Ex-Classics Home Page

Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 380. THIRTEEN ISLINGTON MARTYRS.


Illustration -- The Islington Martyrs

            Secretly, in a back close, in the field by the town of Islington, were collected and assembled together, a certain company of godly and innocent persons, to the number of forty men and women, who there sitting together at prayer, and virtuously occupied in the meditation of God's holy word, first cometh a certain man to them unknown; who, looking over unto them, so stayed, and saluted them, saying, that they looked like men that meant no hurt. Then one of the said company asked the man, if he could tell whose close that was, and whether they might be so bold there to sit. "Yea," said he, "for that ye seem unto me such persons as intend no harm; "and so departed. Within a quarter of an hour after, cometh the constable of Islington named King, warded; with six or seven others accompanying him in the same business, one with a bow, another with a bill, and others with their weapons likewise; the which six or seven persons the said constable left a little behind him in a close place, there to be ready if need should be, while he, with one with him, should go view them before; who, so doing, came through them, looking and viewing what they were doing, and what books they had; and so, going a little forward, and returning back again, bade them deliver their books. They, understanding that he was constable, refused not so to do. With that cometh forth the residue of his fellows above touched, who bade them stand and not depart. They answered again, they would be obedient and ready to go whithersoever they would have them; and so were they first carried to a brewhouse but a little way off, while that some of the said soldiers ran to the justice next at hand: but the justice was not at home; whereupon they were had to Sir Roger Cholmley. In the mean time some of the women, being of the same number of the foresaid forty persons, escaped away from them, some in the close, some before they came to the brewhouse. For so they were carried, ten with one man, eight with another; and with some more, with some less, in such sort as it was not hard for them to escape that would. In fine, they that were carried to Sir Roger Cholmley, were twenty-seven; which Sir Roger Cholmley and the recorder taking their names in a bill, and calling them one by one, so many as answered to their names he sent to Newgate. In the which number of them that answered, and that were sent to Newgate, were twenty-and-two.

            These two-and-twenty were in the said prison of Newgate seven weeks before they were examined, to whom word was sent by Alexander the keeper, that if they would hear a mass, they should all be delivered. Of these foresaid two-and-twenty, were burnt thirteen; in Smithfield seven, at Brentford six.

            In prison two died in Whitsun-week, the names of whom were Matthew Wythers and T. Taylor.

            Seven of them which remained, escaped with their lives hardly, although not without much trouble, yet (as God would) without burning; whose names were these: John Willes, Thomas Hinshaw, R. Baily, woolpacker; Robert Willes, * * * Hudleys, T. Coast, haberdasher; and Roger Sandy.

            The first seven were brought forth to examination before Bonner; and so having their condemnation, were burnt (as is said) in Smithfield. The other six followed not long after, and suffered at Brentford, whereof specially here followeth now in order of story to be seen.


The examination and condemnation of seven godly and faithful martyrs of Christ, burnt in Smithfield.

            Concerning the examination and condemnation of these abovesaid, which were apprehended and taken at Islington, seven were first produced before Bonner the fourteenth of June, to make answer to such articles and interrogatories as by the said bishop should be ministered unto them. The names of these seven were Henry Pond, Reinald Eastland, Robert Southam, Matthew Ricarby, John Floyd, John Holiday, Roger Holland: and to these seven constant and godly martyrs, produced before Bonner, certain articles were ministered in this effect as followeth.

            "First, That ye, being within the city and diocese of London, have not, according to the common custom of the catholic church of this realm of Eng. land, come to your own parish church, nor yet to the cathedral church of this city and diocese of London, to hear devoutly and Christianly the matins, the mass, the evensong, sung or said there in the Latin tongue, after the common usage and manner of the church of this realm.

            "2. That ye have not come to any of the said churches to pray, to go in procession, or to exercise yourselves there in godly and laudable exercises.

            "3. That you have not conformed yourselves duly to all the laudable customs, rites, and ceremonies of any the said churches.

            "4. Ye have not been confessed at due times and places to your own curate, of your sins.

            "5. Ye have not received at your said curate's hands (as of the minister of Christ) absolution of your sins.

            "6. You have not at due times and places of your curate received reverently and duly the sacrament of the altar.

            "7. Ye have not faithfully and truly believed, that in the said sacrament of the altar, there is really and truly the very body and blood of Christ.

            "8. Ye have not by your mouth, nor otherwise by your deed, expressed or declared in any wise, that ye without wavering or doubting do think and believe, that the faith and religion now observed in the church of England, is a true faith and religion in all points.

            "9. Ye have not made any signification that you do indeed approve, or allow in any wise, the common service in Latin, here observed and kept in the church of this realm of England.

            "10. Ye have not believed, nor do believe at this present, that the service in Latin, commonly used and observed in the church of this realm, is good and lawful, and not against the word of God.

            "11. Ye have in times past liked, allowed, and approved as good and godly, and so do like, allow, and approve at this present, the service in English, the Books of Common Prayer, the Books of Communion, the religion set forth and used in the time of King Edward the Sixth; especially as it was set forth and used in the latter days of the said King Edward.

            "12. Ye have in times past been very desirous, and so are at this present, that the said English service, the said Book of Common Prayer, the said Book of Communion, and the said religion and faith so set forth and used in King Edward's.time, might now again be restored, set forth, and used, and yourself freely at your liberty, without any restraint or lets to use it; and also in all points and things to do therein, as ye did, especially in the latter days of the said Edward the Sixth.

            "13. Ye have of late been charitably sent to from me the bishop of London, and also by mouth exhorted, that whereas of late you did leave your churches, and went in the time of divine service into the fields and profane places, to read English Psalms, and certain English books, ye would leave off that; and, being out of prison, and at your liberty, come into your own parish churches, there to hear matins, mass, and evensong, after the common order of the churches of this realm; and to make due confession of your sins to your own curate, and receive at his hands (as of the minister of Christ, having therein sufficient authority) absolution of your sins; hear mass; receive the sacrament of the altar with a true faith, according to the belief of the catholic church; and observe all other the rites and customs of the said catholic church used in this realm of England, as well in going in procession after the cross, as also otherwise generally.

            "14. Ye, being so required, have refused and do refuse so to do, saying, amongst other vain and light words, that forasmuch as ye were imprisoned by the space of six weeks, not knowing wherewith ye were charged, your petition should be and was, that ye might first answer to your former cause, and then ye would be ready to answer me (the said bishop) to all that by me should be laid to your charge."

