Ex-Classics Home Page

Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 394. SCOURGINGS AND BEATINGS.


            And thus, through the merciful assistance and favourable aid of Christ our Saviour, thou hast, as in a general register, good reader, the story collected, if not of all, yet of the most part; or at least, not many I trust omitted, of such good saints and martyrs as have lost their lives, and given their blood, or died in prison, for the testimony of Christ's true doctrine and sacraments, from the time of the cruel statute ex officio, first given out by King Henry the Fourth, unto this present time; and especially under the reign of Queen Mary.

            Now after this bloody slaughter of God's good saints and servants thus ended and discoursed, let us proceed (by the good pleasure of the Lord) somewhat likewise to entreat of such as for the same cause of religion have been, although not put to death, yet whipped and scourged by the adversaries, of God's word, first beginning with Richard Wilmott and Thomas Fairfax, who, about the time of Anne Askew, were pitifully rent and tormented with scourges and stripes for their faithful standing to Christ, and to his truth, as by the story and examinationn both of the said Richard Wilmot and Thomas Fairfax, now following, may appear.

            After the first recantation of Dr. Crome for his sermon which he made the fifth Sunday in Lent at St. Thomas of Acres, being the Mercer's chapel, his sermon was on the epistle of the same day, written in Heb. x.; wherein he proved very learnedly by the same place of Scripture and others, that Christ was the only and sufficient sacrifice unto God the Father for the sins of the whole world, and that there was no more sacrifice to be offered for sin by the priests, forasmuch as Christ had offered his body on the cross, and shed his blood for the sins of the people, and that once for all: for the which sermon he was apprehended of Bonner, and brought before Stephen Gardiner and others of the council, where he promised to recant his doctrine at Paul's Cross, the second Sunday after Easter. And accordingly he was there and preached, Bonner with all his doctors sitting before him: but he so preached and handled his matter, that he rather verified his former saying, than denied any part of that which he before had preached; for the which, the protestants praised God, and heartily rejoiced. But Bishop Bonner with his champions were not therewith pleased, but yet notwithstanding they had him home with them, and so handled him among that wolfish generation, that they made him come to the Cross again that next Sunday. And because the magistrates should now hear him, and be witnesses of this recantation, which was most blasphemous, to deny Christ's sacrifice to be sufficient for penitent sinners, and to say that the sacrifice of the mass was good, godly, and a holy sacrifice, propitiatory and available both for the quick and the dead: because (I say) that they would have the nobles to hear this blasphemous doctrine, the viperous generation procured all the chief of the council to be there present.

            Now to come to our matter, at this time, the same week, between his first sermon and the last, and while Dr. Crome was in durance, one Richard Wilmot, being apprentice in Bow Lane, being of the age of eighteen years, and sitting at his work in his master's shop, the Tuesday, in the month of July, one Lewes a Welshman, being one of the guard, came into the shop, having things to do for himself.

            One asked him, what news at the court, and he answered, that the old heretic Dr. Crowe had recanted now indeed before the council, and that he should on Sunday next be at Paul's Cross again, and there declare it.

            Then Wilmot, sitting at his master's work, and hearing him speak these words, and rejoicing in the same, began to speak unto him, saying, that he was sorry to hear these news: "for," said he, "if Crome should say otherwise than he hath said, then is it contrary to the truth of God's word, and contrary to his own conscience, which shall before God accuse him."

            Lewes answered and said, that he had preached and taught heresy; and therefore it was meet that he should in such a place revoke it.

            Wilmot told him that he would not so say, neither did he hear him preach any doctrine contrary to God's word written, but that he proved his doctrine, and that sufficiently by the Scriptures.

            Lewes then asked him how he knew that.

            Wilmot answered, by the Scriptures of God, wherein he shall find God's will and pleasure, what he willeth all men to do, and what not to do; and also by them he should prove and try all doctrines, and the false doctrine from the true.

            Lewes said it was never merry since the Bible was in English; and that he was both a heretic and a traitor that caused it to be translated into English, (meaning Cromwell,) and therefore was rewarded according to his deserts.

            Wilmot answered again, what his deserts and offences were to his prince, a great many do not know, neither doth it force whether they do or no; only he was sure that he lost his life for offending his prince, and the law did put it in execution; adding moreover, concerning that man, that he thought it pleased God to raise him up from a low estate, and to place him in high authority, partly unto this -- that he should do that which all the bishops in the realm yet never did, in restoring again God's holy word, which being hid long before from the people in a strange tongue, and now coming abroad amongst us, will bring our bishops and priests (said he) in less estimation among the people.

