison there; and from thence, within four days after, conveyed to Chelmsford, where he abode all that night in devout prayer, and would not sleep, neither would eat or drink but bread and water. The next day he was carried to London to the bishop or the council, and there remained a certain time; and then was brought down to Chelmsford to the sessions, and there was indicted and accused of treason, because he had assembled companies together, contrary to the law and statutes of the realm in that case provided. For so it was ordained a little before to avoid sedition, that if men should flock secretly together above the number of six, they should be attached of treason: which strait law was the casting away of the good duke of Somerset before mentioned. His indictment did run much after this fashion: "George Eagles, thou art indicted for that thou didst such a day make thy prayer, that God should turn queen Mary's heart, or else take her away." He denied that he prayed that God should take her away, but he confessed he prayed that God would turn her heart in his prayer. Well, notwithstanding he was condemned for a traitor, although the meaning thereof was for religion.
This thing done, he was carried to the new inn, called the sign of the Crown, in Chelmsford. In process of time, he was laid upon a sledge, with a hurdle on it, and drawn to the place of execution, being fast bound, having in his hand a Psalm-book, of the which he read very devoutly all the way with a loud voice, till he came there. With him were cast certain thieves also the day before; and now when they were brought out to be executed with him, there happened a thing that did much set forth and declare the innocency and godliness of this man. For being led between two thieves to the place where he should suffer, when as he exhorted both them and all others to stand steadfastly to the truth, one of these turned the counsel he gave into a jesting matter, and made but a flout of it. "Why should we doubt to obtain heaven," saith he, "forasmuch as this holy man shall go before us, as captain and leader unto us in the way? We shall flee thither straight, as soon as he hath once made us the entry." In this George Eagles and that other did greatly reprove him; who, on the other side gave good heed to George's exhortation, earnestly bewailing his own wickedness, and calling on Christ for mercy. But the more that the first was bid to be still, and to leave off his scoffing, the more perverse he did continue in his foolishness and his wicked behaviour. At length he came to the gallows where they should be hanged; but George was carried to another place there-by, to suffer. Between the two, it was the godlier's chance to go the foremost, who being upon the ladder, after he had exhorted the people to beware and to take heed to themselves, how they did transgress the commandments of God, and then had committed his soul into God's hands, he ended his life after a godly and quiet manner. The mocker's turn cometh next, which would have said likewise somewhat, but his tongue did fumble and faulter in his head, that he was not able to speak a word. Then did the under-sheriff bid him say the Lord's prayer, which he could not say neither, but stutteringly, as a man would say, one word to-day, and another to-morrow. Then did one begin to say it, and so bade him say after. Such as were there, and saw it, were very much astonished, especially those that did behold the just punishment of God against him that had mocked so earnest a matter.
George Eagles in the meanwhile, after he had hanged a small time, having a great check with the halter, immediately one of the bailiffs cut the halter asunder, and he fell to the ground being still alive, although much amazed with the check he had off the ladder. Then one William Swallow of Chelmsford, a bailiff, did draw him to the sled that he was drawn thither on, and laid his neck thereon, and with a cleaver (such as is occupied in many men's kitchens, and blunt) did hackle off his head, and sometimes hit his neck and sometimes his chin, and did foully mangle him, and so opened him. Notwithstanding this blessed martyr of Christ abode steadfast and constant in the very midst of his torments, till such time as his tormentor William Swallow did pluck the heart out of his body. The body being divided in four parts, and his bowels burnt, was brought to the foresaid Swallow's door, and there laid upon the fish-stalls before his door, till they made ready a horse to carry his quarters, one to Colchester, and the rest to Harwich, Chelmsford, and St. Osyth's. His head was set up at Chelmsford on the market-cross, on a long pole, and there stood till the wind did blow it down; and lying certain days in the street tumbled about, one caused it to be buried in the churchyard in the night.
About this time suffered at Norwich a godly man and a constant martyr of Christ, called Richard Crashfield. He was examined and condemned by the chancellor Dunning, and brought to the stake the 5th of August. About the same time and month, one named Frier, with a woman accompanying him, who was the sister of George Eagles, in the like cause of righteousness suffered the like martyrdom by the unrighteous papists.
Mistress Joyce Lewes, a gentlewoman born, and delicately brought up in the pleasures of the world, was married first to one called Appleby, and afterward to Thomas Lewes of Manchester. In the beginning of queen Mary's time she went to the church, and heard mass as the others; but when she heard of the burning of that most godly and learned martyr, Laurence Saunders, who suffered in Coventry, she began to take more heed to the matter, and inquired earnestly of such as she knew feared God the cause of his death. When she perceived it was because he refused to receive the mass, she began to be troubled in conscience, and waxed very unquiet; and because her house was even hard by master John Glover's, of whom mention was made before, she did oftentimes resort to him, and desire him to tell her the faults that were in the mass, and other things that at that time were urged as necessary to salvation. At a time when she was compelled by the furiousness of her husband to come to the church, when the holy water was cast, she turned her back towards it, and showed herself to be displeased with their blasphemous holy water, injurious to the blood of Christ; whereupon she was accused before the bishop for the despising of their sacramentals.
Immediately a citation was sent for her to her husband's house, to appear before the bishop incontinently. The sumner that brought the citation delivered it to her husband, who perceiving what it was, was moved with anger, willing the sumner to take the citation with him again, or else he would make him to eat it. The sumner refused to take it again, and in the end Lewes compelled him to eat the citation indeed, by setting a dagger to his heart; and when he had eaten it he caused him to drink to it, and so sent him away. But immediately after the said Lewes with his wife were commanded to appear before the bishop, where he by and by submitted, and desiring the bishop to be good to him, excused himself after the best fashion he could. Whereupon the bishop was content to receive his submission, with condition that his wife should submit herself also. But she stoutly told the bishop that by refusing of the holy water she had neither offended God not any part of his laws. The bishop gave her one month's respite, binding her husband in a hundred pounds to bring her again unto him at the month's end: and so were they both let go.
When they came to their own house, the said mistress Joyce Lewes gave herself to most diligent prayer, resorting continually to the above-named John Glover, who did most diligently instruct her with God's word, willing her in any case not to meddle in that matter in respect of vain-glory, or to get her a name, showing her the great danger she was like to cast herself in, if she should meddle in God's matters otherwise than Christ doth teach. When the month was almost expired, her husband was advertised by the said John Glover and others not to carry her to the bishop, but to seek some ways to save her, or if the worst should come to be content to forfeit so much money, rather than to cast his own wife into the fire. He answered he would not lose or forfeit anything for her sake; and so he carried her to the bishop, where she was examined, and found more stout than she was before. After examination, she was sent to such a stinking prison, that a certain maid which was appointed to keep her company did swoon in the same prison.
Being thus kept in prison, oftentimes examined, and ever found stout, at the length she was brought in judgment, and pronounced a heretic worthy to be burnt. When the bishop reasoned with her, why she could not come to the mass, and receive the sacraments and sacramentals of the Holy Ghost: she answered, "Because I find not these things in God's word, which you so urge and magnify as things most needful for men's salvation. If these things were in the same word of God commanded, I would with all my heart receive, esteem, and believe them." The bishop answered, "If thou wilt believe no more than is in the Scriptures, concerning matters of religion, thou art in a damnable case." At which words she was wonderfully amazed, and being moved by the Spirit of God, told the bishop that his words were ungodly and wicked.
After her condemnation she continued a whole twelvemonth in prison, because she was committed to the sheriff that was of late chosen, who could not be compelled to put her to death in his time, as he affirmed: for the which thing, after her death, he was sore troubled, and in danger of his life. When the time drew near, the writ being brought down from London, she desired certain of her friends to come to her, with whom she consulted how she might behave herself that her death might be more glorious to the name of God, comfortable to his people, and discomfortable unto the enemies of God. "As for death," said she, "I do not greatly pass. When I behold the amiable countenance of Christ, my dear Saviour, the uglisome face of death doth not greatly trouble me." In the which time also she reasoned most comfortably out of God's word, of God's election and reprobation.
In the evening before the day of her suffering, two of the priests of Lichfield came to the under-sheriff's house where she lay, and sent word to her that they were come to hear her confession: for they would be sorry she should die without. She sent them word again, she had made her confession to Christ her Saviour, at whose hands she was sure to have forgiveness of her sins. As concerning the cause for the which she should die, she had no cause to confess that, but rather to give unto God most humble praise; and as concerning that absolution that they were able to give unto her, being authorized by the pope, she did defy the same even from the bottom of her heart. The which thing when the priests heard, they said to the sheriff, "Well, to-morrow her stoutness will be proved and tried: for although perhaps she hath now some friends that whisper her in her ears, to-morrow we will see who dare be so hardy as to come near her." And so they went their ways with anger, that their confession and absolution was nought set by.
The next morning she was brought through the town to the place of execution, with a number of bill-men, a great multitude of people being present, led by two of her friends, Michael Reniger and Augustine Bernher. And because the place was far off, and the throng of the people great, one of her friends sent a messenger to the sheriff's house for some drink; and after she had prayed three several times, in the which prayer she desired God most instantly to abolish the idolatrous mass, and to deliver this realm from papistry, she took the cup into her hands, saying, "I drink to all them that unfeignedly love the gospel of Jesus Christ, and wish for the abolishment of papistry." When she had drank, they that were her friends drank also. After that a great number, specially the women of the town, did drink with her; which afterward were put to open penance in the church by the cruel papists, for drinking with her.
When she was tied to the stake with the chain, she showed such a cheerfulness that it passed man's reason, being so well coloured in her face, and being so patient, that the most part of them that had honest hearts did lament, and even with tears bewail the tyranny of the papists. When the fire was set upon her, she neither struggled not stirred, but only lifted up her hands towards heaven, being dead very speedily: for the under-sheriff, at the request of her friends, had provided such stuff by the which she was suddenly despatched out of this miserable world.
