John Foxe's connection with London's first official protestant regime began no later than the early weeks of 1550. On 24 June, described as living moram faciens within the household of Katherine duchess of Suffolk, he was one of twenty-five men ordained deacon by Nicholas Ridley, bishop of London, before the high altar (ante summum altare) of St Paul's cathedral.
It was a momentous day in the history of English religion: for the first time a protestant bishop of London carried out ordinations according to a protestant ordinal. The official record does not state whether or not the ceremony was held in camera but the best guess is that this was intended as a public statement. Held in the cathedral and not in one of the bishop's private chapels, it seems likely that friends and relations, not to mention a generous assortment of the jubilant London godly, were allowed into the nave to witness the occasion. Thus, at this most solemn moment so far in his career, Foxe may well have been surrounded by many of those with whom he would be closely associated for the rest of it.
This roll-call of Ridley's first ordinands is of significance for a multiplicity of reasons. The reforming convictions of many who came forward were of no recent or fashionable growth. First on the list (was he the eldest present and thus awarded precedence?) was Edmund Turges, who had gone up to King's College, Cambridge, as long ago as 1523, relinquishing a fellowship in 1535. Altogether at least eleven men had been, or still were, associated with Oxbridge colleges. Three, perhaps four, were to choose exile abroad under Mary while at least two others, both of them able and approved preachers within a roving band of Edwardian evangelists whose activities still require detailed scrutiny, disappeared into rustic obscurity until Elizabeth's reign.
Above all, perhaps, the new regime will have congratulated itself upon the fact that these twenty-five ordinands were not just members of a London-based clique. During the previous decade the evangelical message had spread into most of the counties of England and Wales, or had been willingly imbibed by many who reached Oxford and Cambridge not only from the home counties but also from 'the dark corners of the land'. Only three men are described as being born in the cities of London and Westminster. Of the remaining twenty-two, four had been born in the diocese of York and one (Thomas Lever) in Lancashire. Foxe, Thomas Forlove and Henry Markham, a chaplain to Archbishop Cranmer, all hailed from Lincoln diocese. There were also candidates born in Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Essex, Kent, Northumberland, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Sussex and Warwickshire.
Of Ridley's later ordinands (10 August 1550 - 21 May 1553) there were men from Denbighshire, Derbyshire, Durham, Gloucestershire, Leicestershire, Monmouthshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Somerset, Suffolk and Worcestershire, as well as a further five from the diocese of York. London had become a clearing-house not only for Oxbridge graduates but for many an earnest young evangelist without higher education who hailed from as far away as the Scottish border and the marches of Wales. If London's streets were never paved with gold, that is how it appeared not only to aspiring apprentices determined to make their fortunes but also to England's protestant vanguard. The robust complexity of mid-Tudor London, where business and mercantile interests received a subtle shot in the arm by means of an admixture of evangelical fervour, was to stand the protestant cause in good stead after the disaster of 6 July 1553.
When Foxe returned to London from Basle in October 1559 he will have found it in a state of modified rapture. A second protestant settlement of religion had been enacted during the course of Elizabeth I's first parliament, which had finished its work in May, but there were many like himself who had hoped for a more thorough-going approach to 'the apparatus of scenic worship'. John Jewel, who had just returned from the west country after several weeks as a commissioner during Elizabeth's Royal Visitation, observed to Peter Martyr in November that 'doctrine is every where most pure but as to ceremonies and maskings, there is a little too much foolery... '
It was in this atmosphere of cautious optimism that Foxe will have gradually become reacquainted with fellow-exiles whom he had not met since his days in Strasburg or in Frankfurt, and with the 'nicodemites', headed by those two influential brothers-in-law, William Cecil, Elizabeth's first secretary of state, and Nicholas Bacon, her first Lord Keeper, who had made the (equally brave) decision to stay on in the capital and 'sustain' the protestant cause there under the very nose of Mary's government.
Foxe's first shot at an English martyrology, Rerum in ecclesia gestarum, was published in Basle in August 1559, on the eve of his departure for England. Once back home he must immediately have recognized that the protestant Londoners who had contrived to survive the Marian regime, either by maintaining a low profile or by engaging in clandestine protestant activity, were his real source of inspiration if he was to turn his strictly factual Latin narrative into a readable and graphic account of the Marian Reaction.
In the first place there was John Day. A protégé of William Cecil, Day had set up his printing press in the parish of SS Anne and Agnes, on Aldersgate, in 1549. Day's protestant credentials are adequately covered in other sections of this introduction but Foxe must surely have derived a considerable amount of source material from Day himself, for the latter had been briefly incarcerated under Mary with the proto-martyr John Rogers. Even if he did not personally preserve copies of the many letters and papers which had circulated in the London prisons during the late reign he will have been able to point Foxe in the direction of many who possessed such original material, and/or had eye-witness and other oral testimony to offer.
And was it Day who put Foxe back in touch with Dr Henry Bull? By scrupulous analysis of the neglected volumes of Foxe manuscripts preserved at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, Susan Wabuda was able to demonstrate that Bull became Foxe's principal co-adjutor in gathering, scrutinizing, editing (and in many cases suppressing) a vast body of material which came to their joint attention in the early 1560s. Foxe and Bull had known each other since their salad days at Magdalen College, Oxford, in the 1540s, when both had held junior fellowships there.
Bull had gravitated to London after being granted the rare distinction of a doctorate in medicine and as far as can be determined he remained there for the rest of his life as a practising physician. By the beginning of Elizabeth's reign he was living in the parish of St Dunstan-in-the-West, from which address he stood surety at the exchequer on 26 August 1560 for Thomas Lever's first fruits after his promotion to the archdeaconry of Coventry. Bull duly appears in the record as artis medicine professor. Still living in St Dunstan-in-the-West, he made his will in March 1577, dying within weeks. His widow Margaret married Thomas Lever's brother Roger, citizen and girdler of London and one of the two trustees named in Bull's will.