            Lewes asked, Why so?

            Wilmot said, Because their doctrine and living were not according to his word.

            Then said Lewes, "I never heard but that all men should learn of the bishops and priests, because they are learned men, and have been brought up in learning all the days of their lives: wherefore they must needs know the truth. And our fathers did believe their doctrine and learning; and I think they did well, for the world was far better then, than it is now."

            Wilmot answered, "I will not say so; for we must not believe them because they are bishops, neither because they are learned, neither because our forefathers did follow their doctrine. For I have read in God's book, how that bishops and learned men have taught the people false doctrine, and likewise the priests from time to time; and indeed those people our forefathers believed as they taught; and as they did think, so did the people think. But for all this, Christ calleth them false prophets, thieves, murderers, blind leaders of the blind; willing the people to take heed of them, lest they should both fall into the ditch. Moreover we read, that the bishops, priests, and learned men have been commonly resisters of the truth from time to time, and have always persecuted the prophets in the old law, as their successors did persecute our Saviour Christ and his disciples in the new law. We must take heed, therefore, that we credit them no further than God will have us, neither follow them nor our forefathers otherwise than he commandeth us. For Almighty God hath given to all people, as well to kings and princes, as bishops, priests, learned and unlearned men, a commandment and law, unto the which he willeth all men to be obedient. Therefore if any bishop or priest preach or teach, or prince or magistrate command, any thing contrary to his commandment, we must take heed how we obey them: for it is better for us to obey God than man."

            "Marry, sir," quoth Lewes, "you are a holy doctor indeed. By God's blood, if you were my man, I would set you about your business a little better, and not suffer you to look upon books; and so would your master, if he were wise." And with that in came his master, and a young man With him, which was servant with Master Daubney in Watling Street.

            His master asked, What the matter was.

            Lewes said, that he had a knavish boy here to his servant; and how that if he were his, he would rather hang him, than keep him in his house.

            Then his master, being somewhat moved, asked his fellows what the matter was.

            They said, "They began to talk about Dr. Crome."

            Then his master asked him what he had said; swearing a great oath, that he would make him to tell him.

            He said, that he trusted he had said nothing, whereby either he or Master Lewes might justly be offended. "I pray you," quoth Wilmot, "ask him what I said."

            "Marry, sir," said Lewes, "this he said, that Dr. Crome did preach and teach nothing but the truth, and how that if he recant on Sunday next, he would be sorry to hear it; and that if he do, he is made to do it against his conscience. And more he saith, that we must not follow our bishops' doctrine and preaching; for (saith he) they be hinderers of God's word, and persecutors of that: and how Cromwell did more good (that traitor!) in setting forth the Bible, than all our bishops have done these hundred years:" thus reporting the matter worse than he had said.

            Then said Wilmot, that in many things he made his tale worse than it was. His master hearing of this, was in a great fury, and rated him, saying, that either he would be hanged or burnt; swearing that he would take away all his books, and burn them.

            The young man (Master Daubney's servant) standing by hearing this, began to speak on his part unto Lewes: and his talk confirmed all the sayings of the other to be true.

            This young man was learned, his name was Thomas Fairfax. Lewes hearing this man's talk as well as the others, went his way in a rage unto the court.

            On the morrow they heard news, so that the said Wilmot and Thomas Fairfax were sent for, to come to the lord mayor. The messenger was Master Smart, swordbearer of London. They came before dinner to the mayor's house, and were commanded to sit down at dinner in the hall; and when the dinner was done, they were both called into a parlour, where the mayor and Sir Roger Cholmley were, who examined them severally, the one not hearing the other.

            The effect of their talk with them was this; Sir Roger Cholmley said unto the foresaid Wilmot, that my Lord Mayor and he had received a commandment from the council, to send for him and his companion, and to examine them of certain things which were laid unto their charge. Then said Master Cholmley to him, "Sirrah, what countryman art thou?" He answered, that he was born in Cambridgeshire, and in such a town. Then he asked him, how long he had been in the city. He told him. Then he asked what learning he had. He said, "Little learning and small knowledge."