In searching out the certain number of the faithful martyrs of God that suffered within the time and reign of queen Mary, I find that about the 17th day of September were burned at Islington, nigh unto London, these four constant professors of Christ--Ralph Allerton, James Austoo, Margery Austoo, his wife, and Richard Roth. They were condemned by the cruel Bonner, delivered unto the sheriff, and most joyfully ended their lives in one fire at Islington, as before is declared.
A little before, gentle reader, was mention made of ten that suffered martyrdom at Colchester; at which time there were two other also, one called Margaret Thurston, and the other Agnes Bongeor, that should have suffered with them, being condemned at the same time, and for the like cause. On the morning that the four were taken from the castle, Margaret Thurston went aside to pray. And whilst she was praying came in the gaoler and his company, and took the other prisoners and left her alone. Shortly after she was removed out of the castle, and put into the town-prison, where she continued until Friday sevennight after her company were burnt. That day, not two hours before her death, she was brought to the castle again, where she declared thus much to one Joan Cook.
The other, Agnes Bongeor, who should have suffered with the six that went out of Mote-hall, was kept back at that time because her name was wrong written within the writ. The morning that the said six were called out to go to their martyrdom, she also was called with them by name of Agnes Bower. Wherefore the bailiffs, understanding her to be wrong named within the writ, commanded her to prison again, and so from Mote-hall that day sent her to the castle, where she remained until her death.
When these foresaid good women were brought to the place in Colchester, where they should suffer, the 17th day of September, they fell down upon both their knees, and made their humble prayers unto the Lord: which thing being done, they rose and went to the stake joyfully, and were immediately thereto chained; and after the fire had compassed them about, they with great joy and glorious triumph gave up their souls, spirits, and lives into the hands of the Lord: under whose government and protection, for Christ's, sake we beseech him to grant us his holy defence and help for evermore. Amen!
In the month of September this present year, or (as some report) in the year past, suffered the blessed martyr John Noyes. He was condemned at Norwich, and from thence sent to Eye-prison; and upon the 21st day of September, about midnight, was brought from Eye to Laxfield to be burnt. On the next day morning he was brought to the stake, where were ready against his coming, master justice Thurston, master Waller, then being under-sheriff, and master Thomas Lovel, high constable; the which commanded men to make ready all things meet for that sinful purpose. Now the fire in most places of the street was put out, saving a smoke was espied by the said Lovel proceeding out from the top of a chimney, to the which house the sheriff and his man went, and brake open the door, and thereby got fire, and brought the same to the place of execution.
When John Noyes came to the place, he kneeled down and said the 50th Psalm, with other prayers; and then they, making haste, bound him to the stake. And being bound, Noyes said, "Fear not them that can kill the body, but fear Him that can kill both body and soul, and cast it into everlasting fire." When he saw his sister weeping, he bade her that she should not weep for him, but weep for her sins; and when one brought a fagot and set it against him, he took it up and kissed it, and said, "Blessed be the time that ever I was born to come to this." Then he delivered his Psalter to the under-sheriff, desiring him to be good to his wife and children, and to deliver to her that same book. After that he said to the people, "They say they can make God of a piece of bread; believe them not! Good people, bear witness that I do believe to be saved by the merits and passion of Jesus Christ, and not by mine own deeds." And so the fire was kindled, and burnt about him. Then he said, "Lord have mercy upon me! Christ have mercy upon me! Son of David have mercy upon me!" And so he yielded up his life; and when his body was burnt, they made a pit to bury the coals and ashes, and amongst the same they found one of his feet that was unburnt, whole up to the ankle, with the hose on; and that they buried with the rest.
About the 23rd day of the said month of September, next after the above-mentioned, suffered at Norwich, Cicely Ormes, wife of Edmund Ormes, worsted-weaver, dwelling in St. Laurence's parish in Norwich. She was taken at the death of Simon Miller and Elizabeth Cooper above-mentioned, in a place called the Lollards'-pit without Bishop's-gate, at Norwich, for that she said she would pledge them of the same cup that they drank on. For so saying she was sent to the chancellor, who asked her what she said unto the sacrament of Christ's body; and she said, that she did believe it was the sacrament of the body of Christ. "Yea," said the chancellor, "but what is that that the priest holdeth over his head?" She said, "It is bread: and if you make it any better, it is worse." At which words the chancellor sent her to the bishop's prison, with many threatening and hot words, as a man being in a great chafe.
The 23rd of July she was called before the chancellor again, who sat in judgment with master Bridges and others. The chancellor offered her, if she would go to the church and keep her tongue, she should be at liberty, and believe as she would. But she told him she would not consent to his wicked desire therein, do with her what he would: and soon after he read the bloody sentence of condemnation against her; and so delivered her to the secular power of the sheriffs, who immediately carried her to the Guild-hall in Norwich, where she remained until her death.
She was burnt the 23rd day of September, between seven and eight of the clock in the morning, the two sheriffs and about two hundred people being present. When she came to the stake, which was the same that Simon Miller and Elizabeth Cooper were burnt at, she kneeled down and made her prayers to God: that being done, she rose up and said, "Good people! I believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, three persons and one God. This do I not, not will I recant: but I recant utterly from the bottom of my heart the doings of the pope of Rome, and all his popish priests and shavelings. I utterly refuse and never will have to do with them again, by God's grace. And good people! I would you should not think of me that I believe to be saved in that I offer myself here unto death for the Lord's cause, but I believe to be saved by the death and passion of Christ; and this my death is and shall be a witness of my faith unto you all here present. Good people! as many of you as believe as I believe, pray for me." Then she laid her hand on the stake and said, "Welcome the sweet cross of Christ!" and so gave herself to be bound thereto. After the tormentors had kindled the fire to her, she said, "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit rejoiceth in God my Saviour." And in so saying she set her hands together right against her breast, casting her eyes and head upward; and so stood heaving up her hands by little and little, till the very sinews of her arm did break asunder, and then they fell. But she yielded her life unto the Lord as quietly as if she had been in a slumber, or as one feeling no pain; so wonderfully did the Lord work with her: his name therefore be praised for evermore. Amen!
What a place was there almost in all the realm where the pope's ministers did not bestir them, murdering some or other, as in the Acts of this Ecclesiastical History may appear? In the diocese of Chichester, although we have little to report thereof, for lack of certain relation and records of that country, yet divers there were condemned and martyred for the true testimony of righteousness, within the compass of queen Mary's reign, in the number of whom were these:--John Foreman, of East Grinstead; John Warner, of Bourne; Christian Grover, of Lewes; Thomas Athoth, priest; Thomas Avington, of Ardingly; Dennis Burgis, of Buxted; Thomas Ravensdale, of Rye; John Milles, of Hellingley; Nicholas Holden, of Withyam; John Hart, of Withyam; Margery Morice, of Heathfield; Anne Try, of East Grinstead; John Oseward, of Woodmancott; Thomas Harland, of Woodmancott; James Morice, of Heathfield; Thomas Dougate, of East Grinstead; John Ashedon, of Cattesfield. The greatest doers against these godly and true faithful martyrs, and setters upon their condemnation, were these: Christopherson, bishop of Chichester; Robert Tailor, bachelor of law, his deputy; Thomas Paccard, civilian; Anthony Clarke; Albane Longdale, bachelor of divinity, etc.
Thomas Spurdance, one of queen Mary's servants, was taken by two of his fellow-servants, named John Haman and George Looson, both dwelling in Coddenham, in Suffolk, who carried him to one master Gosnall, in the same town, and by him he was sent to Bury, where he remained in prison. He was afterwards burnt in the month of November, being condemned by the bishop of Norwich.
Not long after the martyrdom of the two good women at Colchester above-named, were three faithful witnesses of the Lord's testament tormented and put to death in Smithfield, at London, the 18th of November, whose names were John Hallingdale, William Sparrow, and Richard Gibson. They were condemned by Bonner and his chancellor, and committed to the secular power. Being brought to the stake, after their prayer made, they were bound thereunto with chains, and wood set unto them; and, after wood, fire; in the which being compassed about, and the fiery flames consuming their flesh, at the last they yielded gloriously and joyfully their souls and lives into the holy hands of the Lord, to whose tuition and government I commend thee, good reader.
In this furious time of persecution were also burned these two constant and faithful martyrs of Christ, John Rough, a minister, and Margaret Mearing. This Rough was born in Scotland, and at the age of seventeen did profess himself into the order of Black Friars at Stirling. Here he remained sixteen years, when he was dispensed of his habit and order at the suit of the lord Hamilton, governor of Scotland, who wished him to serve as his chaplain. He continued in his service one whole year, during which time it pleased God to open his eyes, and to give him some knowledge of his truth; and thereupon was by the said governor sent to preach in the freedom of Ayr, where he continued four years. After the death of the cardinal of Scotland he was appointed to abide at St. Andrew's, and there had assigned unto him a yearly pension of twenty pounds from king Henry the eighth. Howbeit, at last, weighing with himself his own danger, and also abhorring the idolatry and superstition of his country, and hearing of the freedom of the gospel in England, he soon after came unto Carlisle, and from thence unto the duke of Somerset, then lord protector; and by his assignment had appointed unto him out of the king's treasury twenty pounds of yearly stipend, being sent as a preacher to serve at Carlisle, Berwick, and Newcastle, where he took a country-woman of his to wife. From hence he was called by the archbishop of York unto a benefice nigh, in the town of Hull, where he continued until the death of that blessed and good king Edward the sixth.
