Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 203. FOUR WINDSOR MARYRS

203. FOUR WINDSOR MARYRS

 

The trouble and persecution of four Windsor men, Robert Testwood, Henry Filmer, Anthony Peerson, and John Marbeck: persecuted for righteousness' sake, and for the gospel.

OMING now to the story and time of the four Windsor men, troubled and persecuted for the true testimony of God's word, whereof three were martyred and sacrificed in fire, the fourth (which was Marbeck) had his pardon; first, I have to show the original of their troubles in several parts; secondly, the manner and order of their death as they suffered together, which was A. D. 1543; thirdly, to answer partly in purgation of myself, against certain clatterers which have hitherto taken their pleasure in railing against my former edition of Acts and Monuments, for mistaking the name of Marbeck, whom, in one place, I reported to have been burned; albeit, in the end of the story, correcting myself again, I declared him not to have been burned. Wherefore, to stop the brawling mouths of such quarrellers, I thought here to set forth the full narration, both of the said Marbeck and of his fellows, in truth, as I trust none of them shall have just cause to quarrel thereat.

 

A full narration of the persecution at Windsor.

Persons persecuted at Windsor A. D. 1543:-- Robert Testwood. Henry Filmer. Anthony Peerson, John Marbeck, Robert Bennet, Sir Philip Hobby and his wife, Sir Thomas Cardine and his wife, Master Edmund Harman, Master Thomas Weldon; Snowball and his wife, of the king's chamber; and Dr. Haynes, dean of Exeter.

Persecutors:-- Master Ely, Simons a lawyer, Dr. London, Stephen Gardiner, bishop of Winchester; Wriothesley, then secretary to the king, and afterwards lord chancellor; Southarne, treasurer of Exeter; Dr. Bruerwood, chancellor of Exeter; Master Knight, Winchester's gentleman; Dr. Oking; Dr. Capon, bishop of Sarum; Sir William Essex, knight; Sir Thomas Bridges, knight; Sir Humfrey Foster, knight; Master Franklin, dean of Windsor: Master Fachel, of Reading; Bucklayer, the king's attorney; Filmer's brother: Hide, a jurate dwelling beside Abingdon: Robert Ocham, a lawyer.

 

The original of Robert Testwood's trouble.

In the year of our Lord 1543, there was one Robert Testwood, dwelling in the city of London, who for his knowledge in music had so great a name, that the musicians in Windsor College thought him a worthy man to have a room among them. Whereupon they informed Dr. Sampson (being then their dean) of him. But, forasmuch as some of the canons had at that time heard of Testwood, how that he smelled of the new learning, (as they called it,) it would not be consented unto at first. Notwithstanding, with often suit of the aforesaid musicians, made to one Dr. Tate, (who, being half a musician himself, bare a great stroke in such matters,) a room being void, Testwood was sent for to be heard. And being there four or five days among the choir-men, he was so well liked both for his voice and cunning, that he was admitted, and after settled in Windsor with his household, and was had in good estimation with the dean and canons a great while. But when they had perceived him, by his often talk at their tables, (for he could not well dissemble his religion,) that he leaned to Luther's sect, they began to mislike him. And so, passing forth among them, it was his chance, one day, to be at dinner with one of the canons, named, Dr. Rawson. At that dinner, among others, was one of King Edward's four chantry priests, named Master Ely, an old bachelor of divinity; which Ely, in his talk at the board, began to rail against laymen, who took upon them to meddle with the Scriptures, and to be better learned (knowing no more but the English tongue) than they that had been students in the universities of Oxford and Cambridge all the days of their lives.

Then Testwood. perceiving he meant that against him, could forbear his railing no longer, but said, "Master Ely, by your patience, I think it to be no hurt for laymen, as I am, to read and to know the Scriptures." "Which of you," quoth Ely, "that be unlearned, knoweth them,or understandeth them? St. Paul saith, If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; and, in so doing, thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head. Now, sir," quoth Ely, "what meaneth St Paul by these coals of fire?" "Marry, sir," quoth Testwood, "he meaneth nothing else by them (as I have learned) but burning charity, that, with doing good to our enemies, we should thereby win them "Ah, sirrah," quoth he, "you are an old scholar indeed!"

After this they fell into further communication of the pope, whose supremacy was much spoken of at that time, but not known to be so far in question in the parliament-house as it was. And in their talk Ely demanded of Testwood, whether the pope ought to be head of the church or no? against which Testwood durst not say his full mind, but reasoned within his bounds a great while. But, when they were both well stricken in a heat, Testwood, forgetting himself, chanced to say, that every king, in his own realm and dominion, ought to be the head of the church under Christ: at which words Ely was so chafed, that he rose up from the table in a great fume, calling him heretic, and all that nought was; and so went brawling and chiding away, to the great disquieting of all the company that were there.

Then was Testwood very sorry to see the old man take it so grievously: whereupon, after dinner, he went and sought Master Ely, and found him walking in the body of the church, thinking to have talked with him charitably, and so to have been at one again; but ever as Testwood pressed towards him, the other shunned him, and would not come nigh him, but did spit at him; saying to others that walked by, "Beware of this fellow! for he is the greatest heretic and schismatic that ever came into Windsor."

Now began the matter to brew; for, after that Ely had made his complaint to the dean's deputy, and other of the canons, they were all against Testwood, purposing surely, at the dean's coming home, (if all things had chanced even,) to have put him to his trump. But see the fortune. It was not twelve days after, ere that the king's supremacy passed in the parliament-house. Whereupon the dean, Dr. Sampson, came home suddenly in the night, late, and forthwith sent his verger about to all the canons and ministers of the college, from the highest to the lowest, commanding them to be in the chapter-house by eight of the clock in the morning. Then Ely consulted with the canons over-night, (as late as it was,) and thought on the next day to have put Testwood to a great plunge: "But he that layeth a snare for another man," saith Solomon, "shall be taken in it himself." And so was Ely; for when the dean and every man were come and placed in the chapter-house, and that the dean had commended the ministers of the church for their diligence in tending the choir, exhorting them also to continue in the same, he began, contrary to every man's expectation, to inveigh against the bishop of Rome's supremacy and usurped authority, confounding the same, by manifest Scriptures and probable reasons, so earnestly, that it was a wonder to hear; and at length declared openly, that by the whole consent of the parliament-house, the pope's supremacy was utterly abolished out of this realm of England for ever; and so commanded every man there, upon his allegiance, to call him pope no more, but bishop of Rome, and whatsoever he were that would not so do, or did from that day forth maintain or favour his cause by any manner of means. he should not only lose the benefit of that house, but be reputed as an utter enemy to God and to the king. The canons, hearing this, were all stricken in a dump: yet, notwithstanding, Ely's heart was so great, that he would fain have uttered his cankered stomach against Testwood; but the dean (breaking his tale) called him old fool, and took him up so sharply, that he was fain to hold his peace. Then the dean commanded all the pope's pardons which hanged about the church, to be brought into the chapter-house, and cast into the chimney, and burned before all their faces; and so departed.

 

Another cause of Robert Testwood's trouble.

As it chanced Testwood one day to walk in the church at afternoon, and to behold the pilgrims,especially of Devonshire and Cornwall, how they came in by plumps, with candles and images of wax in their hands, to offer to good King Henry of Windsor, as they called him, it pitied his heart to see such great idolatry committed, and how vainly the people had spent their goods in coming so far to kiss a spur, and to have an old hat set upon their heads; insomuch that he could not refrain, but, seeing a certain company which had done their offering and were standing gazing about the church, he went unto them, and with all gentleness began to exhort them to leave such false worshipping of dumb creatures, and to learn to worship the true living God aright; putting them in remembrance what those things were which they worshipped, and how God many times had plagued his people, for running a whoring to such stocks and stones, and so would plague them and their posterity, if they would not leave it. After this sort he admonished them so long, till at the last his words, as God would, took such place in some of them, that they said, they never would go a pilgrimage more.

Then he went further, and found another sort licking and kissing a white Lady made of alabaster, which image was mortised in a wall behind the high altar, and bordered about with a pretty border, which was made like branches with hanging apples and flowers. And when he saw them so superstitiously use the image, as to wipe their hands upon it, and then to stroke them over their eyes and faces, as though there had been great virtue in touching the picture, he up with his hand, in which he had a key, and smote down a piece of the border about the image, and with the glance of the stroke chanced to break off the image's nose. "Lo! good people," quoth he, "you see what it is; nothing but earth and dust, and cannot help itself; and how then will you have it to help you? For God's sake, brethren, be no more deceived." And so he gat him home to his house, for the rumour was so great, that many came to see the image, how it was defaced. And among all others, came one William Simons, a lawyer, who, seeing the image so bewrayed, and to lack her nose, took the matter grievously, and looking down upon the pavement, he spied the image's nose where it lay, which he took up and put in his purse, saying it should be a dear nose to Testwood one day.

Now were many offended with Testwood; the canons, for speaking against their profit; the wax. sellers, for hindering their market; and Simons, for the image's nose. And more than that, there were of the canons' men that threatened to kill him. Hereupon Testwood kept his house and durst not come forth, minding to send the whole matter in writing by his wife to Master Cromwell the king's secretary, who was his special friend. The canons, hearing that Testwood would send to Cromwell, sent the verger unto him, to will him to come to the church; who sent them word again, that he was in fear of his life, and therefore would not come. Then sent they two of the eldest petty canons to entreat him, and to assure him that no man should do him harm. He made them a plain answer, that he had no such trust in their promises, but would complain to his friends. Then wist they not what shift to make, for of all men they feared Cromwell; but sent, in post haste, for old Master Ward, a justice of peace, dwelling three or four miles off, who, being come, and hearing the matter, was very loth to meddle in it. But notwithstanding, through their entreaty, he went to Testwood, and had much ado to persuade him; but, at last, he did faithfully promise him by the oath he had made to God and the king, to defend him from all danger and harms, so that Testwood was content to go with him.

And when Master Ward, and Testwood, were come into the church, and were going toward the chapter-house, where the canons abode their coming, one of the canons' men drew his dagger at Testwood, and would have been upon him, but Master Ward with his man resisted, and got Testwood into the chapter-house, causing the serving-man to be called in, and sharply rebuked by their masters, who straitly commanded him, upon pain of losing their service, and further displeasure, not to touch him, nor to give him an evil word. Now Testwood, being alone in the chapter-house with the canons and Master Ward, was gently treated, and the matter so pacified, that Testwood might quietly come and go to the church, and do his duty as he had done before.

 

Third cause of Robert Testmood's trouble.