Although it remains unclear precisely when Foxe and Bull began to pool their resources it is inherently unlikely that they failed to compare notes in the months between Foxe's return in late 1559 and his removal to Norwich in the entourage of John Parkhurst who, with considerable reluctance, made his way there as its first protestant bishop in the late summer of 1560. Whenever it took place, the meeting will have provided a useful opportunity for checking out the recent doings and current whereabouts of a number of old friends and acquaintances.
Despite Cambridge's reputation as the cradle of the English Reformation it was in fact Magdalen's high table that galloped ahead during the late 1540s, becoming the most advanced in Oxbridge. Before its comprehensive destruction in 1554 by the college's Visitor, Stephen Gardiner, restored bishop of Winchester, it had been able to boast no fewer than four Thomases who were destined to become Elizabethan bishops - Bentham, Bickley, Cooper and Godwin - as well as John Mullins, future archdeacon of London; Robert Crowley and Laurence Humphrey, two of the most recalcitrant leaders of opposition to Archbishop Matthew Parker during the Vestiarian Controversy of 1564-66; and Peter Morwyng(e) and Michael Reniger, both of them eminences grises of the early Elizabethan ecclesiastical establishment whose precise influence on events remains to be fully elucidated.
All except Cooper and Godwin had spent time in exile. During the Marian years the two latter managed to support themselves and their dependents by taking a leaf out of Henry Bull's book and practising physic. Was it Bull himself who give them a crash-course in basic medicine before bidding them farewell and good luck? Pure speculation. But there can surely be no doubt that from all of these men Foxe and Bull derived valuable information when they finally combined forces to produce the first edition of Actes and Monuments.
Not only did their Magdalen background provide Foxe and Bull with a very personal set of contacts within the clerical elite at the beginning of the Elizabethan era, it was also a coterie which had put down many roots in Marian London and was to consolidate its grip on the capital's religious affairs during the 1560s, thanks in large measure to the efforts of Edmund Grindal, Elizabeth's first bishop of London. Grindal was the inspiration for what was to become Actes and Monuments,envisaging that key documents concerning the Marian years would be edited and published, perhaps in several different collections.
If in the event it was Foxe's single-minded devotion to the project which swept all before it, behind his great enterprise there stood at least two important tracts which Day had evidently smuggled into print during Mary's reign - The communication between my Lord Chancellor and Judge Hales and Lady Jane Grey's Epistle to a learned man - while after Elizabeth's accession he put out A friendly farewell, which Master Doctor Ridley did write unto all his true friends a little before he suffered and Foxe's version of one of the most celebrated of the London diocesan heresy trials, The first and second examination of Thomas Hawkes before Edmund Bonner. bishop of London.
It cannot be shown that after 1559 Grindal was in regular 'supervisory' touch with Bull, Day and Foxe but his personal patronage of surviving evangelicals undoubtedly rendered the task of co-ordination easier than it might otherwise have been. His best efforts had succeeded in staffing the upper echelons of London diocese with an impressive cross-section of returned exiles. As archdeacon of London he chose Bull's and Day's old Magdalen associate John Mullins, later a notable benefactor of Grindal's own college, Pembroke, Cambridge. His first archdeacon of Middlesex was Alexander Nowell, soon to be appointed Dean of St Paul's. Mullins and Nowell had found refuge together in the Frankfurt house of Nowell's successor as archdeacon of Middlesex, the evidently well-heeled Thomas Watts. The archdeaconry of Essex went to the reformed free-willer Thomas Cole.
John Pullan, associated with the secret protestant congregations of London and Colchester and like Foxe a protégé of the duchess of Suffolk, received letters patent for the archdeaconry of Colchester some days before Grindal's consecration (but without doubt at his specific recommendation). Despite his unrepentant radicalism - he was apprehended for defying Elizabeth's proclamation against unauthorized preaching in early 1559 and hauled before the privy council - Cecil went so far as to recommend Pullan to Elizabeth for a bishopric only weeks later, surely an index of just how far the new secretary of state was prepared to go in forcing his young and hesitant queen into considering her options as a protestant monarch. Pullan was to die prematurely in 1565, still archdeacon of Colchester - but what if he had lived longer?
Grindal's trusted vicar-general, Thomas Huick, was an outstanding Welsh lawyer whose brother Robert was a physician to the royal family. By 1557 he had reached Geneva, where Thomas Bodley, who would return home to be granted a patent for the exclusive printing of the Geneva bible in England, stood godfather to his daughter Marie. It was Huick, it must be supposed, who arranged for Foxe to have unrestricted access to the London diocesan records in general and to Bonner's register in particular. Another leading civil lawyer active in the London church courts was John Orphinstrange, who under Mary apparently honed his legal skills by spending time in Padua, where flourished Europe's oldest school of law.
Nicholas Kervile (d.1566) returned from Frankfurt to become one of Grindal's chaplains, received from him the Essex livings of Laindon and South Weald and was one of those who formally opposed Parker's drive for conformity in 1565-6. The sprawling parish of South Weald contained the chapelry and burgeoning township of Brentwood, where the boy-martyr William Hunter had gone to the stake. Foxe's account of his life and martyrdom (even to the point of admitting that 'Bloody Bonner' bent over backwards to save him) is the fullest narrative in Actes and Monuments which relates the fate of a 'humble' victim of the Marian regime and it is not impossible that many incidental details were gathered and relayed to Bull and Foxe by Kervile during his brief incumbency.
The prolific pamphleteer Robert Crowley was also a former fellow of Magdalen and an early associate of John Day. Although promoted archdeacon of Hereford in 1559, Crowley seems to have preferred life in the city of London and is found by May 1561 as rector of St Peter-le-Poer, a living in the gift of the dean and chapter of St Paul's. Within two years he was further entrenched, both as prebendary of Mora in St Paul's (at Grindal's collation) and as vicar of St Giles Cripplegate (at that of the dean and chapter). One of the most vocal leaders of opposition to Archbishop Parker during the Vestiarian Controversy of 1564-66, Crowley was summarily deprived of St Giles for his failure to accept the prescribed vestments on 25 June 1566, three months to the day after Parker had decreed that deprivation would follow any refusals to conform.