            Then, deridingly, he asked how long he had known Dr. Crome. He said, But a while; about two years. He said that he was a lying boy, and said he (the said Wilmot) was his son. The other said unto him, That was unlike, for that he never saw his mother, nor she him. Cholmley said, he lied. Wilmot said, he could prove it to be true. Then he asked him how he liked his sermon, that he made at St. Thomas of Acres' chapel, in Lent. He said that indeed he heard him not. He said, Yes, and the other, Nay. Then said he, "What say you to his sermon made at the Cross, the last day? heard you not that?"

            Wilmot.--"Yes, and in that sermon he deceived a great number of people."

            Cholmley.--"How so?"

            Wilmot.--"For that they looked that he should have recanted his doctrine that he taught before; and did not, but rather confirmed it."

            Cholmley.--"Yea, sir, but how say you now to him? for he hath recanted before the council; and hath promised on Sunday next to be at the Cross again; how think ye in that?"

            Wilmot.--"If he so did, I am the more sorry to hear it;" and said, he thought he did it for fear and safeguard of his life.

            Cholmley.--"But what say you? was his first sermon heresy or not?"

            Wilmot.--"No, I suppose it was no heresy: for if it were, St. Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews was heresy, and Paul a heretic that preached such doctrine. But God forbid that any Christian man should so think of the holy apostle; neither do I so think."

            Cholmley.--"Why, how knowest thou that St. Paul wrote those things that are in English now, to be true, whereas Paul never wrote English or Latin?"

            Wilmot.--"I am certified that learned men of God, that did seek to advance his word, did translate the same out of the Greek and Hebrew into Latin and English, and that they durst not presume to alter the sense of the Scripture of God, and last will and testament of Christ Jesus."

            Then the lord mayor, being in a great fury, asked him what he had to do to read such books, and said that it was pity that his master did suffer him so to do, and that he was not set better to work; and, in fine, said unto him, that he had spoken evil of my Lord of Winchester and Bonner, those reverend and learned fathers and councillors of this realm, for the which his fact he saw no other but he must suffer as was due to the same. And Master Cholmley said, "Yea, my Lord, there are such a sort of heretics and traitorly knaves taken now in Essex by my Lord Riche, that it is too wonderful to hear. They shall be sent up to the bishop shortly, and shall be hanged and burnt all."

            Wilmot.--"I am sorry to hear that of my Lord Riche, for that he was my godfather, and gave me my name at my baptism."

            Cholmley asked him when he spake with him. He said, not these twelve years.

            Cholmley.--"If he knew that he were such a one, he would do the like by him; and in so doing he should do God great service."

            Wilmot.--"I have read the same saying in the gospel, that Christ said to his disciples, The time shall come, saith he, that whosoever killeth you, shall think that he shall do God high service."

            "Well, sir," said Cholmley, "because you are so full of your Scripture, and so well learned, we consider you lack a quiet place to study in. Therefore you shall go to a place where you shall be most quiet, and I would wish you to study how you will answer to the council of those things which they have to charge you with, for else it is like to cost you your best joint. I know my Lord of Winchester will handle you well enough, when he heareth thus much."

            Then was the officer called in, to have Wilmot to the Compter in the Poultry, and Fairfax to the other Compter, one of them not to see another. And thus remained they eight days; in the which time their masters made great labour unto the lord mayor and to Sir Roger Cholmley to know their offences, and that they might be delivered.

            At length they procured the wardens of the company of Drapers, to labour with him in their suit to the mayor. The mayor went with them to the council; but at that time they could find no grace at Winchester's hand, and Sir Anthony Browne's, but that they had deserved death, and that they should have the law.

            At length, through entreatance, he granted them thus much favour, that they should not die as they had deserved, but should be tied to a cart's tail, and be whipped three market days through the city. Thus they came home that day, and went another day; and the mayor and the wardens of the company kneeled before them to have this open punishment released, forasmuch as they were servants of so worshipful a company, and that they might be punished in their own hall before the wardens and certain of the company. At length it was granted, but with condition, as some said, as shall be hereafter declared.

