Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 406. MISTRESS ROBERTS, OF HAWKHURST, IN KENT.

406. MISTRESS ROBERTS, OF HAWKHURST, IN KENT.

            Furthermore, to both these may be also associate another gentlewoman, to make the third, named Mrs. Roberts, yet living and dwelling (as I understand) in the town of Hawkhurst, in Kent. She, being earnestly addicted to the truth of Christ's gospel, and no less constant in that which she had learned therein, so kept herself during all the brunt of Queen Mary's time, that she never came to their popish service, nor would pollute her conscience with hearing their idolatrous mass. There dwelt the same time not far off a justice, called Sir John Guildford, who, being as fervent on the contrary side to set forward the proceedings of Queen Mary, thought to prove masteries with this gentlewoman, in forcing her into the church. And first, sending his wife, he attempted her by fair words and gentle persuasions to conform herself to the prince's laws, and to come, as other Christian people did, to the church. Notwithstanding she, constantly persisting in the sincerity of the truth, would by no persuasions be won to do therein against her conscience; and so kept at home a certain space, till again, the second time, Master Guildford, thinking not to give her over so, sent his officers and servants to her, by force and power to hale her out of her house to the church; and so did: where, by the way, she for grief of conscience swooned, and so of necessity was brought home again, and falling into an ague, was for that time dispensed withal.

            The third time, yet the unquiet spirit of Master Guildford being not content, after the time that she recovered health again, he would needs come in his own person to compel her, will'd she, nill'd she, to the church. But, as the proverb goeth, "Who can let that, God would have done?" for when Master Guildford had purposed as pleased him, the Lord so disposed for his servant, that as the said Master Guildford was coming up the stairs toward her chamber, suddenly his old disease the gout so took him, and terribly tormented him, that he could go no further. And so he, that purposed to carry her to the church against her will, was fain himself to be carried home to his house to his pain; protesting and swearing that he would never from henceforth trouble that gentlewoman more; and no more he did.

 

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