Upon a Relic Sunday, (as they named it,) when every minister, after their old custom, should have borne a relic in his hand about a procession, one was brought to Testwood; which relic (as they said) was a rochet of Bishop Becket's. And as the sexton would have put the rochet in Testwood's hands, he pushed it from him, saying, If he did give it to him, he would make sport withal; and so the rochet was given to another. Then came the verger down from the high altar with St. George's dagger in his hand, demanding who lacked a relic. "Marry," quoth Testwood, "give it to Master Hake," who stood next him, "for he is a pretty man of his hands:" and so the dagger was given unto him. Now Testwood perceiving the dagger in Master Hake's hand, and being merrily disposed, (as he was a merry-conceited man,) stepped forth out of his place to Dr. Clifton, standing directly before him in the midst of the choir, with a glorious golden cope upon his back, having the pix in his hand, and said, "Sir! Master Hake hath St. George's dagger. Now, if he had his horse, and St. Martin's cloak, and Master John Shorn's boots, with King Harry's spurs, and his hat, he might ride when he would:" and so stepped into his place again. Whereat the other changed colour, and wist not what to say.

 

Fourth cause of Robert Testwood's trouble.

In the days of Master Franklin, who succeeded Dr. Sampson in the deanery of Windsor, there was, on a time, set up at the choir door, a certain foolish printed paper in metre, all to the praise and commendation of our Lady, ascribing unto her our justification, our salvation, our redemption, the forgiveness of sins, &c., to the great derogation of Christ. Which paper, one of the canons, called Master Magnus, (as it was reported,) caused to be set up in despite of Testwood and his sect. When Testwood saw this paper, he plucked it down secretly. The next day after was another set up in the same place. Then Testwood, coming into the church, and seeing another paper set up, and also the dean coming a little way off, made haste to be at the choir door, while the dean staid to take holy water, and reaching up his hand as he went, plucked away the paper with him. The dean, being come to his stall, called Testwood unto him, and said, that he marvelled greatly how he durst be so bold to take down the paper in his presence. Testwood answered again, that he marvelled much more, that his Mastership would suffer such a blasphemous paper to be set up; beseeching him not to be offended with what he had done, for he would stand unto it. So Master Dean being a timorous man, made no more ado with him. After this were no more papers set up, but poor Testwood was eaten and drunken amongst them at every meal; "and a heretic he was, and would roast a faggot for this gear one day."

Now Master Magnus, being sore offended with Testwood for plucking down his papers, to be revenged on him, devised with the dean and the rest of the canons, to send their letters to Dr. Chamber, one of their brethren, and the king's physician, who lay, for the most part, at the court, to see what he would do against Testwood; which letters, being made, were sent with speed. But, whatsoever the cause was, whether he durst not meddle for fear of Cromwell, or what else, I cannot tell, their suit came to none effect. Then wist they not what to do, but determined to let the matter sleep, till St. George's feast, which was not far off.

Now, in the mean time, there chanced a pretty story, between one Robert Philips, gentleman of the king's chapel, and Testwood; which story, though it was but a merry prank of a singing man, yet it grieved his adversary wonderfully. The matter was this: Robert Philips was so notable a singing man, (wherein he gloried,) that wheresoever he came, the best and longest song, with most counter-verses in it, should be set up at his coming. And so, his chance being now to be at Windsor, against his coming to the anthem, a long song was set up, called Laudate vivi, in which song there was one counter-verse towards the end, that began on this wise, O redemptrix et salvatrix: which verse, of all others, Robert Philips would sing, because he knew that Testwood could not abide that ditty. Now Testwood, knowing his mind well enough, joined with him at the other part; and when he heard Robert Philips begin to fetch his flourish with O redemptrix et salvatrix! repeating the same, one in another's neck, Testwood was as quick, on the other side, to answer him again with non redemptrix, nec salvatrix! and so, striving there with O and Non who should have the mastery, they made an end of the verse; whereat was good laughing in sleeves of some, but Robert Philips, with others of Testwood's enemies, were sore offended.

Within fourteen days after this, the lords of the garter (as their custom is yearly to do) came to Windsor to keep St. George's feast, at which feast the duke of Norfolk was president; unto whom the dean and canons made a grievous complaint on Testwood: who, being called before the duke, he shook him up, and all-to-reviled him, as though he would have sent him to hanging by and by. Yet, nevertheless, Testwood so behaved himself to the duke, that, in the end, he let him go without any further molesting of him, to the great discomfort of the dean and canons.

Here you have heard the causes which moved Testwood's enemies to seek his destruction, and could not attain their purpose, till that wicked Haman, Dr. London, came, as shall be showed in the process following.

 

The original of Henry Filmer s trouble.

About the year of our Lord 1511, after all the orders of superstitious and begging friars were suppressed and put down, there chanced one Sir Thomas Meister, who had been a friar before, and had changed his friar's coat, (but not his friar's heart,) to be vicar of Windsor. This priest, on a time, made a sermon to his parishioners, in which he declared so many fond and friarish tales, as, that our Lady should hold out her breasts to St. Bernard, and spout her milk into his eyes, with such-like festival tales, that many honest men were offended therewith, and especially this Henry Filmer, then one of the churchwardens; who was so zealous to God's word, that he could not abide to hear the glory of Christ so defaced with superstitious fables. Whereupon he took an honest man or two with him, and went to the priest, with whom he talked so honestly, and so charitably, that in the end the priest gave him hearty thanks, and was content, at his gentle admonition, to reform himself without any more ado, and so departed friendly the one from the other.

Now there was one in the town, called William Simons, a lawyer, (as is aforesaid,) who, hearing that Filmer had been with the priest, and had reproved him for his sermon, took pepper in the nose, and got him to the vicar, and did so animate him in his doings, that he slipped quite away from the promise he had made to Filmer, and followed the mind of Simons; who, meeting with Filmer afterwards, all-to-reviled him, saying, he would bring him before the bishop, to teach him to be so malapert. Then Filmer, hearing the matter renewed, which he had thought had been suppressed, stood against Simons, and said, that the vicar had preached false and unsound doctrine; and so would he say to the bishop, whensoever he came before him. Then Simons slipped not the matter, but went to the mayor, and procured of him and his brethren a letter, signed with their own hands, in the priest's favour as much as could be devised: and so departed himself, with other his friends, to go to the bishop, (whose name was Dr. Capon,) and to take the priest with them; which was a painful journey for the silly poor man, by reason he had a sore leg.

Now Filmer, hearing how Simons went about to put him to a foil, consulted with his friends what was best to do; who concluded to draw out certain notes of the vicar's sermon, and to prepare themselves to be at Salisbury as soon as Simons, or before him, if it might be possible. Thus, both the parties being in a readiness, it chanced them to set forth from Windsor all in one day: but, by reason the priest, being an impotent man, could not endure to ride very fast, Filter and his company got to the town an hour and more before Simons, went to the bishop, and delivered up their bill unto him; which bill, when the bishop had seen and perused well, he gave them great thanks for their pains, saying, it did behove him to look upon it; for the priest had preached heresy, and should be punished.

Then Filmer declared unto the bishop the form of his talk he had with the priest, and the end thereof; and how the matter, being renewed again by Simons, forced him and his company to trouble his Lordship therewith. "Well," said the bishop, "ye have done like honest men: come to me soon again, and ye shall know more." And so they departed from the bishop to their inn; and, while they were there reposing themselves, Simons, with his company, came to the town, and (not knowing the other to be come) got them up to the bishop in all post haste, taking the priest with them.

The bishop, hearing of more Windsor men, demanded what they were, and being informed how it was the vicar of the town, with others besides, he caused the vicar to be brought in; to whom he said, "Are you the vicar of Windsor?" "Yea, forsooth, my Lord," quoth he. "How chanceth it," quoth the bishop, "that you are complained on? for there have been with me certain honest men of your town, who have delivered up a bill of erroneous doctrine against you: if it be so, I must needs punish you." And opening the bill, he read it unto him. "How say you," quoth the bishop, "is this true, or no?" The vicar could not deny it, but humbly submitted himself to the bishop's correction. Then was his company called in, and when the bishop saw Simons, he knew him well, and said, "Wherefore come you, Master Simons?" "Pleaseth it your Lordship," quoth he, "we are come to speak in our vicar's cause, who is a man of good conversation and honesty, and doth his duty so well in every point, that no man can find fault with him, except a lewd fellow we have in our town, called Filmer, who is so corrupt with heresy, that he is able to poison a whole country. And truly, my Lord, quoth Simons, "there is no man that can preach or teach any thing that is good and godly, but he is ready to control it, and to say it is stark naught. Wherefore we shall beseech your Lordship he may be punished, to the ensample of others, that our vicar may do his duty quietly, as he hath done before this busy fellow troubled him. And, that your Lordship shall the better credit my sayings, I have brought with the these honest men of the town: and besides all that, a testimonial from the mayor and his brethren, to confirm the same:" and so he held out the writing in his hand.

Then said the bishop, "So God help me, Master Simons! ye are greatly to blame, and most worthy to be punished of all men, that will so impudently go about to maintain your priest in his error, who hath preached heresy, and hath confessed it: wherefore I may not, nor will not, see it unpunished. And as for that honest man Filmer, of whom ye have complained, I tell you plainly, he hath in this point showed himself a great deal more honester man than you. But in hope you will no more bear out your vicar in his evil doings, I will remit all things at this time, saving that he shall the next Sunday recant his sermon openly before all his parishioners in Windsor church." And so the bishop called in Filmer and his company, who waited without, and delivered the priest's recantation unto them, with a great charge to see it truly observed in all points. Then Simons took his leave of the bishop, and departed with a flea in his ear, disappointed of his purpose, and sore ashamed of the foil. For this cause Simons could never brook Filmer, but when he met him at any time after, would hold up his finger, (as his manner was, where he owed displeasure,) and say, "I will be even with you one day, trust me!"

 

The original of Anthony Peerson's trouble.

There was a certain priest, named Anthony Peerson, who frequented much to Windsor about the year of our Lord 1540, and, using the talent that God had given him in preaching, was greatly esteemed among the people, who flocked so much to his sermons which he made both in the town and country, that the great priests of the castle, with other papists in the town, especially Simons, were sore offended, insomuch that Simons at the last began to gather of his sermons, and to mark his auditors; whereof ensued the death of divers, and trouble of many honest men. For about a year and more after, a minister of Satan, called Dr. London, warden of New College in Oxford, was admitted one of the prebendaries of Windsor, who, at his first coming to Windsor, began to utter his stomach and to show his affection. For, at his first residence-dinner which he made to the clerks, (which company, for the most part, at that time favoured the gospel,) all his whole talk to two gentlemen, strangers at his board, (till the table was a taking up,) was nothing else but of heretics, and what a desolation they would bring the realm unto, if they might be so suffered. "And by St. Mary, masters!" quoth he to the clerks at last, "I cannot tell, but there goeth a shrewd report abroad of this house." Some made answer, it was undeserved. "I pray God it be," quoth he, "I am but a stranger, and have but small experience amongst you; but I have heard it said before I came hither, that there be some in this house, that will neither have prayer nor fasting."