While Grindal was mapping out his 'exile diocese' during 1560 the city parishes within John Day's immediate orbit were beginning to map things out for themselves. SS Anne and Agnes, like so many parishes, was dominated by a handful of wealthy merchants. They included the mercer Edward Herenden, whose will was witnessed by Day and the grocer William Harvey in February 1560 (but not granted probate until 1 December 1563). Meanwhile, Herenden had stood surety for the first fruits of William Aylward, alias 'Conscience', collated by Edmund Grindal to the rectory of SS Anne and Agnes in December 1561. Aylward is a mysterious figure, about whose early years and education nothing whatever has been discovered. His incursion into London's protestant elite at this crucial juncture nevertheless suggests that he was one of those many Edwardian evangelists whose movements remain unaccounted for but whose credentials were entirely suited to the sub-editorial tasks which Foxe, Bull and Day had in mind. Was he 'drafted in' by Grindal as a clerical helper? Certainly his personal devotion to Foxe is on record and when he made his will on 2 August 1575 he left Edward Herenden's widow, Millicent, his Book of Martyrs; John Day 'one of my old written books which he will'; and 'Mr Harvey' his 'book called Beacon's Postell'. One of the two witnesses was 'Mr Foxe, preacher'.
Aylward was not the only sympathetic clerical presence in the immediate vicinity. In 1565 William Lydd, apparently a young Oxford graduate, was instituted by Grindal to the rectory of St Michael Wood Street, contiguous to SS Anne and Agnes, at the presentation of one of London's MPs, John Marsh. He compounded for the office ofsubdean of St Paul's on 31 December 1566, his sureties being two influential goldsmiths, Gabriel Newman and William Noks. He may well have been closely involved in the further researches which Foxe undertook after the publication of the first edition of Actes and Monuments, for in his will (26 March 1568) he left bequests to William Aylward (who was also a witness to it), to Henry Bull and to Gabriel Newman. Bull and Newman were appointed joint executors.
William Martin, minister of All Hallows by the Wall, seems to have derived a subsidiary income by working for John Day, perhaps as a clerical bookseller. In his will of 7 March 1574 he bequeathed to Day all suche books of marters Letters and [Thomas] Becon's Booke Works together with all reckoning and dueties for the same or any of them as appeareth in my book of that account as freely as I required them of him'.
Another London minister who was evidently an important member of this godly network was James Young, probably a member of the secret London congregation during the Marian years and rector of St Peter-le-Poer in succession to Crowley on the presentation of Dean Nowell and the chapter of St Paul's. As 'visitor ofNewgate' in the 1570s he was, according to Newgate's gaoler, a vital link between the London godly and the imprisoned authors of An admonition to the parliament, John Field and Thomas Wilcox.
There is undoubtedly much more to be discovered from other wills and cognate documents about the clerical cohort which surrounded and assisted Foxe and Bull. Even this little roll-call, however, demonstrates just how much the clerics who survived Mary's reign, either by going into exile, by beavering away in one or other of the secret congregations, or else by simply evading detection, were beholden in Elizabeth's early years to Grindal as bishop or to Nowell as dean. Until his departure to York in 1570, at least twenty-three other clerical exiles owed their promotion within the diocese of London directly to Grindal or else to lay patrons on whose good offices he was able to call.
The London laymen who would prove the most valuable sources of information and contact with friends and relations outside the capital were almost to a man prosperous (and in some cases prodigiously wealthy) members of London's great livery companies. The steady evangelization of the Great Twelve during Henry's last years and then during Edward's reign can be plotted retrospectively by an analysis of the Elizabethan exchequer records. Here we find a remarkably exact correlation between those 'sustainers of ... prisoners of the gospel, and of such as fled abroad ... by money, clothes and provisions ...' whom John Strype enumerated in his Ecclesiastical Memorials, while at the same time observing that many names had been 'studiously concealed'.. Strype derived his list largely from the names of the recipients of the published letters of Bradford, Careless, Hooper, Saunders, Philpot and Whittle, as published in Certain comfortable letters of such true saints as in the late bloody persecution gave their lives, which, compiled by Henry Bull in collaboration with Foxe, appeared with a preface by Miles Coverdale in 1564 and was thereafter incorporated into later editions of Actes and Monuments. But what led Strype to notice that names had been 'studiously concealed'? Scrutinizing Foxe's papers, he perhaps took particular note of a letter from Thomas Upcher, former freewiller and now a minister in Colchester, Essex, who in conveying letters from John Careless to Henry Bull requested that 'yf you put any of those in prynt that are derected to me leue out my name in any wyse. Let this be the most …'.
Altogether the essential point to grasp about the Elizabethan Settlement, and then the strain of defiant nonconformity which sprang up in the aftermath of the Vestiarian Controversy, is the extent to which it was supported financially by the London godly community who had formerly 'sustained' protestantism under Mary. Susan Brigden asserted that over sixty such sustainers could be identified by name. The evidence of the Exchequer Composition books suggests that this number can be doubled if not tripled. Whilst a checklist of those who came forward as sureties at the Exchequer for the protestant survivors of the Marian Reaction who were rewarded with major ecclesiastical promotion in the early years of Elizabeth would run perhaps to 400 names, to assume that all of these men had watertight protestant credentials would nevertheless be hazardous. Clearly many were relatives of the cleric in question while a number of parochial leaders who backed their new incumbent may simply have wished to make the transition from Mary to Elizabeth without fuss. It remains possible, however, to isolate about 250 men whose activities as protestant 'angels' merit serious attention. 200 of these were members of the Great Twelve livery companies, of the dozen who follow them in order of precedence, or of the Stationers' Company (whose rank of 47th scarcely reflects its influence on civic life). The financial dealings at the exchequer of 136 of these leading merchants have been tabulated in print. They point unswervingly to a committed coterie who were to prove a vital factor in propelling their fellow liverymen into the age of Elizabeth, either as loyal subjects who accepted her settlement of religion without reservation or else as supporters of those many committed preachers who wished to widen its horizons.
