Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 384. THE UNJUST EXECUTION AND MARTYRDOM OF FOUR, BURNT AT ST. EDMUND'S BURY.

384. THE UNJUST EXECUTION AND MARTYRDOM OF FOUR, BURNT AT ST. EDMUND'S BURY.

            In this year aforesaid, which was the last of Queen Mary's reign, Dr. Hopton being bishop of Norwich, and Dr. Spenser bearing the room of his chancellor, about St. James's tide, at St. Edmund's Bury, were wrongfully put to death four Christian martyrs, to wit, John Cooke, a sawyer; Robert Miles, alias Plummer, a shearman; Alexander Lane, a wheelwright; and James Ashley, bachelor.

            The examination of these forenamed persons, being severally called before the bishop of Norwich, and Sir Edward Walgrave, with others, was partly upon these articles following.

            "First, Sir Edward Walgrave called John Cooke to him, and said, 'How fortuneth it, that you go not to church?'

            "John Cooke said, 'I have been there.'

            "Sir Edward said, 'What is the cause that you go not thither now, in these days?'

            "John Cooke said, 'Because the sacrament of the altar is an abominable idol, and,' saith he, 'the vengeance of God will come upon all them that do maintain it.'

            "Sir Edward said, 'O thou rank traitor! if I had as good commission to cut out thy tongue as I have to sit here this day, thou shouldst be sure to have it cut out.'

            "Then commanded he the constable to have him away, saying, he was both a traitor and a rebel.

            "Then he called Robert Miles, and said, 'How fortuneth it, that you go not to the church ?'

            "Robert Miles answered, 'Because I will follow no false gods.'

            "Then said the bishop, 'Who told thee that it is a god?'

            "Then said Miles, 'Even you, and such as you are.'

            "Then the bishop commanded him aside, and to appear before him the next day.

            "Then he called Alexander Lane before him, and asked him, how it chanced, that he would not go to the church?

            "He said, that his conscience would not serve him so to do.

            "Then Sir Edward said, 'How dost thou believe?' "Then said Lane, 'Even as it is written in God's book.'

            "Then Sir Edward commanded him to say his belief.

            "Then the said Lane being somewhat abashed, said his belief to these words, which he missed unawares, 'Born of the Virgin Mary.'

            "Then Sir Edward said, 'What! was he not born of the Virgin Mary?'

            "'Yes,' said Lane, 'I would have said so."

            "'Nay,' said Sir Edward, 'you are one of Cooke's scholars! 'And so commanded him away, and to come before him the next day.

            "After the like manner they passed also with James Ashley, whom they warned the next day likewise to appear before them again. So in fine they, appearing again, had their condemnation. And thus these four blessed martyrs and servants of Christ innocently suffered together at St. Edmund's Bury, as is aforesaid, about the beginning of August, not long before the sickness of Queen Mary."

 

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