            Unto the which articles all the forenamed seven, only Reinald Eastland excepted, made answer in effect as hereafter followeth.


The answers of the forenamed persons to the articles aforesaid.

            "To the first article they answered affirmatively; Roger Holland adding, that he came not to their Latin service these two years before.

            "Matthew Ricarby added, that he came not to the church since Latin service was renewed, because it is against the word of God, and idolatry is committed in creeping to the cross.

            "Henry Pond added, if he had licence then to go to church, he would not.

            "To the second they all answered affirmatively; Henry Pond adding as in the first article. John Floyd added, that the Latin service then used, was set up by man, and not by God: and this he learned (he said) in King Edward's days, which be believed to be true. Robert Southam added, that he refused to come to church, because it is furnished with idols, and because the sacrament of the altar he believed to be an idol.

            "To the third they all answered affirmatively: for they said, that the customs, rites, and ceremonies of the church then used, are not agreeable to God's word.

            "To the fourth and fifth they all answered affirmatively, adding, that they believed no priest hath power to remit sin.

            "To the sixth John Holiday, Henry Pond, and Robert Southam answered, that since the queen's Majesty's reign (but Robert Southam added, not for ten years before) they had [not] received the sacrament of the altar, either at their curate's hands, or any other priest's. John Floyd, Matthew Ricarby, and Roger Holland answered affirmatively, adding, in effect, that the sacrament of the altar is no sacrament approved by the word of God, &c.

            "To the seventh, they all confessed the contents thereof to be true in every part; Henry Pond adding, that he knoweth not, nor believeth any such sacrament, called the sacrament of the altar; but confesseth the sacrament of the Lord's supper, and believeth that to be approved. John Floyd added, that those that kneel to and worship the sacrament of the altar, commit idolatry, &c.

            "To the eighth, ninth, and tenth, they all confessed the contents of those articles to be true. But John Holiday, Henry Pond, and John Floyd added, that they do allow the Latin service for them that understand the same, so far as it agreeth with God's word: for some part thereof is not agreeable to God's word (they said); but to such as do not understand the said service in Latin, they do not allow it, for it doth not profit them. Robert Southam added and said, that it was a fond question to ask a simple man, whether the Latin service be good and lawful. Matthew Ricarby and Roger Holland denied the service in Latin to be good.

            "To the eleventh, they all confessed the same to be true in every part; saving Henry Pond and Matthew Ricarby, who answered in effect, that they could not judge thereof, but leave them to be tried by the word of God.

            "To the twelfth, they granted and confessed the same to be true, and desired of God that the service were in the English again.

            "To the thirteenth, they all granted and confessed the same to be true.

            "To the fourteenth article, they all granted and confessed the same to be true in every part."

            Thus have ye the answers of these men to the foresaid articles, save that Reinald Eastland, required to answer thereunto, refused so to do, alleging that he knoweth that to end a strife an oath is lawful, but to begin a strife an oath is not lawful; and therefore he now refuseth to take his oath in the beginning of this matter against him. Whereupon being charged by the bishop, he said for his not answering to the articles, he was content to stand unto the order of the law for his punishment; whatsoever it should be.

            The seventeenth day after of the said month of June, the said Eastland appeared again before the bishop, who, standing firm in that he had said before, denied to make any answer in that case, &c.; whereupon the said Eastland, with the other six, his fellow prisoners, were assigned by the bishop to repair again to the same place at afternoon, who being there present in the foresaid consistory as they were commanded, and standing all together before the said bishop, he, beginning thus with them, asked them, if he had committed them to prison: they said, No; but Master Cholmley and the recorder of London committed them to Newgate.

            Then being demanded further by the bishop, if he had done any thing or act to keep them in prison, or to hinder their liberty from prison; to this they answered, they could not tell. Then the foresaid articles being again recited to them, all they answered and knowledged them to be the articles, and that they would stand to their answers made to the same. Whereupon the bishop, dissevering them apart one from another, proceeded with them severally, first beginning with Reinald Eastland, who there declared that he had been uncharitably handled and talked withal since his first imprisonment in that behalf. Then being required to reconcile himself again to the catholic faith, and go from his opinions, he said, that he knew nothing why he should recant; and therefore would not conform himself in that behalf. And so the sentence was read against him, and he given to the secular power.

            After him was called in John Holiday, who likewise being advertised to renounce his heresies, (as they called them,) and to return to the unity of their church, said, that he was no heretic, nor did hold any heresy, neither any opinion contrary to the catholic faith, and so would offer himself to be judged therein. Whereupon he likewise persisting in the same, the sentence was pronounced against him, condemning him to be burnt.

            Next to him was condemned, with the like sentence, Henry Pond, because he would not submit to the Romish church, saying to Bonner, that he had done or spoken nothing whereof he was or would be sorry; but that he did hold the truth of God, and no heresy, &c.

            After whom next followed John Floyd, who likewise denied to be of the pope's church, and said his mind of the Latin service, that the prayers made to saints are idolatry, and that the service to Latin is profitable to none, but only to such as understand the Latin. Moreover, being charged by Bonner of heresy, and saying, that whatsoever he and such others now-a-days do, all is heresy; for this he was condemned with the same butcherly sentence, and so by the secular power was sent away.

            Then Robert Southam, after him Matthew Ricarby, and last of all Roger Holland, were severally produced.

            Thus Roger Holland with his fellows (as ye heard) standing to their answers, and refusing to acknowledge the doctrine of the Romish church, were all together condemned, the sentence being read against them; and so all seven, by secular magistrates being sent away to Newgate the seventeenth of June, not long after, about the twenty-seventh day of the said month, were had to Smithfield, and there ended their lives in the glorious cause of Christ's gospel; whose particular examinations came not to our hands; saving only the examinations of Roger Holland, which here follow in order and manner as we received them by the information of certain who were present at the same.


The examinations and condemnation of Roger Holland, martyr.