In the beginning of the reign of queen Mary, (perceiving the alteration of religion, and the persecution that would thereupon arise, and feeling his own weakness,) he fled with his wife into Friesland, where he laboured for his living, knitting of caps, hose, and such like things, till about the end of October last before his death. At which time, lacking yarn and other necessary provision for his occupation, he came over again unto England, here to provide for the same. He arrived in London on the 10th day of November, where he joined himself unto the holy congregation of God's children; and afterwards, being elected their minister, continued in that godly fellowship, teaching and confirming them in the truth of the gospel of Christ. But in the end, on the 12th day of December, he, with Cutbert Symson and others, through the crafty and traitorous suggestion of a dissembling brother, was apprehended by the vice-chamberlain of the queen's house, at the Saracen's Head in Islington. Rough and Symson were carried before the council, who charged them to have assembled together to celebrate the communion or supper of the Lord; and therefore, after sundry examinations and answers, they sent the said Rough unto Newgate; but his examinations they sent unto the bishop of London, with a letter signed with their hands.
Bonner, minding to make quick dispatch; did within three days after the receipt of the letter send for this Rough out of Newgate, and in his palace at London ministered unto him twelve articles which were chiefly objected against the martyrs and saints of God. After his answers to these he was dismissed; and the next day, being the 19th of December, he was again brought before the said bishop and others; who, when they perceived his constantness, determined the next day after to bring him openly into the consistory, there to adjudge and condemn him as a heretic. He was degraded by Bonner, and his body committed to the secular power, who carried him unto Newgate.
It is before declared, that in the company of John Rough was burnt one Margaret Mearing, (being one of the congregation of which he was chief pastor.) At her last examination, when Bonner demanded if she would stand to her answers, she said, "I will stand to them unto the death; for the very angels of heaven do laugh you to scorn, to see your abomination that you use in your church." After the which words, the bishop pronounced the sentence of condemnation against her; and then delivering her unto the sheriffs, she was, with the forenamed John Rough, carried unto Newgate; from whence they were both together led unto Smithfield the 22nd day of December, and there most joyfully gave their lives for the profession of Christ's gospel.
Next after the martyrdom of master Rough, minister of the congregation above-mentioned, succeeded in like martyrdom the deacon also of that godly company, named Cutbert Symson. This Symson was a man of a faithful and zealous heart to Christ and his true flock, insomuch that he never ceased labouring and studying most earnestly to preserve them without corruption of the popish religion, and to keep them together without peril or danger of persecution. The pains, travail, zeal, patience, and fidelity of this man, in caring and providing for this congregation, as it is not lightly to be expressed, so is it wonderful to behold the providence of the Lord by vision, concerning the troubles of this faithful minister and godly deacon, as in this here following may appear:--
The Friday at night before master Rough, minister of the congregation, (of whom mention is made before) was taken, being in his bed, he dreamed that he saw two of the guard leading Cutbert Symson, deacon of the said congregation; and that he had the book about him, wherein were written the names of all them which were of the congregation. Whereupon being sore troubled, he awaked, and called his wife, saying, "Kate, strike a light, for I am much troubled with my brother Cutbert this night." When she had so done, he gave himself to read in his book awhile, and then feeling sleep to come upon him, he put out the candle, and so gave himself again to rest. Being asleep, he dreamed the like dream again; and awaking therewith, he said, "O Kate! my brother Cutbert is gone." So they lighted a candle again, and rose. And as the said master Rough was making him ready to go to Cutbert, to see how he did, in the mean time the said Cutbert came in with the book containing the names and accounts of the congregation: whom when master Rough had seen he said, "Brother Cutbert, ye are welcome; for I have been sore troubled with you this night;" and so told him his dream. After he had so done, he willed him to lay the book away from him, and to carry it no more about him. Unto which Cutbert answered, he would not so do: for dreams, he said, were but fantasies, and not to be credited. Then master Rough straitly charged him, in the name of the Lord, to do it. Whereupon the said Cutbert took such notes out of the book, as he had willed him to do, and immediately left the book with master Rough's wife. The next day following, in the night, the said master Rough had another dream in his sleep concerning his own trouble; the matter whereof was this. He thought in his dream, that he was carried himself forcibly to the bishop, and that the bishop plucked off his beard, and cast it into the fire, saying these words, "Now I may say that I have had a piece of a heretic burned in my house?" and so accordingly it came to pass.
To return to Cutbert again, it remaineth to story also of his pains and sufferings upon the rack, and otherwise, as he wrote it with his own hand in a letter to certain of his friends:--
"A true report how I was used in the Tower of London, being sent thither by the council, the 13th day of December.--On the Thursday after I was called into the warehouse, before the constable of the Tower and the recorder of London, master Cholmley: they commanded me to tell whom I did will to come to the English service. I answered, I would declare nothing. Whereupon I was set in a rack of iron, the space of three hours as I judged. Then they asked me if I would tell them. I answered as before. Then was I loosed, and carried to my lodging again. On the Sunday after I was brought into the same place again before the lieutenant and the recorder of London, and they examined me. As before I had said, I answered. Then the lieutenant did swear by God I should tell. Then did they bind my two fore-fingers together, and put a small arrow betwixt them, and drew it through so fast that the blood followed, and the arrow brake. Then they racked me twice. Then was I carried to my lodging again; and ten days after the lieutenant asked me, if I would not confess that which before they had asked me. I said, I had said as much as I would. Then, five weeks after, he sent me unto the high priest, where I was greatly assaulted, and at whose hand I received the pope's curse, for bearing witness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.--And thus I commend you unto God, and to the word of his grace, with all them that unfeignedly call upon the name of Jesus, desiring God of his endless mercy, through the merits of his dear Son Jesus Christ, to bring us all to his everlasting kingdom, Amen. I praise God for his great mercy showed upon us. Sing 'Hosanna unto the highest,' with me Cutbert Symson. God forgive me my sins! I ask all the world forgiveness, and I do forgive all the world; and thus I leave this world, in hope of a joyful resurrection."
With Cutbert likewise was apprehended and also suffered Hugh Foxe and John Devenish; who being brought to their examinations with the said Cutbert, before Bonner, the 19th day of March, had articles and interrogatories to them ministered by the said officer, albeit not all at one time. For first to the said Cutbert several articles were propounded; then other articles in general were ministered to them altogether; and after their answers given, the bishop calling them all together objected to them other positions and articles. These three above-named persons, being condemned, suffered in Smithfield about the 28th day of March, 1558, in whose perfect constancy the same Lord in whose cause and quarrel they suffered, (Giver of grace and Governor of all things,) be exalted for ever. Amen.
We find in all ages from the beginning, that Satan hath not ceased at all times to molest the church of Christ with one affliction or other, to the trial of their faith; but yet never at any time so apparently as when the Lord hath permitted him power over the bodies of his saints: as in these latter days of queen Mary, we have felt, heard, and seen practised upon God's people. Among whom we find recorded one William Nichol, an honest poor man, who was apprehended by the champions of the pope, for speaking certain words against the cruel kingdom of Antichrist, and the 9th day of April, anno 1558, was butcherly burnt and tormented at Haverford-west in Wales, where he ended his life in a most blessed and happy state, and gloriously gave his soul into the hands of the Lord.
Immediately after William Nichol succeeded in that honourable and glorious vocation of martyrdom, three constant godly men at Norwich, who were cruelly and tyrannically put to death for the true testimony of Jesus Christ, the 19th day of May, whose names be these: William Seaman, Thomas Carman, and Thomas Hudson. The said Seaman was a husbandman of the age of twenty-six years, dwelling in Mendlesham, in Suffolk, who was sundry times sought for by the commandment of sir John Tyrrel, and at last he himself in the night searched his house and other places for him; notwithstanding he somewhat missed of his purpose, God be thanked. Then he gave charge to two of his servants to seek for him; who, having no officer, went in the evening to his house, where he being at home, they took him and carried him to their master. When he came, Tyrrel asked him why he would not go to mass, and receive the sacrament, and so to worship it? Unto which William Seaman answered, denying it to be a sacrament, but said it was an idol, and therefore would not receive it. After which words spoken, sir John Tyrrel shortly sent him to Norwich, to Dr. Hopton, then bishop; and there, after conference and examination had with him, the bishop read his bloody sentence of condemnation against him; and afterward delivered him to the secular power, who kept him unto the day of martyrdom. This Seaman left behind him a wife and three children very young, who was also persecuted out of the said town of Mendlesham, because that she would not go to hear mass; and all her goods and corn seized and taken away by master Christopher Coles's officers, he being lord of the said town.
Thomas Carman, (who, as is said, pledged Richard Crashfield at his burning, and thereupon was apprehended,) being prisoner in Norwich, was about one time with the rest, examined and brought before the said bishop, who answered no less in his Master's cause than the other, and therefore had the like reward, being delivered to the secular power, who kept him with the other until the day of slaughter.
Thomas Hudson was of Aylsham in Norfolk, by occupation a glover, a very honest poor man, having a wife and three children. He bare so good will to the gospel, that, in the days of king Edward the sixth, he learned to read English of Anthony and Thomas Norgate of the same town, wherein he greatly profited about the time of alteration of religion. For when queen Mary came to reign, and had changed the service in the church--putting in for wheat draft and darnel, and for good preaching blasphemous crying out against truth and godliness--he absented himself from his house, and went into Suffolk a long time, travelling from one place to another as occasion offered. At the last he returned back again to Norfolk, to his house at Aylsham, to comfort his wife and children, being heavy and troubled with his absence.
Now when he came home, and perceived his continuance there would be dangerous, he and his wife devised to make him a place among his fagots to hide himself in, where he remained all the day, reading and praying continually, for the space of half a year; and his wife, like an honest woman being careful for him, used herself faithfully and diligently towards him. In the mean time came the vicar of the town, named Berry, (who was one of the bishop's commissaries, a very evil man,) and inquired of his wife for her husband: unto whom she answered, as not knowing where he was. Then the said Berry rated her, and threatened to burn her, for that she would not bewray her husband. After that, when Hudson understood it, he waxed every day more zealous, and continually read and sang psalms to the wonder of many, the people openly resorting to him, to hear his exhortations and vehement prayers. At the last he walked abroad for certain days in the town, crying out continually against the mass and all their trumpery; and in the end coming home he sat him down upon his knees, having his book by him, reading and singing psalms continually without ceasing for three days and three nights together, refusing meat and other talk.