At the apex of this important group stand Richard Hilles, prime mover in founding Merchant Taylors' School, and John Abell, described by Christina Garrett, the first to gather up the scattered threads of his career, as a 'merchant-banker'. In fact he was a prominent member of the Haberdashers' and, in company with Sir Thomas Hoby, had been received in Strasburg by Martin Bucer as early as August 1547. He was evidently on a government mission, initiated by Archbishop Cranmer, for he shepherded back to England not only Bernardo Ochino but also Peter Martyr Vermigli. As an exile in Strasburg from 1554, he is found closely associated with such prominent fugitives as Anthony Cooke, John Cheke, Miles Coverdale and Francis Knollys. As late as January 1559 he was appointed temporary guardian of Archbishop Cranmer's son and namesake and this circumstance prompted Miss Garrett to assert that he did not 'hurry back to England' and is not found re-established in London until 1563. In reality he returned in plenty of time to 'sustain' two of the most prominent clerical members of the secret congregation of London, Thomas Bentham and William Lyving. On 24 April 1560, as haberdasher of St Bartholomew the Less, he stood surety at the exchequer with seven other influential citizens for Bentham's first fruits on his elevation to the bishopric of Coventry and Lichfield. On 15 December 1561, by then of the parish of St Swithin, he stood surety for William Lyving, presented to the rectory there by John Hart, citizen and alderman of London. Little else is known of his activities for the short remainder of his life beyond the fact that references to him by Grindal and Robert Home are 'constant and affectionate'. Grindal reported his death to Heinrich Bullinger on 12 August 1569.
Of the godly connections under Elizabeth of Richard Springham, mercer, nothing can be said with certainty except that on his return from Strasburg in May 1559 he also settled in the parish of St Bartholomew the Less ('Bread Street'), standing surety for the Frenchman Jean Veron when he received St Martin Ludgate the following year. The brothers George and Thomas Heton, by contrast, are well documented in the Elizabethan records. George (died c1588), father of Martin Heton, bishop of Ely, chose to remain in London under Mary, managing the remarkable feat of combining his role as 'sustainer' with the mastership of the Merchant Taylors' Company in 1556-7. In 1559 he was assessed in the High Assessment for London among the city's 700 wealthiest citizens but by 1563, when he was appointed Chamberlain of London, had suffered a series of financial reverses. Heton recovered his losses by 1572 but in December 1577, once again in debt, he was dismissed from the chamberlainship in circumstances which remain mysterious. Whilst never appearing at the exchequer as surety for any of his clerical friends it was presumably he himself who supplied Bull and Foxe with two letters addressed to him by the martyr John Bradford as his 'dear friend and brother in the Lord'.
Thomas Heton, free of the Mercers' Company since 1539, chose exile, keeping open house for fellow-fugitives in Strasburg and forming a life-long friendship with Thomas Sampson in the process. Settling in the parish of St Lawrence Jewry on his return, Heton was one of the many who stood surety for Edwin Sandys' first fruits as bishop of Worcester on 12 April 1560. Ten years later he guaranteed Sampson's first fruits for his prebend in St Paul's when Sandys, now bishop of London, collated him to the office of penitentiary. It was also presumably Thomas rather than his brother George to whom John Jewel was referring when he wrote in October 1560 that his 'frende Mr Heton' had loaned him the ₤307 necessary to discharge his initial instalment for the first fruits of the bishopric of Salisbury.
Heton remained a hyperactive influence among the London godly for the rest of his life. He was involved in the re-establishment of the French Church in London in June 1560 and in 1562 was a prime mover in the (finally abortive) negotiations designed to adopt the port of Emden as England's outlet for the export of English cloth in place of Antwerp. In 1569, along with John Bodley, Heton and Thomas Sampson were appointed overseers of the will of the haberdasher Nicholas Culverwell, an early patron of John Field. Thereafter appointed Governor of the English Merchant Adventurers in Antwerp, Heton was present there in November 1576 when the city was sacked by Spanish troops. The poet George Gascoigne, who wrote an eyewitness account of events, described him as 'a comely aged man ... whose hoary hairs might move pity ... especially the uprightness of his dealing considered'.[54. ] Heton survived to return to St Lawrence Jewry by 1582 and in 1586-7 served out a full year as Master of the Mercers' Company but disappears from the Mercers' records after a stray entry in November 1587. His support of the evangelical cause over more than thirty years is incalculable and the fact that no will has ever been located possibly represents a huge loss to a full appreciation of the inner workings of the godly network.
Thomas Sampson's connections with the London godly were many and varied after his arrival there under Edward as perhaps the most eloquent of all the new generation of evangelical preachers. He was to write that he had 'oftentimes ... sitten at dinner and supper' with the martyred John Bradford 'in the house of that good harbourer of many preachers and servants of the Lord Jesus ... Mr Elsyng'. Henry Elsing was a baker of St Dunstan-in-the-West, Henry Bull's home parish, and stood surety for Sampson at the exchequer when he received the rectory of All Hallows Bread Street from Archbishop Cranmer in March 1552. He never appeared again as a surety at the exchequer but after the early death of Augustine Bernher he 'kepte ofcharitie' his daughter Ursula, bequeathing her a handsome ₤6 13s. 4d. in his will of 1577. He also endowed studentships in divinity at both universities worth the generous sum of ₤10 per annum to the recipients.
One of the Marian 'sustainers' whose name was 'studiously concealed' was that of William Winthrop, a member of the Clothworkers' Company, whose half-brother Adam was the father of John Winthrop, first Governor of Massachusetts. William supplied Foxe with papers which had belonged to the martyr John Philpot and had obviously been an active member of the secret London congregation. He stood surety at the exchequer on several occasions, the last (in 1569) being for one of the congregation's former leaders, Robert Cole.