Then spake Testwood, "By my troth, sir!" quoth he, "I think that was spoken of malice: for prayer, as your Mastership knoweth better than I, is one of the first lessons that Christ taught us." "Yea, marry, sir," quoth he, "but the heretics will have no invocation to saints, which all the old fathers do allow." "What the old fathers do allow," quoth Testwood, "I cannot tell; but Christ doth appoint us to go to his Father, and to ask our petitions of him in Christ's name." "Then you will have no mean between you and God," quoth Dr. London. "Yes, sir," quoth Testwood, "our mean is Christ, as St. Paul saith, There is one Mediator between God and man, even Jesus Christ." "Give us water," quoth Dr. London: which being set on the board, he said grace, and washed; and so falling into other communication with the strangers, the clerks took their leave and departed. When Dr. London had been at Windsor awhile, among his catholic brethren, and learned what Testwood was, and also of Simons, (who showed him our Lady's nose, as he called it,) what sort of heretics were in the town, and about the same, and how they increased daily by reason of a naughty priest, called Anthony Peerson, he was so maliciously bent against them, that he gave himself wholly to the devil, to do mischief. And to bring his wicked purpose about, he conspired with the aforesaid Simons, a meet clerk to serve such a curate, and others of like sort, how they might compass the matter, first to have all the arch-heretics, as they termed them, in Windsor and thereabouts, indicted of heresy, and so to proceed further. They had a good ground to work upon, as they thought, which was the six articles, whereupon they began to build and practise thus. First, they drew out certain notes of Anthony Peerson's sermons, which he had preached against the sacrament of the altar, and their popish mass. That done, they put in Sir William Hobby, with the good lady his wife, Sir Thomas Cardine, Master Edmund Harman, Master Thomas Weldon, with Snowball and his wife, as chief ciders, helpers, and maintainers of Anthony Peerson. Also they noted Dr. Haynes, dean of Exeter, and a prebendary of Windsor, to be a common receiver of all suspected persons. They wrote also the names of all such as commonly haunted Anthony Peerson's sermons, and of all such as had the Testament, and favoured the gospel, or did but smell thereof.

Then had they privy spies to walk up and down the church, to hearken and hear what men said, and to mark who did not reverence the sacrament, at the elevation-time, and to bring his name to Dr. London. And of these spies some were chantry priests; among the which there was one notable spy, whose name was called Sir William Bows, such a fleering priest as would be in every corner of the church pattering to himself, with his portues in his hand, to hear and to note the gesture of men towards the sacrament. Thus, when they had gathered as much as they could, and made a perfect book thereof, Dr. London, with two of his catholic brethren more, gave them up to the bishop of Winchester, Stephen Gardiner, with a great complaint against the heretics that were in Windsor, declaring unto him how the town was sore disquieted through their doctrine and evil example: wherefore they besought his Lordship's help, in purging the town and castle of such wicked persons. The bishop, hearing their complaint, and seeing their book, praised their doings, and bade them make friends and go forward, and they should not lack his help. Then they applied the matter with tooth and nail, sparing for no money or pains-taking, as Marbeck saith that he himself heard one of them say, who was a great doer therein, and afterwards sorry for that he had done, that the suit thereof cost him that year, for his part only, a hundred marks, besides the death of three good geldings.

Now Bishop Gardiner, who had conceived a further fetch in his brain than Dr. London had, made Wriothesley and others of the council on his side, and spying a time convenient, went to the king, complaining what a sort of heretics his Grace had in his realm, and how they were not only crept into every corner of his court, but even into his privy chamber; beseeching therefore his Majesty that his laws might be prosecuted. The king, giving credit to the council's words, was content his laws should be executed on such as were offenders. Then had the bishop what he desired, and forthwith procured a commission for a privy search to be had in Windsor for books and letters that Anthony Peerson should send abroad; which commission the king granted to take place in the town of Windsor, but not in the castle.

At this time the canons of Exeter (specially Southarne, treasurer of the church, and Dr. Bruerwood, the chancellor) had accused Dr. Haynes, their dean, to the council, for preaching against holy bread and holy water, and that he should say in one of his sermons (having occasion to speak of matrimony) that marriage and hanging were destiny; upon which they gathered treason against him, because of the king's marriage. The bishop of Winchester (at the same time) had also informed the council of Master Hobby, how he was a hearer of Anthony Peerson, and a great maintainer of heretics: whereupon both he, and Dr. Haynes, were apprehended and sent to the Fleet. But it was not very long after, ere that by the mediation of friends they were both delivered.

Now, as touching the commission for searching for books, Master Ward and Master Fachel, of Reading, were appointed commissioners, who came to Windsor the Thursday before Palm Sunday, A.D. 1543, and began their search about eleven of the clock at night: in which search were apprehended Robert Bennet, Henry Filmer, John Marbeck, and Robert Testwood, for certain books and writings found in their houses against the six articles, who were kept in ward till Monday after, and then fetched up to the council, all save Testwood, with whom the bailiffs of the town were charged, because he lay sore diseased of the gout. The other three, being examined before the council, were committed to prison, Filmer and Bennet to the bishop of London's jail, and Marbeck to the Marshalsea; whose examination is here set out, to declare the great goodness of the council, and the cruelty of the bishop.

 

The first examination of John Marbeck before the council. on the Monday after Palm Sunday, A.D. 1543.

{Ilustration: Marbeck examined by the council 225}

This Marbeck had begun a great work in English, called The Concordance of the Bible; which book, being not half finished, was among his other books taken in the search, and had up to the council. And when he came before them to be examined, the whole work lay before the bishop of Winchester, Stephen Gardiner, at the upper end of the board; who, beholding the poor man awhile, said, "Marbeck, dost thou know wherefore thou art sent for?" "No, my Lord," quoth he. "No!" quoth the bishop; "that is a marvellous thing." "Forsooth, my Lord," quoth he, "unless it be for a certain search made of late in Windsor, I cannot tell wherefore it should be." "Then thou knowest the matter well enough;" quoth the bishop: and, taking up a quire of the Concordance in his hand, he said, "Understandest thou the Latin tongue?" "No, my Lord," quoth he, "but simply." "No!" quoth the bishop; and with that spake Master Wriothesley (then secretary to the king): "He saith, but simply." "I cannot tell," quoth the bishop, "but the book is translated word for word out of the Latin Concordance:" and so began to declare to the rest of the council the nature of a Concordance, and how it was first compiled in Latin, by the great diligence of the learned men for the ease of preachers; concluding with this reason, that if such a book should go forth in English, it would destroy the Latin tongue. And so, casting down the quire again, he reached another book, which was the Book of Isaiah the Prophet, and turning to the last chapter, gave the book to Marbeck, and asked him who had written the note in the margin. The other, looking upon it, said, "Forsooth, any Lord, I wrote it." "Read it," quoth the bishop. Then he read it thus, "Heaven is my seat, and the earth is my footstool." "Nay," quoth the bishop, "read it as thou hast written it." "Then shall I read it wrong," quoth he, "for I had written it false." "How hadst thou written it," quoth the bishop. "I had written it;" quoth he, "thus, 'Heaven is my seat, and the earth is not my footstool.'" "Yea, marry," quoth the bishop, "that was thy meaning." "No, my Lord," quoth he, "it was but an oversight in writing; for, as your Lordship seeth, this word not is blotted out." At this time came other matters into the council, so that Marbeck was had out to the next chamber. And when the had stood there awhile, one of the council, named Sir Anthony Wingfield, captain of the guard, came forth, and calling for Marbeck, committed him to one Belson of the guard, saying unto him on this wise: "Take this man and have him to the Marshalsea, and tell the keeper that it is the council's pleasure that he shall treat him gently; and if he have any money in his purse, as I think he hath not much, take you it from him, lest the prisoners do take it; and minister it unto him as he shall have need." And so the messenger departed with Marbeck to the Marshalsea, and did his commission most faithfully and truly. both to the keeper and to the prisoner, as he was commanded.

 

The second examination of Marbeck, before the bishop's gentleman in the Marshalsea.

On the next day, which was Tuesday, by eight of the clock in the morning, there came one of the bishop of Winchester's gentlemen into the Marshalsea, whose man brought after him two great books under his arm, and finding Marbeck walking up and down in the chapel, demanded of the keeper why he was not in irons, "I had no such commandment," quoth he; "for the messenger which brought him yesternight from the council, said it was their pleasure, he should be gently used." "My Lord," quoth the gentleman, "will not be content with you:" and so taking the books of his man, he called for a chamber, up to which he carried the prisoner, and casting the books from him upon a bed, sat him down and said, "Marbeck! my Lord doth favour thee well for certain good qualities that thou hast, and hath sent me hither to admonish thee to beware and take heed lest thou cast away thyself wilfully. If thou wilt be plain, thou shalt do thyself much good; if not, thou shalt do thyself much harm. I assure thee, my Lord lamenteth thy case, forasmuch as he hath always heard good report of thee; wherefore now see to thyself, and play the wise man. Thou art acquainted with a great sort of heretics, as Hobby and Haynes, with others more, and knowest much of their secrets: if thou wilt now open them at my Lord's request, he will procure thy deliverance out of hand, and prefer thee to better living."

"Alas! sir," quoth he, "what secrets do I know? I am but a poor man, and was never worthy to be so conversant either with Master Hobby or Master Haynes, to know any part of their minds." "Well," quoth the gentleman, "make it not so strange, for my Lord doth know well enough in what estimation they had both thee and Anthony Peerson, for your religion." "For Anthony Peerson," quoth he, "I can say nothing, for I never saw him with them in all my life: and as for myself, I cannot deny but that they have always, I thank them, taken me for an honest poor man, and showed me much kindness; but as for their secrets, they were too wise to commit them to any such as I am."

"Peradventure," quoth the gentleman, "thou fearest to utter any thing of them, because they were thy friends, lest they, hearing thereof, might hereafter withdraw their friendship from thee; which thou needest not to fear, I warrant thee, for they are sure enough, and never like to pleasure thee more, nor any man else."

With that the water stood in Marbeck's eyes. "Why weepest thou?" quoth the gentleman. "Oh, sir," quoth he, "I pray you pardon me: these men have done me good; wherefore I beseech the living God to comfort them as I would be comforted myself."

"Well," quoth the gentleman, "I perceive thou wilt play the fool;" and then he opened one of the books and asked him if he understood any Latin. "But a little, sir;" quoth he. "How is it then," quoth the gentleman, "that thou hast translated thy book out of the Latin Concordance, and yet understandest not the tongue?" "I will tell you," quoth he; "in my youth I learned the principles of my grammar, whereby I have some understanding therein, though it be very small." Then the gentleman began to try him in the Latin Concordance and English Bible which he had brought: and when he had so done, and was satisfied, he called up his man to fetch away the books, and so departed, leaving Marbeck alone in the chamber, the door fast shut unto him.