Illustration -- Roger Holland with the maid Elizabeth

            THIS Roger Holland, a merchant-tailor of London, was first an apprentice with one Master Kempton, at the Black Boy in Watling Street, where he served his apprenticeship with much trouble unto his master in breaking him from his licentious liberty, which he had before been trained and npought up in, giving himself to riot, as dancing, fencing, gaming, banquetiwanfond wanton company; and besides all this, being a stubborn and an obstinate papist, far unlike to come to any such end as God called him unto; the which was as followeth:--

            His master, notwithstanding this his lewdness, putting him in trust with his accounts, he had received for him certain money, to the sum of thirty pounds; and falling into ill company, lost the said money every groat at dice, being past all hope which way to answer it; and therefore he purposed to convey himself away beyond the seas, either into France or into Flanders.

            Now having determined with himself thus to do, he called betimes in the morning to a servant in the house, an ancient and discreet maid, whose name was Elizabeth, which professed the gospel, with a life agreeing unto the same, and at all times much rebuking the wilful and obstinate papistry, as also the licentious living of this Roger Holland: to whom he said, Elizabeth, I would I had followed thy gentle persuasions and friendly rebukes; which if I had done, I had never come to this shame and misery which I am now fallen into; for this night have I lost thirty pounds of my master's money, which to pay him, and to make up mine accounts, I am not able. But thus much I pray you, desire my mistress, that she would entreat my master to take this bill of my hand, that I am thus much indebted unto him; and if I be ever able, I will see him paid: desiring him that the matter may pass with silence, and that none of my kindred nor friends may ever understand this my lewd part; for if it should come unto my father's ears, it would bring his grey hairs over-soon unto his grave." And so was he departing.

            The maid considering that it might be his utter undoing, "Stay," said she; and having a piece of money lying by her, given unto her by the death of a kinsman of hers, (who, as it was thonght, was Dr. Redman,) she brought unto him thirty pounds, saying, "Roger, here is thus much money; I will let thee have it, and I will keep this bill. But since I do thus much for thee, to help thee, and to save thy honesty, thou shalt promise me to refuse all lewd and wild company, all swearing and ribaldry talk; and if ever I know thee to play one twelve-pence at either dice or cards, then will I show this thy bill unto my master And furthermore, thou shalt promise me to resort every day to the lecture at All-hallows, and the sermon at Paul's every Sunday, and to cast away all thy books of papistry and vain ballads, and get thee the Testament and Book of Service, and read the Scriptures with reverence and fear, calling unto God still, for his grace to direct thee in his truth. And pray unto God fervently, desiring him to pardon thy former offences, and not to remember the sins of thy youth; and ever be afraid to break his laws, or offend his majesty. Then shall God keep thee, and send thee thy heart's desire."

            After this time, within one half year God had wrought such a change in this man, that he was become an earnest professor of the truth, and detested all papistry and evil company; so that he was in admiration to all them that had known him, and seen his former life and wickedness.

            Then he repaired into Lancashire unto his father, and brought divers good books with him, and bestowed them upon his friends, so that his father and others began to taste of the gospel, and to detest the mass, idolatry, and superstition; and in the end his father gave him a stock of money to begin the world withal, to the sum of fifty pounds.

            Then he repaired to London again, and came to the maid that lent him the money to pay his master withal, and said unto her, "Elizabeth, here is thy money I borrowed of thee; and for the friendship, good will, and the good counsel I have received at thy hands, to recompense thee I am not able, otherwise than to make thee my wife." And soon after they were married, which was in the first year of Queen Mary. And having a child by her, he caused Master Rose to baptize his said child in his own house. Notwithstanding he was bewrayed unto the enemies, and he being gone into the country to convey the child away, that the papists should not have it in their anointing hands, Bonner caused his goods to be seized upon, and most cruelly used his wife.

            After this he remained closely in the city, and in the country, in the congregations of the faithful, until the last year of Queen Mary. Then he, with the six others aforesaid, were taken in, or not far from, St. John's Wood, and so brought to Newgate upon May-day, in the morning, anno 1558.

            Then being called before the bishop, Dr. Chedsey, both the Harpsfields, and certain others, after many other fair and crafty persuasions of Dr. Chedsey, to allure him to their Babylonical church, thus the bishop began with him.

            "Holland, I for my part do wish well unto thee, and the more for thy friends' sake. And, as Dr. Standish telleth me, you and he were both born in one parish, and he knoweth yonr father to be a very honest catholic gentleman. And Master Doctor told me, that he talked with you a year ago; and found you very wilfully addict to your own conceit. Divers of the city also have showed me of you, that you have been a great procurer of men's servants to be of your religion, and to come to your congregations. But since you be now in the danger of the law, I would wish you to play a wise man's part; so shall you not want any favour I can do or procure for you, both for your own sake, and also for your friends', which be men of worship and credit, and wish you well: and by my troth, Roger, so do I."

            Then said Master Eglestone, a gentleman of Lancashire, and near kinsman to Roger, being there present, "I thank your good Lordship; your Honour meaneth good unto my cousin; I beseech God he have the grace to follow your counsel."

            Holland.--"Sir, you crave of God you know not what. I beseech God to open your eyes to see the light of his word."

            Eglestone.--"Roger, hold your peace, lest you fare the worse at my Lord's hands." Holland.--"No, I shall fare as it pleaseth


            -980     ENGLISH ECCLESI

            ASTICAL HISTORY. [A. D. 1558.

            God; for man can do no more than God doth permit him."

            Then the bishop and the doctors, with Johnson the registrar, casting their heads together, in the end saith Johnson, "Roger, how sayest thou? wilt thou submit thyself unto my Lord, before thou be entered into the book of contempt?"

            Holland.--"I never meant but to submit myself unto the magistrate, as I learn of St. Paul to the Romans, chap. xiii.; "and so he recited the text.

            Chedsey.--"Then I see you are no Anabaptist."

            Holland.--"I mean not yet to be a papist; for they and the Anabaptists agree in this point, not to submit themselves to any other prince or magistrate than those that must first be sworn to maintain them and their doings."

            Chedsey.--"Roger, remember what I have said, and also what my Lord hath promised he will perform with further friendship. Take heed, Roger, for your ripeness of wit hath brought you into these errors."

            Holland.--"Master Doctor, I have yet your words in memory, though they are of no such force to prevail with me."

            Then they whispered together again, and at the last said Bonner, "Roger, I perceive thou wilt be ruled by no good counsel, for any thing that either I, or your friends, or any others can say."