            Then were they sent before the masters the next day to the hall, both their masters being also present, and there were laid to their charge the heinous offences by them committed, how they were both heretics and traitors, and have deserved death for the same. And this was declared with a long process by the master of the company, whose name was Master Brooks, declaring what great labour and suit the mayor and the wardens had made for them, to save them from death, which they (as he said) had deserved, and from open shame, which they should have had, being judged by the council to have been whipped three days through the city at a cart's tail; and from these two dangers had they laboured to deliver them, but not without great suit and also charge. "For," saith he, "the company hath promised unto the council for this their mercy and favour showed towards them, being of such a worshipful company, a hundred pounds: notwithstanding we must see them punished in our hall, within ourselves, for those their offences." After these and many other words, he commanded them to address themselves to receive their punishment.

            Then were they put asunder, and stripped from the waist upward one after another, and had into the hall; and in the midst of the hall, where they use to make their fire, there was a great ring of iron, to the which there was a rope tied fast, and one of their feet thereto fast tied. Then came two men down, disguised in mummers' apparel, with visors on their faces, and they beat them with great rods until the blood did follow in their bodies. As concerning this Wilmot, he could not lie in his bed six nights after, for Brooks played the tyrant with them.

            So it was, that with the beating, and the flight, and fear, they were never in health since, as the said Wilmot with his own mouth hath credibly ascertained us, and we can no less but testify the same. Thus have we briefly rehearsed this little tragedy, wherein ye may note the malice of the enemies at all times to those which profess Christ, and take his part, of what estate or degree soever they be, according to the apostle's saying, It is given unto you not only to believe, but also to suffer with him. To whom be honour and glory, Amen.

            Next after these two above specified, followeth the beating of one Thomas Green; who, in the time of Queen Mary, was caused likewise to be scourged and beaten by Dr. Story. What the cause was, here followeth in the story and examination to be seen, which he penned with his own hand, as the thing itself will declare to the reader. The copy and words of the same, as he wrote them, here follow; wherein as thou mayest note, gentle reader, the simplicity of the one, I pray thee mark the cruelty of the other part.


The scourging of Thomas Green.

            "In the reign of Queen Mary, I Thomas Green being brought before Dr. Story by my master, whose name is John Wayland, a printer, for a book called Antichrist, which had been distributed to certain honest men, he asked me where I had the book, and said I was a traitor. I told him I had the book of a Frenchman. Then then he asked me more questions, but I told him I would tell him no more, nor could not. Then he said, It was no heresy, but treason; and that I should be hanged, drawn, and quartered. And so he called for Cluney, the keeper of the Lollards' Tower, and bade him set me fast in the stocks.

            "I was not in the Lollards' Tower two hours, but Cluney came and took me out, and carried me to the coal-house; and there I found a Frenchman lying in the stocks; and he took him out, and put on my right leg a bolt and a fetter, and on my left hand another, and so he set me cross-fettered in the stocks, and took the Frenchman away with him, and there I lay a day and a night. On the morrow after, he came and said, 'Let us shift your hand and leg, because you shall not be lame;' and he made as though he pitied me, and said, 'Tell me truth, and I will be your friend.'

            "And I said, I had told the truth, and would tell no other. Then he put no more but my leg in the stocks, and so went his way; and there I remained six days, and could come to no answer.

            "Then Dr. Story sent for me, and asked whether I would tell him the truth, where I had the book. I said I had told him, of a Frenchman. He asked me where I came acquainted with the Frenchman, where he dwelt, and where he delivered me the book. I said, ' came acquainted with him in Newgate. I, coming to my friends which were put in for God's word and truth's sake, and the Frenchman coming to his friends also, there we did talk together, and became acquainted one with another, and did eat and drink fogether there with our friends, in the fear of God.'

            "Then Story scoffed at me, and said, 'Then there was brother in Christ, and brother in Christ,' and reviled me, and called me a heretic, and asked me if I had the book of him in Newgate. I said, no; and I told him, as I went on my business in the street I met him, and he asked me how I did, and I him also: so, falling in communication, he showed me that book, and I desired him that he would let me have it.

            "In this examination Story said, it was a great book, and asked me whether I bought it, or had it given me. I told him I bought it. Then said he, Iwas a thief, and had stolen my master's money. And I said, 'A little money served, for I gave him but fourpence; but I promised him that, at our next meeting, I would give twelvepence more.' And he said that was boldly done, for such a book as spake both treason and heresy.