About two hours after, the gentleman came again, with a sheet of paper folded in his hand, and set him down upon the bed-side, (as before,) and said, "By my troth, Marbeck! my Lord seeth so much wilfulness in thee, that he saith it is pity to do thee good. When wast thou last with Haynes?" "Forsooth," quoth he, "about three weeks ago, I was at dinner with him." "And what talk," quoth the gentleman, "had he at his board?" "I cannot tell now," quoth he. "No!" quoth the gentleman; "thou art not so dull witted, to forget a thing in so short a space." "Yes, sir," quoth he, "such familiar talk as men do use at their boards, is most commonly by the next day forgotten; and so it was with me." "Didst thou never," quoth the gentleman, "talk with him, or with any of thy fellows, of the mass, or of the blessed sacrament?" "No, forsooth," quoth he. "Now, forsooth," quoth the gentleman, "thou liest; for thou hast been seen to talk with Testwood, and others of thy fellows, an hour together in the church, when honest men have walked up and down beside you; and, ever as they have drawn near you, ye have stayed your talk till they have been past you, because they should not hear whereof you talked." "I deny not," quoth he, "but I have talked with Testwood and others of my fellows. I cannot tell how oft; which maketh not that we talked either of the mass or of the sacrament: for men may commune and talk of many matters. that they would not that every man should hear, and yet far from any such thing; therefore it is good to judge the best." "Well!" quoth the gentleman, "thou must be plainer with my Lord than this, or else it will be wrong with thee, and that sooner than thou weenest." "How plain will his Lordship have me to be, sir?" quoth he. "There is nothing that I can do and say with a safe conscience, but I am ready to do it at his Lordship's pleasure." "What tellest thou me," quoth the gentleman, "of thy conscience? Thou mayest, with a safe conscience, utter those that be heretics, and, so doing, thou canst do God and the king no greater service." "If I knew, sir," quoth he, "who were a heretic indeed, it were a thing; but if I should accuse him to be a heretic that is none, what a worm would that be in my conscience so long as I lived! yea, it were a deal better for me to be out of this life, than to live in such torment." "In faith," quoth the gentleman, "thou knowest as well who be heretics of thy fellows at home, and who be none, as I do know this paper to be in my hand. But it maketh no matter, for they shall all be sent for and examined: and thinkest thou that they will not utter and tell of thee all that they can? Yes, I warrant thee. And what a foolish dolt art thou, that wilt not utter aforehand what they be, seeing it standeth upon thy deliverance to tell the truth?" "Whatsoever," quoth he, "they shall say of me, let them do it in the name of God: for I will say no more of them, nor of any man else, than I know." "Marry! quoth the gentleman, "if thou wilt do so, my Lord requireth no more. And forasmuch as now, peradventure, thy wits are troubled, so that thou canst not call things even by and by to remembrance, I have brought thee ink and paper, that thou mayest excogitate with thyself, and write such things as shall come to thy mind." "O Lord!" quoth Marbeck, "what will my Lord do? Will his Lordship compel me to accuse men I wot not whereof?" "No," quoth the gentleman, "my Lord compelleth thee not, but gently entreateth thee to say the truth: therefore make no more ado, but write; for my Lord will have it so." And so he laid down the ink and paper, and went his way.

Now was Marbeck so full of heaviness and woe, that he wist not what to do, nor how to set the pen to the book to satisfy the bishop's mind, unless he did accuse men to the wounding of his own soul. And thus, being compassed about with nothing but sorrow and care, he cried out to God in his heart, falling down with weeping tears, and said,

"O most merciful Father of heaven! thou that knowest the secret doings of all men, have mercy upon thy poor prisoner who is destitute of all help and comfort. Assist me, O Lord, with thy special grace, that, to save this frail and vile body, which shall turn to corruption at its time, I may have no power to say or to write any thing that may be to the casting away of my Christian brother; but rather, O Lord, let this vile flesh suffer at thy will and pleasure. Grant this, O most merciful Father, for thy dear Son Jesus Christ's sake."

Then he rose up and began to search his conscience what he might write, and at last framed out these words:

"Whereas your Lordship will have me to write such things as I know of my fellows at home, pleaseth it your Lordship to understand, that I cannot call to remembrance any manner of thing whereby I might justly accuse any one of them, unless it be that the reading of the New Testament, which is common to all men, be an offence: more than this I know not."

Now the gentleman, about his hour appointed, came again, and found Marbeck walking up and down the chamber. "How now," quoth he, "hast thou written nothing?" "Yes, sir;" quoth he, "as much as I know." "Well said," quoth the gentleman; and took up the paper: which, when he had read, he cast it from him in a great fume, swearing by our Lord's body, that he would not for twenty pounds carry it to his lord and master. "Therefore," quoth he, "go to it again, and advise thyself better, or else thou wilt set my Lord against thee, and then art thou utterly undone." "By my troth, sir," quoth Marbeck, "if his Lordship shall keep me here these seven years, I can say no more than I have said." "Then wilt thou repent it," quoth the gentleman: and so putting up his penner and ink-horn, he departed with the paper in his hand.

 

The third examination of Marbeck before the bishop of Winchester himself, in his own house.

The next day, which was Wednesday, by eight of the clock in the morning, the bishop sent for Marbeck to his house at St. Mary Overy's, and as he was entering into the bishop's hall, he saw the bishop himself coming out at a door in the upper end thereof, with a roll in his hand; and going toward the great window, he called the poor man unto him, and said, "Marbeck! wilt thou cast away thyself?" "No, my Lord," quoth he, "I trust." "Yes," quoth the bishop, "thou goest about it, for thou wilt utter nothing. What a devil made thee to meddle with the Scriptures? Thy vocation was another way, wherein thou hast a goodly gift, if thou didst esteem it." "Yes, my Lord," quoth he, "I do esteem it; and have done my part therein, according to that little knowledge that God hath given me." "And why the devil," quoth the bishop, "didst thou not hold thee there?" And with that he flung away from the window out of the hall, the poor man following him from place to place, till he had brought him into a long gallery, and being there, the bishop began on this wise: "Ah, sirrah," quoth he, "the nest of you is broken, I trow." And unfolding his roll, (which was about an ell long,) he said, "Behold, here be your captains, both Hobby and Haynes, with all the whole pack of thy sect about Windsor, and yet wilt thou utter none of them." "Alas, my Lord," quoth he, "how should I accuse them, of whom I know nothing?" "Well," quoth the bishop, "if thou wilt needs cast away thyself, who can let thee? What helpers hadst thou in setting forth thy book?" "Forsooth, my Lord," quoth he. "none." "None!" quoth the bishop; "how can that be? It is not possible that thou shouldst do it without help." "Truly, my Lord," quoth he, "I cannot tell in what part your Lordship doth take it, but, howsoever it be, I will not deny but I did it without the help of any man, save God alone." "Nay," quoth the bishop, "I do not discommend thy diligence, but why shouldst thou meddle with that thing which pertained not to thee?"

And in speaking of these words, one of his chaplains, called Master Meadow, came up, and stayed himself at a window, to whom the bishop said, "Here is a marvellous thing; this fellow hath taken upon him to set out the Concordance in English, which book, when it was set out in Latin, was not done without the help and diligence of a dozen learned men at least, and yet will he bear me in hand, that he hath done it alone. But say what thou wilt,"quoth the bishop, "except God himself would come down from heaven and tell me so, I will not believe it." And so, going forth to a window where two great Bibles lay upon a cushion, the one in Latin, and the other in English, he called Marbeck unto him, and pointing his finger to a place in the Latin Bible, said, "Canst thou English this sentence?" "Nay, my Lord," quoth he, "I trow I be not so cunning to give it a perfect English, but I can fetch out the English thereof in the English Bible." "Let's see," quoth the bishop. Then Marbeck, turning the English Bible, found out the place by and by, and read it to the bishop. So he tried him three or four times, till one of his men came up, and told him the priest was ready to go to mass.

And as the bishop was going, said the gentleman who had examined Marbeck in the Marshalsea the day before, "Shall this fellow write nothing while your Lordship is at mass, for he passeth not for it?" "It maketh no matter," quoth the bishop, "for he will tell nothing:" and so went down to hear mass, leaving Marbeck alone in the gallery. The bishop was no sooner down, but the gentleman came up again with ink and paper. "Come, sirrah!" quoth he, "my Lord will have you occupied till mass be done:" persuading him with fair words, that he should be soon despatched out of trouble, if he would use truth and plainness. "Alas, sir!" quoth he, "what will my Lord have me to do? for more than I wrote to his Lordship yesterday, I cannot" "Well, well; go too," quoth the gentleman, "and make speed:" and so went his way. There was no remedy but Marbeck must now write something; wherefore he, calling to God again in his mind, wrote a few words, as nigh as he could frame them, to those he had written the day before. When the bishop was come from mass, and had looked on the writing, he pushed it from him, saying, "What shall this do? It hath neither head nor foot." "There is a marvellous sect of them," quoth the bishop to his men, "for the devil cannot make one of them to bewray another." Then was there nothing among the bishop's gentlemen, as they were making him ready to go to the court, but "crucifige" upon the poor man. And when the bishop's white rochet was on him, and all, "Well, Marbeck," quoth he, "I am now going to the court, and had purposed, if I had found thee tractable, to have spoken to the king's Majesty for thee, and to have given thee thy meat, drink, and lodging here in mine house; but, seeing thou art so wilful and so stubborn, thou shalt go to the devil for me."

Then was he carried down by the bishop's men, with many railing words. And, coming through the great chamber, there stood Dr. London, with two more of his fellows, waiting the bishop's coming, and passing by them into the hall, he was there received by his keeper, and carried to prison again. It was not half an hour after, ere that the bishop sent one of his gentleman to the under-keeper, called Stokes, commanding him to put irons upon Marbeck, and to keep him fast shut in a chamber alone; and when he should bring him down to dinner or supper, to see that he spake to no man, and no man to him. And furthermore, that he should suffer no manner of person (not his own wife) to come and see him, or minister any thing unto him. When the porter (who was the cruellest man that might be to all such as were laid in for any matter of religion, and yet, as God would, favourable to this poor man) had received this commandment from the bishop, he clapped irons upon him, and shut him up, giving warning to all the house, that no man should speak or talk to Marbeck, whensoever he was brought down: and so he continued the space of three weeks and more, till his wife was suffered to come unto him.

 

The suit of Marbeck's wife to the bishop of Winchester.