            Holland.--"I may say to you, my Lord, as Paul said to Felix and unto the Jews, as doth appear in Acts xxii., and in 1 Cor. xv. It is not unknown unto my master whom I was apprentice withal, that I was of this your blind religion that now is taught, and therein did obstinately and wilfully remain, until the latter end of King Edward, in a manner; having that liberty under your auricular confession, that I made no conscience of sin, but trusted in the priest's absolution, he for money doing some penance also for me, which after I had given, I cared no further what offences I did, no more than he passed, after he had my money, whether he tasted bread and water for me, or no; so that lechery, swearing, and all other vices I accounted no offence of danger, so long as I could for money have them absolved. So straitly did I observe your rules of religion, that I would have ashes upon Ash Wednesday, though I had used never so much wickedness at night. And albeit I could not of conscience eat flesh upon the Friday, yet in swearing, drinking, or dicing all the night long, I made no conscience at all. And thus was I brought up, and herein have I continued till now of late, that God hath opened the light of his word, and called me by his grace to repentance of my former idolatry and wicked life: for in Lancashire their blindness and whoredom is over-much more than may with chaste ears be heard. Yet these my friends, which are not clear in these notable crimes, think the priest with his mass can save them, though they blaspheme God, and keep concubines besides their wives, as long as they live. Yea, I know some priests very devout, my Lord, yet such as have six or seven children by four or five sundry women.

            "Master Doctor, now to your antiquity, unity, and universality," for these Dr. Chedsey alleged as notes and tokens of their religion, "I am unlearned. I have no sophistry to shift my reasons withal; but the truth I trust I have, which needeth no painted colours to set her forth. The antiquity of our church is not from Pope Nicholas, or Pope Joan! but our church is from the beginning, even from the time that God said unto Adam, that the seed of the woman should break the serpent's head; and so to faithful Noah; to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to whom it was promised, that their seed should multiply as the stars in the sky; and so to Moses, David, and all the holy fathers that were from the beginning, unto the birth of our Saviour Christ. All they that believed these promises, were of the church, though the number were oftentimes but few and small; as in Elias's days, when he thought there were none but he that had not bowed their knees to Baal, when God had reserved seven thousand that never had bowed their knees to that idol: as I trust there be seven hundred thousand more than I know of, that have not bowed their knees to the idol your mass, and your god Maozim; the upholding whereof is your bloody cruelty, whiles you daily persecute Elias and the servants of God, forcing them (as Daniel was in his chamber) closely to serve the Lord their God; and even as we by this your cruelty are forced in the fields to pray unto God, that his holy word may be once again truly preached amongst us, and that he would mitigate and shorten these idolatrous and bloody days, wherein all cruelty reigneth. Moreover, our church hath been the apostles and evangelists, the martyrs and confessors of Christ, that have at all times and in all ages been persecuted for the true testimony of the word of God. But for the upholding of your church and religion, what antiquity can you show? Yea, the mass, that idol and chief pillar of your religion, is not yet four hundred years old; and some of your masses are younger, as that mass of St. Thomas Becket the traitor, wherein you pray that you may be saved by the blood of St. Thomas. And as for your Latin service, what are we of the laity the better for it? I think he that should hear your priests mumble up their service, although he did well understand Latin, yet should he understand few words thereof; the priests do so champ them and chaw them, and post so fast, that neither they understand what they say, nor they that hear them; and in the mean time the people, when they should pray with the priest, are set to their beads to pray our Lady's Psalter. So crafty is Satan to devise these his dreams (which you defend with faggot and fire) to quench the light of the word of God; which, as David saith, should be a lantern to our feet. And again, Wherein shall a young man direct his ways, but by the word of God? and yet you will hide it from us in a tongue unknown. St. Paul had rather in the church to have five words spoken with understanding, than ten thousand in an unknown tongue; and yet will you have your Latin service and praying in a strange tongue, whereof the people are utterly ignorant, to be of such antiquity?

            "The Greek church, and a good part of Christendom besides, never received your service in an unknown tongue, but in their own natural language, which all the people understand; neither yet your transubstantiation, your receiving all alone, your purgatory, your images, &c.

            "As for the unity which is in your church, what is it else but treason, murder, poisoning one another, idolatry, superstition, wickedness? What unity was in your church, when there were three popes at once? Where was your head of unity, when you had a woman-pope?"...

            Here he was interrupted, and could not be suffered to proceed; but, saith the bishop, "Roger, these thy words are very blasphemy, and by the means of thy friends thou hast been suffered to speak, and art over malapert to teach any here. Therefore, keeper, take him away."       lation, I think. It is of your own translation, it is according to the great Bible."

            Bonner.--"How say you? How do you know it is the Testament of Christ, but only by the church? for the church of Rome hath and doth preserve it, and out of the same hath made decrees, ordinances, and true expositions." -

            "No," saith Roger, "the church of Rome hath and doth suppress the reading of the Testament. And what a true exposition (I pray you) did the pope make thereof, when he set his foot on the emperor's neck, and said, Thou shalt walk upon the lion and the asp: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou tread under thy foot?"

            The day that Henry Pond and the rest were brought forth to be again examined, Dr. Chedsey said, "Roger, I trust you have now better considered of the church than you did before."

            Holland.--"I consider thus much: that out of the church there is no salvation, as divers ancient doctors say."

            Bonner.--"That is well said. Master Eglestone, I trust your kinsman will be a good catholic man. But Roger, you mean, I trust, the church of Rome?"

            Holland.--"I mean that church which hath Christ for her Head; which also hath his word, and his sacraments according to his word and institution."

            Then Chedsey interrupted him, and said, "Is that a Testament you have in your hand?"

            Holland.--"Yea, Master Doctor, it is the New Testament. You will find no fault with the translation, I think. It is of your own translation, it is according to the great Bible."

            Bonner.--"How say you? How do you know it is the Testament of Christ, but only by the church? for the church of Rome hath and doth preserve it, and out of the same hath made decrees, ordinances, and true expositions."

            "No," saith Roger, "the church of Rome hath and doth suppress the reading of the Testament. And what a true exposition (I pray you) did the pope make thereof, when he set his foot on the emperor's neck, and said, Thou shalt walk upon the lion and the asp: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou tread under thy foot?"

            Then said the bishop, "Such unlearned wild heads as thou and others, would be expositors of the Scripture. Would you then the ancient learned (as there be some here, as well as I) should be taught of you?"