Another route by which it is possible to trace the activities of the London godly is provided by T. S. Willan, a first-rate (and now unjustly neglected) historian of the Manchester School. Willan had no interest whatsoever in religion, concentrating his attentions solely on the trading interests of late Tudor merchants and their aristocratic associates. His researches into London mercantile ventures nevertheless throw much incidental light on the family and godly connections of many of those under discussion. The Muscovy Company was established during Mary's early months on the throne and its leading light appears to have been Sir George Barne, Lord Mayor of London at the time of her accession. Uncle of Nicholas Culverwell, who served his apprenticeship under him, Barne was praised by Bishop Ridley in his Farewell for his benefactions while the funeral service of his wife Alice was preached in early 1559 by the newly-returned exile and future bishop of Winchester, Robert Home.
Willan's checklist of the Muscovy merchants includes the Heton brothers and Richard Springham as well as Barne's son-in-law 'the good' Alexander Carleill, a future Master of the Vintners' Company, whose widow Anne later married Sir Francis Walsingham. Other names which invite attention include the mercer John Eliot(t), factor and agent to Sir Thomas Gresham. Amongst his apprentices during Mary's reign was Richard Culverwell and in 1560 Eliot was one of a quartet of godly Londoners who stood surety for William Barlow's first fruits as bishop of Chichester. Anthony Gamage was to become a patron of the radical Genevan exile Percival Wiburn, a chaplain and eminence grise of Sir Nicholas Bacon. Anthony Hickman, yet another well-heeled mercer, was later to decamp to Antwerp with his wife Rose, who at the end of her life penned an account of her early experiences in temporary exile, incidentally mentioning that her husband had lent Michael Reniger money (which he repaid) to finance his escape abroad. Sir Andrew Judd, founder of Tonbridge School and last Master of the Staple in Calais, had a daughter Alice who married Thomas 'Customer' Smith. Their son, the future Sir Thomas Smith, first governor of the East India Company, took as his first wife Judith, only daughter of Richard Culverwell.
John Kempe may have been the draper of St Antholin who stood surety for Alexander Wimshurst's rectory of All Hallows Bread Street in early 1560 or else his brother (also John) whose bequests included a total of ₤200 to the two universities. John Marsh, M.P. for London and patron of William Lydd, has already been mentioned. The immensely rich John Quarles, twice Master of the Drapers' Company, was a friend and patron of Robert Crowley. The equally wealthy Geoffrey Walkden, twice Master of the Skinners', was one of only two men challenged and debarred from the jury at the trial of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton in 1554. He confirmed his protestant credentials by standing surety for John Veron's prebend of Mora in St Paul's in 1559 and for Thomas Bentham's first fruits as bishop of Coventry and Lichfield in 1560.
If the Muscovy Company cannot and should not be written up as a 'godly' enterprise - many hard-headed business men who had no more interest in reformed religion that Willan himself displayed were members of it - it provides many an insight into the ways of London protestantism under Edward and Mary, as well as a distinct pointer towards the manner in which the London mercantile community would be deploying its energies, and forming family alliances, under a revived protestant regime during the following decades.
One of the most striking aspects of Actes and Monuments, in its later recensions, is Foxe's almost complete refusal to engage with the reminiscences of those who had contrived to survive the Marian persecution. The first edition was in part an omnium gatherum of protestant fortunes under Mary in which the names of many who had experienced narrow escapes at the hands of the authorities, both central and local, were briefly chronicled. In his later editions Foxe systematically expunged these terse accounts. Indeed, he simply ceased to be interested in survivors, concentrating ever more single-mindedly on the martyrs rather than upon the collective experience of those who had endured the Marian years.
For that reason, perhaps, he declined even in the first edition to capitalize on the widely-available oral testimony of those who had been members of London's secret protestant congregation. His meagre (and dubious) chronology of the congregation's succession of clerical leaders is encapsulated in a single sentence, … from the first beginning, which was about the first entry of Quene Maries reygne, they had diuers ministers, firste maister Schamlere, then Thomas Fowle, after him maister Rowgh, then maister Austen, and last maister Bentam, …
No corroborating evidence for the involvement of Scambler and Foule (Fowle) has ever been unearthed while the suggestion that Scambler, Elizabeth's first bishop of Peterborough, and Bentham, her first bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, were the alpha and omega of the congregation subtly conveys the impression that the congregation was merely a sliver of the disbanded Edwardian church, meeting under quasi-episcopal control. As Foxe perfectly well knew it was in reality nothing of the kind but rather a self-governing and increasingly radical operation. It probably took its cue from the reformed church order which, as superintendent of London's Strangers' Church after 1550, John à Lasco had been allowed by the privy council to practice and develop and which in 1555 he put into print as Forma ac Ratio. It is also possible that the London Marian congregation experienced precisely the same kind of wrangling over discipline as shattered the English exile colony in Frankfurt. In 1563, therefore, when Elizabeth had yet to set her face irrevocably against modification of the 1559 settlement, it would no doubt have been impolitic to expose all its activities to detailed scrutiny in print.
Foxe accordingly suppressed vital information - principally, that the congregation's quasi-episcopal succession of pastors had been supported (perhaps in certain circumstances challenged?) by other fugitive ministers. The point is graphically illustrated by the fact that the deacon Thomas Simpson is now known to have been ordained priest by an 'evangelical rite' in the redundant city church of St Mary Axe at the end of 1557 in the 'presence' not only of 'Mr Austen' (that is, Augustine Bernher) but also of the ministers William Lyving and Robert Cole and of a layman, Avery Brierton, who proves to have been a merchant tailor of the parish of St Martin Vintry, home parish of the Culverwell family.