Marbeck's wife, at the time of her husband's apprehension, had a young child of a quarter old sucking upon her breast; and when her husband was taken from her, and had away to the council, not knowing what should become of him, she left the child and all, and gat her up to London; and hearing her husband to be in the Marshalsea, goeth thither. But when she came there, she could in no wise be suffered to see him, which greatly augmented her sorrow. Then, by counsel of friends, she gat her to the bishop of Winchester, for other help was there none to be had at that time,) making great suit to have his licence to go and see her husband, and to help him with such things as he lacked. "Nay," quoth the bishop, "thy husband is acquainted with all the heretics that be in the realm, both on this side the sea and beyond; and yet will he utter none of them." "Alas, my Lord!" quoth she, "my husband was never beyond the seas, nor any great traveller in the realm, to be so acquainted; therefore, my good Lord, let me go see him." But all her earnest suit from day to day would not help, but still he put her off, harping always upon this string, "Thy husband will utter nothing." At last, she, finding him in the court at St. James, going towards his chamber, was so bold as to take him by the rochet, and say, "Oh. my Lord, these eighteen days I have troubled your Lordship. Now, for the love of God, and as ever ye came of a woman, put me off no longer, but let me go to my husband." And as she was standing with the bishop and his men, in a blind corner going to his chamber, one of the king's servants, called Henry Carrike, and her next neighbour, chanced to be by; and, hearing the talk between the bishop and her, desired his Lordship to be good unto the poor woman, who had her own mother lying bedrid upon her hands, beside five or six children. "I promise you," quoth the bishop, "her husband is a great heretic, and hath read more Scripture than any man in the realm hath done." "I cannot tell, my Lord," quoth Carrike,"what he is inwardly, but outwardly he is as honest a quiet neighbour as ever I dwelt by." "He will tell nothing," quoth the bishop: "he knoweth a great sort of false harlots, and will not utter them." "Yes, my Lord," quoth Carrike, "he will tell, I dare say, for he is an honest man." "Well," quoth the bishop, (speaking to the wife,) "thou seemest to be an honest woman, and if thou love thy husband well, go to him, and give him good counsel, to utter such naughty fellows as he knoweth, and I promise thee he shall have what I can do for him; for I do fancy him well for his art, wherein he hath pleased me as well as any man:" and so, stepping into his chamber, said she should have his letter to the keeper. But his mind being changed, he sent out his ring by a gentleman, which gentleman delivered the ring to his man, charging him with the bishop's message. And so his man went with the woman to the water side, and took boat, who never rested railing on her husband all the way, till they came to the prison; which was no small cross unto the poor woman.

And when they were come to the Marshalsea, the messenger showed the bishop's ring to the porter, saying, "Master Stokes! my Lord willeth you by this token, that ye suffer this woman to have recourse to her husband; but he straitly chargeth you, that ye search her both coming and going, lest she bring or carry any letters to or fro, and that she bring nobody unto him, nor any word from any man." "God's blood!" quoth the porter, (who was a foul swearer,) "what will my Lord have me to do? can I let her to bring word from any man? Either let her go to her husband, or let her not go; for I see nothing by him but an honest man." The poor woman, fearing to be repulsed, spake the porter fair, saying, "Good master, be content, for I have found my Lord very good lord unto me. This young man is but the gentleman's servant who brought the ring from my Lord, and I think doth his message a great deal more straiter than my Lord commanded the gentleman, or than the gentleman his master commanded him: but, nevertheless, good master," quoth she, "I shall be contented to strip myself before you both coming and going, so far as any honest woman may do with honesty; for I intend no such thing, but only to comfort and help my husband." Then the messenger said no more, but went his way, leaving the woman there, who, from that time forth, was suffered to come and go at her pleasure.

 

The fourth examination of Marbeck, before the commissioners in the bishop of London's house.

About three weeks before Whitsunday was Marbeck sent for to the bishop of London's house, where sat in commission Dr. Capon, bishop of Salisbury, Dr. Skip, bishop of Hereford, Dr. Goodrick, bishop of Ely, Dr. Oking, Dr. May, and the bishop of London's scribe, having before them all Marbeck's books. Then said the bishop of Salisbury, "Marbeck! we are here in commission, sent from the king's Majesty, to examine thee of certain things whereof thou must be sworn to answer us faithfully and truly." "I am content, my Lord," quoth he, "to tell you the truth so far as I can:" and so took his oath. Then the bishop of Salisbury laid forth before him his three books of notes, demanding whose hand they were. He answered they were his own hand, and notes which he had gathered out of other men's works six years ago. "For what cause:" quoth the bishop of Salisbury, "didst thou gather them?" "For none other cause, my Lord, but to come by knowledge: for I, being unlearned, and desirous to understand some part of Scripture, thought, by reading of learned men's works, to come the sooner thereby. And where I found any place of Scripture opened and expounded by them, that I noted as ye see, with a letter of his name in the margin, that had set out the work." "So me think," quoth the bishop of Ely, (who had one of the books of notes in his hand all the time of their sitting,) "thou hast read of all sorts of books, both good and had, as seemeth by the notes." "So I have, my Lord," quoth he. "And to what purpose?" quoth the bishop of Salisbury. "By my truth," quoth he, "for no other purpose but to see every man's mind." Then the bishop of Salisbury drew out a quire of the Concordance, and laid it before the bishop of Hereford, who, looking upon it awhile, lifted up his eyes to Dr. Oking, standing next him, and said, "This man hath been better occupied than a great sort of our priests:" to the which Oking made no answer.

Then said the bishop of Salisbury, "Whose help hadst thou in setting forth this book?" "Truly, my Lord," quoth he, "no help at all." "How couldst thou," quoth the bishop, "invent such a book, or know what a Concordance meant, without an instructor?" "I will tell your Lordship," quoth he, "what instructor I had to begin it. When Thomas Matthewe's Bible came first out in print, I was much desirous to have one of them; and being a poor man, not able to buy one of them, I determined with myself to borrow one amongst my friends, and to write it forth. And when I had written out the five books of Moses in fair great paper, and was entered into the book of Joshua, my friend Master Turner chanced to steal upon me unawares, and seeing me writing out the Bible, asked me what I meant thereby. And when I had told him the cause, 'Tush' quoth he, 'thou goest about a vain and tedious labour. But this were a profitable work for thee, to set out a Concordance in English.' 'A Concordance,' said I, 'what is that?' Then he told me it was a book to find out any word in the whole Bible by the letter, and that there was such a one in Latin already. Then I told him I had no learning to go about such a thing. 'Enough,' quoth he, 'for that matter, for it requireth not so much learning as diligence. And seeing thou art so painful a man, and one that cannot be unoccupied, it were a goodly exercise for thee.' And this, my Lord, is all the instruction that ever I had before or after, of any man." "What is that Turner?" quoth the bishop of Salisbury. "Marry," quoth Dr. May, "an honest learned man, and a bachelor of divinity, and some time a fellow in Magdalene College in Oxford." "How couldst thou," quoth the bishop of Salisbury, "with this instruction, bring it to this order and form, as it is?" "I borrowed a Latin Concordance," quoth he, "and began to practise my wit; and, at last, with great labour and diligence, brought it into this order, as your Lordship doth see." "A good wit with diligence," quoth the bishop of Hereford, "may bring hard things to pass." "It is great pity," quoth the bishop of Ely, "he had not the Latin tongue." "So it is," quoth Dr. May. "Yet cannot I believe," quoth the bishop of Salisbury, "that he hath done any more in this work, than write it out after some other that is learned."

My Lords," quoth Marbeck, "I shall beseech you all to pardon me what I shall say, and to grant my request if it shall seem good unto you." "Say what thou wilt," quoth the bishops. "I do marvel greatly wherefore I should be so much examined for this book, and whether I have committed any offence in doing of it or no? If I have, then were I loth any other to be molested or punished for my fault. Therefore, to clear all men in this matter, this is my request, that ye will try me in the rest of the book that is undone; ye see that I am yet but in the letter L; begin now at M, and take out what word ye will of that letter, and so in every letter following, and give me the words on a piece of paper, and set me in a place alone where it shall please you, with ink and paper, the English Bible, and the Latin Concordance: and if I bring you not these words written in the same order and form that the rest before is, then was it not I that did it, but some other."

"By my troth, Marbeck," quoth the bishop of Ely, "that is honestly spoken, and then shalt thou bring many out of suspicion." "That he shall," quoth they all. Then they bade Dr. Oking draw out such words as he thought best, in a piece of paper, and so rose up; and in the mean time fell into other familiar talk with Marbeck, (for the bishops of Ely and Hereford were both acquainted with him afore, and his friends, so far as they durst,) who, perceiving the bishops so pleasantly disposed, besought them to tell him in what danger he stood. "Shall I tell thee, Marbeck?" quoth the bishop of Sarum. "Thou art in better case than any of thy fellows, of whom there be some would give forty pounds to be in no worse case than thou art:" whose sayings the other affirmed. Then came Dr. Oking with the words he had written, and while the bishops were perusing them over, Dr. Oking said to Marbeck, very friendly, on this wise: "Good Master Marbeck, make haste, for the sooner ye have done, the sooner ye shall be delivered." And as the bishops were going away, the bishop of Hereford took Marbeck a little aside, and informed him of a word which Dr. Oking had written false, and also, to comfort him, said, "Fear not; there can no law condemn you for any thing that ye have done; for if ye had written a thousand heresies, so long as they be not your sayings nor your opinions, the law cannot hurt you." And so went they all with the bishop of Sarum to dinner, taking the poor man with them, who dined in the hall, at the steward's board; and besides that, had wine and meat sent down from the bishop's table.

When dinner was done, the bishop of Sarum came down into the hall, commanding ink and paper to be given to Marbeck, and the two books to one of his men to go with him; at whose going he demanded of the bishop, what time his Lordship would appoint him to do it in? "Against to-morrow this time;" quoth the bishop; which was about two of the clock, and so departed.

Marbeck, now being in his prison-chamber, fell to his business. and so applied the thing, that by the next day. when the bishop sent for him again, he had written so much, in the same order and form he had done the rest before, as contained three sheets of paper and more: which when he had delivered to the bishop of Sarum, Dr. Oking standing by, he marvelled and said. "Well, Marbeck, thou hast now put me out of all doubt. I assure thee," quoth he, putting up the paper into his bosom, "the king shall see this ere I be twenty-four hours older." But he dissembled every word, and thought nothing less than so; for afterwards, the matter being come to light, and known to his Grace, what a book the poor man had begun, which the bishops would not suffer him to finish, the king said he was better occupied than they that took it from him. So Marbeck departed from the bishop of Sarum to prison again, and heard no more of his book.

 

The fifth examination of Marbeck, before Dr. Oking, and Master Knight, secretary to the bishop of Winchester, in St. Mary Overy's church.

Upon Whitsunday following at afternoon, was Marbeck sent for once again to St. Mary Overy's, where he found Dr. Oking, with another gentleman in a gown of damask, with a chain of gold about his neck, (no more in all the church but they two,) sitting together in one of the stalls, their backs towards the church door, looking upon an epistle of Master John Calvin's, which Marbeck had written out; and when they saw the prisoner come, they rose and had him up to a side altar, leaving his keeper in the body of the church alone. Now, as soon as Marbeck saw the face of the gentleman, (whom before he knew not, by reason of his apparel,) he saw it was the same person that first examined him in the Marshalsea, and did also cause him to write in the bishop's gallery, but never knew his name till now he heard Dr. Oking call him Master Knight. This Master Knight held forth the paper to Marbeck, and said, "Look upon this, and tell me whose hand it is."

When Marbeck had taken the paper and seen what it was, he confessed it to be all his hand, saving the first leaf and the notes in the margin. "Then I perceive;" quoth Knight, "thou wilt not go from thine own hand." "No, sir," quoth he, "I will deny nothing that I have done." "Thou dost well in that," quoth Knight, "for if thou shouldst, we have testimonies enough besides, to try out thy hand by. But I pray thee tell me, whose hand is the first leaf:" "That I cannot tell you," quoth Marbeck. "Then how camest thou by it?" quoth Knight. "Forsooth I will tell you," quoth he. "There was a priest dwelling with us about five or six years ago, called Marshal, who sent it unto me with the first leaf written; desiring me to write it out with speed, because the copy could not be spared past an hour or twain: and so I wrote it out, and sent him both the copy and it again."