Then one John Crouch, his next neighbour, went to the constables in the night to certify them thereof; for Berry commanded openly to watch him: and the constables, understanding the same, went cruelly to catch him in the break of the day, the 22nd of April, 1558. When Hudson saw them come in, he said, "Now mine hour is come. Welcome friends, welcome! You be they that shall lead me to life in Christ. I thank God there-for, and the Lord enable me thereto for his mercy's sake." For his desire was, and ever he prayed, (if it were the Lord's will,) that he might suffer for the gospel of Christ. Then they took him, and led him to Berry the commissary, who among other matters asked him, "Dost thou not believe in the sacrament of the altar? What is it?" "It is worms' meat," quoth Hudson? "my belief is Christ crucified." "Doth thou not believe the mass to put away sins?" "No, God forbid! it is a patched monster, and a disguised puppet; more longer a piecing than ever was Solomon's temple." At which words Berry stamped, fumed, and showed himself as a madman, and said, "Well, thou villain, thou! I will write to the bishop, my good lord: and, trust unto it, thou shalt be handled according to thy deserts." Then he asked the said Hudson whether he would recant or no; unto which he said, "The Lord forbid! I had rather die many deaths than do so."
Then, after long talk, the said Berry, seeing it booted not to persuade with him, took his pen and ink, and wrote letters to the bishop thereof, and sent this Hudson to Norwich, bound like a thief, which was eight miles from thence, who with joy and singing cheer went thither as merry as ever he was at any time before. In prison he was a month, where he did continually read and invocate the name of God. These three Christians and constant martyrs, after they were condemned the 19th day of May, were carried out of prison to the place where they should suffer, which was without Bishop's-gate at Norwich, called Lollards'-pit; and being all there they made their humble petitions unto the Lord. That being done, they rose and went to the stake; and standing all there with their chains about them, immediately this said Thomas Hudson cometh forth from them under the chain, to the great wonder of many; whereby divers feared and greatly doubted of him. For some thought he would have recanted; others judged rather that he went to ask further day, and to desire conference; and some thought he came forth to ask some of his parents' blessing. So some thought one thing, and some another: but his two companions at the stake cried out to comfort him what they could, exhorting him in the bowels of Christ to be of good cheer, etc. But this sweet Hudson felt more in his heart and conscience than they could conceive in him: for, alas, good soul! he was compassed (God knoweth) with great dolour and grief of mind, not for his death, but for lack of feeling of his Christ: and therefore, being very careful, he humbly fell down upon his knees, and prayed vehemently and earnestly unto the Lord, who at the last (according to his old mercies) sent him comfort; and then rose he with great joy, as a man new changed even from death to life, and said: "Now, I thank God, I am strong, and pass not what man can do unto me." So, going to the stake to his fellows again, in the end they all suffered most joyfully, constantly, and manfully the death together, and were consumed in fire, to the terror of the wicked, the comfort of God's children, and the magnifying of the Lord's name, to whom be praise for ever.
After this, the foresaid commissary Berry made great stir about others which were suspected within the said town of Aylsham, and caused two hundred to creep to the cross at Pentecost, besides other punishments which they sustained. On the Sunday after queen Mary was dead, being the 19th of November, 1558, the said Berry went to church; and in going from church homeward after evensong, he fell down suddenly with a heavy groan, and never stirred after, neither showed any one token of repentance. The Lord grant we may observe his judgments!
About this time, or somewhat before, was one Joan Seaman, mother to the foresaid William Seaman, being of the age of threescore and six years, persecuted of the said sir John Tyrrel also out of the town of Mendlesham, because she would not go to mass, and receive against her conscience; which good old woman being from her house, was glad sometimes to lie in bushes, groves, and fields, and sometime in her neighbour's house. Her husband being at home, about the age of eighty years, fell sick; and she hearing thereof, with speed returned home, not regarding her life, but considering her duty; and showed her diligence to her husband most faithfully, until God took him away by death. Then by God's providence she fell sick also, and departed this life within her own house shortly after. And when Symonds the commissary heard of it, dwelling thereby, he commanded that she should be buried in no Christian burial, (as they call it,) wherethrough her friends were compelled to lay her in a pit, under a moat's side.
In the town of Wetheringset by Mendlesham, aforesaid, a very honest woman called mother Benet, a widow, was persecuted out of the same town because she would not go to mass; but, at the last, she returned home again secretly, and there departed this life joyfully. But sir John Tyrrel and master Symonds would not let her be buried in the church-yard: so was she laid in a grave by the highway side.
Thou hast heard, good reader, of the forenamed three that were burned at Norwich, whose blood quenched not the persecuting thirst of the papists: for immediately after, even the 26th of the same month, was seen the like murder at Colchester in Essex, of two good men and a woman, lying there in prison appointed ready to the slaughter, whose names were William Harris, Richard Day, and Christian George. These three good souls were brought unto the stake the day appointed, and there fervently and joyfully made their prayers unto the Lord. At the last, being settled in their places, and chained unto their posts, with the fire flaming fiercely round about them, they triumphantly praised God within the same, and offered up their bodies a lively sacrifice unto his holy Majesty; in whose habitation they have now their everlasting tabernacles: his name therefore be praised for evermore. Amen.
The said Christian George's husband had another wife burnt before, whose name was Agnes George, which suffered, as you have heard, with the thirteen at Stratford-le-Bow. And, after the death of the said Christian, he married an honest godly woman again; and so they both (I mean the said Richard George and his last wife) in the end were taken also, and laid in prison, where they remained till the death of queen Mary; and at last were delivered by our most gracious sovereign lady queen Elizabeth, whom the Lord grant long to reign among us, for his mercies' sake. Amen.
In the month of June, 1558, came out a certain proclamation, short but sharp, from the king and queen, against wholesome and godly books, which, under the false title of heresy and sedition, there in the said proclamation were wrongfully condemned.
In a back close in a field by Islington, were gathered together a company of innocent persons, to the number of forty men and women. As they were sitting together at prayer, and virtuously occupied in the meditation of God's holy word, first cometh a certain man to them unknown, who looking over unto them, stayed and saluted them, saying, that they looked like men that meant no hurt. Then one of the company asked the man if he could tell whose close that was, and whether they might be so bold to sit there. He answered yes, because they seemed to be such persons as intended no harm; and so departed. Within a quarter of an hour after, came the constable of Islington, named King, with six or seven more, one with a bow, another with a bill, and the rest with weapons. The constable, and one with him, went before to view them; and going a little forward, and returning back again, ordered them to deliver their books. They understanding that he was a constable, refused not so to do. Then came up the rest of the gang, who bade them stand and not depart. They answered again, they would be obedient and go whithersoever they would have them. They accordingly carried them before Sir Roger Cholmley. But some of the women had escaped; for they were carried in such a manner as it was not difficult for them to escape that would. In fine, they were carried to sir Roger Cholmley were twenty-seven; which sir Roger Cholmley and the recorder taking their names in a bill, and calling them one by one, so many as answered to their names he sent to Newgate, which were twenty-two. These were in the said prison seven weeks before they were examined, to whom word was sent by Alexander the keeper, that if they would hear mass, they should be delivered. Of these foresaid two-and-twenty were burnt thirteen: in Smithfield seven, at Brentford six. Two died in prison in Whitsun week; and the other seven escaped with their lives, although not without much trouble, (one of them, named Hinshawe, being scourged by Bonner himself, so long as the fat-paunched bishop could endure with breath;) yet, as God would, without burning.
The first seven were brought to examination before Bonner in his consistory on the 14th of June, to make answer to such articles and interrogatories as by the said bishop should be ministered unto them. The names of these seven were, Henry Pond, Reinald Eastland, Robert Southam, Matthew Ricarby, John Floyd, John Holiday, and Roger Holland. After the articles were ministered unto them, and they had again given their answers, they were assigned by the bishop to appear before him on the 17th day of June. Being there present as they were commanded, the articles were again recited, and they all declared they would stand to their answers made to the same. Whereupon the bishop dissevering them apart one from another, proceeded with them severally, first beginning with Reinald Eastland, who there declared that he had been uncharitably handled and talked withal since his first imprisonment. Then being required to reconcile himself again to the catholic faith, and go from his opinions, he said that he knew nothing why he should recant; and therefore would not conform himself. And so the sentence was read against him, and he given to the secular power.
After him was called in John Holiday, who likewise being advertised to renounce his heresies, (as they called them,) and to return to the unity of their church, said, that he was no heretic, nor did hold any heresy, neither any opinion contrary to the catholic faith, and so would offer himself to be judged therein. Whereupon he likewise persisting in the same, the sentence was pronounced against him, condemning him to be burnt.
Next to him was condemned, with the like sentence, Henry Pond, because he would not submit to the Romish church, saying to Bonner, that he had done or spoken nothing whereof he was or would be sorry; but that he did hold the truth of God, and no heresy, etc. After whom next followed John Floyd, who likewise denied to be of the pope's church, and said his mind of the Latin service, that the prayers made to saints are idolatry, and that the service in Latin is profitable to none, but only to such as understand the Latin. Moreover, being charged by Bonner of heresy, and saying, that whatsoever he and such others now-a-days do, all is heresy; for this he was condemned with the same butcherly sentence.