            "Then Story required me to bring him two sureties, and watch for him that I had the book of, and I should have no harm. I made him answer, I would bring no sureties, nor could I tell where to find them. Then said he, 'This is but a lie;' and so called for Cluney, and bade him lay me fast in the coal-house, saying, he would make me tell another tale at my next coming. And so I lay in the stocks day and night, but only when I eat my meat; and there remained ten days before I was called for again.

            "Then Dr. Story sent for me again, and asked if I would yet tell him the truth. I said, I could tell him no other truth than I had, nor would. And while I was there standing, there were two brought, which I took to be prisoners.

            "Then Mistress Story fell in a rage, and swore a great oath, that it were a good deed to put a hundred or two of these heretic knaves in a house, and I myself,' said she, 'would set it on fire.' So I was committed to prison again, where I remained fourteen days, and came to no answer.

            "Then Story sent for me again, and called me into the garden, and there I found with him my Lord of Windsor's chaplain, and two gentlemen more; and he told them all what they had said and done. They said, The book was a wondrous evil book, and had both treason and heresy in it. Then they asked me what I said by the book. And I said, 'I know no evil by it.'

            "At which words Story chafed, and said, he would hang me up by the hands with a rope; and said also, he would cut out my tongue, and mine ears also from my head. After this they alleged two or three things unto me out of the book. And I answered, I had not read the book throughout, and therefore I could give no judgment of the book.

            "Then my Lord of Windsor's chaplain and the other two gentlemen took me aside, and entreated me very gently, saying, Tell us where you had the book, and of whom, and we will save you harmless. I made them answer, I had told all that I could to Dr. Story: and began to tell it them again, but they said, they knew that already. So they left that talk, and went again to Story with me.

            "Then Story burdened me with my faith, and said I was a heretic: whereupon the chaplain asked me how I did believe. Then I began to rehearse the articles of my belief, but he bade me let that alone. Then he asked me how I believed in Christ. I made him answer, that I believed in Christ which died and rose again the third day, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father. Whereupon Story asked me mockingly, 'What is the right hand of God?' I made him answer, 'I thought it was his glory.' Then said he, 'So they say all.' And he asked me when he would be weary of sitting there. Then inferred my Lord of Windsor's chaplain, asking me what I said by the mass. I said, I never knew what it was, nor what it meant; for I understood it not, because I never learned any Latin. And since the time that I had any knowledge, I had been brought up in nothing but in reading of English, and with such men as have taught the same; with many more questions, which I cannot rehearse.

            "Moreover he asked me if there were not the very body of Christ, flesh, blood, and bone, in the mass, after the priest had consecrated it. And I made him answer, 'As for the mass, I cannot understand it; but in the New Testament I read, that as the apostles stood looking after the Lord when he ascended up into heaven, an angel said to them, Even as you see him ascend up, so shall he come again.' And I told them another sentence, where Christ saith, 'The poor shall you have always with you, but me ye shall not have always.'

            "Then Master Chaplain put to me many questions more, to the which I could make him no answer. Among all others, he brought Chrysostom and St. Jerome for his purpose. To whom I answered, that I neither minded nor was able to answer their doctors, neither knew whether they alleged them right, or no; but to that which is written in the New Testament I would answer. Here they laughed me to scorn, and called me fool, and said, they would reason no more with me.

            "Then Dr. Story called for Cluney, and bade him take me away, and set me fast, and let no man speak with me. So I was sent to the coal-house, where I had not been a week, but there came in fourteen prisoners: but I was kept still alone without company, in a prison called the Salthouse, having upon my leg a bolt and a fetter, and my hands manacled together with irons; and there continued ten days, having nothing to lie on, but bare stones or a board.

            "On a time, while I lay there in prison, the bishop of London coming down a pair of stairs on the backside untrussed, in his hose and doublet, looked in at the grate, and asked wherefore I was put in, and who put me in.

            "I made him answer, that I was put in for a book called Antichrist, by Dr. Story. And he said, 'You are not ashamed to declare wherefore you were put in;' and said it was a very wicked book, and bade me confess the truth to Story. I said, I had told the truth to him already; and desired him to be good unto me, and help me out of prison, for they had kept me there long. And he said, he could not meddle with it; Story hath begun it, and he must end it.

            "Then I was removed out of the Salthouse to give place to two women, and carried to the Lollards' Tower, and put in the stocks; and there I found two prisoners, one called Lyon, a Frenchman, and another with him: and so I was kept in the stocks more than a month both day and night, and no man to come to me, or to speak with me, but only my keeper which brought me meat.