"And how came this hand in the margin," quoth he, "which is a contrary hand to both the others?" "That I will tell you," quoth Marbeck: "When I wrote it out at the first, I made so much haste of it, that I understood not the matter, wherefore I was desirous to see it again, and to read it with more deliberation; and being sent to me the second time, it was thus quoted in the margin, as ye see. And shortly after this, it was his chance to go beyond the seas, (where he lived not long,) by reason whereof the epistle remaineth with me; but whether the first leaf, or the notes in the margin, were his hand, or whose hand else, that I cannot tell." "Tush," quoth Dr. Oking to Master Knight, "he knoweth well enough that the notes be Haynes's own hand." "If you know so much," quoth Marbeck, "ye know more than I do; for I tell you truly, I know it not." "By my faith, Marbeck," quoth Knight, "if thou wilt not tell by fair means, those fingers of thine shall be made to tell." "By my troth, sir," quoth Marbeck, "if ye do tear the whole body in pieces, I trust in God, ye shall never make me accuse any man wrongfully." "If thou be so stubborn," quoth Dr. Oking. "thou wilt die for it." "Die, Master Oking!" quoth he, "wherefore should I die? You told me the last day, before the bishops, that as soon as I had made an end of the piece of Concordance they took from me, I should be delivered: and shall I now die? This is a sudden mutation. You seemed then to be my friend; but I know the cause: ye have read the ballet I made of Moses' chair, and that hath set you against me; but whensoever ye shall put me to death, I doubt not to die God's true man and the king's." "How so?" quoth Knight. "How canst thou die a true man unto the king, when thou hast offended his laws? Is not this epistle, and are not most of the notes thou hast written, directly against the six articles?" "No, sir," quoth Marbeck; "I have not offended the king's laws therein; for since the first time I began with the Concordance, (which is almost six yeas ago, I have been occupied in nothing else: so that both this epistle, and all the notes I have gathered, were written a great while before the six articles came forth, and are clearly remitted by the king's general pardon." "Trust not to that," quoth Knight, "for it will not help thee." "No, I warrant him," quoth Dr. Oking. And so going down to the body of the church, they committed him to his keeper, who had him away to prison again.

 

The suit of Filmer's wife, to the bishops who sat in commission, for her husband.

In like manner the wife of Filmer, knowing her husband's trouble to be only procured of malice by Simons, his old enemy, made great suit and labour unto the bishops who were commissioners, desiring no more of them, but that it would please their goodness to examine her husband before them, and to hear him make his purgation. This was her only request to every of the bishops from day to day, wheresoever she could find them; insomuch that two of the bishops (Ely and Hereford) were very sorry (considering the importunate and reasonable suit of the woman) that it lay not in them to help her. Thus, travelling long up and down from one to another, to have her husband examined, it was her chance at last to find the bishops all three together in the bishop of Ely's palace; unto whom she said, "O good my Lords! for the love of God, let now my poor husband be brought forth before you, while ye be here all together. For truly, my Lords, there can nothing be justly laid against him, but that of malicious envy and spite Simons hath wrought him this trouble. And you, my Lord of Salisbury," quoth the poor woman," can testify (if it will please your Lordship to say the truth) what malice Simons bare to my husband, when they were both before you at Salisbury, little more than a year ago, for the vicar of Windsor's matter. For, as your Lordship knoweth, when my husband had certified you of the priest's sermon, which you said was plain heresy, then came Simons, (after the priest himself had confessed it,) and would have defended the priest's error before your Lordship, and have had my husband punished. At what time it pleased your Lordship to commend and praise my husband for his honesty, and to rebuke Simons for maintaining the priest in his error; and thereupon commanded the priest to recant his heresy, at his coming home to Windsor. This, my Lord, you know to be true. And now, my Lords," quoth the woman, "it is most certain, that for this cause only did Simons evermore afterwards threaten my husband to be even with him. Therefore, my good Lords, call my husband before you, and hear him speak; and if ye find any other matter against him than this that I have told you, let me suffer death." "Is this so, my Lord? "quoth the bishops of Ely and Hereford. And the other could not deny it. Then they spake Latin to the bishop of Salisbury, and he to them, and so departed. For the matter was so wrought between Dr. London and Simons, that Filmer could never be suffered to come before the commissioners to be examined.

 

The martyrdom of Peerson, Testwood, and Filmer; with the manner of their condemnations, and how they died.-- Also the sparing of Marbeck, after he was sentenced to death.

When the time drew nigh that the king's Majesty (who was newly married to that good and virtuous Lady Katharine Parr) should make his progress abroad, the aforesaid Stephen Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, had so compassed his matters, that no man bare so great a swinge about the king as he did: wherewith the gospellers were so quailed, that the best of them all looked every hour to be clapped in the neck; for the saying went abroad, that the bishop had bent his bow to shoot at some of the head deer. But, in the mean time, three or four of the poor rascals were caught, that is to say, Anthony Peerson, Henry Filmer, and John Marbeck, and sent to Windsor by the sheriff's men the Saturday before St. James's day, and laid fast in the town jail: and Testwood, who had kept his bed, was brought out of his house upon crutches, and laid with them. But as for Bennet, which should have been the fifth man, his chance was to be sick of the pestilence, and having a great sore upon him, he was left behind in the bishop of London's jail, whereby he escaped the fire.

Now, these men being brought to Windsor, there was a sessions specially procured to be holden the Thursday after, which was St. Ann's day: against the which sessions (by the counsel of Dr. London and of Simons) were all the farmers, belonging to the college of Windsor, warned to appear; because they could not pick out papists enough in the town, to go upon the jury. The judges that day were these: Dr. Capon, bishop of Salisbury; Sir William Essex, knight; Sir Thomas Bridges, knight; Sir Humfrey Foster, knight; Master Franklen, dean of Windsor and Master Fachel of Reading.

When these had taken their places, and the prisoners were brought forth before them, then Robert Ockam, occupying for that day the room of the clerk of the peace, called Anthony Peerson, according to the manner of the court, and read his indictment, which was this:

"First, That he should preach two years before in a place called Wingfield, and there should say, that like as Christ was hanged between two thieves, even so, when the priest is at mass, and hath consecrated and lifted him up over his head, there he hangeth between two thieves, except he preach the word of God truly, as he hath taken upon him to do.

"Also, that he said to the people in the pulpit, 'Ye shall not eat the body of Christ as it did hang upon the cross gnawing it with your teeth, that the blood run about your lip': but you shall eat him this day as ye eat Him to-morrow, the next day, and every day: for it refresheth not the body, but the soul.'

"Also, after he had preached and commended the Scripture, calling it the word of God, he said as followeth: 'This is the word: this is the bread: this is the body of Christ.'

"Also he said that Christ, sitting with his disciples, took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, Take and eat; this is my body. 'What is this to us, but to take the Scripture of God, and to break it to the people?'"

To this Anthony answered and said, "I will be tried by God and his holy word, and by the true church of Christ, whether this be heresy or no, whereof ye have indicted me this day. So long as I preached the bishop of Rome, and his filthy traditions, I was never troubled; but since I have taken upon me to preach Christ and his gospel, ye have always sought my life. But it maketh no matter, for when you have taken your pleasure of my body, I trust it shall not lie in your powers to hurt my soul." "Thou callest us thieves," quoth the bishop. "I say," quoth Anthony, "ye are not only thieves, but murderers, except ye preach and teach the word of God purely and sincerely to the people; which ye do not, nor ever did; but have allured them to all idolatry, superstition, and hypocrisy, for your.own lucre and glory's sake, through the which ye are become rather bite-sheeps than true bishops, biting and devouring the poor sheep of Christ, like ravening wolves, never satisfied with blood; which God will require at your hands one day, doubt it not." Then spake Simons his accuser, standing within the bar, saying, "It is pity this fellow had not been burned long ago, as he deserved." "In faith," quoth Anthony, "if you had as you have deserved, you were more worthy to stand in this place than I. But I trust, in the last day, when we shall both appear before the tribunal seat of Christ, that than it will be known which of us two hath best deserved this place." "Shall I have so long a day? "quoth Simons, holding up his finger: "Nay then, I care not: "and so the matter was jested out.

 

Robert Testwood.

Then was Testwood called, and his indictment read, which was, that he should say, in the time that the priest was lifting up the sacrament, "What, wilt thou lift him so high? what yet higher? Take heed; let him not fall."

To this Testwood answered, saying, it was but a thing maliciously forged of his enemies to bring him to his death. "Yes," quoth the bishop, "thou hast been seen that when the priest should lift up the sacrament over his head, then wouldst thou look down upon thy book or some other way, because thou wouldst not abide to look upon the blessed sacrament.' "I beseech you, my Lord," quoth Testwood, "whereon did he look, that marked me so well?" "Marry," quoth Bucklayer, the king's attorney, "he could not be better occupied, than to mark such heretics, that so despised the blessed sacrament."

 

Henry Filmer.

Then was Filmer called, and his indictment read; that he should say that the sacrament of the altar is nothing else but a similitude and a ceremony; and also, if God be in the sacrament of the altar, I have eaten twenty Gods in my days.

Here you must understand, that these words were gathered of certain communication which should be between Filmer and his brother. The tale went thus:

This Henry Filmer, coming upon a Sunday from Clewer, his parish church, in the company of one or two of his neighbours, chanced, in the way, to meet his brother, (which was a very poor labouring man,) and asked him whither he went. "To the church," said he. "And what to do?" quoth Filmer. "To do," quoth he, "as other men do." "Nay," quoth Filmer, "you go to hear mass, and to see your God." "What if I do so?" quoth he. "If that be God should Filmer say, "I have eaten twenty Gods in my days. Turn again, fool, and go home with me, and I will read thee a chapter out of the Bible, that shall be better than all that thou shalt see or hear there."

This tale was no sooner brought to Dr. London, (by William Simons, Filmer's utter enemy,) but he sent for the poor man home to his house, where he cherished him with meat and money, telling him he should never lack, so long as he lived; that the silly poor man, thinking to have had a daily friend of Dr. London. was content to do and say whatsoever he and Simons would have him say or do against his own brother. And when Dr. London had thus won the poor man, he retained him as one of his household men until the court day was come, and then sent him up to witness this aforesaid tale against his brother. Which tale Filmer denied utterly, saying, that Dr. London, for a little meat and drink's sake, had set him on, and made him say what his pleasure was: "Wherefore, my Lord." quoth Filmer to the bishop, "I beseech your Lordship weigh the matter indifferently, forasmuch as there is no man in all this town, that can or will testify with him, that ever he heard any such talk between him and me; and if he can bring forth any that will witness the same with him, I refuse not to die." But say what he could, it would not prevail.