            Holland.--"Youth delighteth in vanity. My wildness hath been somewhat the more by your doctrine, than ever I learned out of this book of God. But, my Lord, I suppose some of the old doctors say, If a poor layman bring his reason and argument out of the word of God, he is to be credited afore the learned, though they be never so great doctors: for the gift of knowledge was taken from the learned doctors, and given to poor fishermen. Notwithstanding, I am ready to be instructed by the church."

            Bonner.--"That is very well said, Roger: but you must understand that the church of Rome is the catholic church. Roger, for thy friends' sake, (I promise thee,) I wish thee well, and I mean to do thee good.-- Keeper! see he want nothing. Roger, if thou lack any money to pleasure thee, I will see thou shalt not want."

            This he spake unto him alone, his fellows being apart, with many other fair promises; and so he was sent to prison again.

            [The last examination of Roger Holland was, when he with his fellow prisoners were brought into the consistory, and there excommunicated all, saving Roger, and ready to have their sentence of judgment given, with many threatening words to fear them withal: the Lord Strange, Sir Thomas Jarret, Master Eglestone, esquire, and divers other of worship both of Cheshire and Lancashire, that were Roger Holland's kinsmen and friends, being there present, which had been earnest suitors to the bishop in his favour, hoping for his safety of life. Now the bishop, hoping yet to win him with his fair and flattering words, began after this manner:]

            Bonner.--"Roger, I have divers times called thee before home to my house, and have conferred with thee; and being not learned in the Latin tongue, it doth appear unto me thou art of a good memory, and of a very sensible talk, but something over-hasty, which is a natural disease to some men. And surely they are not the worst-natured men: for I myself shall now and then be hasty, but mine anger is soon past. So, Roger, surely I have a good opinion of you, that you will not with these lewd fellows cast yourself headlong from the church of your parents and your friends that are here (very good catholics, as it is reported unto me). And as I mean thee good, so, Roger, play the wise man's part, and come home with the lost son, and say, 'I have run into the church of schismatics and heretics, from the catholic church of Rome;' and you shall, I warrant you, not only find favour at God's hands, but the church, that hath authority, shall absolve you, and put new garments upon you, and kill the fatling to make thee good cheer withal; that is, in so doing, as meat doth refresh and cherish the mind, so shalt thou find as much quietness of conscience in coming home to the church, as did the hungry son that had been fed afore with the hogs, as you have done with these heretics that sever themselves from the church. I give them a homely name, but they be worse," putting his hand to his cap for reverence sake, "than hogs: for they know the church, and will not follow it. If I should say thus much to a Turk, he would (I think) believe me. But, Roger, if I did not bear thee and thy friends good will, I would not have said so much as I have done, but I would have let mine ordinary alone with you."

            At these words, his friends that were there gave the bishop thanks for his good will and pains that he had taken in his and their behalf.

            Bonner.--"Well, Roger, how say you? Do you not believe that after the priest hath spoken the words of consecration, there remaineth the body of Christ really and corporally under the forms of bread and wine? I mean the selfsame body that was born of the Virgin Mary, that was crucified upon the cross, that rose again the third day."

            Holland.--"Your Lordship saith, the same body which was born of the Virgin Mary, which was crucified upon the cross, which rose again the third day: but you leave out, which ascended into heaven; and the Scripture saith, he shall there remain until he come to judge the quick and the dead! Then he is not contained under the forms of bread and wine, by Hoc est corpus meum, &c."

            Bonner.--"Roger, I perceive my pains and good-will will not prevail, and if I should argue with thee, thou art so wilful, (as all thy fellows be, standing in thine own singularity and foolish conceit,) that thou wouldst still talk to no purpose this seven years, if thou mightest be suffered. Answer whether thou wilt confess the real and corporal presence of Christ's body in the sacrament, or wilt not."

            Holland.--"My Lord, although God by his sufferance hath here placed you, to set forth his truth and glory in us his faithful servants; notwithstanding, your meaning is far from the zeal of Christ: and for all your words, you have the same zeal that Annas and Caiaphas had, trusting to their authority, traditions, and ceremonies, more than to the word of God."

            Bonner.--"If I should suffer him, he would fall from reasoning to railing, as a frantic heretic."

            "Roger!" saith the Lord Strange, "I perceive my Lord would have you tell him whether you will submit yourself to him, or no."

            "Yea," saith Bonner, "and confess this presence that I have spoken of."

            With this, Roger, turning him to the Lord Strange and the rest of his kinsmen and friends, very cheerfully kneeled down upon his knees, and said, "God, by the mouth of his servant St. Paul, hath said, Let every soul submit himself unto the higher powers, and he that resisteth receiveth his own damnation: and as you are a magistrate appointed by the will of God, so do I submit myself unto you, and to all such as are appointed for magistrates."

            Bonner.--"That is well said; I see you are no Anabaptist. How say you then to the presence of Christ's body and blood in the sacrament of the altar?"

            Holland.--"I say, and beseech you all to mark and bear witness with me (for so you shall do before the judgment-seat of God) what I speak; for here is the conclusion; and ye, my dear friends, (turning him to his kinsmen,) I pray you show my father what I do say, that he may understand I am a Christian man. I say and believe, and am therein fully persuaded by the Scriptures, that the sacrament of the supper of our Lord, ministered in the holy communion according to Christ's institution, I being penitent and sorry for my sins, and minding to amend and lead a new life, and so coming worthily unto God's board in perfect love and charity, do there receive by faith the body and blood of Christ. And though Christ in his human person sit at the right hand of his Father, yet (by faith, I say) his death, his passion, his merits are mine, and by faith I dwell in him, and he in me. And as for the mass, transubstantiation, and the worshipping of the sacrament, they are mere impiety and horrible idolatry."

            "I thought so much," said Bonner, suffering him to speak no more, "how he would prove a very blasphemous heretic as ever I heard. How unreverently doth he speak of the blessed mass! "And so read his bloody sentence of condemnation, adjudging him to be burnt.

            All this while Roger was very patient and quiet: and when he should depart, he said, "My Lord, I beseech you suffer me to speak two words." The bishop would not hear him, but bade him away. Notwithstanding, being requested by one of his friends, he said, "Speak, what hast thou to say?"