            "Thus we three being together, Lyon the Frenchman sang a psalm in the French tongue, and we sang with him, so that we were heard down into the street; and the keeper, coming up in a great rage, sware that he would put us all in the stocks; and so took the Frenchman, and commanded him to kneel down upon his knees, and put both his hands in the stocks, where he remained all that night till the next day.

            "After this, I being in the Lollards' Tower seven days, at my last being with Story, he sware a great oath, that he would rack me, and make me tell the truth. Then Story sending for me, commanded me to be brought to Walbrook, where he and the commissioners dined; and by the way my keeper told me that I should go to the Tower, and be racked. So when they had dined, Story called for me in, and so there I stood before them; and some said, I was worthy to be hanged for having such heretical books. After I had staid a little while before them, Story called for the keeper, and commanded him to carry me to the Lollards' Tower again; and said, 'I have other matters of the queen's to do with the commissioners, but I will find another time for him.' Whilst I lay yet in the Lollards' Tower, the woman which brought the books over, being taken, and her books, was put in the Clink in Southwark, by Hussey, one of the Arches; and I, Thomas Green, testify before God, now, that I neither descried the man nor the woman, the which I had the books of.

            "Then I, lying in the Lollards' Tower, being sent for before Master Hussey, he required of me, wherefore I was put into the Lollards' Tower, and by whom: to whom I made answer, that I was put there by Dr. Story, for a book called Antichrist. Then he made as though he would be my friend, and said he knew my friends, and my father and mother; and bade me tell him of whom I had the book, and said, 'Come on, tell me the truth.' I told him as I had told Dr. Story before.

            "Then he was very angry, and said, I love thee well, and therefore I sent for thee:' and looked for a further truth, but I would tell him no other; whereupon he sent me again to the Lollards' Tower.

            At my going away, he called me back again, and said that Dixon gave me the books, being an old man, dwelling in Birchin Lane; and I said, he knew the matter better than I. So he sent me away to the Lollards' Tower, where I remained seven days and more.

            "Then Master Hussey sent for me again, and required of me to tell him the truth. I told him I could tell him no other truth than I had told Dr. Story before.

            "Then he began to tell me of Dixon, of whom I had the books, the which had made the matter manifest afore; and he told me of all things touching Dixon and the books, more than I could myself, insomuch that he told me how many I had, and that he had a sack full of the books in his house, and knew where the woman lay, better than I myself. Then I saw the matter so open and manifest before my face, that it profited not me to stand in the matter. He asked me where I had done the books; and I told him I had but one, and that Dr. Story had. He said I lied, for I had three at one time, and he required me to tell him of one.

            "Then I told him of one that John Beane had of me, being Prentice with Master Tottle. So he promised me before and after, and as he should be saved before God, that he should have no harm. And I, kneeling down upon my knees, desired him to take my blood, and not to hurt the young man. Then he said, 'Because you have been so stubborn, the matter being made manifest by others and not by you, being so long in prison, tell me if you will stand to my judgment.' I said, 'Yea; take my blood, and hurt not the young man.'

            "Then he made me answer, I should be whipped like a thief and a vagabond; and so I thanked him, and went my way with my keeper to the Lollards' Tower, where I remained two or three days; and so was brought by the keeper, Cluney, by the commandment of the commissioners, to Christ's hospital, sometime the Grey Friars; and accordingly had there, for the time, the correction of thieves and vagabonds; and so was delivered to Trinian the porter, and put into a stinking dungeon.

            "Then after a few days, I, finding friendship, was let out of the dungeon, and lay in a bed in the night, and walked in a yard by the dungeon in the daytime, and so remained prisoner a month and more.

            "Thither at length Dr. Story came, and two gentlemen with him, and called for me; and so I was brought into a countinghouse before them. Then he said to the gentlemen, 'Here cometh this heretic, of whom I had the book called Antichrist:' and began to tell them how many times I had been before him, and said, 'I have entreated him very gently, and he would never tell me the truth, till that it was found out by others.' Then said he, 'It were a good deed to cut out thy tongue, and thy ears off thy head, to make thee an example to all other heretic knaves.' And the gentlemen said, 'Nay, that were pity.' Then he asked, if that I would not become an honest man; and I said, 'Yes, for I have offended God many ways.' Whereupon he burdened me with my faith. I told him that I had made him answer of my faith before my Lord Windsor's chaplain, as much as I could.