Although in 1563 Foxe accorded Lyving and his wife Juliana a modicum of space as brave souls who had courted martyrdom in the dying months of the Marian regime, he says nothing about their subsequent fortunes. There are scattered references to Robert Cole, one to Thomas Simpson as a deacon; none at all to Avery Brierton.. Only John Rough, the congregation's leader for a mere month, is given his due, for the very good reason that he was swiftly caught, indicted and burnt in December 1557
But a conundrum remains: if it was advisable in 1563 to present the congregation as 'orthodox', why did Foxe never choose to tell more of the truth about its activities in his later editions, which in other respects manifest his growing disillusion with the conservatism of the Elizabethan regime? Why not, for example, let the cat out of the bag concerning Thomas Simpson's ordination, as a sop to the surviving radicals and as a red rag to the bishops? It was perhaps Foxe's residual loyalty to Edwin Sandys (bishop of London 1570-77) and, despite their differences of opinion on the subject of conformity, his residual friendship with John Aylmer (bishop of London 1577-94) that stayed his hand.
There may also be a hidden agenda on Foxe's part over and above his gradual disengagement with the fortunes of Marian survivors. His deepening disillusion as the arteries of the Elizabethan regime appeared to be hardening by the mid-1560s may have run parallel with a deepening disgust with those protestant heroes of the 1550s whose arteries appeared to be hardening along with it. Robert Cole's efforts under Mary were swiftly rewarded by Archbishop Matthew Parker with the London rectory of St Mary-le-Bow, mother church of Canterbury's peculiar jurisdiction within the city (the deanery of the Arches). During the Vestiarian controversy he acted as mannequin at Parker's behest, parading in the prescribed clerical vestments before the city ministers whom the archbishop had summoned to Lambeth. In 1569 he received a second city living at Parker's hands. Likewise, Crowley, Lyving and Thomas Simpson all ended their days as (apparently conformist) pluralists. In sum, the gradually unfolding realities of the Elizabethan years perhaps placed many an old friendship under strain, separating conforming sheep from radical goats.
By the time of his death in April 1587 Foxe had been intimately concerned with events in the capital for nigh on 40 years, perhaps until then the most momentous in its long history. London had provided the backdrop for the lion's share of the narratives which he put into print and yet in the last analysis there is a sense of detachment from it on Foxe's part. There is no real sense in his pages that the most outward-looking metropolis in Europe teemed with wealthy and influential citizens and merchants who helped to launch the reign of the 'godly imp', 'sustained' protestantism under Mary and then, under Elizabeth, ensured that the new regime and its leading ecclesiastics were adequately financed. Foxe was concerned solely with The Truth - the universality of the protestant message - ignoring the uncomfortable fact that money was a vital ingredient in its dissemination and ultimate survival. The ministrations of Mammon might be heartily welcomed in private but they were not to be celebrated on the printed page.
London, Guildhall Library MS 9535/1, fols lr-2r.
[Ordination book of Nicholas Ridley, printed verbatim in W. H. Frere, The Marian Reaction in its relation to the English clergy (London. 1896), pp. 181-210.]
For detailed discussion concerning the introduction and implementation of the ordinal, see
W. H. Frere, The Marian Reaction in its relation to the English clergy (London. 1896), ch. IV.
J. and J. A. Venn, Alumni Cantabrigiensis to 1571 4 vols (Cambridge: 1922-27), Part I, IV, p. 273
Foxe himself, John Finch of Billericay, Essex, and Thomas Lever, by then Master of St John's College, Cambridge.
Frere surmised that Henry May, fellow of St John's, accompanied Lever abroad but he is not indexed in C.H.
W. H. Frere, The Marian Reaction in its relation to the English clergy (London. 1896), p. 184n.
Christina H. Garrett, The Marian Exiles: A Study in the Origins of Elizabethan Puritanism (Cambridge, 1938, repr. 1966).
For John Finch and the protestant coterie in Billericay, see
Brett Usher, 'Essex Evangelicals under Edward VI' in John Foxe at Home and Abroad, David Loades (ed.) (Ashgate, forthcoming).
Richard Fletcher was in early 1554 deprived of the vicarage of Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, as a married clergyman. He and his young son and namesake, future bishop of London, witnessed the martyrdom of Christopher Wade (Wayd, Wayde) at Dartford, Kent, in July 1555, subsequently submitting an account of it to Foxe, first printed in Acts and Monuments 1576, p. 1591.
Lancelot Thexton, a royal chaplain under Edward, apparently did not resurface until 6 May 1562 when he is recorded as a protégé of another Marian survivor, Archbishop Matthew Parker, who petitioned the Lord Keeper for letters patent on his behalf for the vicarage of Aylsham, Norfolk:
BL MS 443, fol. 95 v.
ZL. vol. 1, p. 55.
For some sense of what 'purity of doctrine' actually meant at this juncture, see
Eamon Duffy, The Voices of Morebath (Newhaven, London, 2001), pp. 170-73.
See Andrew Pettegree, Marian protestantism: Six studies (Aldershot, 1996), ch. 4, 'Nicodemism and the English Reformation'.
Acts and Monuments (1563) p. 1037.
Susana Wabuda, 'Henry Bull, Miles Coverdale, and the Making of Foxe's Book of Martyrs', in Diana Wood (ed.) Studies in Church History, vol. 30 (Oxford, 1993), pp. 245-58.
PRO E334/7, fol. 82v.
PRO PCC PROB 11/59 (29 Daughtry): probate granted 14 July 1577;
Brett Usher, 'Backing Protestantism: the London godly, the exchequer and the Foxe circle', in David Loades (ed.), John Foxe: an Historical Perspective (Aldershot, 1999), pp. 105-34 (at p. 116).
PRO PCC PROB 11/64 (23 Tirwite), fols 173r-v;
Brett Usher, 'Backing Protestantism: the London godly, the exchequer and the Foxe circle', in David Loades (ed.), John Foxe: an Historical Perspective (Aldershot, 1999), pp. 116, 119-20.
Brett Usher, William Cecil and episcopacy (Aldershot, 2004), pp. 57-8.