            Holland.--"Even now I told you that your authority was from God, and by his sufferance. And now I tell you, God hath heard the prayer of his servants, which hath been poured forth with tears for his afflicted saints, which daily you persecute, as now you do us. But this I dare be bold in God to speak, (which by his Spirit I am moved to say,) that God will shorten your hand of cruelty, that for a time you shall not molest his church. And this shall you in short time well perceive, my dear brethren, to be most true; for after this day, in this place, shall there not be any by him put to the trial of fire and faggot."

            And after this day there was none that suffered in Smithfield for the testimony of the gospel, God be thanked.

            After these words spoken, said Bonner, "Roger, thou art, I perceive, as mad in these thy heresies as ever was Joan Boucher. In anger and fume thou wouldst become a railing prophet. Though thou and all the sort of you would see me hanged, yet I shall live to burn, yea, I will burn all the sort of you that come in my hands, that will not worship the blessed sacrament of the altar, for all thy prattling." And so he went his way.

            Then Roger Holland began to exhort his friends to repentance, and to think well of them that suffered for the testimony of the gospel; and with that the bishop came back, charging the keeper that no man should speak to them without his licence; and and if they did, they should be committed to prison. In the mean season Henry Pond and Roger spake still unto the people, exhorting them to stand in the truth; adding moreover, that God would shorten these cruel and evil days for his elect's sake.

            The day they suffered, a proclamation was made that none should be so bold to speak or talk any word unto them, or receive any thing of them, or to touch them, upon pain of imprisonment, without either bail or mainprize; with divers other cruel threatening words, contained in the same proclamation. Notwithstanding the people cried out, desiring God to strengthen them; and they, likewise, still prayed for the people, and the restoring of his word. At length Roger, embracing the stake and the reeds, said these words:

            "Lord, I most humbly thank thy Majesty, that thou hast called me from the state of death, unto the light of thy heavenly word, and now unto the fellowship of thy saints, that I may sing and say, Holy, holy, holy Lord God of hosts! And Lord, into thy hands I commit my spirit. Lord, bless these thy people, and save them from idolatry."

            And so he ended his life, looking up into heaven, praying and praising God, with the rest of his fellow saints: for whose joyful constancy the Lord be praised!


The martyrdom of six which suffered at Brentford, for the true testimony of Jesus Christ.

            Not long after the death of the forenamed seven godly martyrs that suffered in Smithfield, were six other faithful witnesses of the Lord's true testament martyred at Brentford, seven miles from London, the fourteenth day of July, 1558; which said six were of that company that were apprehended in a close hard by Islington, (as is above specified,) and sent to prison; whose names and articles proponed to them, with their answers unto the same, hereafter follow: Robert Mills, Stephen Cotton, Robert Dynes, Stephen Wight, John Slade, and William Pikas, or Pikes, a tanner, martyrs.

            These six forenamed martyrs, gentle reader, had their articles ministered unto them by Thomas Darbyshire, Bonner's chancellor, at sundry times; as Robert Mills the twentieth day of June, Stephen Wight the twenty-first day of the said month, Stephen Cotton and John Slade the twenty-second day, and Robert Dynes and William Pikes the twenty-third day. At which said times, though they were severally examined, yet had they all one manner of articles ministered to them, yea, and the selfsame articles that were ministered to John Holiday, Henry. Pond, and their company aforesaid; which said articles I leave the reader to look for above in their story, and think it not necessary any more to rehearse them, but only to proceed with their answers to the same, which briefly and in sum hereafter follow.

            "To the first article, they all granted the same; and added thereto for going to church, that Robert Mills and Stephen Wight came not there for three quarters of a year before, and John Slade and William Pikes not since the queen's reign, Stephen Cotton not for a twelvemonth before, and Robert Dynes not for two years before.

            "The second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth, they all answered in effect, as the forenamed John Holiday, Henry Pond, and their company did, saving they added, that as their rites, customs, and ceremonies are against the word of God, so will they observe and keep no part of the same. Stephen Wight added further, that he received not their sacrament of the altar for two years before, nor John Slade and William Pikes since Queen Mary's reign, nor Stephen Cotton for a twelvemonth before, nor Robert Dynes for three years before.

            "To the seventh, they all granted the same in every part like unto the aforenamed Henry Pond and his company; saving that Robert Dynes added, that it was no part of his belief.

            "To the eighth, they all granted the same in every part as the forenamed William Holiday and his company: but Robert Mills added thereto, that he will not come to church, nor allow their religion, so long as the cross is crept to, and worshipped, and images are in the church. John Slade affirmed in effect as Robert Mills did; adding further, that there be not seven sacraments, but two sacraments, which are baptism and the supper of the Lord. Stephen Cotton would no further allow the popish religion, than it agreeth with God's word: and Robert Dynes affirmed in effect the like to Stephen Cotton also.

            "To the ninth and tenth, Robert Mills, John Slade, and Stephen Cotton answered, that they do not allow the popish service then set forth, because it is against the truth, and in a strange language which the common people understand not. Robert Dynes and William Pikes will neither allow nor disallow the Latin service, because they understand it not. And Stephen Wight would make no direct answer to the articles at all, and to the eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth articles we find no answers recorded of the said Stephen Wight, but of the rest of his fellow prisoners we find answers to those articles which hereafter follow.

            "To the eleventh, Robert Mills, John Slade, and Stephen Cotton answered, that concerning the books, faith, and religion specified in this article, they do allow them so far forth, as they agree with God's word, &c. Robert Dynes would make no answer thereto, because he thought himself unmeet to judge thereof: and William Pikes doth not remember that he hath misliked the service, and the faith and religion set forth in King Edward the Sixth's time.

            "To the twelfth they grant, that if they might receive the sacrament as they did in King Edward the Sixth's days, they would with all their hearts so do.

            "To the thirteenth and fourteenth articles, they confess and grant the contents of them to be true in every, part."

            When, at the days before specified, these good men were produced before Bonner's chancellor, Thomas Derbyshire, and had the foresaid articles ministered unto them, and they (as ye have heard) had made answer unto the same; in the end the chancellor commanded them to appear before him again the eleventh day of July after, in the said place at Paul's. Where when they came, he required of them, whether they would turn from their opinions to the mother holy church; and if not, that then, whether there were any cause to the contrary, but that he might proceed with the sentence of condemnation, Whereunto they all answered, that they would not go from the truth, nor relent from any part of the same while they lived.

