Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 351.OTHER MARTYRS IN 1556

351.OTHER MARTYRS IN 1556

Three martyrs burned at Grinstead in Sussex.

            Near about the same time that these three women with the infant were burnt at Guernsey, suffered other three likewise at Grinstead in Sussex, two men and one woman; the names of whom were Thomas Dungate, John Foreman, and Mother Tree, who for righteousness' sake gave themselves to death and torments of the fire, patiently abiding what the furious rage of man could say or work against them; at the said town of Grinstead ending their lives, the eighteenth of the said month of July, and in the year aforesaid.

 

The burning and martyrdom of Thomas Moor, a simple innocent, in the town of Leicester.

            As the bloody rage of this persecution spared neither man, woman, nor child, wife nor maid, lame, blind, nor cripple; and so through all men and women, as there was no difference either of sex or age considered, so neither was there any condition or quality respected of any person, but whosoever he were, that held not as they did on the pope, and sacrament of the altar, were he learned or unlearned, wise or simple innocent, all went to the fire, as may appear by this simple poor creature and innocent soul, named Thotnas Moor, retained as a servant to a man's house in the town of Leicester, about the age of twenty-four, and, after, in manner of a husbandman; who, for speaking certain words, that his Maker was in heaven, and not in the pix, was thereupon apprehended in the country, being with his friends; who coming before his ordinary, first was asked, whether he did not believe his Maker there to be (pointing to the high altar): which he denied.

            Then asked the bishop, "How then," said he, "dost thou believe?"

            The young man answered again: As his creed did teach him.

            To whom the bishop said, "And what is yonder that thou seest above the altar?" He answering said, "Forsooth I cannot tell what you would have me to see. I see there fine clothes, with golden tassels, and other gay gear hanging about the pix what is within I cannot see."

            "Why, dost thou not believe," said the bishop, "Christ to be there, flesh, blood, and bone?" No, that I do not," said he.

            Whereupon the ordinary, making short with him, read the sentence, and so condemned the true and faithful servant of Christ to death, in St. Margaret's church in Leicester; who was burnt, and suffered a joyful and glorious martyrdom, for the testimony of righteousness, in the same town of Leicester, the year of our Lord above mentioned, 1556, about the twenty-sixth of June.

            To this Thomas Moor, we have also annexed the answers and examination of one John Jackson, be-fore Dr. Cook, one of the commissioners, for that it belongeth much unto the same time.

 

Illustration -- The Martyrdom of John Jackson

 

The examination of John Jackson, had before Dr. Cook, the eleventh day of March, anno 1556.

            "First, when I came before him, he railed on me, and called me heretic. I answered and said, 'I am no heretic.'

            "'Yes,' quoth he: 'for Master Read told me, that thou wast the rankest heretic of all them in the King's Bench.' I said, I knew him not. 'No?' quoth he: 'yes, he examined thee at the King's Bench.' I answered him, and said, 'He examined five others, but not me.'

            "Then answer me,' quoth he, 'what sayest thou to the blessed sacrament of the altar? tell me.' I answered, 'It is a diffuse question, to ask me at the first dash, you promising to deliver me.'

            "'What a heretic is this!' quoth he. I said, 'It is easier to call a man heretic, than to prove him one.'

            "Then said he, 'What church art thou of?' 'What church?' quoth I; 'I am of the same church that is builded on the foundation of the prophets and the apostles, Jesus Christ being the head cornerstone.'

            Thou art a heretic,' quoth he. 'Yea,' quoth I: 'how can that be, seeing that I am of that church? I am sure that you will not say that the prophets and apostles were heretics.'

            "'No,' quoth he; 'but what sayest thou to the blessed sacrament of the altar again? tell me.' I answered him, and said, 'I find it not written.' 'No?' quoth he: 'keeper, away with him.'

            "Yet I tarried there long, and did talk with him, and I said, 'Sir, I can be content to be tractable, and obedient to the word of God.'

            "He answered and said to me, that I knew not what the word of God meant, nor yet whether it were true or not. I answered, and said to him, Yea, that I do.'

            "'Whereby?' quoth he. 'Hereby,' said I. Our Saviour Christ saith, Search the Scriptures, for in them you think to have eternal life. For they be they that testify of me.'

            "'This is a wise proof,' quoth he. 'Is it so?' quoth I: 'what say you then to these words that the prophet David said, Whatsoever he be that feareth the Lord, he will show him the way that he hath chosen: his soul shall dwell at ease, and his seed shall possess the land. The secrets of the Lord are among them that fear him, and he showeth them his covenant?'

            "Well,' quoth he, 'you shall be rid shortly one way or other.'

            "Then said I to him, My life lieth not in man's hands; therefore no man shall do more unto me than God will suffer him.'

            "No? 'quoth he: thou art a stubborn and naughty fellow.'

            '" You cannot so judge of me,' quoth I, except you did see some evil by me.'

            '" No? 'quoth he: why may not I judge thee, as well as thou and thy fellows judge us, and call us papists?'

            "Why,' quoth I, that is no judgment: but Christ saith, If you refuse me, and receive not my word, you have one that judgeth you. The word that I have spoken unto you now, shall judge you in the last day.'

            "I pray thee tell me, who is the head of the con-gregation?' I answered and said, Christ is the head.'

            "But who is head in earth? 'I said, Christ hath members here in earth.'

            "Who are they? 'quoth he. 'They,' quoth I, that are ruled by the word of God.'

            "You are a good fellow,' quoth he. 'I am that I am,' quoth I.

            "Then he said to my keeper, Have him to prison again." I am contented with that,' quoth I; and so we departed.