Then Robert Southam, after him Matthew Ricarby, and last of all Roger Holland, were severally produced. This Roger Holland with his fellows (as ye heard) standing to their answers, and refusing to acknowledge the doctrine of the Romish church, were altogether condemned, the sentence being read against them; and so all seven, by secular magistrates being sent away to Newgate the 17th of June, not long after, about the 27th day of the said month, were had to Smithfield, and there ended their lives in the glorious cause of Christ's gospel. The day they suffered, a proclamation was made that none should be so bold to speak or talk any word unto them, or receive anything of them, or to touch them upon pain of imprisonment, without either bail or mainprize; with divers other cruel threatening words, contained in the same proclamation. Notwithstanding the people cried out, desiring God to strengthen them; and they likewise still prayed for the people, and the restoring of his word.
Not long after the death of the forenamed, were the six other faithful witnesses of the Lord's true testament martyred at Brentford, seven miles from London, the 14th day of July, in this same year 1558. Their names were Robert Mills, Stephen Cotton, Robert Dynes, Stephen Wight, John Slade, and William Pikas or Pikes. These six had their articles ministered unto them by Thomas Darbyshire, Bonner's chancellor, at sundry times; and though they were several times examined, yet had they all one manner of articles administered unto them, yea and the selfsame that were ministered unto the other seven aforesaid. In the end, the chancellor commanded them to appear before him again the 11th of July after, in the said place at Paul's. Where when they came, he required of them whether they would turn from their opinions to mother holy church; and if not, that then whether there were any cause to the contrary, but that he might proceed with the sentence of condemnation. Whereunto they all answered, that they would not go from the truth, nor relent from any part of the same while they lived.
Then he charged them to appear before him again the next day in the afternoon to hear the definitive sentence read against them, according to the ecclesiastical laws then in force. At which time, he sitting in judgment talking with these godly and virtuous men, at last came into the said place sir Edward Hastings and sir Thomas Cornwallis, knights, two of queen Mary's officers of her house; and being there, they sat them down over against the chancellor, in whose presence the said chancellor condemned those good poor lambs, and delivered them over to the secular power, who received and carried them to prison immediately, and there kept them in safety till the day of their death.
In the mean time this naughty chancellor slept not, I warrant you, but that day in which they were condemned, he made certificate into the lord chancellor's office, from whence the next day after was sent a writ to burn them at Brentford aforesaid, which accordingly was accomplished in the same place, the said 14th day of July; whereunto they being brought, made their humble prayers unto the Lord Jesus, undressed themselves, went joyfully to the stake, (whereunto they were bound,) and the fire flaming about them, they yielded their souls, bodies, and lives into the hands of the omnipotent Lord, for whose cause they did suffer, and to whose protection I commend thee, gentle reader. Amen.
Among these six was one William Pikes, (as ye have heard,) who sometime dwelt in Ipswich in Suffolk, by his occupation a tanner, a very honest godly man, and of a virtuous disposition, a good keeper of hospitality, and beneficial to the persecuted in queen Mary's days. This said William Pikes, in the third year of queen Mary's reign, a little after Midsummer, being then at liberty, went into his garden, and took with him a Bible of Rogers's translation, where he, sitting with his face towards the south, reading on the said Bible, suddenly fell down upon his book, between eleven and twelve o'clock of the day, four drops of fresh blood, and he knew not from whence it came. Then he, seeing the same, was sore astonished, and could by no means learn (as I said) from whence it should fall: and wiping out one of the drops with his finger, he called his wife and said, "In the virtue of God, wife, what meaneth this? will the Lord have four sacrifices? I see well enough the Lord will have blood: his will be done, and give me grace to abide the trial! Wife, let us pray," said he, "for I fear the day draweth nigh." Afterward, he daily looked to be apprehended of the papists; and it came to pass accordingly, as ye have heard. Thus much thought I good to write thereof, to stir up our dull senses in considering the Lord's works, and reverently to honour the same. His name there-for be praised for evermore! Amen.
After the story of these twenty-two taken at Islington, proceeding now, (the Lord willing,) we will prosecute likewise the taking and cruel handling of Richard Yeoman, minister; which Yeoman had been, before, Dr. Taylor's curate, a godly devout old man of seventy years, which had many years dwelt in Hadley, well seen in the Scriptures, and giving godly exhortations to the people. With him Dr. Taylor left his cure at his departure: but as soon as master Newall had gotten the benefice, he drove away good Yeoman, as is before said, and set in a popish curate to maintain and continue their Romish religion, which now they thought fully stablished. Then wandered he long time from place to place, moving and exhorting all men to stand faithfully by God's word, earnestly to give themselves unto prayer, with patience to bear the cross now laid upon them for their trial, with boldness to confess the truth before the adversaries, and with an undoubted hope to wait for the crown and reward of eternal felicity. But when he perceived his adversaries to lie in wait for him, he went into Kent, and with a little packet of laces, pins, and points, and such like things, he travelled from village to village, selling such things; and by that poor shift got himself somewhat to the sustaining of himself, his wife, and children.
At the last, a justice of Kent, called master Moyle, took poor Yeoman, and set him in the stocks a day and a night; but having no evident matter to charge him with, he let him go again. So came he again to Hadley, and tarried with his poor wife, who kept him secretly in a chamber of the town-house, commonly called the Guildhall, more than a year; all the which time the good old father abode in a chamber, locked up all the day, and spent his time in devout prayer, and reading the Scriptures, and in carding of wool, which his wife did spin. His wife also did go and beg bread and meat for herself and her children, and by such poor means sustained they themselves. Thus the saints of God sustained hunger and misery, while the prophets of Baal lived in jollity, and were costly pampered at Jezebel's table.
At the last parson Newall (I know not by what means) perceived that Richard Yeoman was so kept by his poor wife, and, taking with him the bailiff's deputies and servants, came in the night-time, and brake up five doors upon Yeoman, whom he found in a bed with his poor wife and children: whom when he had so found, he irefully cried, saying, "I thought I should find a harlot and a whore together." And he would have plucked the clothes off from them; but Yeoman held fast the clothes, and said unto his wife, "Wife, arise, and put on thy clothes." And unto the parson he said, "Nay parson, no harlot, nor whore, but a married man and his wife, according unto God's ordinance; and blessed be God for lawful matrimony. I thank God for this great grace, and I defy the pope and all his popery." Then led they Richard Yeoman unto the cage, and set him in the stocks until it was day.
There was then also in the cage an old man named John Dale, who had sitten there three or four days, because when the said parson Newall with his curate executed the Romish service in the church, he spake openly unto him, and said, "O miserable and blind guides, will ye ever be blind leaders of the blind? will ye never amend? will ye never see the truth of God's word? will neither God's threats nor promises enter into your hearts? will the blood of martyrs nothing mollify your stony stomach? O indurate, hard-hearted, perverse, and crooked generation! O damnable sort, whom nothing can do good unto!"
These and like words he spake in ferventness of spirit against the superstitious religion of Rome. Wherefore, parson Newall caused him forthwith to be attached, and set in the stocks in the cage. So was he there kept till sir Henry Doyle, a justice, came to Hadley.
Now when poor Yeoman was taken, the parson called earnestly upon sir Henry Doyle to send them both to prison. Sir Henry Doyle earnestly laboured and entreated the parson, to consider the age of the men, and their poor estate: they were persons of no reputation, nor preachers; wherefore he would desire him to let them be punished a day or two, and so to let them go--at the least John Dale, who was no priest; and therefore, seeing he had so long sitten in the cage, he thought it punishment enough for this time. When the parson heard this, he was exceeding mad, and in a great rage called them pestilent heretics, unfit to live in the commonwealth of Christians. "Wherefore I beseech you, sir," quoth he, "according to your office, defend holy church, and help to suppress these sects of heresies, which are false to God, and thus boldly set themselves, to the evil example of others, against the queen's gracious proceedings." Sir Henry Doyle, seeing he could do no good in the matter, and fearing also his peril, if he should too much meddle in this matter, made out the writ, and caused the constables to carry them forth to Bury gaol. For now were all the justices, were they never so mighty, afraid of every shaven crown, and stood in as much awe of them as Pilate did stand in fear of Annas and Caiaphas, and of the Pharisaical brood, which cried, "Crucify him, Crucify him! If thou let him go, thou art not Caesar's friend." Wherefore, whatsoever their consciences were, yet, if they would escape danger, they must needs be the popish bishops' slaves and vassals. So they took Richard Yeoman and John Dale, pinioned; and bound them like thieves, set them on horseback, and bound their legs under the horses' bellies, and so carried them to the gaol at Bury, where they were tied in irons; and for that they continually rebuked popery, they were thrown into the lowest dungeon, where John Dale, through sickness of the prison, and evil keeping, died in prison, whose body, when he was dead, was thrown out and buried in the fields. He was a man of forty-six years of age, a weaver by his occupation, well learned in the holy Scriptures, faithful and honest in all his conversation, steadfast in confession of the true doctrine of Christ set forth in king Edward's time; for the which he joyfully suffered prison and chains, and from this worldly dungeon he departed in Christ to eternal glory, and the blessed paradise of everlasting felicity.
After that John Dale was dead, Richard Yeoman was removed to Norwich prison, where, after strait and evil keeping, he was examined of his faith and religion. Then he boldly and constantly confessed himself to be of the faith and confession that was set forth by the late king of blessed memory, holy king Edward the sixth; and from that he would in no wise vary. Being required to submit himself to the holy father the pope, "I defy him," quoth he, "and all his detestable abominations: I will in no wise have to do with him, not anything that appertaineth to him." The chief articles objected to him, were his marriage and the mass-sacrifice. Wherefore when he continued steadfast in confession of the truth, he was condemned, degraded, and not only burnt, but most cruelly tormented in the fire. So ended he his poor and miserable life, and entered into the blessed bosom of Abraham, enjoying with Lazarus the comfortable quietness that God hath prepared for his elect saints.