            "So in the end he commanded me to be stripped, he standing by me, and called for two of the beadles and the whips to whip me; and the two beadles came with a cord, and bound my hands together, and the one end of the cord to a stone pillar. Then one of my friends, called Nicholas Priestman, hearing them call for whips, hurled in a bundle of rods, which seemed something to pacify the mind of his cruelty; and so they scourged me with rods. But as they were whipping of me, Story asked me, if I would go unto my master again; and I said, Nay. And he said, 'I perceive now he will be worse than ever he was before: but let me alone,' quoth he, 'I will find him out, if he be in England.' And so, with many other things which I cannot rehearse, when they had done whipping of me, they bade me pay my fees, and go my ways."

            Dr. Story commanded that he should have a hundred stripes, but the gentlemen so entreated, that he had not so many; Story saying, "If I might have my will, I would surely cut out his tongue."

            Of the scourging of Master Bartlet Green, also of John Milles, and of Thomas Hinshaw, ye heard before. In like manner was ordered Stephen Cotton, burnt before at Brentford, who testifieth himself to be twice beaten by Bonner, in a letter of his written to his brother, as by the same, here following, for the more evidence may appear.

            "Brother, in the name of the Lord Jesus I commend me unto you; and I do heartily thank you for yonr godly exhortation and counsel in your last letter declared to me. And albeit I do perceive by your letter, you are informed, that as we are divers persons in number, so we are of contrary sects, conditions, and opinions, contrary to the good opinion you had of us at your last being with us in Newgate; he you most assured, good brother, in the Lord Jesus, we are all of one mind, one faith, one assured hope in the Lord Jesus, whom I trust we all together, with one spirit, one brotherly love, do daily call upon for mercy and forgiveness of our sins, with earnest repentance of our former lives; and by whose precious blood-shedding we trust to be saved only, and by no other means. Wherefore, good brother, in the name of the Lord, seeing these impudent people, whose minds are altogether bent to wickedness, envy, uncharitableness, evil speaking, do go about to slander us with untruth, believe them not, neither let their wicked sayings once enter into your mind. And I trust one day to see you again, although now I am in God's prison, which is a joyful school to them that love their Lord God, and to me being a simple scholar most joyful of all.

            "Good brother, once again I do, in the name of our Lord Jesus, exhort you to pray for me, that I may fight strongly in the Lord's battle, to be a good soldier to my Captain, Jesus Christ our Lord, and desire my sister also to do the same. And do not ye mourn or lament for me, but be ye glad and joyful of this my trouble; for I trust to be loosed out of this dungeon shortly, and to go to everlasting joy, which never shall have end. I heard how ye were with the commissioners for me, and how you were suspected to be one of our company: I pray you sue no more for me, good brother. But one thing I shall desire you, to be at my departing out of this life, that you may bear witness with me that I shall die, I trust in God, a true Christian, and (I hope) all my companions in the Lord our God: and therefore believe not these evil-disposed people, who are the authors of all untruths.

            "I pray you provide me a long shirt against the day of our deliverance: for the shirt you gave me last, I have given to one of my companions, who had more need than I; and as for the money and meat you sent us, the bishop's servants delivered none to us, neither he whom you had so great trust in. Brother, there is none of them to trust to, for qualis magister, talis servus. I have been twice beaten, and threatened to be beaten again, by the bishop himself. I suppose we shall go into the country to Fulham, to the bishop's house, and there be arraigned. I would have you to hearken as much as you can: for when we shall go, it shall be suddenly done. Thus fare you well.

            "From the coal-house, this present Friday.
            "Your brother,
            "STEPHEN COTTON."


The scourging of James Harris.

            In this society, of the scourged professors of Christ, was also one James Harris, of Billericay in Essex, a stripling of the age of seventeen years; who, being apprehended and sent up to Bonner, in the company of Margaret Ellis, by Sir John Mordant, knight, and Edmund Tyrrel, justices of peace, (as appeareth by their own letters before mentioned,) was by Bonner divers times straitly examined; in the which examinations he was charged not to have come to his parish church by the space of one year or more. Whereunto he granted, confessing therewithal, that once, for fear, he had been at the church, and there had received the popish sacrament of the altar; for the which he was heartily sorry, detesting the same with all his heart.