Then Filmer, seeing no remedy but that his brother's accusement should take place, he said, "Ah,brother! what cause hast thou to show me this unkindness? I have always been a natural brother unto thee and thine, and helped you all, to my power, from time to time, as thou thyself knowest; and is this a brotherly part, thus to reward me now for my kindness? God forgive it thee, my brother, and give thee grace to repent." Then Filmer, looking over his shoulder, desired some good body to let him see the book of Statutes. His wife, being at the end of the hall, and hearing her husband call for the book of Statutes, ran down to the keeper, and brought up the book, and gat it conveyed to her husband.

The bishop, seeing the book in his hand, start him up from the bench in a great fume, demanding who had given the prisoner that book, commanded it to be taken from him, and to make search who had brought it, swearing by the faith of his body, he should go to prison. Some said it was his wife, some said the keeper. "Like enough, my Lord," quoth Simons, "for he is one of the same sort; and as worthy to be here as the rest, if he were rightly served." But howsoever it was, the truth would not be known, and so the bishop sat him down again.

Then said Filmer, "O my Lord! I am this day judged by a law, and why should I not see the law that I am judged by? The law is, I should have two lawful witnesses, and here is but one, who would not do as he doth, but that he is forced thereunto by the suggestion of mine enemies." "Nay," quoth Bucklayer, the king's attorney, "thine heresy is so heinous, and abhorreth thine own brother so much, that it forceth him to witness against thee, which is more than two other witnesses."

Thus, as you see, was Filmer brought unjustly to his death by the malice of Simons and Dr. London, who had enticed that wretched caitiff his brother, to be their minister to work his confusion. But God, who is a just revenger of all falsehood and wrongs, would not suffer that wretch long to live upon earth, but the next year following, he, being taken up for a labourer to go to Boulogne, had not been there three days, ere that (in exonerating of nature) a gun took him and tore him all to pieces. And so were these words of Solomon fulfilled. "A false witness shall not remain unpunished."

 

John Marbeck.

Then was Marbeck called, and his indictment read, which was, that he should say, that the holy mass, when the priest doth consecrate the body of our Lord, is polluted, deformed, sinful, and open robbery of the glory of God, from which a Christian heart ought both to abhor and flee. And the elevation of the sacrament is the similitude of setting up of images of the calves, in the temple builded by Jeroboam; and that it is more abomination, than the sacrifices done by the Jews in Jeroboam's temple to those calves. And that certain and sure it is, that Christ himself is made, in the mass, man's laughing-stock.

To this he answered and said, that these words whereof they had indicted him were not his, but the words of a learned man called John Calvin, drawn out of a certain epistle which the said Calvin had made, which epistle he had but only written out, and that, long before the six articles came forth; so that now he was discharged of that offence by the king's general pardon, desiring that he might enjoy the benefit thereof.

Then were the jury called, which were all farmers belonging to the college of Windsor, whereof few or none had ever seen those men before, upon whose life and death they went. Wherefore the prisoners (counting the farmers as partial) desired to have the townsmen, or such as did know them, and had seen their daily conversations, in the place of the farmers, or else to be equally joined with them; but that would not be, for the matter was otherwise foreseen and determined.

Now, when the jury had taken their oath and all, Bucklayer, the king's attorney, began to speak; and first he alleged many reasons against Anthony Peerson, to prove him a heretic: which when Anthony would have disproved, the bishop said, "Let him alone, sir: he speaketh for the king." And so went Bucklayer forth with his matter, making every man's cause as heinous to the hearers as he could devise. And when he had done, and said what he would, then Sir Humfrey Foster spake to the quest, in favour of Marbeck, on this wise: "Masters!" quoth he, "ye see there is no man here that accuseth or layeth any thing to the charge of this poor man Marbeck, saving he hath written certain thing; of other men's sayings, with his own hand, whereof he is discharged by the king's general pardon: therefore ye ought to have a conscience therein." Then started up Fachel at the lower end of the bench, and said, "What can we tell, whether they were written before the pardon or after? They may as well be written since as afore, for any thing that we know." These words of Fachel (as every man said) were the cause of Marbeck's casting that day.

Then went the jury up to the chamber over the place where the judges sat, and in the mean time went all the knights and gentlemen abroad, saving the bishop, Sir William Essex and Fachel, which three sat still upon the bench till all was done. And when the jury had been together above, in the chamber, about the space of a quarter of an hour, up goeth Simons (of his own brain) unto them, and tarried there a pretty while, and came down again. After that came one of the jury down to the bishop, and talked with him and the other twain a good while, whereby many conjectured that the jury could not agree of Marbeck. But whether it was so or no, it was not long after his going up again, ere that they came down to give their verdict; and being required, according to the form of the law, to say their minds, one called Hide, dwelling beside Abingdon, in a lordship belonging to the college of Windsor, speaking as the mouth of the rest, said, they were all guilty.

Then the judges, beholding the prisoners a good while, (some with watery eyes,) made courtesy who should give judgment. Fachel, requiring the bishop to do it, he said, he might not. The others also, being required, said they would not. Then said Fachel, "It must be done; one must do it; and if no man will, then will I." And so Fachel, being lowest of all the bench, gave judgment. Then Marbeck, being the last upon whom sentence was given, cried unto the bishop, saying, "Ah! my Lord, you told me otherwise when I was before you and the other two bishops. You said then, that I was in better case than any of my fellows, and is your saying come to this? Ah! my Lord, you have deceived me." Then the bishop, casting up his hand, said, "he could not do withal."

Now the prisoners, being condemned and had away, prepared themselves to die on the morrow; comforting one another in the death and passion of their Master, Christ, who had led the way before them, trusting that the same Lord, who had made them worthy to suffer so far for his sake, would not now withdraw his strength from them, but give them stedfast faith and power to overcome those fiery torments, and of his free mercy and goodness, (without their deserts,) for his promise' sake, receive their souls. Thus lay they all the night long, (till very dead sleep took them,) calling to God for his aid and strength, and praying for their persecutors, who, of blind zeal and ignorance, had done they wist not what, that God, of his merciful goodness, would forgive them, and turn their hearts to the love and knowledge of his blessed and holy word: yea, such heavenly talk was amongst them that night, that the hearers, watching the prison without, whereof the sheriff himself was one, with divers gentlemen more, were constrained to shed out plenty of tears, as they themselves confessed.

On the next morrow, which was Friday, as the prisoners were all preparing themselves to go to suffer, word was brought them that they should not die that day. The cause was this: the bishop of Sarum, and they among them, had sent a letter by one of the sheriff's gentlemen, called Master Frost, to the bishop of Winchester (the court being then at Okingham) in favour of Marbeck; at the sight of which letter, the bishop straightway went to the king, and obtained his pardon; which being granted, he caused a warrant to be made out of hand for the sheriff's discharge, delivering the same to the messenger, who, with speed, returned with great joy, (for the love he bare to the party,) bringing good news to the town, of Marbeck's pardon; whereat many rejoiced.

Of this pardon were divers conjectures made. Some said, it was by the suit of the good sheriff Sir William Barrington, and Sir Humfrey Foster, with other gentlemen more that favoured Marbeck, to the bishop of Sarum and the other commissioners, that the letter was sent.

Some said again, that it came of the bishop of Sarum and Fachel's first motion, being pricked in conscience for that they had so slenderly cast him away. Other again thought that it was a policy purposed afore, by the bishop of Winchester, of Sarum, and of Dr. London, because they should seem to be merciful. This conjecture rose upon this occasion: There was one Sadock, dwelling in the town, who was great with Dr. London and Simons; and he should say, four days before the sessions began, that the prisoners should be all cast and condemned, but Marbeck should have his pardon.

Others there were, that thought the aforesaid bishops, with Dr. London, had done it for this purpose; that he now, having his life, would rather utter such men as they would have him to do, than to come in like danger again; which conjecture rose upon this: Simons, meeting with Marbeck's wife, said thus unto her: "Your husband may thank God and good friends: my Lord of Winchester is good lord to him, who hath got his pardon. But shall I tell you?" quoth he: "his pardon will be to none effect, except he tell the truth of things to my Lord, and other of the council, when he shall be demanded; for unto that purpose only is he reserved." "Alas, sir," quoth she, "what can he tell?" "Well, woman;" quoth Simons, "I tell thee plain; if he do not so, never look to have thy hus-hand out of prison;" and so departed from her.

The like meaning did Master Arch make to Marbeck himself, on the Saturday in the morning that the moo should be burned, when he came to confess them. I have nothing," quoth he, "to say unto you, Marbeck. at this time; but hereafter you must be content to do as shall be enjoined you:" meaning, he should be forced to do some unlawful thing,or else to lie in perpetual prison. And this was most likely to have been attempted, if they had proceeded in their purpose; whose intent was to have gone through the whole realm, in like sort as they had begun at Windsor, as the bishop of Sarum confessed openly, and said, that "he trusted, ere Christmas day following, to visit and cleanse a good part thereof." But most commonly God sendeth a shrewd cow short horns, or else many a thousand in England had smarted.

On Saturday in the morning that the prisoners should go to execution, came in to the prison two of the canons of the college, the one called Dr. Blithe, and the other Master Arch, which two were sent to be their confessors: Master Arch asked them, if they would be confessed; and they said, "Yea." Then he demanded if they would receive the sacrament: "Yea," said they, "with all our hearts." "I am glad," quoth Arch, "to hear you say so; but the law is," quoth he, "that it may not be ministered to any that are condemned of heresy. But it is enough for you that ye do desire it." And so he had them up to the hall to hear their confessions, because the prison was full of people. Dr. Blithe took Anthony Peerson to him to confess, and Master Arch the other two. But howsoever the matter went between the doctor and Anthony, he tarried not long with him, but came down again, saying, "he would no more of his doctrine." "Do you call him Dr. Blithe?" quoth Anthony. "He may be called Dr. Blind for his learning, as far as I see." And soon after the other two came down also. Then Anthony, seeing much people in the prison, began to say the Lord's Prayer, whereof he made a marvellous godly declaration, wherein he continued till the officer came to fetch them away, and so made an end. And taking their leave of Marbeck, (their prison-fellow,) they praised God for his deliverance, wishing to him the increase of godliness and virtue; and, last of all, besought him heartily to help them with his prayer unto God, to make them strong in their affliction: and so, kissing him one after another, they departed.

Now, as the prisoners passed through the people in the streets, they desired all the faithful people to pray for them, and to stand fast in the truth of the gospel, and not to be moved at their afflictions, for it was the happiest thing that ever came to them. And ever as Dr. Blithe and Arch (who rode on each side the prisoners) would persuade them to turn to their mother, holy church, "Away," would Anthony cry, "away with your Romish doctrine, and all your trumpery, for we will no more of it!

When Filmer was come to his brother's door, he stayed and called for his brother; but he could not be seen, for Dr. London had kept him out of sight that same day, for the nonce.

And when he had called for him three or four times, and saw he came not, he said, "And will he not come? Then God forgive him and make him a good man." And so going forth they came to the place of execution, where Anthony Peerson, with a cheerful countenance, embraced the post in his arms, and kissing it, said, "Now welcome mine own sweet wife! for this day shall thou and I be married together in the love and peace of God."

