Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 190. FRIAR FORREST.


Forasmuch as the number of years doth lead us thereunto, we will somewhat touch and speak of Friar Forrest; although he be unworthy of a place, and not to be numbered in this catalogue. .

This Forrest was an Observant Friar, and had secretly, in confessions, declared to many of the king's subjects, that the king was not supreme head; and being thereof accused and apprehended, he was examined how he could say that the king was not supreme head of the church, when he himself had sworn to the contrary? He answered, "that he took his oath with his outward man, but his inward man never consented thereunto." And being further accused of divers damnable articles, and thereupon convicted, he gladly submitted himself to abide the punishment of the church. Upon this his submission having more liberty than before he had, to talk with whom he would, he became as far from his submission as ever he was; and when his abjuration was sent him to read, he utterly refused it, and obstinately persevered in his errors: wherefore he was justly condemned, and after hanged in Smithfield in chains, upon a gallows quick, by the middle and arm-holes, and fire was made under him, and so was he consumed and burned to death.

In the place of execution, there was a scaffold prepared for the king's .most honourable council, and the nobles of the realm, to sit upon, to grant him pardon, if he had any spark of repentance in him. There was also a pulpit prepared, where the right reverend father, Hugh Latimer, bishop of Worcester, declared his errors, and manifestly confuted them by the Scriptures, with many godly exhortations to move him to repentance; but he was so froward, that he neither would hear, nor speak. A little before, the aforesaid image, called Darvell Gatheren, coming out of Wales, was brought to the gallows, and there also with the aforesaid friar, as is said, was set on fire; which the Welchmen much worshipped, and had a prophecy amongst them, that this image should set a whole forest on fire: which prophecy took effect; for he set this Friar Forrest on fire, and consumed him to nothing. The friar, when he saw the fire come, and that present death was at hand, caught hold upon the ladder, and would not let it go, but so impatiently took his death, as never any man that put his trust in God, at any time so ungodly or unquietly ended his life.

In the months of October and November the same year, shortly after the overthrow of these images and pilgrimages, followed also the ruin of the abbeys and religious houses, which, by the special motion of the Lord Cromwell, (or rather and principally, by the singular blessing of Almighty God,) were suppressed, being given a little before by act of parliament into the king's hand; whereupon not only the houses were razed, but their possessions also disparkled among the nobility, in such sort as all friars, monks, canons, nuns, and other sects of religion, were then so rooted out of this realm from the very foundation, that there seemeth, by God's grace, no possibility hereafter left, for the generation of those strange weeds to grow here any more, according to the true verdict of our Lord and Saviour Christ in his gospel, saying, Every plantation, being not planted of my Father, shall be plucked up by the roots, &c.

Previous Next