            After this and such-like answers, Bonner (the better to try him) persuaded him to go to shrift. The lad, somewhat to fulfil his request, consented to go, and did. But when he came to the priest, he stood still, and said nothing. "Why," quoth the priest, "sayest thou nothing?" "What shall I say?" said Harris. "Thou must confess thy sins," said the priest. "My sins," saith he, "be so many that they cannot be numbered." With that the priest told Bonner what he had said; and he, of his accustomed devotion, took the poor lad into his garden, and there, with a rod, gathered out of a cherry-tree, did most cruelly whip him.


The scourging of Robert Williams, a smith.

            Over and besides these above mentioned, was one Robert Williams, who, being apprehended in the same company, was also tormented after the like maner with rods, in Bonner's arbour, who, there subscribing and yielding himself by promise to obey the laws, after being let go, refused so to do; whereupon he was earnestly sought for, but could not be found, for that he kept himself close, and went not abroad but by stealth. And now in the mean time of this persecution, this Robert Williams departed this life, and so escaped the hands of his enemies. The Lord therefore be honoured for ever, Amen.

            And forasmuch as I have begun to write of Bonner's scourging, by the occasion thereof cometh to mind to infer by the way, his beating of other boys and children, and drawing them naked through the nettles, in his journey rowing toward Fulham. The story, although it touch no matter of religion, yet because it toucheth something the nature and disposition of that man, and may refresh the reader, wearied percase with other doleful stories, I thought not here to omit.


Bonner causeth certain boys to be beaten.

Illustration -- Bonner and the boys bathing in the Thames

onner, passing from London to Fulham by barge, having John Milles and Thomas Hinshaw above mentioned with him, both prisoners for religion, by the way as he went by water, was saying evensong with Harpsfield his chaplain in the barge, and being about the middle of their devout orisons, they espied a sort of young boys swimming and washing themselves in the Thames over against Lambeth, or a little above: unto whom he went, and gave very gentle language and fair speech, until he had set his men a land. That done, his men ran after the boys to get them, as the bishop commanded them before, beating some with nettles, drawing some through bushes of nettles naked; and some they made leap into the Thames to save themselves, that it was marvel they were not drowned.

            Now as the children for fear did cry, and as this skirmishing was between them, immediately came a greater lad thither, to know what the matter meant, that the boys made such a noise; whom when the bishop espied, he asked him whether he would maintain them in their doings or no. Unto whom the young fellow made answer stoutly, Yea. Then the bishop commanded him to be taken also; but he ran away with speed, and thereby avoided the bishop's blessing. Now when the bishop saw him to flee away, and another man sitting upon a rail in the way where he ran, he willed him likewise to stop the boy; and because he would not, he commanded his men to fetch that man to him also: but he, hearing that, ran away as fast as he could, and by leaping over the ditch, escaped the bishop in like manner.

            Then the bishop, seeing the success of his battle to prove no better, cried to a couple of ferry-boys to run, and hold him that last ran away. And for that they said they could not, (as indeed it was true,) therefore he caused his men by and by to take and beat them. The boys, hearing that, leapt into the water to save themselves; notwithstanding they were caught, and in the water, by the bishop's men, were holden and beaten.

            Now, after the end of this great skirmish, the bishop's men returned to their master again into the barge, and he, and Harpsfield his chaplain, went to their evensong afresh, where they left and so forsooth the rest of their service, as clean without malice, as an egg without meat. The Lord give him repentance, (if it be his will,) and grace to become a new man! Amen.


The whipping of a beggar at Salisbury.

            Unto these above specified, is also to be added the miserable whipping of a certain poor starved beggar, who, because he would not receive the sacrament at Easter in the town of Collingborough, was brought to Salisbury with bills and glaves to the chancellor, Dr. Jeffery, who cast him into the dungeon, and after caused him miserably to be whipped of two catchpoles; the sight whereof made all godly hearts to rue it, to see such tyranny to be showed upon such a simple and silly wretch: for they which saw him have reported, that they never saw a more simple creature. But what pity can move the hearts of merciless papists?

            Besides these above named, divers others also suffered the like sconrgings and whippings in their bodies, for their faithful standing in the truth; of whom it may be said, as it is written of the apostles in the Acts, Which departed from the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus.


Previous Next