            Then he charged them to appear before him again the next day in the afternoon, between one and two of the clock, to hear the definitive sentence read against them, according to the ecclesiastical laws then in force. At which time, he sitting in judgment, talking with these godly and virtuous men, at last came into the said place Sir Edward Hastings and Sir Thomas Cornwallis, knights, two of Queen Mary's officers of her house; and being there, they sat them down over against the chancellor, in whose presence the said chancellor condemned those good poor lambs, and delivered them over to the secular power, who received and carried them to prison immediately, and there kept them in safety, till the day of their death.

            In the mean time this naughty chancellor slept not, I warrant you, but that day in which they were condemned, he made certificate into the lord chancellor's office, from whence the next day after was sent a writ to burn them at Brentford aforesaid, which accordingly was accomplished in the same place, the said fourteenth day of July; whereunto they being brought, made their humble prayers unto the Lord Jesus, undressed themselves, went joyfully to the stake, (whereunto they were bound,). and the fire flaming about them, they yielded their souls, bodies, and lives into the hands of the omnipotent Lord, for whose cause they did suffer, and to whose protection I commend thee, gentle reader, Amen.

            Among these six was one William Pikes, (as ye have heard,) who sometime dwelt in Ipswich in Suffolk, by his occupation a tanner, a very honest godly man, and of a virtuous disposition, a good keeper of hospitality, and beneficial to the persecuted in Queen Mary's days. This said William Pikes, in the third year of Queen Mary's reign, a little after Midsummer, being then at liberty, went into his garden, and took with him a Bible of Rogers's translation, where he, sitting with his face towards the south, reading on the said Bible, suddenly fell down upon his book, between eleven and twelve o'clock of the day, four drops of fresh blood, and he knew not from whence it came. Then he, seeing the same, was sore astonished, and could by no means learn (as I said) from whence it should fall: and wiping out one of the drops with his finger, he called his wife and said, "In the virtue of God, wife, what meaneth this? will the Lord have four sacrifices? I see well enough the Lord will have blood: his will be done, and give me grace to abide the trial! Wife, let us pray," said he. "for I fear the day draweth nigh." Afterward, he daily looked to be apprehended of the papists; and it came to pass accordingly, as ye have heard. Thus much thought I good to write thereof, to stir up our dull senses in considering the Lord's works, and reverently to honour the same. His name there-for be praised for evermore. Amen.

            Here is to be noted, by the way, amongst those that suffered at Brentford, one there was of the said company, who, at his burning, desired of God some token to be given, whereby the people might know that they died in the right. After, coming to the place of execution, and being in the fire, there appeared in him that so prayed, in his breast, a miraculous white cross, as white as the paper; the breadth whereof extended from the one shonlder to the other, the length being as much as the breadth. The compass thereof in every place was as broad as a hand. This cross appeared so long till he fell down flat to the fire. Master Dean, aforesaid, did see it with his eyes; and he that saw, did justify it; and himself declared it to me with his own mouth, anno 1561, October 14th.

            Moreover, concerning the said William Pikes, as he was in Newgate sore sick and at the point of death, so that no man looked he should live six hours, he declared to them that sfood by, that he had been twice in persecution before, and that now he desired the Lord, if it were his will, that he might glorify his name at the stake; and so, as he prayed, it came to pass at Brentford.

            Ye heard before, that of those two-and-twenty taken at Islington, thirteen were burnt, and six escaped, albeit very hardly, and some of them not without scourging by the hands of the bishop; in the which number was Thomas Hinshaw and John Milles.


The scourging of Thomas Hinshaw.

Illustration -- Hinshaw and Bonner in the Garden

            In the godly number above mentioned, which were apprehended at Islington, there congregated together, for their exercise of prayer and reading, was this Thomas Hinshaw above named, a young man of the age of nineteen or twenty years; prentice in Paul's churchyard with one Master Pugson, who with the rest, was carried to the constables of Islington, and there every one of them searched, and led forthwith to the chief justice Master Cholmley, dwelling in the Old Bailey in London; and by him then the said Thomas Hinshaw was sent to Newgate, and there remaining prisoner without conference with any about eight weeks, at the last was sent for to Bonner, bishop of London, and by him, Harpsfield, and Cole, examined. After which examination he was sent to Newgate again, where he remained three weeks following; which time being overpassed, he was sent for again before the said bishop, the day being Saturday, and with him had much talk to little purpose. The next day after also, which was Sunday, they persuaded with him very much in like manner, and perceiving they could not bend him unto their bow, in the afternoon the bishop, going unto Fulham, took him with him, where, immediately after his coming, he was set in the stocks, remaining there all the first night with bread and water. The next morning the bishop came  and examined him himself, and perceiving no yielding to his mind, he sent Master Harpsfield to talk with him; who, after long talk, in the end fell to raging words, calling the said Thomas Hinshaw "peevish boy," and asked him whether he thought he went about to damn his soul, or no, &c.: unto which the said Thomas answered, that he was persuaded that they laboured to maintain their dark and devilish kingdom, and not for any love to truth. Then Harpsfield, being in a mighty rage, told the bishop thereof; whereat the bishop fumed and fretted, that scant for anger being able to speak, he said, "Dost thou answer my archdeacon so, thou nanghty boy? I shall handle thee well enough, be assured." So he sent for a couple of rods and caused him to kneel against a long bench in an arbour in his garden, where the said Thomas, without any enforcement of his part, offered himself to the beating, and did abide the fury of the said Bonner, so long as the fat-paunched bishop could endure with breath, and till for weariness he was fain to cease, and give place to his shameful act. He had two willow rods, but he wasted but one, and so left off.

            Now after this scourging the said Thomas Hinshaw notwithstanding did sustain divers conflicts and examinations sundry times. At last, being brought before the said bishop in his chapel at Fulham, there he had procured witnesses, and gathered articles against him, which the young man denied, and would not affirm, or consent to any interrogatory there and then ministered, do what they could; the articles were these.

            Concerning palms, ashes, holy bread, holy water, auricular confession, receiving the sacrament at Easter, hearing divine service then set forth, &c.

            "Whether he had received all these, or whether he would receive them or no.

            "Item, What he thought of the service set forth in King Edward's time, in his latter days; and, in especial, what he thought of the verity of Christ's body in the sacrament. In all which his answers, the said Thomas Hinshaw kept an upright conscience, and entangled himself with none of their ceremonies, so merciful was the Lord unto him."

