310. WILLIAM ALLEN, ROGER COO, AND THOMAS COBB
The martyrdom of William Allen, September, 1555.
Next after the suffering of Robert Samuel, about the beginning of September, was burned William Allen in Walsingham, labouring man, servant some time to John Houghton of Somerton. He, being brought before the bishop, and asked the cause why he was imprisoned, answered, that he was put in prison because he would not follow the cross, saying, that he would never go on procession.
Then, being willed by the bishop to return again to the catholic church, he answered, that he would turn to the catholic church, but not to the Romish church: and said, that if he saw the king and queen, and all others follow the cross, or kneel down to the cross, he would not. For the which, sentence of condemnation was given against him the twelfth of August, and he burned at Walsingham about the beginning of September, who declared such constancy at his martyrdom, and had such credit with the justices, by reason of his upright and well-tried conversation among them, that he was suffered to go untied to the suffering, and there, being fastened with a chain, stood quietly without shrinking until he died.
The martyrdom of Roger Coo, of Melford in Sufolk, shearman; first examined before Hopton, the bishop of Norwich, and by him condemned, August 12, anno 1555.
Roger Coo, being brought before the bishop, first was asked why he was imprisoned.
Coo.--"At the justice's commandment."
Bishop.--"There was some cause why."
Coo.--"Here is my accuser; let him declare."
And his accuser said, that he would not receive the sacrament. Then the bishop said, that he thought he had transgressed a law. But Coo answered that there was no law to transgress.
The bishop then asked, what he said to the law that then was? He answered how he had been in prison a long time, and knew it not.
"No," said his accuser, "nor will not. My Lord, ask him when he received the sacrament."
When Coo heard him say so, he said, "I pray you, my Lord, let him sit down and examine me himself."
But the bishop would not hear that, but said, "Coo, why will ye not receive?"
Coo answered him, that the bishop of Rome had changed God's ordinances, and given the people bread and wine, instead of the gospel and the belief of the same.
Bishop.--"How prove you that?"
Coo.--"Our Saviour said, My flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him; and the bread and wine doth not so."
Bishop.--"Well, Coo, thou dost slander our holy fathers. Did not Christ take bread, give thanks, and break it, and say, This is my body?"
"Yes," said Coo, and so he went further with the text, saying, "Which shall be given for you: do this in remembrance of me."
Bishop.--"You have said the truth."
Then Coo replied further, and said, "Christ willed to do this in remembrance of him, and not to say this in remembrance of him, neither did the Holy Ghost so lead the apostles, but taught them to give thanks, and to break bread from house to house, and not to say as the bishop said."
Bishop.--"How prove you that?"
Coo.--"It is written in the second of the Acts."
Then the bishop's chaplain said, it was true. The bishop asked him if he could say his belief.
Coo answered, "Yea," and so said part of the Creed, and then after he said, he believed more; for he believed the Ten Commandments, that it was meet for all such as look to be saved, to be obedient unto them.
Bishop.--"Is not the holy church to be believed also?"
Coo.--"Yes, if it be builded upon the word of God."
The bishop said to Coo, that he had charge of his soul.
Coo.--"Have ye so, my Lord? Then if ye go to the devil for your sins, where shall I become?"
Bishop.--"Do you not believe as your father did? Was not he an honest man?"
Coo.--"It is written, that after Christ hath suffered, there shall come a people with the prince, that shall destroy both city and sanctuary. I pray you show me whether this destruction was in my father's time, or now?"
The bishop not answering his question, asked him whether he would not obey the king's laws.
Coo.--"As far as they agree with the word of God, I will obey them."
Bishop.--"Whether they agree with the word of God or not, we be bound to obey them, if the king were an infidel."
Coo.--"If Shadrach, Meshech, and. Abednego had so done, Nebuchadnezzar had not confessed the living God."
Then the bishop told him, that these twenty-two years we have been governed with such kings.
Coo.--"My Lord, why were ye then dumb, and did not speak or bark?"
Bishop.--"I durst not for fear of death."
"And thus they ended. But after this done, it was reported that I railed; wherefore I called it to memory, and wrote this my railing, that light should not be taken for darkness, nor sin for holiness, and the devil for God, who ought to be feared and honoured both now and ever! Amen."
This Roger Coo, an aged father, after his sundry troubles and conflicts with his adversaries, at length was committed to the fire at Yoxford, in the county of Suffolk, where he most blessedly ended his aged years, A. D. 1555, in the month of September.
Thomas Cob, butcher, of Haverhill in Suffolk, martyr.
Over and besides this foresaid Roger Coo, William Allen, James Abbes of Stokenneyland, Robert Samuel, and others, in the same year, upon the twelfth of August, was also with them condemned Thomas Cob, of Haverhill, butcher, executed in the month of September aforesaid; who, being brought and examined by Michael Dunnings, the bloody chancellor of Norwich, first, whether he believed that Christ is really and substantially in the sacrament of the altar; answered, that the body of Christ, born of the blessed Virgin, was in heaven, and otherwise (he said) he would not answer, because he had read it in the Scripture, that Christ did ascend, and did never descend since; and therefore said, that he had not learned in the Scripture, that Christ should be in the sacrament.
Furthermore, being demanded whether he would obey the laws of the realm of England, made for the unity of faith, or no, he answered, that his body should be at the king and queen's commandment, so far as the law of God would suffer, &c. In fine, the said Thomas Cob, being condemned the same twelfth day of August, with the other his fellow martyrs, was burned in the town of Thetford, A. D. 1555, in the month of September.