There was also in Hadley a young man, named John Alcock, which came to Hadley seeking work, for he was a shearman by his occupation. This young man after the martyrdom of Dr. Taylor, and taking of Richard Yeoman, used first in the church of Hadley to read the service in English, as partly is above touched. At length, after the coming of parson Newall, he, being in Hadley church upon a Sunday, when the parson came by with procession, would not once move his cap, nor show any sign of reverence, but stood behind the font. Newall, perceiving this, when he was almost out of the church door, ran back again, and caught him, and called for the constable. Then came Robert Rolfe, with whom this young man wrought, and asked, "Master parson! what hath he done, that ye are in such a rage with him?" "He is a heretic and a traitor," quoth the parson, "and despiseth the queen's proceedings. Wherefore I command you in the queen's name, move him to the stocks, and see he be forthcoming." "Well," quoth Rolfe, "he shall be forthcoming: proceed you in your business, and be quiet." "Have him to the stocks," quoth the parson. "I am constable," quoth Rolfe, "and may bail him, and will bail him; he shall not come in the stocks, but he shall be forthcoming." So went the good parson forth with his holy procession, and so to mass.
At afternoon Rolfe said to this young man, "I am sorry for thee, for truly the parson will seek thy destruction, if thou take not good heed what thou answerest him." The young man answered, "Sir, I am sorry that it is my hap to be a trouble to you. As for myself, I am not sorry, but I do commit myself into God's hands, and I trust he will give me mouth and wisdom to answer according to right." "Well," quoth Rolfe, "yet beware of him; for he is malicious and a blood-sucker, and beareth an old hatred against me; and he will handle you the more cruelly, because of displeasure against me." "I fear not," quoth the young man. "He shall do no more to me than God will give him leave; and happy shall I be if God will call me to die for his truth's sake."
After this talk, they then went to the parson, who at the first asked him, "Fellow, what sayest thou to the sacrament of the altar?" "I say," quoth he, "as ye use the matter, ye make a shameful idol of it; and ye are false idolatrous priests all the sort of you." "I told you," quoth the parson, "he was a stout heretic." So after long talk, the parson committed him to ward, and the next day rode he up to London, and carried the young man with him. And so came the young man no more again to Hadley; but, after long imprisonment in Newgate, where, after many examinations and troubles, for that he would not submit himself to ask forgiveness of the pope, and to be reconciled to the Romish religion, he was cast into the lower dungeon, where with evil keeping and sickness of the house, he died in prison. Thus died he a martyr for Christ's verity, which he heartily loved and constantly confessed, and received the garland of a well-foughten battle at the hand of the Lord. His body was cast out, and buried in a dunghill; for the papist would in all things be like themselves. Therefore would they not so much as suffer the dead bodies to have honest and convenient sepulture.
Thomas Benbridge, a gentleman, single and unmarried, in the diocese of Winchester, although he might have lived a pleasant life in the possessions of this world, yet to follow Christ had rather enter into the strait gate of persecution, to the heavenly possession of life in the Lord's kingdom, than here to enjoy pleasures present, with unquietness of conscience. Wherefore manfully standing against the papist for the defence of the sincere doctrine of Christ's gospel, he spared not himself to confirm the doctrine of the gospel. For the which cause he being apprehended for an adversary of the Romish religion, was forthwith had to examination before Dr. White, bishop of Winchester, where he sustained sundry conflicts for the truth against the said bishop and his colleagues.
The articles being ministered unto him, and he continuing steadfast in his answers, the said bishop proceeded to his condemnation. After which he was brought to the place of martyrdom by the sheriff, sir Richard Pecksal; where he, standing at the stake, began to untie his points, and to prepare himself. Then he gave his gown to the keeper, being belike his fee. His jerkin was laid on with gold lace, fair and brave, which he gave to sir Richard Pecksal, the high sheriff. His cap of velvet he took off from his head, and threw it away. Then lifting his mind to the Lord, he made his prayers. That done, being now fastened to the stake, Dr. Seaton willed him to recant, and he should have his pardon. But when he saw it prevailed not to speak, the said dreaming and doltish doctor willed the people not to pray for him unless he would recant, no more than they would pray for a dog.
Master Benbridge, standing at the stake with his hands together in such manner as the priest holdeth his hands in his memento, the said Dr. Seaton came to him again, and exhorted him to recant: unto whom he said, "Away, Babylonian, away!" Then said one that stood by, "Sir, cut out his tongue;" and another, being a temporal man, railed on him worse than Dr. Seaton did a great deal, who, as is thought, was set on by some other. Then when they saw he would not yield, they bade the tormentors to set to fire; and yet he was nothing like covered with fagots. First, the fire took away a piece of his beard, whereat he nothing shrank at all. Then it came on the other side, and took his legs; and the nether stockings of his hose being leather, made the fire to pierce the sharper so that the intolerable heat thereof made him to cry, "I recant." And suddenly therewith he thrust the fire from him; and having two or three of his friends by, that wished his life, they stepped to the fire, and helped to take it from him also; who for their labour were sent to prison. The sheriff also of his own authority took him from the stake, and sent him to prison again, for the which he was sent unto the Fleet, and there lay a certain time. But before he was taken from the stake, the said Seaton wrote articles to have him to subscribe unto them, as touching the pope, the sacrament, and such other trash. But the said master Benbridge made much ado ere he would subscribe them, insomuch that Dr. Seaton willed them to set to fire again. Then with much pain and grief of heart he subscribed to them upon a man's back. That being done, he had his gown given him again, and so was led to prison. Being in prison he wrote a letter to Dr. Seaton, and recanted those words he spake at the stake, unto which he had subscribed; for he was grieved that ever he did subscribe unto them. Thereupon expressing his conscience, he was, the same day seven-night after, burnt indeed, where the vile tormentors did rather broil him than burn him. The Lord give his enemies repentance!
In the last year of queen Mary's reign, Dr. Hopton being bishop of Norwich, and Dr. Spenser bearing the room of his chancellor, about St. James's tide, at St. Edmund's Bury were wrongfully put to death four Christian martyrs: to wit, John Cooke, a sawyer; Robert Milles, alias Plummer, shearman; Alexander Lane, wheelwright; and James Ashley.
Master Noone, a justice in Suffolk, dwelling in Martlesham, hunting after good men to apprehend them, at the length had understanding of one Gouch of Woodbridge, and Driver's wife of Grundisburgh, to be at Grundisburgh together, a little from his house; and immediately took his men with him, and went thither, and made diligent search for them, where the poor man and woman were compelled to step into an hay-golph, to hide themselves from their cruelty. At the last they came to search the hay for them, and by gauging thereof with pitchforks at the last found them: so they took them, and led them to Melton gaol, where they, remaining a time, at the length were carried to Bury, against the assizes at St. James's tide; and being there examined of matters of faith, did boldly stand to confess Christ crucified, defying the pope, with all his papistical trash. Among other things, Driver's wife likened queen Mary in her persecution to Jezebel; for which cause sir Clement Higham, being chief judge there, adjudged her ears immediately to be cut off, which was accomplished accordingly; and she joyfully yielded herself to the punishment, and thought herself happy that she was counted worthy to suffer anything for the name of Christ.
After the assize at Bury, they were carried to Melton gaol again, where they remained a time. From thence they were carried to Ipswich; and there examined before Dr. Spenser, the chancellor of Norwich, chiefly of the sacrament and other ceremonies of the popish church.They were both condemned, committed to the secular power, and burnt at Ipswich the 4th day of November. Being come to the place where the stake was set, by seven of the clock in the morning, (notwithstanding they came the selfsame morning from Melton gaol, which is six miles from Ipswich,) being in their prayers, and singing of psalms both of them together, sir Henry Dowell then being sheriff, was very much offended with them, and willed the bailiffs to bid them make an end of their prayers, (they kneeling upon a broom fagot.) Then one of the bailiffs commanded them to make an end, saying, "On, on, have done; make an end; nail them to the stake:" yet they continued in prayer.
Then sir Henry sent one of his men, that they should make an end. Then Gouch stood up and said unto the sheriff, "I pray you, master sheriff, let us pray a little while, for we have but a little time to live here;" and the sheriff said, "Come off, have them to the fire!" Then the said Gouch and Alice Driver said, "Why, master sheriff and master bailiff, will you not suffer us to pray?" "Away," said sir Henry; "to the stake with them!" Gouch answered, "Take heed, master sheriff. If you forbid prayer, the vengeance of God hangeth over your heads." Then they being tied to the stake, and the iron chain being put about Alice Driver's neck, "Oh!" said she, "here is a goodly neckerchief; blessed be God for it." Then divers came and took them by the hand as they were bound, standing at the stake. The sheriff cried, "Lay hands on them, lay hands on them!" With that a great number ran to the stake; and the sheriff, seeing that, let them all alone, so that there was not one taken.
Although our history hasteth apace (the Lord be praised) to the happy death of queen Mary, yet she died not so soon, but some there were burnt before, and more should have been burnt soon after then, if God's providence had not prevented her with death. In the number of them which suffered in the same month when queen Mary died, were three that were burnt at Bury, whose names were Philip Humfrey, John David, and Henry David, his brother.
Although in such an innumerable company of godly martyrs, which in sundry quarters of this realm were put to torments of fire in queen Mary's time, it be hard so exactly to recite every particular person that suffered, but that some escape us, either unknown or omitted; yet I cannot pass over a certain poor woman, the wife of one Prest, dwelling not far from Launceston, burnt under the said reign in the city of Exeter. She dwelt sometime about Cornwall, having a husband and children there much addicted to the superstitious sect of popery, who many times drove her to the church, to their idols and ceremonies, to shrift, to follow the cross in procession, to give thanks to God for restoring antichrist again in this realm, etc.; which, when her spirit could not longer abide to do, she departed from them, seeking her living by labour and spinning as well as she could, here and there for a time. At length she was brought home to her husband, where she was accused by her neighbours, and so brought to Exeter to be presented before the bishop and his clergy. The name of the bishop was Turberville: his chancellor (as I gather) was Blackstone. The chiefest matter whereupon she was charged and condemned was for the sacrament (which they call of the altar,) and for speaking against idols.