            "I answered no further in this matter, because I thought he should not have my blood in a corner. But I hope in the living God, that when the time shall come, before the congregation I shall shake their building after another manner of fashion. For they build but upon the sand, and their walls be daubed with untempered mortar, and therefore they cannot stand long. Therefore, good brothers and sisters, be of good cheer: for I trust in my God, I and my other prison-fellows shall go joyfully before you, praising God most heartily, that we are counted worthy to be witnesses of his truth. I pray you accept my simple answer, at this time, committing you unto God."

            Of this John Jackson, besides these his foresaid answers and examination before Dr. Cook, one of the commissioners, no more as yet came unto our hands.

 

The examination of John Newman, martyr, which, is to be referred to his story before.

            John Newman was first apprehended in Kent, dwelling in the town of Maidstone, and there was examined before Dr. Thornton, suffragan, and others at Tenterden. From thence he was brought to Bonner, and there condemned with Master Denley and Packingham, and burned at Saffron Walden, as is before storied. But because his examinations and answers before the suffragan came not then to my hands, I thought here in this place to bestow them, rather than they should utterly be suppressed. And first what his answers were by writing to the said suffragan after his apprehension, you shall hear by the tenor of his own words, as followeth.

            "It may please you to understand, that for the space of all the time of King Edward's reign, we were diligently instructed with continual sermons, made by such men, whose faith, wisdom, learning, and virtuous living were commended unto all men, under the king's hand and seal, and under the hands of the whole council. These men taught diligently a long time, persuading us by the allegations of God's word, that there was no transubstantiation, nor corporal presence in the sacrament. Their doctrine was not believed of us suddenly; but by their continual preaching, and also by our continual prayer unto God, that we might never be deceived, but, if it were true, that God would incline our hearts unto it; and if it were not true, that we might never believe it.

            "We weighed that they laboured with God's word, and we asked the advice of our friends; neither could we find that they preached false doctrine. We considered also, as we did learn, that the king's Grace and his council, and the most part of all the whole realm, believed as they taught, because no man preached the contrary. Also we know, that the preachers were commanded by the king, and the laws of the realm, to preach unto us such doctrine, as was to the authority of God's word agreeable, and none other. And by their diligent setting forth of it, by the king's commandment, and the consent of the whole council, and by the authority of the parliament, we embraced it, and received it, as a very infallible truth taught unto us, for the space of seven years. Wherefore until such time as our consciences are otherwise taught and instructed by God's word, we cannot with safeguard of our consciences take it, as many suppose at this time. And we trust in God, neither that the queen's merciful Highness, nor yet her most honourable council, will, in a matter of faith, use compulsion or violence, because faith is the gift of God, and cometh not of man, neither of man's laws, neither at such time as men require it, but at such time as God giveth it."

 

The examination and answers of John Newman, martyr, before Dr. Thornton, suffragan of Dover, and others.

            First, one of the doctors, or one of the bench, either the archdeacon or Fauced, or some other, whose name John Newman doth not express, beginneth, asking in this wise:

            Doctor.--"How say you to this? This is my body, which is given for you."

            Newman.-- "It is a figurative speech; one thing spoken, and another meant; as Christ saith, I am a vine, I am a door, I am a stone, &c. Is he therefore a material stone, a vine, or a door?"

            Doctor.--"This is no figurative speech; for be saith, This is my body which is given for you. And so saith he not of the stone, vine, or door; but that is a figurative speech."

            Newman.--"Christ saith, This cup is the new testament in my blood. If ye will have it so meant, then let them take and eat the cup."

            Doctor.--"Nay, that is not so meant: for it is a common phrase of speech among ourselves. We say to our friend, Drink a cup of drink, and yet we mean he should drink the drink in the cup."

            Newman.--"Why, if ye will have the one so understood, ye must so understand the other."

            Doctor.--"Nay, it is a common use of speech, to say, Drink a cup of ale or beer: and therefore it is no figurative speech."

            Newman.--"The often using of a thing doth not make that thing otherwise than it is; but wheresoever one thing is spoken and another meant, it is a figurative speech."

            Doctor.--"Well, we will not stand hereabout. How say ye by the real presence? is not Christ's natural body there that was born of the Virgin Mary?"

            Newman.--"No, I do not so believe, neither can I so believe; for the soul of man doth not feed upon natural things, as the body doth."

            Doctor.--"Why, how then doth it feed?"

            Newman.--"I think the soul of man doth feed as the angels in heaven, whose feeding is only the pleasure, joy, felicity, and delectation that they have of God; and so the soul of man doth feed and eat, through faith, the body of Christ."

            Collins.--"Yea, but if the body do not feed upon natural things, the soul cannot continue with the body: therefore the body must needs feed upon natural things, that both may live together."

            Newman.--"I grant it to be true: but yet the soul doth live otherwise than the body, which doth perish; therefore natural things do but feed the body only. I pray you what did Judas receive at the supper?"

            Collins.--"Marry, Judas did receive the very body of Christ, but it was to his damnation."

            Newman.--"Why, was the devil entered into him before? Then he had both the devil and Christ in him at one time."

            Collins.--"Nay, the devil did enter into him afterward."

            Newman.--"Yea, and before too: what do you think? had he but one devil? Nay, I think he had rather a legion of devils at the latter end."

            Collins.--"Well, put case it be so, what say you to that?"

            Newman.-- "Marry, if Christ and the devil were both in Judas at once, I pray you how did they two agree together?"

            Collins.--"We grant they were both in Judas at that time; for Christ may be where the devil is, if he will: but the devil cannot be where Christ is, except it please Christ."