Illustration -- Filmer, Peerson and Testwod burned at the stake

And being all three bound to the post, a certain young man of Filmer's acquaintance brought him a pot of drink, asking if he would drink. "Yea," quoth Filmer, "I thank you. And .now, my brother," quoth he, "I shall desire you, in the name of the living Lord, to stand fast in the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which you have received." And so, taking the pot at his hand, he asked his brother Anthony, if he would drink. "Yea, brother Filmer, quoth he, "I pledge you in the Lord."

And when he had drunk, he gave the pot to Anthony, and Anthony likewise gave it to Testwood. Of this drinking, their adversaries made a jesting-stock, reporting abroad that they were all drunk, and wist not what they said; when they were none otherwise drunk than as the apostles were, when the people said they were full of new wine, as their deeds declared: for, when Anthony and Testwood had both drunk, and given the pot from them, Filmer, rejoicing in the Lord, said, "Be merry, my brethren, and lift up your hearts unto God; for after this sharp breakfast, I trust we shall have a good dinner in the kingdom of Christ, our Lord and Redeemer." At the which words Testwood, lifting up his hands and eyes to heaven, desired the Lord above to receive his spirit; and Anthony Peerson, pulling the straw unto him, laid a good deal thereof upon the top of his head, saying, "This is God's hat; now am I dressed like a true soldier of Christ, by whose merits only I trust this day to enter into his joy." And so yielded they up their souls to the Father of heaven, in the faith of his dear Son, Jesus Christ, with such humility and stedfastness, that many who saw their patient suffering, confessed that they could have found in their hearts (at that present) to have died with them.

 

How all their conspiracies were known.

Ye have heard before of one Robert Bennet, how he was at the first apprehended with the other four persons aforesaid, and committed to the bishop of London's prison; and about the time he should have gone to Windsor, he fell sick of the pestilence, by means whereof he remained still in prison.

This Bennet and Simons (ye shall understand) were the greatest familiars and company keepers that were in all Windsor, and never lightly swerved the one from the other, saving in matters of religion, wherein they could never agree. For Bennet, the one lawyer, was an earnest gospeller, and Simons, the other lawyer, a cankered papist; but in all other worldly matters they cleaved together like burrs.

This Bennet had spoken certain words against their little round god, for which he was as far in as the best, and had suffered death with the others if he had gone to Windsor when they went. And now that the matter was all done and finished, it was determined by the bishop of Salisbury, that Robert Ockam, on the Monday after the men were burned, should go to the bishop of Winchester, with the whole process done at the sessions the Thursday before.

Then Simons, at Bennet's wife's request, procured the bishop of Salisbury's favourable letter to the bishop of Winchester, for Bennet's deliverance, which letter Bennet's wife (forasmuch as her own man was not at home who should have gone with the letter) desired Robert Ockam to deliver to the bishop, and to bring her word again; who said he would. So forth went Ockam toward the bishop of Winchester, with his budget full of writings, to declare and open all things unto him. that were done at Windsor sessions. But all their wicked intents, as God would have it, were soon cut off, and their doings disclosed. For one of the queen's men, named Fulk, who had lain at Windsor all the time of the business, and had got knowledge what a number were privily indicted, and of Ockam 's going to the bishop of Winchester, gat to the court before Ockam, and told Sir Thomas Cardine and others of the privy chamber, how all the matter stood. Whereupon Ockam was laid for, and had by the back as soon as he came to the court, and so kept from the bishop.

On the next morrow, very early, Bennet's wife sent her man to the court after Ockam, to see how he sped with her husband's letter. And when he came there, he found Sir Thomas Cardine, walking with Ockam up and down the green, before the court gate; whereat he marvelled, to see Ockam with him so early, mistrusting the matter: whereupon he kept himself out of sight till they had broken off their communication.

And as soon as he saw Master Cardine gone, (leaving Ockam behind,) he went to Ockam and asked him if he had delivered his master's letter to the bishop. "No," said Ockam, "the king removeth this day to Guildford, and I must go thither, and will deliver it there." "Marry," quoth he, "and I will go with you, to see what answer you shall have, and to carry word to my mistress;" and so they rode to Guildford together; where Bennet's man (being better acquainted in the town than Ockam was) got a lodging for them both in a kinsman's house of his.

That done, he asked Ockam, if he would go and deliver his mistress's letter to the bishop. "Nay," said Ockam, "you shall go and deliver it yourself:" and took him the letter. And as they were going in the street together, and coming by the earl of Bedford's lodging, (then lord privy seal,) Ockam was pulled in by the sleeve, and no more seen of Bennet's man, till he saw him in the Marshalsea. Then went Bennet's man to the bishop's lodging and delivered his letter: and when the bishop had read the contents thereof, he called for the man that brought it. "Come, sirrah!" quoth be, "you can tell me more by mouth than the letter specifieth;" and had him into a little garden. "Now," quoth the bishop, "what say you to me?" "Forsooth, my Lord," quoth he, "I have nothing to say unto your Lordship; for I did not bring the letter to the town." "No!" quoth the bishop, "where is he that brought it?" "Forsooth, my Lord," quoth he, "I left him busy at his lodging." "Then he will come," quoth the bishop, "bid him be with me betimes in the morning." "I will," quoth he, "do your Lordship's commandment:" and so he departed home to his lodging. And when his kinsfolks saw him come in, "Alas, cousin," quoth they, "we are all undone!" "Why so?" quoth he, "what is the matter?" "Oh!" said they, "here hath been, since you went, Master Paget the king's secretary, with Sir Thomas Cardine of the privy chamber, and searched all our house for one that should come to the town with Ockam; therefore make shift for yourself as soon as you can." "Is that all the matter?" quoth he, "then content yourselves, for I will never flee one foot, hap what hap will." As they were thus reasoning together, in came the aforesaid searchers again: and when Master Cardine saw Bennet's man, he knew him very well, and said, "Was it thou that came to the town with Ockam?" "Yea, sir;" quoth he. "Now who the devil," quoth Master Cardine, "brought thee in company with that false knave?" Then he told them his business, and the cause of his coming; which being known. they were satisfied, and so departed. The next day had Bennet's man a discharge for his master, (procured by certain of the privy chamber,) and so went home.

Now was Ockam all this while at my Lord Privy Seal's, where he was kept secret, till certain of the privy council had perused all his writings; among which they found certain of the privy chamber indicted, with other the king's officers, with their wives; that is to say, Sir Thomas Cardine, Sir Philip Hobby, with both their ladies, Master Edmund Harman, Master Thomas Weldon, with Snowball and his wife. All these they had indicted by the force of the six articles, as aiders, helpers, and maintainers of Anthony Peerson. And besides them, they had indicted of heresy (some for one thing, and some for another) a great number more of the king's true and faithful subjects: whereof the king's Majesty being certified, his Grace, of his special goodness, (without the suit of any man,) gave to the aforesaid gentlemen of his privy chamber, and other his servants, with their wives, his gracious pardon. And as God would have the matter further known unto his Majesty. as he rode one day a-hunting in Guildford park, and saw the sheriff with Sir Humfrey Foster sitting on their horsebacks together, he called them unto him. and asked of them, how his laws were executed at Windsor. Then they, beseeching his Grace of pardon., told him plainly, that in all their lives they never sat on matter under his Grace's authority, that went so much against their consciences as the death of these men did; and up and told his Grace so pitiful a tale of the casting away of these poor men, that the king, turning his horse's head to depart from them, said, "Alas, poor innocents!"

After this the king withdrew his favour from the bishop of Winchester, and being more and more informed of the conspiracy of Dr. London and Simons, he commanded certain of his council to search out the ground thereof. Whereupon Dr. London and Simons were apprehended and brought before the council, and examined upon their oath of allegiance; and for denying their mischievous and traitorous purpose, which was manifestly proved to their faces, they were both perjured, and in fine adjudged, as perjured persons, to wear papers in Windsor; and Ockam to stand upon the pillory, in the town of Newbury where he was born.

The judgment of all these three was to ride about Windsor, Reading, and Newbury, with papers on their heads, and their faces turned to the horse-tails, and so to stand upon the pillory in every of these towns, for false accusation of the aforenamed martyrs, and for perjury.

And thus much touching the persecution of these good saints of Windsor, according to the copy of their own acts, received and written by John Marbeck, who is yet alive both a present witness, and also was then a party of the said doings, and can testify the truth thereof.

 

An answer to the cavilling adversaries, touching John Marbeck.

Wherefore against these crooked cavillers, which make so much ado against my former book, because in a certain place I chanced to say that Bennet and Filmer had their pardon, (when indeed it was Bennet and Marbeck,) be it therefore known, protested, denounced, and notified, to all and singular such carpers, wranglers, exclaimers, depravers, with the whole brood of all such whisperers, railers, quarrel-pickers, corner-creepers, fault-finders, and spider-catchers, or by what name else soever they are to be tituled, that here I openly say and affirm, profess, hold, maintain, and write the same as I said and wrote before, in the latter castigations of my book: that is, that John Marbeck was, with the others, condemned, but not burned; cast by the law, but by pardon saved; appointed with the rest to die, and yet not dead; but liveth, God be praised, and yet to this present day singeth merrily, and playeth on the organs, not as a dead man amongst "Foxe's Martyrs," (as it hath pleased some in the court to encounter against me,) but as one witnessed and testified truly in the book of Foxe's Martyrs to be alive. And, therefore, such manner of persons, if the disposition of their nature be such that they must needs find faults, then let them find them where they are, and where those faults, by their finding, may be corrected. But whereas they be corrected already, and found to their hands, and also amended before, let then these legend-liars look on their own legends, and there cry out of lies, where they may find enough; and cease their biting there, where they have no just cause to bark.

And admit that I had not foreseen and corrected this escape before, touching the matter of John Marbeck, but that the place still had remained in the book as it was, (that is, that the said John Marbeck, who is yet alive, had then died and suffered with the other three, the same time at Windsor,) yet, what gentle or courteous reader could have therein any just matter to triumph and insult against me, seeing the judicial acts, the records and registers, yea, and the bishops certificate, and also the writ of execution remaining yet on record, sent to the king, did lead me so to say and think? For what man, writing histories, who cannot be in all places to see all things, but following his records and registers, wherein he seeth the said Marbeck to be judged and condemned with the rest, would otherwise write or think, but that he also was executed and burned in the same company.

But now I correct and reform the same again, and first of all others. I find the fault, and yet I am found fault withal. I correct myself. and yet I am corrected of others. I warn the reader of the truth, and yet am a liar. The book itself showeth the escape, and biddeth, instead of four, to read three burned; and yet is the book made a legend of lies!

Briefly, where I prevent all occasion of cavilling to the uttermost of my diligence, yet cannot I have that law, which all other books have, that is, to recognise and reform mine own errata.

Wherefore, to conclude: these men, whosoever they are. it' they will be satisfied, I have said enough; if they will not, whatsoever I can say, it will not serve; and so I leave them. I would I could better satisfy them. God himself amend them!

 

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