369. CICELY ORMES.
The martyrdom and sufferings of Cicely Ormes, burnt at Norwich for the testimony and witness of Christ's gospel.
About the twenty-third day of the said month of September, next after the other above mentioned, suffered at Norwich, Cicely Ormes, wife of Edmund Ormes, worsted-weaver, dwelling in St. Laurence's parish in Norwich. She, being of the age of thirty-two years or more, was taken at the death of Simon Miller and Elizabeth Cooper above mentioned, in a place called Lollards'-pit without Bishop's-gate, at the said Norwich, for that she said she would pledge them of the same cup that they drank on. For so saying, one Master Corbet, of Sprouston by Norwich, took her and sent her to the chancellor. When she came before him, he asked her what she said unto the sacrament of Christ's body; and she said she did believe that it was the sacrament of the body of Christ.--"Yea," said the chancellor, "but what is that that the priest holdeth over his head?" She answered him and said, "It is bread: and if you make it any better, it is worse." At which words the chancellor sent her to the bishop's prison, to the keeper, called Fellow, with many threatening and hot words, as a man being in a great chafe.
The twenty-third day of July she was called before the chancellor again, who sat in judgment with Master Bridges and others. The chancellor offered her, if she would go to the church and keep her tongue, she should be at liberty, and believe as she would. But she told him she would not consent to his wicked desire therein, do with her what he would; for if she should, she said, God would surely plague her. Then the chancellor told her, he had showed more favour to her than ever he did to any, and that he was loth to condemn her, considering that she was an ignorant, unlearned, and foolish woman. But she, not weighing his words, told him, if he did, he should not be so desirous of her sinful flesh, as she would (by God's grace) be content to give it in so good a quarrel. Then rose he and read the bloody sentence of condemnation against her; and so delivered her to the secular power of the sheriffs of the city, Master Thomas Sutherton, and Master Leonard Sutherton, brethren, who immediately carried her to the Guildhall in Norwich, where she remained until her death.
This Cicely Ormes was a very simple woman, but yet zealous in the Lord's cause, being born in East Dereham, and was there the daughter of one Thomas Haund, tailor. She was taken the fifth day of July, and did for a twelvemonth before she was taken recant; but never after was she quiet in conscience, until she was utterly driven from all their popery. Between the time that she recanted, and that she was taken, she had gotten a letter made to give to the chancellor, to let him know that she repented her recantation from the bottom of her heart, and would never do the like again while she lived: but before she exhibited her bill, she was taken and sent to prison, as is before said. She was burnt the twenty-third day of September, between seven and eight of the clock in the morning, the said two sheriffs being there, and of people to the number of two hundred. When she came to the stake, she kneeled down, and made her prayers to God: that being done, she rose up and said,
"Good people! I believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, three persons and one God. This do I not, nor will I recant: but I recant utterly from the bottom of my heart the doings of the pope of Rome, and all his popish priests and shavelings. I utterly refuse and never will have to do with them again, by God's grace. And, good people! I would you should not think of me that I believe to be saved in that I offer myself here unto the death for the Lord's cause, but I believe to be saved by the death and passion of Christ; and this my death is and shall be a witness of my faith unto you all here present. Good people! as many of you as believe as I believe, pray for me."
Then she came to the stake, and laid her hand on it, and said, "Welcome the cross of Christ." Which being done, she, looking on her hand, and seeing it blacked with the stake, wiped it upon her smock; for she was burnt at the same stake that Simon Miller and Elizabeth Cooper was burnt at. Then, after she had touched it with her hand, she came and kissed it, and said, "Welcome the sweet cross of Christ;" and so gave herself to be bound therefo. After the tormentors had kindled the fire to her, she said, "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit rejoiceth in God my Saviour." And in so saying, she set her hands together right against her breast, casting her eyes and head upward; and so stood, heaving up her hands by little and little, till the very sinews of her arms did break asunder, and then they fell. But she yielded her life unto the Lord as quietly as if she had been in a slumber, or as one feeling no pain; so wonderfnlly did the Lord work with her: his name therefore be praised for evermore. Amen!