Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 461. A NOTE OF WILLIAM WOOD.

461. A NOTE OF WILLIAM WOOD.

            "According as I have sent unto you the true record of my examination before the doctors above mentioned, so I thought it not inconvenient to send you likewise certain notes of my other two deliverances in Queen Mary's time; and this I do not (as God knoweth) to get any praise to myself, or to reproach any other, but that God may be glorified in his works, and that our brethren may know, that though there be many times but little help on earth, yet that there is more in heaven.

            "About a month after my examination, one Apleby and his wife (that were persecuted from Maidstone in Kent) came to my house in Stroud, and desired me that he might have a place in my house for him and his wife for a time, because persecution was so hot, that he could no longer stay there; and I, at his instance, let him have a place with me. But, within a fortnight after, the papists espied him, and complained of him to the bishop of Rochester; and the bishop sent his chief man, called Ralph Crowch, and he carried him to Rochester, before the bishop. And the said Apleby stood in the defence of the truth boldly, and the bishop sent both him and his wife to the jail of Maidstone, and there they were burnt for the testimony of the gospel of God.

            "And the Friday fortnight after, I was in the market at Rochester talking with another man, and the said Ralph Crowch was sent for me; and he coming within a stone's cast of me where I was talking with my neighbour George Smally, one William Stanley a papist, dwelling also in Stroud, met with the said Crowch, and they two talked together a while, and I doubted that they talked of me, because many times in their talk they looked on me; and then the said Ralph Crowch went over the street to another officer or constable which knew not me, and sent the said constable for me, and coming for me, knowing my neighbour George Smally, took him instead of me, and carried him to the bishop. And when he came before him, the bishop said to the officers, 'This is not the knave; this is not the knave.' And the bishop checked the mayor and his officers, and said that they mocked him, because he carried the other man for me: such was the mighty providence of God to defend me. And the mayor the same night sent forty bills, and men with other weapons to beset my house, to take me; but the Lord kept me from them, and delivered me out of their hands; to him be glory therefor, Amen.

            "The third time that the Lord delivered me, was on Easter day next after. I had been at London all the Lent; and on Easter even at night, I came home to Stroud to my wife; and a child of three years old told one of the neighbours, that her father was come home. And on Easter day, after their popish even-song was done, came Master Reade, Thomas Crowch, (brother to the abovesaid Ralph Crowch,) William Stanley, Thomas Bets, Lionel Newman, and Roger Braunch, with threescore people or thereabouts, and searched my house very straitly for me: but as God's providence was, there was malt a-drying upon the kiln; and they searched so narrowly for me, that I was glad to heave up a corner of the hair whereon the malt lay, and went into the kiln hole, and there stood till they were gone, and so I escaped from them. But within an hour after, there came a woman to my wife to borrow a brush, and spied me through the keyhole of the door; and there she carrying tidings abroad, immediately came a great company of men and beset my house round about; and I said to my wife, 'You see that these four men seek for my life, that is, Master Reade, Thomas Crowch, William Stanley, and Thomas Bets: for I do think that none of the rest will lay hands on me; and therefore I pray thee, wife, follow these four men, and talk loud to them that I may hear, and so escape; and if they search on the back side, I may avoid on the street side. And be of good comfort, for our lives are in God's hand, and though there be little help here on earth, yet there is help enough from heaven. And when these men were searching on the back side, I went into the street, among (as I guess) a hundred people, and none of them laid hands on me, neither said they any thing to me; so I went out of the town, and lay there at an honest man's house at the parish of Cobham that night.

            "And at the same time also two of my neighbours, honest men and of good wealth, the one called John Pemmet, a fisherman, the other named John Baily a glover, because they came not to their popish church, to buy some of their idolatrous wares, were complained of to the justices, who did bind them to answer for their faith before the judges at the assizes which were holden at Midsummer after, (as I remember,) at Rochester in the Palace-yard; and there was at that time a sail-cloth of a ship tied to the top of the bishop's palace-wall, to keep away the sun from the judges, because it was hot, and the wind blew and shook the sail, so that when these two men were called to be examined, and when they should have answered, there fell from the top of the wall three or four great stones upon the judges' necks, so that some of them which sat on the bench were sore hurt and maimed, so that they arose suddenly all amazed, and departed, and the two men were delivered.-- From Tuddenham in Suffolk, the twenty-fifth day of July, 1583.
            "Per me Gulielmum Wood, Vicarium de Tuddenham."

 

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