Blackstone and others persuaded the bishop that she was a mazed creature, and not in her perfect wit, (which is no new thing for the wisdom of God to appear foolishness to carnal men of this world;) and therefore they consulted together that she should have liberty. So the keeper of the bishop's prison had her home to his house, where she fell to spinning and carding, and did all other work as a servant in the said keeper's house, and went about the city, when and whither she would, and divers had delight to talk with her. And ever she continued talking of the sacrament of the altar, which of all things they could least abide. Then was her husband sent for, but she refused to go home with him.
After that, divers of the priests had her in handling, persuading her to leave her wicked opinion about the sacrament of the altar, the natural body and blood of our Saviour Christ. But she made them answer, that it was nothing but very bread and wine, and that they might be ashamed to say that a piece of bread should be turned by a man into the natural body of Christ, which bread doth vinow [grow musty], and mice oftentimes do eat it, and it doth mould and is burned: "And," said she, "God's own body will not be so handled, nor kept in prison, or boxed, or aumbries. Let it be your God, it shall not be mine; for my Saviour sitteth on the right hand of God, and doth pray for me. And to make that sacramental or significative bread, instituted for a remembrance, the very body of Christ, and to worship it, it is very foolishness and devilish deceit." "Now truly," said they, "the devil hath deceived thee." "No," said she, "I trust the living God hath opened mine eyes, and caused me to understand the right use of the blessed sacrament, which the true church doth use, but the false church doth abuse." Much other talk there was between her and them, which here were two tedious to be expressed.
In the mean time, during this her month's liberty granted to her by the bishop, it happened that she entering into St. Peter's church, beheld there a cunning Dutchman, how he made new noses to certain fine images which were disfigured in king Edward's time: "What a mad man art thou," said she, "to make them new noses, which within a few days shall all lose their heads." The Dutchman accused her, and laid it hard to her charge; and then was she sent for, and clapped fast; and after that time she had no more liberty.
During the time of her imprisonment divers resorted to her, some sent of the bishop, some of their own voluntary will; and albeit she was of such simplicity, and without learning, yet you could declare no place of Scripture but she would tell you the chapter; yea, she would recite you the names of all the books in the Bible.
At the last, when they perceived her to be past remedy, and had consumed all their threatenings, that neither by prisonment nor liberty, by menaces nor flattery, they could bring her to sing any other song, nor win her to their vanities and superstitious doings, then they cried out, "An Anabaptist, an Anabaptist!" Then, at a day, they brought her from the bishop's prison to the Guildhall; and after that delivered her to the temporal power, according to their custom, where she was by the gentlemen of the country exhorted yet to call for grace, and to leave her foul opinions. In fine, when they had played the part of the cat with the mouse, they at length condemned her, and delivered her over to the secular power. Then the indictment being given and read, which was, that she should go to the place whence she came, and from thence be led to the place of execution, then and there to be burned with flames till she should be consumed, she lifted up her voice, and thanked God, saying, "I thank thee, my Lord, my God; this day have I found that which I have long sought. But such outcries as there were again, and such mockings, were never seen upon a poor silly woman; all which she most patiently took. Then was she delivered to the sheriff; and innumerable people beholding her, she was led by the officers to the place of execution, without the walls of Exeter, called Southernhay, where again these superstitious priests assaulted her; and she prayed them to have no more talk with her, but cried still, "God be merciful to me a sinner, God be merciful to me a sinner!" And so, while they were tying her to the stake, thus still she cried, and would give no answer to them; but with much patience took her cruel death, and was with the flames and fire consumed. Thus was the mortal life ended of as constant a woman in the faith of Christ as ever was upon earth; for whose constancy God be everlastingly praised. Amen.
In writing of the blessed saints which suffered in the bloody days of queen Mary, I had almost overpassed the names and story of three godly martyrs, which with their blood gave testimony likewise to the gospel of Christ, being condemned and burnt in the town of Bristol: Richard Sharp, Thomas Benion, and Thomas Hale.
First, Richard Sharp, weaver, of Bristol, was brought the 9th day of March, anno 1556, before master Dalby, chancellor of the town or city of Bristol; and, after examination, concerning the sacrament of the altar, was persuaded by the said Dalby and others to recant; and the 29th of the same month was enjoined to make his recantation before the parishioners in his parish church. Which when he had done, he felt in his conscience such a tormenting hell, that he was not able quietly to work in his occupation, but decayed and changed both in colour and liking of his body; who shortly after, upon Sunday, came into his parish church, called Temple, and after high mass, came to the choir-door, and said with a loud voice, "Neighbours! bear me record that yonder idol," and pointed to the altar, "is the greatest and most abominable that ever was; and I am sorry that ever I denied my Lord God." Then the constables were commanded to apprehend him; but none stepped forth, but suffered him to go out of the church. After, by night, he was apprehended and carried to Newgate; and shortly after he was brought before the lord chancellor, denying the sacrament of the altar to be the body and blood of Christ; and said, it was an idol; and therefore was condemned to be burnt, by the said Dalby. He was burnt the 7th of May, 1557; and died godly, patiently, and constantly, confessing the articles of our faith.
The Thursday, in the night, before Easter, anno 1557, came one master David Herris, alderman, and John Stone, to the house of one Thomas Hale, a shoemaker of Bristol, and caused him to rise out of his bed, and brought him forth of his door. To whom the said Thomas Hale said, "You have sought my blood these two years, and now much good do you with it:" who, being committed to the watchman, was carried to Newgate the 24th of April, the year aforesaid, was brought before master Dalby the chancellor, committed by him to prison, and after by him condemned to be burnt, for saying the sacrament of the altar to be an idol. He was burned the 7th of May with the foresaid Richard Sharp; and godly, patiently, and constantly embraced the fire with his arms. Richard Sharp and Thomas Hale were bound back to back.
Thomas Benion, a weaver, at the commandment of the commissioners, was brought by a constable the 13th day of August, anno 1557, before master Dalby, chancellor of Bristol, who committed him to prison for saying there was nothing but bread in the sacrament, as they used it. Wherefore, the 20th day of the said August, he was condemned to be burnt by the said Dalby, for denying five of their sacraments, and affirming two, that is, the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, and the sacrament of baptism. He was burnt the 27th of the said month and year; and died godly, constantly, and patiently, with confessing the articles of our Christian faith.
The last that suffered in queen Mary's time, were five at Canterbury, burnt about six days before the death of queen Mary, whose names follow hereunder written: John Corneford, of Wrotham; Christopher Brown, of Maidstone; John Herst, of Ashford; Alice Snoth; and Katherine Knight, otherwise called Katherine Tynley, an aged woman. These five (to close up the final rage of queen Mary's persecution,) for the testimony of that word for which so many had died before, gave up their lives meekly and patiently, suffering the violent malice of the papists; which papists, although they then might have either well spared them, or else deferred their death, knowing of the sickness of queen Mary; yet such was the archdeacon of Canterbury the same time being at London, and understanding the danger of the queen, incontinently made all post-haste home to despatch these, whom, before then, he had in his cruel custody.
The matter why they were judged to the fire was for confessing that an evil man doth not receive Christ's body, "Because no man hath the Son except it be given him of the Father." That it is idolatry to creep to the cross; and St. John forbidding it, saith, "Beware of images." For confessing that we should not pray to our Lady, and other saints, because they be not omnipotent. For these and other such articles of Christian doctrine were these five condemned. Against whom when the sentence should be read, and they excommunicate, after the manner of the papist, John Corneford, stirred with a vehement spirit of the zeal of God, proceeding in a more true excommunication against the papist, in the name of them all, pronounced sentence against them in these words as follow: "In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the most mighty God, and by the power of his Holy Spirit, and the authority of his holy catholic and apostolic church, we do here give into the hands of Satan, to be destroyed, the bodies of all those blasphemers and heretics that do maintain any error against his most holy word, or do condemn his most holy truth for heresy, to the maintenance of any false church or feigned religion; so that by this thy just judgment, O most mighty God, against thy adversaries, thy true religion may be known to thy great glory and our comfort, and to the edifying of all our nation. Good Lord, so be it." These godly martyrs, in their prayers which they made before their martyrdom, desired God that their blood might be the last that should shed, and so it was.
If bloody torments and cruel death of a poor innocent, suffering for no cause of his own, but in the truth of Christ and his religion, do make a martyr, no less deserveth the child of one John Fetty to be reputed in the catalogue, who in the house of bishop Bonner unmercifully was scourged to death, as by the sequel of this story here following may appear.
Amongst the persecuted for the gospel, and yet delivered by the interposing Providence of God, was John Fetty, a poor man dwelling in Clerkenwell. He was accused unto one Brokenbury, a parson of the same parish, by his own wife, because he would not come to the church, and be partaker of their idolatry; and therefore, through the said priest's procurement, he was apprehended. However, immediately upon his apprehension, his wife, apparently by the just judgment of God, was stricken mad, which declared a dreadful example of the justice of God against such unnatural treachery. And although this example little moved the consciences of these men to cease their persecution, yet natural pity towards that ungrateful woman so wrought in their hearts, that for the preservation and support of her and her two children, they for the present let her husband alone, and would not carry him to prison, but suffered him to remain quietly in his house. During this time, forgetting the unkind fact of his wife, he did yet so cherish and provide for her, that within the space of three weeks she had recovered some stay of her wit and sense. But such was the power of Satan in the malicious heart of the woman, that so soon as she had recovered her health she did again accuse her husband; whereupon he was the second time apprehended, and carried before Sir John Mordaunt, one of the queen's commissioners, and he upon examination sent him unto the Lollards' Tower; where he was put into the stocks.