Morwyng(e)'s published version of Conrad Gesner's The Treasure of Euonymus (1559) was commissioned by John Day, who informed the Christian Reader that he had 'caused this precious jewel to be translated into our usual and native language':
John N. King, 'John Day: master printer of the English Reformation', in Peter Marshall and Alee Ryrie (eds), The Beginnings of English Protestantism (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 180-208 (at p. 205)
Christina H. Garrett's remarkable and trail-blazing
The Marian Exiles: A Study in the Origins of Elizabethan Puritanism (Cambridge, 1938, repr. 1966)
is a book which no historian of the English Reformation would willingly dispense with but it inevitably emphasized the importance for the Elizabethan Settlement of those who crossed the channel and ignored the contribution of those who elected not to do so, preferring 'internal exile' in the manner of Bull, Cooper and Godwin. William Alley, first Elizabethan bishop of Exeter, likewise supported himself by practising medicine in the north of England:
F. O. White, Lives of the Elizabethan bishops of the Anglican church (1898), p. 142;
Brett Usher, William Cecil and episcopacy (Aldershot, 2004), p. 58.
Others - most notably Matthew Parker - lived in quiet retirement.
William Nicholson (ed.) The remains of Edmund Grindal (Cambridge, Parker Society, 1843), pp. 219-38;
Patrick Collinson, Archbishop Grindal. 1519-1583 (London, 1979), pp.79-82.
John N. King, 'John Day: master printer of the English Reformation', in Peter Marshall and Alee Ryrie (eds), The Beginnings of English Protestantism (Cambridge, 2002) p. 206.
Christina H. Garrett, The Marian Exiles: A Study in the Origins of Elizabethan Puritanism (Cambridge, 1938, repr. 1966), pp. 234, 238, 323, 327.
For Cole's exploits as archdeacon and as dean of Booking, see
Brett Usher, 'The deanery of Bocking and the demise of the Vestiarian Controversy', JEH 52 (July 2001), pp. 434-55;
for his freewiller background, see
Thomas S Freeman, 'Dissenters from a Dissenting Church: The Challenge of the Freewillers, 1550-1558' in Peter Marshall and Aled Ryrie (eds), The Beginnings of English Protestantism, (Cambridge, 2002) pp. 129-156.
London, Guildhall Library MS 9531/13, part 1, fol. 483r;
Brett Usher, 'The deanery of Bocking and the demise of the Vestiarian Controversy', JEH 52 (July 2001), p. 439 and note 27.
Brett Usher, William Cecil and episcopacy (Aldershot, 2004), p. 29.
Christina H. Garrett, The Marian Exiles: A Study in the Origins of Elizabethan Puritanism (Cambridge, 1938, repr. 1966) , pp. 93-4, 149-50.
Christina H. Garrett, The Marian Exiles: A Study in the Origins of Elizabethan Puritanism (Cambridge, 1938, repr. 1966), p. 243.
Brett Usher's entry for Kervile in Oxford DNB supersedes Garrett's inadequate account in The Marian Exiles: A Study in the Origins of Elizabethan Puritanism (Cambridge, 1938, repr. 1966), p. 110.
Acts and Monuments (1563), pp. 1109-10.
John N. King, 'John Day: master printer of the English Reformation', in Peter Marshall and Alee Ryrie (eds), The Beginnings of English Protestantism (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 192-93.
London, Guildhall Library 9537/2, fol. 33r.
George Hennessy, Novum Repertorium (London, 1898), p. 376,
missed this reference and does not place him here until 1563.
George Hennessy, Novum Repertorium (London, 1898), pp. 38, 172.
PRO E337/5, no. 101.
PRO PCC PROB 11/46 (42 Chayre)
PRO E334/7, fol. 144v.
BL Harley MS 425, fols 131r-133v;
London Metropolitan Archives, DL/C/358, fol. 215v;
Brett Usher, 'Backing Protestantism: the London godly, the exchequer and the Foxe circle', in David Loades (ed.), John Foxe: an Historical Perspective (Aldershot, 1999), pp. 113-5.
One William Lyde graduated BA on 3 March 1564 but nothing else is recorded about his university career:
Joseph Foster, Alumni Oxoniensis: The Members of the University of Oxford, 1500-1714 4 vols (Oxford: 1892), vol. 3, p. 952.
London, Guildhall Library MS 9531/13, fol. 136r.
For Marsh's many business interests and local government offices see
P. W. Hasler, The House of Commons 1558-1603 3 vols (London, 1981) vol. 3, pp. 20-22.
PRO E334/8, fol. 97r.
London Metropolitan Archives, DL/C/358, fols 153v-54v;
Brett Usher, 'Backing Protestantism: the London godly, the exchequer and the Foxe circle', in David Loades (ed.), John Foxe: an Historical Perspective (Aldershot, 1999), p. 114.
London Metropolitan Archives, DL/C/358, fols 184r-v.
For what is known of Young's career see
Brett Usher, 'Backing Protestantism: the London godly, the exchequer and the Foxe circle', in David Loades (ed.), John Foxe: an Historical Perspective (Aldershot, 1999), pp. 117, 120-1.
The evidence is complex and in many cases obscure but for present purposes may be summarized here by reference to Garrett's checklist of known exiles who were ordained or otherwise promoted either by Grindal himself or with the backing of William Cecil and/or Archbishop Parker.
See, therefore, her entries for
Acworth, Thomas (pp. 68-9);
Alcoc(k)son, Humphry (p. 70);
Alien, Thomas (p. 71);
Alvey, Richard (pp. 71-2);
Cole, Robert (pp. 21-2);
Coverdale, Miles (pp. 132-4);
Dodman, John (p. 145);
Donnell, Thomas (p. 145);
Harrington, Robert (pp. 177-8);
Holiday, Adam (pp. 186-7);
Horton, Thomas (pp. 191-2);
Hutton, Robert (p. 195);
Ireland, William (p. 195);
Kelly, Walter (p. 203);
'Langhom' (recte Laugher(n)), Richard (pp. 215-6);
Mountain, Thomas (pp. 232-4);
Newton, Theodore (p. 236);
Plough, John (p. 252);
Porrege, William (p. 258);
Richardson, Walter (p. 271);
Turpin, Thomas (p. 316);
Walker, Thomas (pp. 318-9);
Wa(r)ter, Thomas (p. 322)
To these the present writer would add
Bendall, John (p. 86);
Betts, William (p. 89);
Finch, John (p. 153);
Hawkes, Peter (p. 181);
Lynbroughe, Richard (p. 222);
Mackbray, John (pp. 223-4);
Pekins, John (p. 247).
