465. A NOTE OF PREST'S WIFE, OF EXETER.
In Cornwall, not far from Launceston, within the diocese of Exeter, in Queen Mary's days, dwelt a poor man, whose name was Prest; his wife being an honest woman, very simple, but of good zeal and upright life, being taught by God in hearing of his word, (albeit it was in those days very seldom preached any where,) and feeling a sweet taste thereof, framed her life anew after the rule of the same; and banished quite from her all the popish herself superstition and hypocrisy, and gave herself wholly to prayer, and invocating the name of God, both for the afflicted church of Christ, in those days very dangerously tossed and turmoiled; as also for her own inward contentation and spiritual consolation, which she not a little felt to her unspeakable joy and incomparable comfort. And when some, who before had known her, saw that marvellous change in her, and (as the cruel serpent) envied her felicity, they went upon the same immediately, and accused her to certain justices of the shire, being extreme enemies to the truth, and very persecutors of the same; who, taking the matter in hand, as very glad of such occasion, sent for her to the place where she was, and began at the second, if not at the first dash, to demand her belief in their popish sacrament of the altar.
The good door woman, who had learned not to be ashamed to confess her Master Christ before men, and to render account of her faith when it was asked, told freely and frankly her opinion therein, and hid back nothing that either she thought might profit them, if they had any grace to receive it, or else might sound to God's glory and praise, though it were never so much by them threatened and rebuked. Whereupon she was forthwith committed to the gaol of Launceston, where she remained a quarter of a year, or thereabouts; and afterwards was despatched of that vile and filthy prison, and delivered over to the hands of two champions of the pope's, the one called Dr. Raynolds, dean of Exeter, and the other named Master Blaxton, treasurer of the same church; men surely fervent hot in the furtherance of the Romish affairs, and in withstanding the truth of the pure evangelical gospel. So the time that this good poor woman was under their hands, she had many sore conflicts by them. And the said Blaxton having a concubine, which sundry times resorted to him with other of his gossips, always when they came, this said good woman was called forth to his house; and there, to make his minion with the rest of his company some mirth, he would examine her with such mocking manner, deriding the truth, that it would have vexed any Christian soul to have seen it. Then when he had long used his foolishness in this sort, and had sported himself enough in deriding this Christian martyr, in the end he sent her to prison again, and there kept her very miserably, saving sometimes he would send for her, when his foresaid guest came to him, to use with her his accustomed folly aforesaid. But in fine, the vile wretches, (after many combats and scoffing persuasions,) wherein they played the part of a cat with a mouse, at length they condemned her, and delivered her over to the secular power, who within short space after most cruelly brought her forth to the place where she should suffer; and there, in great contempt of the truth, (which she most constantly confessed,) they consumed her carcass immediately with fire into ashes; which she very patiently suffered and most joyfully received, yielding her soul and life unto the Lord, and her body to the tormentors; for the which the Lord's name therefore be praised, Amen.