            Newman.--"Christ will not be in an unclean person that hath the devil."

            Thornton.-- "Why, will ye not believe that Christ was in hell? yet ye will grant that the devil is there; and so might he be in Judas if it pleased him."

            Newman.--"Christ would not suffer Mary Magdalene to touch him, which sought him at his grave, and did love him entirely; much less he will suffer an ungodly man to receive him into his unclean body."

            Thornton.--"Yes, seeing God may do all things he may do what he list, and be where he will: and doth not the psalmist say, he is in hell, and in all places? Why should we then doubt of his being there?"

            Newman.--"Though his Godhead be in all places, yet that is not sufficient to prove that his humanity is in all places."

            Thornton.--"No! do you not believe that God is omnipotent, and may do all things?".

            Hewman.--"I do believe that God is almighty, and may do all that he will do."

            Thornton.--"Nay, but if he be omnipotent, he may do all things, and there is nothing impossible for him to do."

            Nenyman.--"I know God is almighty, and can do all that he will: but he cannot make his Son a liar, he cannot deny himself, nor can he restore virginity once violated and defiled."

            Thornton.--"What is that to your purpose? God doth not defile virginity; we speak but of things that God doth."

            Newman.--"Why, will ye have the humanity of Christ in all places, as the Deity is?"

            Thornton.--"Yea, he is in all places, as the Deity is, if it please him."

            Newman.--"I will promise you that seemeth to me a very great heresy; for heaven and earth are not able to contain the divine power of God: for it is in all places, as here and in every place; and yet ye will say, that wheresoever the Deity is, there is also the humanity; and so ye will make him no body, but a phantastical body, and not a body indeed."

            Thornton.--"Nay, we do not say he is in all places, as the Deity is; but, if it please him, he may be in all places with the Deity."

            Newman.--"I promise you that seemeth to me as great a heresy as ever I heard of in my life; and I dare not grant it, lest I should deny Christ to be a very man, and that were against all the Scriptures."

            Thornton.--"Tush, what shall we stand reasoning with him? I dare say he doth not believe that Christ came out of his mother, not opening the matrice. Do you believe that Christ rose from death, and came through the stone?"

            Newman.--"I do believe that Christ rose from death; but I do not believe that he came through the stone, neither doth the Scripture so say."

            Thornton.--"Lo, how say you? he doth not believe that Christ came through the stone: and if he doth not believe this, how shall he believe the other? If he could believe this, it were easy for him to believe the other."

            Newman.--"The Scripture doth not say he went through the stone, but it saith the angels of God came down, and rolled, away the stone, and for fear of him the keepers became even as dead men."

            Thornton.--"Ah fool, ah fool! that was because the women should see that he was risen again from death."

            Newman.--"Well, the Scripture maketh as much for me, as it doth for you, and more too."

            Thornton.--"Well, let us not stand any longer about him. Back again to the real presence. How say ye? is the body of Christ really in the sacrament, or no?"

            Newman.--"I have answered you already."

            Thornton.--"Well, do ye not believe that he is there really?"

            Newman.--"No, I believe it not."

            Thornton.--"Well, will ye stand to it?"

            Newman.--"I must needs stand to it, till I be persuaded to a further truth."

            Thornton.--"Nay, ye will not be persuaded, but stand to your own opinion."

            Newman.--"Nay, I stand not to mine own opinion, God I take to witness, but only to the Scriptures of God, and that can all those that stand here witness with me, and nothing but the Scriptures: and I take God to witness, that I do nothing of presumption, but that which I do is only in regard of my conscience; and if there be a further truth than I see, except it appear a truth to me, I cannot receive it as a truth. And seeing faith is the gift of God, and cometh not of man, (for it is not you that can give me faith, nor any man else,) therefore I trust ye will bear the more with me, seeing it must be wrought by God; and when it shall please God to open a further truth to me, I shall receive it with all my heart, and embrace it."

            "Thornton had many other questions, which I did not bear away; but as I do understand, these are the chiefest; as for taunts, foolish and unlearned, he lacked none. Praise God for his gifts, and God increase in us strength! "

 

The arguments of John Newman.

            "If the body of Christ were really and bodily in the sacrament, then whosoever received the sacrament, received also the body.
            "The wicked, receiving the sacrament, receive not the body of Christ:
            "Ergo, The body of Christ is not really in the sacrament."

            "They which eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ, dwell in him, and he in them.
            "The wicked dwell not in Christ, nor he in them:
            "Ergo, The wicked eat not the flesh, nor drink the blood of Christ."

            "They that have Christ dwelling in them, bring forth much fruit. He that dwelleth in me, and I in him, bringeth forth much fruit, &c.
            "The wicked bringeth forth no fruit of goodness:
            "Ergo, They have not Christ's body dwelling in them."

            "Where remembrance is of a thing, there is imported the absence thereof.
            "Remembrance of Christ's body is in the sacrament; Do this in remembrance of me, &c.:
            "Ergo, Christ body there is imported to be absent."

            "Marry they will say, 'We see him not with our outward eyes; but he is commended under the forms of bread and wine: and that we see, is nothing but a quality or an accident.' But let them show me a quality or an accident without a substance, and I will believe them."

            And thus much concerning Newman's examinations and arguments, whose martyrdom is before expressed.

 

The martyrdom of Joan Waste, a blind woman, in the town of Derby.