            Not long after this his examination, (about a fortnight or such a thing,) the foresaid examinate fell sick of a burning ague, whereby he was delivered upon entreaty unto his master, Martin Pugson, in Paul's churchyard aforesaid; for the bishop thought verily he was more likely to die than to live. The which his sickness endured a twelvemonth or more, so that in the mean time Queen Mary died. Then he, shortly after, recovered health, and escaped death, being at the writing of this yet alive, both witness and reporter of the same; the Lord therefor be praised! Amen.


The scourging of John Milles by Bishop Bonner.

            Besides the above named, was scourged also by the hands of the said Bonner, one John Milles, a capper, a right faithful and true honest man in all his dealings and conditions; who was brother to the foresaid R. Milles, burnt before at Brentford, as is above signified: who also was apprehended in the same number with them at Islington, as is mentioned also before; and being brought before Bonner, and there examined, was commanded to the coal-house, with the foresaid Thomas Hinshaw, where they remained one night in the stocks. From thence he was sent to Fulham, where he, with the said Hinshaw, remained eight or ten days in the stocks, during which time he sustained divers conflicts with the said Bonner, who had him ofttimes in examination, urging him, and, with a stick which he had in his hand, ofttimes rapping him on the head, and flirting him under the chin, and on the ears, saying, he looked down like a thief. Moreover, after he had assayed all manner of ways to cause him to recant, and could not, at length having him to his orchard, there within a little arbour, with his own hands he beat him first with a willow rod; and that being worn well-nigh to the stumps, he called for a birchen rod, which a lad brought out of his chamber. The cause why he so beat him was this: Bonner asked him when he had crept to the cross. He answered, not since he came to the years of discretion, neither would, though he should be torn with wild horses. Then Bonner bade him make a cross in his forehead, which he refused to do; whereupon he had him incontinently to his orchard, and there calling for rods, showed his cruelty upon him, as he did upon Thomas Hinshaw, as is above declared.

            This done, he had him immediately to the parish church at Fulham, with the said Thomas Hinshaw and Robert Milles, to whom, there being severally called before him, he ministered certain articles, asking if he would subscribe to the same: to the which the said John Milles made his answer according to his conscience, denying them all, except one article, which was concerning King Edward's service in English. Shortly after this beating, Bonner sent to him in prison a certain old priest lately come from Rome, to conjure out the evil spirit from him, who laying his hand upon his head, began with certain words pronounced over him, to conjure as he had been wont before to do. Milles, marvelling what the priest was about to do, said, he trusted no evil spirit to be within him; and laughed him to scorn, &c.

            As this John Milles was divers times and oft called before Bonner, so much communication and talk passed between them; which to recite all, it were too long. And yet it were not unpleasant for the reader that lusteth to laugh, to see the blind and unsavoury reasons of that bishop, which he used to persuade the ignorant withal. As in the process of his other talk with this Milles, Bonner, going about to persuade him not to meddle with matters of the Scripture, but rather to believe other men's teaching, which had more skill in the same, first asked if he did believe the Scripture.

            "Yea," said Milles, "that I do."

            Then the bishop: "Why," quoth he, "St. Paul saith, If the man sleep, the woman is at liberty to go to another man. If thou wert asleep, having a wife, wouldest thou be content thy wife to take another man? and yet this is the Scripture. Item, If thou wilt believe Luther, Zuinglius, and such, then thou canst not go right. But if thou wilt believe me, &c., thou canst not err. And if thou shouldst err, yet thou art in no peril: thy blood should be required at our hands. As if thou shouldst go to a far country, and meet with a fatherly man, as I am," (for these were his terms,) "and ask the way to the head city, and he should say, 'Go this way;' and thou wilt not believe him, but follow Luther and other heretics of late days, and go a contrary way; how wilt thou come to the place thou askest for? So, if thou wilt not believe me, but follow the leading of other heretics, so shalt thou be brought to destruction, and burn both body and soul. As truly as thou seest the bodies of them in Smithfield burnt, so truly their souls do burn in hell, because they err from the true church."

            Ofttimes speaking to the said John Milles, he would say, "They call me bloody Bonner. A vengeance on you all! I would fain be rid of you, but you have a delight in burning. But if I might have my will, I would sew your mouths, and put you in sacks and drown you."

            Now somewhat to say concerning the deliverance of the said John Milles. The same day that he was delivered, Bonner came unto the stocks where he lay, and asked him how he liked his lodging, and his fare. "Well," said Milles, "if it would please God I might have a little straw to lie or sit upon."

            Then said Bonner, "Thou wilt show no token of a Christian man." And upon this his wife came in, unknown unto him, being very great with child, and looking every hour for her lying down, entreating the bishop for her husband, and saying, that she would not go out of the house, but there would lay herself in the bishop's house, unless she had her husband with her. "How sayest thou," quoth Bonner, "thou heretic? If thy wife miscarry, or thy child, or children, if she be with one or two, should perish, the blood of them would he require at thy hands." Then to this agreement he came, that he should hire a bed in the town of Fulham, and her husband should go home with her the morrow after, upon this condition, that his kinsman there present (one Robert Rouse) should bring the said Milles unto his house at Paul's the next day. Whereunto the said Milles said, he would not agree, except he might go home by and by. At length his wife being importunate for her husband, and seeing that she would go no further, but there remain, unless she had her husband with her, the bishop, fearing belike the rumour which might come upon his house thereby, bade the said Milles make a cross, and say, In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, Amen."

            Then the said Milles began to say, "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen" "No, no," saith Bonner, "say it me in Latin, In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, Amen." Mailles, understanding the matter of that Latin to be but good, said the same, and so went home with his wife, his foresaid kinsman being charged to bring him the next day unto Paul's: "else," said. Bonner, "if thou dost not bring him, thou art a heretic, as well as he." Notwithstanding, the charge being no greater, his kinsman did not bring him, but he of his own voluntary accord came to the said bishop within a few days after, where the bishop put unto him a certain writing in Latin to subscribe unto, containing (as it seemed to him) no great matter that he needed greatly to stick at; albeit, what the bill was, he could not certainly tell: so subscribed he to the bill, and returned home. And thus much concerning the twenty-two taken at Islington.


Previous Next