Ex-Classics Home Page




The burning of John Webbe, gentleman, George Roper, and Gregory Parke, at Canterbury, as followeth.

            Next after the death and constant martyrdom of the two most worthy champions and standard-bearers of Christ's army, Dr. Nicholas Ridley, and Master Hugh Latimer, (of whom ye have heard at large,) followed three other stout and bold soldiers; that is to say, John Webbe, gentleman, George Roper, and Gregory Parke.

            This John Webbe was brought before the bishop of Dover and Nicholas Harpsfield, or some other deputed in their room, long before the other two, videlicet, the sixteenth day of September; and there had propounded unto him such ordinary articles as (it seemeth) were commonly ministered by Bonner to those of his jurisdiction. And heing willed for that present to depart, and to deliberate with himself upon the matter against the next time of his appearance, he made answer that he would no otherwise say (by God's grace) than he had already said, which was this "As touching the sacrament of Christ's body, I do believe," quoth he, "it to be left unto his church (with thanksgiving) in commemoration of his death and passion, until his coming again. So that it is left in remembrance of his body; and not by the words of consecration to be made his body really, substantially, and the same body that was born of the Virgin Mary -- I utterly deny that."

            After this (besides sundry other times) the third day of October, the said John Webbe, and George Roper, and Gregory Parke, were brought all three together before the said judges: who there and then agreeing, and stedfastly allowing the former answer made before by Master Wehbe, were by the bloody prelates adjudged heretics; and therefore, about the end of the same month of October, or else, as I otherwise find, in the latter end of November, they together were taken and brought out of prison to the place of martyrdom; who by the way, going towards the stake, said certain psalms mournfully.

            Roper was a younger man of a fresh colour, courage, and complexion; the other two were somewhat more elderly, all going in white linen, with their gowns on. Roper, at his coming to the stake, putting off his gown, fetched a great leap. So soon as the flame was about him, the said Roper put out both his arms from his body like a rood, and so stood stedfast, continuing in that manner, not plucking his arms in, till the fire had consumed them, and burnt them off.

            And thus these aforesaid martyrs of Christ, being brought (as I said) to the stake, and there compassed about with a chain, were burnt and consumed all three together in one fire at Canterbury, abiding most patiently their torments, and counting themselves happy and blessed of the Lord, that they were made worthy to suffer for Christ's gospel's sake.


The death of William Wiseman, in Lollards' Tower.

            The thirteenth of December, in the Lollards' Tower, died William Wiseman, a clothworker of London, where he was in prison and bonds for the gospel and word of God -- how and whereupon he deceased, it is not fully certain. Some thought that either through famine, or ill handling of some murdering papists, he was made away; by reason whereof the coroner, named John Gibbes, gentleman, with an inquest of twelve men, were fain to sit upon him; who, although to the outward appearance they were said to find nothing in him else but only God's visitation, yet what other privy causes there might be of his death, the Lord knoweth; I have not to say.

            After the said William was departed (as is said) in the Tower, the holy catholic church-men cast him out into the fields, commanding that no man should bury him; according as their devout manner is to do with all such as die in like sort, whom they account as profane, and worthy of no burial, but to be cast to dogs and birds, iελώρια κυνεσσι [Greek: eloria kunessi], as the poet saith. And yet all this their merciless commandment notwithstanding, some good Tobits there were, which buried him in the evening, as commonly they did all the rest, thrown out in like sort, whom they were wont privately by night to cover; and many times the archers in the fields standing by, and singing together psalms at their burial.


The death of James Gore, in Colchester prison.

            In the same month, about the seventh day of December, deceased also James Gore in the prison at Colchester, laid there in bonds for the right and truth of God's word.


Previous Next