            THE first day of August, in the year above specified, suffered likewise at the town of Derby a certain poor honest godly woman, being. blind from her birth, and unmarried, about the age of twenty-two, named Joan Waste, of the parish of All-hallows. Of them that sat upon this innocent woman's blood, the chiefest were Ralph Banes, bishop of the diocese, Dr. Draicot, his chancellor, Sir John Port, knight, Henry Vernon, esquire, Peter Finch, official of Derby, with the assistance also of divers others; Richard Ward and William Bainbridge the same time being bailiffs of the town of Derby, &c. First, after the above-named bishop and Dr. Draicot had caused the said Joan Waste to be apprehended in the town of Derby, suspecting her to be guilty of certain heresies, she was divers times privily examined, as well in prison as out of prison, by Finch, the official aforesaid; after that, brought to public examination before the bishop; at last, was there burnt in Derby, as is abovesaid. Touching whose life, bringing up, and conversation, somewhat more amply we mind to discourse, as by faithful relation hath come to our hands.

            First, this Joan Waste was the daughter of one William Waste, an honest poor man, and by his science a barber, who sometime also used to make ropes. His wife had the same Joan and one other at one birth, and she was born blind. And when she was about twelve or fourteen years old, she learned to knit hosen and sleeves, and other things, which in time she could do very well. Furthermore, as time served, she would help her father to turn ropes, and do such other things as she was able, and in no case would be idle. Thus continued she with her father and mother, during their lives. After whose departure, then kept she with one Roger Waste her brother, who in the time of King Edward the Sixth, of blessed memory, gave herself daily to go to the church to hear divine service read in the vulgar tongue. And thus, by hearing homilies and sermons, she became marvellously well affected to the religion then taught. So at length, having by her labour gotten and saved so much money as would buy her a New Testament, she caused one to be provided for her. And though she was of herself unlearned, and by reason of her blindness unable to read, yet for the great desire she had to understand, and have printed in her memory the sayings of the Holy Scriptures contained in the New Testament, she acquainted herself chiefly with one John Hurt, then prisoner in the common hall of Derby for debts.

            The same John Hurt being a sober grave man, of the age of threescore and ten years, by her earnest entreaty, and being a prisoner, and many times idle and without company, did for his exercise daily read unto her some one chapter of the New Testament. And if at any time he were otherwise occupied or letted through sickness, she would repair unto one John Pemerton, clerk of the parish church of All-saints in the same town of Derby, or to some other person which could read, and sometimes she would give a penny or two (as she might spare) to such persons as would not freely read unto her; appointing unto them aforehand how many chapters of the New Testament they should read, or how often they should repeat one chapter, upon a price.

            Moreover, in the said Joan Waste this was notorious, that she being utterly blind, could notwithstanding, without a guide, go to any church within the said town of Derby, or at any other place or person, with whom she had any such exercise. By the which exercise she so profited, that she was able not only to recite many chapters of the New Testament without book, but also could aptly impugn, by divers places of Scriptures, as well sin, as such abuses in religion, as then were too much in use in divers and sundry persons.

            As this godly woman thus daily increased in the knowledge of God's holy word, and no less in her life expressed the virtuous fruits and exercise of the same: not long after, through the fatal death of blessed King Edward, followed the woeful ruin of religion, in the reign of Queen Mary his sister. In which alteration, notwithstanding the general backsliding of the greatest part and multitude of the whole realm into the old papism again, yet this poor blind woman, continuing in a constant conscience, proceeded still in her former exercise, both being zealous in that she had learned, and also refusing to communicate in religion with those which taught contrary doctrine-to that she before had learned in King Edward's time, as it is above declared. For the which she was called and convented before the aforesaid bishop and Dr. Draicot, with divers other called in to bear witness.

 

Articles ministered unto Joan Waste.

            The articles ministered unto her, and wherewith she was charged, were these:

            "First, That she did hold the sacrament of the altar to be but only a memory or representation of Christ's body, and material bread and wine, but not his natural body, unless it were received. And that it ought not to be reserved from time to time over the altar, but immediately to be received.

            "Item, That she did, hold, in the receiving of the sacrament of the altar, she did not receive the same body that was born of the Virgin Mary, and suffered upon the cross for our redemption.

            "Item, She did hold, that Christ at his last supper did not bless the bread that he had then in his hands, but was blessed himself; and, by the virtue of the words of consecration, the substance of the bread and wine is not converted and turned into the substance of the body and blood of Christ.

            "Item, That she did grant that she was of the parish of All-hallows in Derby.

            "Item, That all and singular the premises are true and notorious by public report and fame."

            Whereunto she answered, that she believed therein so much as the Holy Scriptures taught her, and according to that she had heard preached unto her by divers learned men; whereof some suffered imprisonment, and other some suffered death for the same doctrine. Amongst whom she named, beside others, Dr. Taylor, who, she said, took it of his conscience, that that doctrine which he taught was true; and asked of them, if they would do so in like case for their doctrine: which if they would not, she desired them for God's sake not to trouble her, being a blind, poor, and unlearned woman, with any further talk, saying, that (by God's assistance) she was ready to yield up her life in that faith, in such sort as they should appoint.

            And yet notwithstanding, being pressed by the said bishop and Dr. Draicot, with many arguments of Christ's omnipotency, as, why was not Christ able as well to make the bread his body, as to turn water into wine, raise Lazarus from the dead, and such other like arguments; and many times being threatened with grievous imprisonments, torments, and death: the poor woman thus being, as it were, half astonied through their terrors and threats, and desirous (as it seemed) to prolong her life, offered unto the bishop then present, that if he would before that company, take it upon his conscience, that that doctrine which he would have her to believe concerning the sacrament was true, and that he woudd at the dreadful day of judgment answer for her therein, (as the said Dr. Taylor in divers of his sermons did offer,) she would then further answer them.