After Fetty had thus lain in prison for fifteen days, hanging in the stocks, sometimes by one leg and one arm, sometimes by the other, and sometimes by both, it happened that one of his children, a boy of the age of eight or nine years, came unto the bishop's house to speak with his father. At his coming thither, one of the bishop's chaplains met with him, and asked him what he would have. The child answered, that he came to see his father; the chaplain asked again who was his father. The boy then told him, and pointing towards Lollards' Tower, shewed him that his father was there in prison. "Why," said the priest, "thy father is a heretic!" The child being of a bold and quick spirit, answered, "My father is no heretic; for you have Balaam's mark!" On that the priest took the child by the hand, and carried him into the bishop's house, where amongst them they did most shamefully, and without pity, so whip and scourge this tender child, that he was in one gore of blood. They then caused Cluny, having his coat upon his arm, to carry the child in his shirt unto his father in prison.
On his coming to his father the child fell upon his knees and asked his blessing. The poor man, seeing him so cruelly arrayed, cried out for sorrow, and said, "Alas, who hath done this to thee?" The boy then explained; and while his father was condoling with him, Cluny violently plucked him out of his hands, and carried him back into the bishop's house, where they kept him three days after. At the three days end, Bonner (minding to make the matter whole, and somewhat to appease the poor man for this their horrible fact) determined to release him; and therefore caused him early in the morning to be brought out of Lollards' Tower into his bed-chamber. While this Fetty was there waiting, he espied hanging about the bishop's bed a great pair of black beads: whereupon he said, "My lord, I think the hangman is not far off; for the halter" (pointing to the beads) "is here already." At which words the bishop was in a marvellous rage. Then, immediately after, Fetty espied a little crucifix, and asked the bishop what it was; and he answered that it was Christ. "Was he handled so cruelly as he is here pictured?" quoth Fetty. "Yea, that he was," said the bishop. "And even so cruelly," replied the other, "will you handle such as come before you. For you are unto God's people as Caiaphas was unto Christ." The bishop being in a great fury, said, "Thou are a vile heretic; and I will burn thee, or else I will spend all that I have, unto my gown." "Nay, my lord," said Fetty, "ye were better to give it a poor body, that he may pray for you."
But yet Bonner, bethinking in himself of the danger that the child was in by their whipping, and what peril might ensue thereupon, thought better to discharge him. Whereupon, after this and such like talk, the bishop at last willed him to go home, and carry his child with him; which he so did, and that with a heavy heart, to see his poor boy in such extreme pain and grief. But within fourteen days after, the child died, whether through this cruel scourging or other infirmity, I know not. But howsoever it was, the Lord yet used their cruel and detestable fact as a means of his providence for the delivery of this good poor man and faithful Christian: his name be ever praised there-for. Amen.
Among those who were persecuted, and yet escaped and passed through the pikes, (being yet, as I hear say, alive,) was one Elizabeth Young, who, coming from Embden to England, brought with her divers books, and dispersed them abroad in London: for the which she being at length espied and laid fast, was brought to examination thirteen times before the catholic inquisitors of heretical pravity. Her first examination was before one master Hussy, who examined her of many things: first, where she was born, who was her father and mother.
Young. Sir, all this is but vain talk, and very superfluous. It is to fill my head with fantasies, that I should not be able to answer such things as I came for. You have not, I think, put me in prison to know who is my father and mother. But, I pray you, go to the matter I came hither for.
Hussy. Wherefore wentest thou out of the realm? and when wast thou at mass?
Young. To keep my conscience clean, I departed; and have not been at mass these three years.
Hussy. Then wast thou not there three years before that? how old art thou?
Young. No, Sir, nor yet three years before that: for if I were I had evil luck. I am forty years old and upwards.
Hussy. Twenty of those years you went to mass: why not go now?
Young. Yea, and twenty more I may, and yet come home as wise as I went thither first, for I understand it not. My conscience will not suffer me: for I had rather all the world should accuse me than mine own conscience.
Hussy. What if an insect stick upon thy skin, and bite thy flesh? thou must make a conscience in taking her off, is there not a conscience in it?
Young. That is but a sorry argument to displace the scriptures, and especially in such a part as my salvation dependeth upon; for it is but an easy conscience that a man can make.
Hussy. But why wilt thou now swear upon the evangelists before a judge?
Young. Because I know not what a book-oath is.
Then he began to teach her the book-oath.
Young. Sir, I do not understand it, and therefore I will not learn it.
"Thou wilt not understand it," said he; and with that he went his way.
At her second examination before Dr. Martin, he said to her, "Thou rebel and traitorly whore, thou shalt be so racked and handled, that thou shalt be an example to all such traitorly whores and heretics; and thou shalt be made to swear by the holy evangelists, and confess to whom thou hast sold all and every one of these heretical books that thou hast sold: for we know what number thou hast sold and to whom; but thou shalt be made to confess it in spite of thy blood."
Young. Here is my carcase: do with it what you will. And more than that you cannot have, master Martin: ye can have no more but my blood.
Then said he, "Martin! Why callest thou me Martin?"
Young. Sir, I know well enough: for I have been before you ere now. You delivered me once at Westminster.
Martin. Were didst thou dwell then?
Young. I dwelt in the Minories.
Martin. I delivered thee and thy husband both; and I thought then, that thou wouldest have done otherwise than thou dost now. For if thou hadst been before any bishop in England, and said the words that thou didst before me, thou hadst fried a fagot: and though thou didst not burn then, thou art like to burn or hang now.
Young. Sir, I promised you then, that I would never be fed with an unknown tongue, and no more will I yet.
Martin. I shall feed thee well enough. Thou shalt be fed with that (I warrant thee) which shall be smally to thine ease.
Young. Do what God shall suffer you to do: for more ye shall not.
And then he arose, and so departed, and went to the keeper's house, and said to the wife, "Whom hast thou suffered to come to this vile traitorly whore and heretic, to speak with her?" Then said she, "As God receive my soul, here came neither man, woman, nor child to ask for her."
Martin. If any man, woman, or child come to ask for her, I charge thee, in pain of death, that they be laid fast; and give her one day bread, and another day water.
Young. If ye take away my meat, I trust God will take away my hunger.
And so he departed and said, "that was too good for her:" and then was she shut up under two locks in the Clink where she was before, unto the time of further examinations: for she was brought before the bishop, the dean, and the chancellor, and other commissioners, first and last, thirteen times. In her fifth examination before the bishop's chancellor, he asked her, "When thou receivest the sacrament of the altar, dost thou not believe that thou dost receive Christ's body?"
Young. Sir, when I do receive the sacrament which Christ instituted the night before he was betrayed, and left to his disciples, I believe that spiritually and by faith I receive Christ. And of this sacrament, I know Christ himself to be the author, and none but he. And this same sacrament is an establishment to my conscience, and an augmenting to my faith.
Chan. Why, did not Christ take bread, and give thanks, and brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying--"Take, eat, this is my body that is given for you?" Did he give them his body, or no?
Young. He also took the cup, and gave thanks to his Father, and gave it to his disciples, saying--"Drink ye all hereof: for this it the cup of the new Testament in my blood, which shall be shed for many." Now, I pray you, sir, let me ask you one question: Did he give the cup the name of his blood, or the wine that was in the cup?
Chan. Dost thou think that thou hast a hedge-priest in hand?
Young. No, sir, I take you not to be a hedge-priest; I take you for a doctor.
Chan. So I think. Thou wilt take upon thee to teach me.
Young. No, sir, but I let you know what I know; and by argument one shall know more. Christ said--"As oft as ye do this, do it in remembrance of me;" but a remembrance is not of a thing present, but absent. Likewise St. Paul saith--"So oft as ye shall eat of this bread and drink of this cup, ye shall shew forth the Lord's death till he come;" then we must not look for him here, until his coming again at the latter day. Again, is not this article of our belief true--"He sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge both the quick and the dead?" But if he come not before he come to judgment, how then is he present in your sacrament of the altar? Wherefore I believe that the human body of Christ occupieth no more than one place at once: for when he was here, he was not there.
In this year, 1558, thirty-nine persons were brought to the stake: and the whole number burnt during the reign of Mary, amounted to two hundred and eighty-four; and near four hundred fell a sacrifice on these sad occasions, including those who died by imprisonment and famine. There were burnt, five bishops, twenty-one divines, eight gentlemen, eighty-four artificers, one hundred husbandmen, servants, and labourers, twenty-six wives, twenty widows, nine virgins, two boys, and two infants. Sixty-four more were persecuted for their religion, whereof seven were whipped, sixteen perished in prison, and twelve were buried in dunghills. It is to be observed, that the persecution raged most in Bonner's diocese (London) and in Kent. Several protestant books printed on the continent, were secretly conveyed to England; upon which a proclamation was issued, enacting, that any person who might receive such books, and did not instantly burn them, without either reading, or shewing them to any person, should be forthwith executed by martial law.
--Footnote marker *--BT 4 words "passed through the pikes"
In the goodly company of those persecuted in divers ways for the cause of Christ's gospel, in the cruel reign of queen Mary, who also escaped the fire, may be numbered the following: John Hunt, Richard White, John Willes, Robert Willes, Thomas Hinshaw, R. Bailey, Hudleys, T. Coast, Roger Sandy, Richard Wilmot, Thomas Fairfax, Thomas Green, James Harris, Robert Williams, William and Julian Living, John Lithal, Edward Grew, William Brown, Elizabeth Lawson, Thomas Christenmass, William Wats, John Glover, Alexander Wimshurst, Dabney, lady Knevet, John Davis, mistress Roberts, mistress Ann
Lacy, one Crossman's wife, Edward Benet, Jeffrey Hurst, William Wood, the duchess of Suffolk, Thomas Horton, Thomas Sprat, John Cornet, Thomas Bryce, Gertrude Crokhay, William Maldon, Robert Horneby, mistress Sands, Thomas Rose, doctor Sands or Sandys, etc.