            Whereunto the bishop answered, he would. But Dr. Draicot, his chancellor, hearing that, said, "My Lord, you know not what you do; you may in no case answer for a heretic." And immediately. he asked the poor woman whether she would recant or no, and said she should answer for herself: unto whose sayings the bishop also reformed himself.

            The poor woman perceiving this, answered again, that if they refused to take of their conscience that it was true they would have her to believe, she would answer no further, but desired them to do their pleasure: and so, after certain circumstances, they pronounced sentence against her, and delivered her unto the bailiffs of the said town of Derby aforenamed; who after they had kept her about a month or five weeks, at length there came unto them a writ De hæretico comburendo; by virtue whereof they were appointed by the said bishop to bring her to the parish church of All Saints at a day appointed, where Dr. Draicot should make a sermon.

            When the day and time were come that this innocent martyr should suffer, first cometh to the church Dr. Draicot, accompanied with divers gentlemen, as Master Thomas Pow thread, Master Henry Vernon, Master Dethick of Newhall, and divers other. This done, and all things now in a readiness, at last the poor blind creature and servant of God was brought and set before the pulpit, where the said doctor, being entered into his sermon, and there inveighing against divers matters, which he called heresies, declared unto the people that that woman was condemned for denying the blessed sacrament of the altar to be the very body and blood of Christ really and substantially, and was thereby cut off from the body of the catholic church; and said, that she was not only blind of her bodily eyes, but also blind in the eyes of her soul. And he said, that as her body should be presently consumed with material fire, so her soul should be burned in hell with everlasting fire, as soon as it shall be separated from the body, and there to remain world without end; and said, it was not lawful for the people to pray for her. And so with many terrible threats he made an end of his sermon, and commanded the bailiffs and those gentlemen to see her executed. And the sermon thus ended, eftsoons the blessed servant of God was carried away from the said church, to a place called the Windmill pit, near unto the said town, and holding the foresaid Roger Waste her brother by the hand she prepared herself, and desired the people to pray with her, and said such prayers as she before had learned, and cried upon Christ to have mercy upon her, as long as life served. In this mean season, the said Dr. Draicot went to his inn, for great sorrow of her death, and there laid him down, and slept, during all the time of her execution! And thus much of Joan Waste.

            Now, forasmuch as I am not ignorant, faithful reader! that this, and other stories more, set forth of the martyrs, shall not lack carpers and markers enow, ready to seek all holes and corners how to defame the memory of God's good saints, and to condemn these histories of lies and untruths, especially histories wherein they see their shameful acts and unchristian cruelty detected and brought to light, therefore, for better confirmation of this history above written, and to stop the mouths of such momes, this shall be to admonish all and singular readers hereof, that the discourse of this poor blind woman's life and death, in such sort as is above pre-fixed, hath been confessed to be very true, by divers persons of worthy credit, and yet living; and also hath been specially perused and examined by William Bainbridge, before mentioned, bailiff then of Derby; who as well of his own knowledge, as by special inquiry and conference by him made, with divers others, hath certified us the same to be undoubted; beside the testimonial of John Cadman, curate of the said town, and of others also, upon whose honesty well known, and their report herein nothing differing from such as were best acquainted with that matter, I have been here the more bold to commit this story to posterity, for all good men to consider and judge upon.

 

The martyrdom of Edward Sharp at Bristol.

            About the beginning of the next month following, which was September, a certain godly, aged, devout person, and zealous of the Lord's glory, born in Wiltshire, named Edward Sharp, of the age of forty years or thereabout, was condemned at Bristol to the like martyrdom, where he, constantly and manfully persisting in the just quarrel of Christ's gospel, for misliking and renouncing the ordinances of the Romish church, was tried as pure gold, and made a lively sacrifice in the fire: in whose death, as in the death of all his other saints, the Lord be glorified and thanked for his great grace of constancy; to whom be praise for ever, Amen.

 

Four who suffered at Mayfield, in Sussex.

            Next after the martyrdom of Edward Sharp, abovesaid, followed four, which suffered at Mayfield, in Sussex, the twenty-fourth day of September, anno 1556; of whose names, two we find recorded, and the other two we yet know not, and therefore, according to our register, hereunder they be specified, as we find them: John Hart, Thomas Ravensdale, a shoemaker, and a currier; which said four, being at the place where they should suffer, after they had made their prayer, and were at the stake ready to abide the force of the fire, they constantly and joyfully yielded their lives for the testimony of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, unto whom be praise for ever and ever. Amen.

            The day after the martyrdom of these aforesaid at Mayfield, which was the twenty-fifth of September, anno 1556, was a young man (which by science was a carpenter, whose name we have not) put to death, for the like testimony of Jesus Christ, at Bristol, where he, yielding himself to the torments of the fire, gave up his life into the hands of the Lord, with such joyful constancy and triumph, as all the church of Christ have just cause to praise God for him.

 

The martyrdom of John Horn and a woman, at Wootton-under-Edge, in Gloucestershire.

            Now not long after the death of the said young man at Bristol, in the same month were two more godly martyrs consumed by fire at Wootton-under-Edge, in Gloucestershire, whose names are above specified, which died very gloriously in a constant faith, to the terror of the wicked, and comfort of the godly. So gloriously did the Lord work in them, that death unto them was life, and life with a blotted conscience was death.

 

A pitiful story concerning the unmerciful handling of William Dangerfield, and Joan his wife, being in child-bed; taken out of her house, with her sucking infant of fourteen days old, and laid in the common jail amongst thieves and murderers.

            When I had written and finished the story of the Guernsey women, with the young infant there with them burned, and also had passed the burning of the poor blind woman Joan Waste at Derby, I well hoped I should have found no more such stories of unmerciful cruelty showed upon silly women with their children and young infants: but now, coming to the persecution of Gloucestershire, about the parts of Bristol, I find another story of such unmercifulness showed against a woman in child-bed, as far from all charity and humanity as hath been any other story yet hitherto rehearsed, as by the sequel hereof may appear.

            In the parish of Wootton-under-Edge, not far from Bristol, was dwelling one William Dangerfield, a right honest and godly poor man, who by Joan Dangerfield his wife had nine children, and she now lying in child-bed of the tenth. This William, after he had been abroad from his house a certain space for fear of persecution, hearing that his wife was brought to bed, repaired home to visit her, as natural duty required, and to see his children, she being now delivered four days before.

            The return of this man was not so soon known to some of his unkind and uncharitable neighbours, but they, incensed with the spirit of papistry, eftsoons beset the house about, and there took the same William Dangerfield, and carried him to prison; and so at length he was brought to the bishop, being then Brooks, in whose cruel handling he remained a certain space, so long, till his legs almost were fretted off with irons.

            After the apprehension of the husband, the wife likewise was taken, with her young-born child, being but fourteen days old, (as is said,) out of her child-bed, and carried into the common jail, and there placed amongst thieves and murderers, where both she and her poor innocent found so small charity amongst the catholic men, that she never could come to any fire, but was driven to warm the clothes that she should put about the child in her bosom.

            In the mean season while they lay thus enclosed in several prisons, the husband and the wife, the bishop beginneth to practise not with the woman first, as the serpent did with Eve, but with the man, craftily deceiving his simplicity with fair glozing words, falsely persuading him that his wife had recanted, and asking him, wherefore he should more stand in his own conceit than she, being as well learned as he, and so subtilely drew out a form of recantation, wherewith he deceived the simple soul: whereunto after that he had once granted that he would consent, although he had not yet recanted they suffered him to go to his wife, where she lay in the common jail.

            Then they, with melting hearts opening their minds one to another, when he saw his wife not released, and perceiving that he had not done well, he declared unto her the whole matter, how falsely he was circumvented by the subtle flatterings of the bishop, bearing him in hand that certainly she had recanted: "and thus deceiving me," said he, "brought this unto me;" and so plucked out of his bosom the copy of the recantation, whereunto he had granted his promise. At the sight whereof the wife, hearing what her husband had done, her heart slave asunder, saying, "Alack! thus long have we continued one, and hath Satan so prevailed, to cause you to break your first vow made to Christ in baptism?" And so parted the said William and Joan his wife, with what hearts the Lord knoweth. Then began he not a little to bewail his promise made to the bishop, and to make his prayer to Almighty God, desiring him that he might not live so long as to call evil good, and good evil; or light darkness, or darkness light; and so departed he home toward his house, where, by the way homeward (as it is affirmed) he took his death, and shortly after departed, according to his prayer, after he had endured in prison twelve weeks.

            After this, Joan his wife continued still in prison with her tender infant, till at last she was brought before the bishop to be examined; whereunto what her answers were, it is not certainly known. Howbeit most like it is, whatsoever they were, they pleased not the bishop, as appeared by his ire increased against the poor woman, and her long continuance in the prison, together with her tender babe, which also remained with her in the jail, partaker of her martyrdom, so long as her milk would serve to give it suck, till at length the child, being starved for cold and famine, was sent away when it was past all remedy, and so shortly after died; and not long after the mother also followed. Besides, the old woman, which was mother of the husband, of the age of eighty years and upward, who, being left in the house after their apprehension, for lack of comfort, there perished also.

            And thus have ye in one story the death of four together; first of the old woman, then of the husband, after that of the innocent child, and lastly of the mother. What became of the other nine children, I am not perfectly sure, but that I partly understand, that they were all undone by the same.

            This story is reported and testified as well by others, as namely by Mrs. Bridges, dwelling in the same town, and partaker then of the like afflictions, and who hardly escaped with her life.

 

A shoemaker burnt in Northampton, &c.

            In the month of October following, was burned at the town of Northampton, a shoemaker, a true witness and disciple of the Lord, who, according to the grace of God given unto him, cleaving fast to the sound doctrine and preaching of God's word, renounced the untrue and false-coloured religion of the Romish sea, wherein many a good man hath been drowned.

            After whom not long after, in the same month of October, died also in the castle of Chichester three godly confessors, being there in bonds for the like cause of Christ's gospel, who also should have suffered the like martyrdom, had not their natural death, or rather (as it is to be suspected) the cruel handling of the papists, made them away before, and afterward buried them in the field.

            I read moreover that in this present year, to wit, anno 1556, was burnt one called Hooke, a true witness of the Lord's truth at Chester.

 

Five prisoners famished in Canterbury castle, by the unmerciful tyranny of the papists.

            As among all the bishops, Bonner, bishop of London, principally excelled in persecuting the poor members and saints of Christ; so of all archdeacons, Nicholas Harpsfield, archdeacon of Canterbury, (as may by man's sight appear,) was the sorest, and of least compassion, (only Dunning of Norwich excepted,) by whose unmerciful nature and agrest disposition very many were put to death in that diocese of Canterbury, not only in the bloody time of that queen, but some also in the blessed begin-ning of this our most renowned queen that now is, as by the grace of Christ hereafter shall appear.

            Of those that suffered in Queen Mary's time within the aforesaid diocese of Canterbury, some be recited already, with the order and form set down of such articles as then were most commonly minis-tered to the examinates by Thornton, suffragan of Dover, and the said Nicholas Harpsfield, and others, as before in the volurne of this history may appear.

            Now to proceed in the order and course of time where we left, next followeth the month of November.

            In the beginning of November were together in the castle of Canterbury fifteen godly and innocent martyrs, of which number none escaped with their lives, but they were either burned, or else famished in prison; of the which two sorts, which is the easier death, God knoweth; it is hard to judge. Notwithstanding, the truth is, that of these fifteen, ten were burned and suffered in the fire, of whom in the next book more shall follow hereafter, the Lord willing. The other five were pined and famished most unmercifully in the strait prison, of whom we have here presently to entreat; whose names were these: John Clark, and Dunston Chittenden (which two were yet uncondemned): also William Foster, of Stone; Alice Potkins, wife, of Staplehurst; and John Archer, of Cranbrooke, weaver: these were condemned to be burnt.

            Of these five prisoners, the first two were uncondemned; the other three last were condemned, and should have been burned, but suffered no less torments than if they had abided the fire, being macerated and pined to death by famine. What their articles and answers were, I need not here to recite, seeing all they, in the time of Queen Mary, commonly suffered for one manner and sort of cause, that is, for holding against the seven sacraments; against the reality of Christ's being in his supper; for speaking against the Church of Rome, and determinations of the same; against images set up and worshipped in the church; for not coming to church, and other like, &c.

            First, William Foster, answering to these and like articles, said, that he believed well in all the articles of the creed; but to believe that there be more sacraments than two, and to pray to saints either to profit us, or to pray for souls in purgatory to profit them, that faith and works do justify, or to allow the popish ceremonies in the church, that he denied. Moreover he said, to carry candles upon Candlemas-day, were as good for him, as to carry a dung-fork, and that it is as necessary to carry the gallows about, if his father were hanged, as the cross. To come to the church he cannot, said he, with a safe conscience. Concerning fish-days and flesh-days, he granted it good to put difference therein, except where necessity required the contrary. This William Foster was a labouring man, of the age of forty years. He was apprehended and imprisoned by Sir Thomas Moyle, knight.

            Alice Potkins, for the like confession, was condemned to be burned, for that she was not, neither would be, confessed to the priest; for that she received not the sacrament of the altar; because she would not pray to saints, nor creep to the cross, &c. Being demanded of her age, she said that she was forty-nine years old, according to her old age; and according to her young age, since she learned Christ, she was of one year's age; and was committed by Master Roberts to prison.

            The answer and confession of John Archer of Cranbrooke was much in like sort. And although certain of these, upon ignorant simplicity, swerved a little in the number of sacraments, some granting one sacrament, that is, the body of Christ hanging upon the cross, some more, some less; yet in the principal matter touching the doctrine of salvation for faith to stay upon, and in disagreeing from the dreaming determinations of the popish church, they most agreed. Concerning the not praying to saints, and for the dead in purgatory, for not creeping to the cross, for faith only to justify, for taking of an oath, and other such like, he granted as the others had done. This father Archer, by his occupation a weaver of the town of Cranbrooke, of the age of fifty years, was attached and imprisoned by Sir John Gilford, knight.

            And thus have ye the cause and imprisonment of these five godly prisoners. Now as touching the cruelty of their death, that ye shall not surmise the suspicion or relation thereof to proceed of myself, you shall hear their own testimony and certification by their own letter, thrown out of the prison, concerning the unmerciful dealing of the catholic tyrants in famishing them, as is aforesaid. The words and copy of their letter is this.

            "Be it known to all men that shall read, or hear read these our letters, that we the poor prisoners of the castle of Canterbury for God's truth, are kept and lie in cold irons, and our keepers will not suffer any meat to be brought to us to comfort us. And if any man do bring us any thing, as bread, butter, cheese, or any other food, the said keeper will charge them that so bring us any thing, (except money or raiment,) to carry it them again; or else if he do receive any food of any for us, he doth keep it for himself, and he and his servants do spend it, so that we have nothing thereof; and thus the keeper keepeth away our victuals from us: insomuch that there are four of us, prisoners there for God's truth, famished already, and thus is it his mind to famish us all. And we think be is appointed thereunto by the bishops and priests, and also of the justices, so to famish us; and not only us of the said castle, but also all other prisoners in other prisons for the like cause, to be also famished. Notwithstanding, we write not these our letters to that intent we might not afford to be famished for the Lord Jesus' sake, but for this cause and intent, that they, having no law so to famish us in prison, should not do it privily, but that the murderers' hearts should be openly known to all the world, that all men may know of what church they are, and who is their father. --  Out of the castle of Canterbury."

 

The trouble and vexation of good people in the diocese of Lichfield and Coventry.

Illustration -- Heretics bearing Faggots and Candles

 

            These foresaid months of September, November, and December, as they were troublesome to divers other places, and especially to the diocese of Canterbury, by reason of the archdeacon above named; so likewise they brought no little business in the country to Lichfield and Coventry, by a cruel bishop there, called Ralph Banes, and a more cruel chancellor, named Dr. Draicot, through the fierce inquisition of whom great stir was there among the people, being called to examination of their faith, and many caused to bear faggots; who, although they were not put to the torment of death, yet because it may appear what a number there are in the countries of England abroad, which in their hearts have a misliking of the pope's Romish laws and religion, if for fear they durst utter their minds, I thought to make a rehearsal of their names, which in the foresaid diocese of Coventry and were taken in suspicion, and examined for their religion.

            And first amongst them that were detected and enjoined to the popish penance, that is, to bear a faggot, candle, and beads about in procession, were Agnes Foreman, detected, examined, and by witness convicted, and bare a faggot the twelfth of September. Likewise Margery Kirry, Thomas Norris, Thomas Stiffe, William Kaime, Robert Katrenes, Thomas Smith, John Borsley the younger. Item, John Waterhouse, against whom came in witne,ss and accusers Richard Caerbanke, J. Edge, William Smith, Robert Cooke, laying against him for seldom coming to the church, for giving no reverence at the elevation of the sacrament, but looking upon his book, for not kissing the pax, &c. Robert Bissel, Leonard West, Richard Baily of the parish of Whitacre.

            These were deprived: Nicholas Cartwright, doctor; Richard Jurdian, priest; Edmund Crokel, priest; Thomas Whitehead, priest; William Taylor, priest; Anselme Sele, priest; Richard Slavy, priest, married; Edward Hawkes, priest, married; Robert Aston, priest, deprived; Henry Tecka, priest, deprived; Robert Mossey, priest, married and deprived.

            Beside these were divers other, which in like sort were detected, accused, and examined, although they bare no faggot, but were dismissed; as Richard Kempe, John Frankling, William Marler, Julius Dudley, Eustache Bysacre, William Shene, Antony Afterwhittle, Thomas Steilbe, Henry Birdlim, William Mosley, John Leach, John Richardson, Antony Jones alias Pulton, Thomas Wilson, Thomas Lynacres, and Hugh Lynacres his son, Isabel Parker, Martin Newman, William Enderby, Cicely Preston, Thomas Saulter, John Stamford, shoemaker, Richard Woodburne, Thomas Arnal, shoemaker, John Robinson, Hugh Moore, shoemaker, John Adale, Thomas Arch, Frances Ward, John Avines, Richard Foxal, Thomas Underdonne, Richard Weaver.

            The next month following, being October, came under examination Joyce Lewes, gentlewoman, of whom we defer to speak until the next year, at what time she was burned.

            These forenamed persons, with many more following in the next year after, although they did subscribe and relent through fear of death; yet for this cause I do here recite them, that by them it might appear, what a number there were, not only in the county of Lichfield, but also in other parts, in heart set against the pope's proceedings, if that fear rather than conscience had not compelled them to the contrary.

 

The conclusion of this eleventh book, with a brief story of Sir John Cheke, &c.

            And thus have ye the whole persecution of this year declared, which was the year of the Lord 1556, and the fourth of Queen Mary's reign, with the names and causes of all them which suffered martyrdom within the compass of the said year: the number of all which, slain and martyred in divers places of England at sundry times this year, came to above eighty-four persons, whereof many were women, wives, widows, and maidens; besides them which otherwise by secret practice were made away, or driven out of goods and houses, or out of the realm, or else within the realm were put to penance and coacted by forcible violence to recant: save only that I have omitted the story of Sir John Cheke, knight, and schoolmaster sometime of King Edward; the worthiness of which man deserveth much to be said of him, but his fall would rather be covered in silence and oblivion. Only to note a word or two of a few things to the present story most principally appertaining it shall suffice.

            First, Master Cheke being in the country of Germany, out of all danger of persecution, with many more of his own countrymen and acquaintance, was not only in safety, but also with reputation accordingly esteemed among the Germans, and also well placed in the city of Strasburg; where if he had contented himself to have remained, rather giving place to time, than to presume upon adventures, peradventure it had been better with him. But what fatal instigation wrought in his mind I know not. In the end so it fell, that he would needs take his journey with Sir Peter Carew, from High Germany unto Brussels, and that (as I have credibly heard of them which knew somewhat) not without the forecasting of his adventured journey by the constellation of the stars, and disposition of the heavens above. For as he was a man famously expert and travailed in the knowledge of sundry arts and sciences; so was he a little too much addicted to the curious practising of this star-divinity, which we call astrology. But howsoever it was, or whatsoever it was that the stars did promise him, truth was, that men here in earth kept little promise with him. For having, as it is said, King Philip's safe-conduct to pass and repass, and that by the means, as I find, of the Lord Paget and Sir John Mas, pledging for his safeguard King Philip's fidelity, he came to Brussels to see the queen's ambassadors; and having brought the Lord Paget on his way toward England, in the return between Brussels and Antwerp, he was taken with Sir Peter Carew by the provost-marshal, spoiled of their horses, and clapped into a cart, their legs, arms, and bodies tied with halters to the body of the cart, and so shipped, being blindfold, under the hatches, and so brought to the Tower of London.

            Thus the good man being entrapped, and in the hands now of his enemies, had but one of these two ways to take, either to change his religion, or to change his life: other remedy with those holy catholics there was none. Neither could his conscience excuse him, nor truth defend him, nor learning help him.

            Albeit Master Fecknam, whether by the queen suborned, or upon his own devotion or friendship toward his old acquaintance, took upon him the defence and commendation of Master Cheke, speaking in his behalf, yet no mercy could be had with the queen, but he must needs recant, and so did he; the copy of whose recantation prescribed unto him, because it is known and in the hands of divers, it needeth not here to be expressed.

            Then after this recantation, he was, through the crafty handling of the catholics, allured first to dine and company with them; at length drawn unawares to sit in place, where the poor martyrs were brought before Bonner and other bishops to be condemned; the remorse whereof so mightily wrought in his heart, that not long after he left this mortal. life; whose fall, although it was full of infirmity, yet his rising again by repentance was great, and his end comfortable; the Lord be praised.

 

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