Christina H. Garrett, The Marian Exiles: A Study in the Origins of Elizabethan Puritanism (Cambridge, 1938, repr. 1966)
John Strype, Ecclesiastical Memorials 2nd ed, (Oxford 1820-40), vol. 3, part 1, pp. 223-4.
John N. King, 'John Day: master printer of the English Reformation', in Peter Marshall and Alee Ryrie (eds), The Beginnings of English Protestantism (Cambridge, 2002), p. 206.
BL Additional MS 19400, fol. 71v.
Bull respected the request.
For the most recent study of Upcher and the freewillers, see
Thomas S Freeman, 'Dissenters from a Dissenting Church: The Challenge of the Freewillers, 1550-1558' in Peter Marshall and Aled Ryrie (eds), The Beginnings of English Protestantism (Cambridge, 2002)
Susan Brigden, London and the Reformation (Oxford, 1989), p. 604.
Brett Usher, 'Backing Protestantism: the London godly, the exchequer and the Foxe circle', in David Loades (ed.), John Foxe: an Historical Perspective (Aldershot, 1999), Appendix, pp. 126-134.
F. W. M. Draper, Four centuries of Merchant Taylors' School 1561-1961 (Oxford, 1962), chs 1-3.
Christina H. Garrett, The Marian Exiles: A Study in the Origins of Elizabethan Puritanism (Cambridge, 1938, repr. 1966) pp. 67-8.
George Hennessy, Novum Repertorium (London, 1898) p. 389;
PRO E334/7, fols 59v, 142v.
Christina H. Garrett, The Marian Exiles: A Study in the Origins of Elizabethan Puritanism (Cambridge, 1938, repr. 1966) p. 68.
PRO E334/7, fol. 92v.
What follows is based on the present writer's entries for George, Martin and Thomas Heton in Oxford DNB.
Edward Bickersteth, ed. The Letters of the Martyrs: collected and published in 1564 (London, 1837) pp. 342-6.
PRO E334/7, fol. 58v; E334/8, fol. 220v.
For the full list of Sandys' sureties for Worcester, see
Brett Usher, William Cecil and episcopacy (Aldershot, 2004) p. 191.
BL Egerton MS 2533, fol. 5r.
A. F. Pollard (ed.), Tudor Tracts (Westminster, 1903), p. 447.
Christina H. Garrett (The Marian Exiles: A Study in the Origins of Elizabethan Puritanism (Cambridge, 1938, repr. 1966, pp. 182-3), taking her cue from references given by John Strype, was wrong in assuming that Heton must have lost his fortune by the beginning of the 1580s. The fact that Archbishop Grindal bequeathed him the £50 'which he oweth me' argues nothing in particular. In 1582 Heton was rated at the substantial sum of £70 in the London subsidy assessment:
R. G. Lang, (ed.), Two Tudor subsidy assessment rolls for the city of London: 1541 and 1582 (London Record Society, 1993), p. 190.
Nor, if destitute, could he have become Master of London's most influential livery company in 1586.
Aubrey Townsend, (ed.) The writings of John Bradford (Cambridge, Parker Society, 1853), p. xxix.
PRO E334/7, fol. 94r.
PRO PCC PROB 11/63 (26 Darcy) fols 205v-6r;
Brett Usher, 'Backing Protestantism: the London godly, the exchequer and the Foxe circle', in David Loades (ed.), John Foxe: an Historical Perspective (Aldershot, 1999), p. 110 n.19.
Brett Usher, 'The deanery of Bocking and the demise of the Vestiarian Controversy', JEH 52 (July 2001), pp. 109, 111, 117, 120, 133;
Francis J. Bremer, 'William Winthrop and religious reform in London, 1529-1582', London Journal, 24, (1999) pp. 1-17.
T. S. Willan, The Muscovy Merchants of 1555 (Manchester, 1953);
T. S. Willan, Studies in Elizabethan foreign trade (Manchester, 1959).
For Barne, see
T. S. Willan, The Muscovy Merchants of 1555 (Manchester, 1953), p. 78,
and the entry by Paul Slack in Oxford DNB.
For the Culverwell family, see the entry by Brett Usher in Oxford DNB.
Nicholas's younger brother Richard Culverwell (d. 1586) left monetary bequests to no fewer than nine of London's leading radical preachers:
£3 pounds each to Robert Crowley, William Charke, Walter Travers, John Field, Thomas Crooke and Nicholas Crane;
£2 each to Thomas Edmonds, William Cheston and Giles Sinclair (Sainctloo, Santlyes):
PRO PCC PROB 11/69 (9 Windsor).
T. S. Willan, The Muscovy Merchants of 1555 (Manchester, 1953) pp. 78, 85.
Brett Usher, 'Backing Protestantism: the London godly, the exchequer and the Foxe circle', in David Loades (ed.), John Foxe: an Historical Perspective (Aldershot, 1999), p. 127.
For Barlow's sureties, who included Thomas Huick and the printer Edward Whitchurch (opponent and vanquisher of John Knox in Frankfurt), see also
Brett Usher, William Cecil and episcopacy (Aldershot, 2004), p. 190.
Brett Usher, 'Backing Protestantism: the London godly, the exchequer and the Foxe circle', in David Loades (ed.), John Foxe: an Historical Perspective (Aldershot, 1999), p. 128.
Joy Shakespeare and Maria Dowling, 'Religion and politics in mid-Tudor England through the eyes of an English Protestant woman: the recollections of Rose Hickman', BIHR 55 (1982), pp. 97-102.
T. S. Willan, The Muscovy Merchants of 1555 (Manchester, 1953), pp. 105-6.
Brett Usher, 'Backing Protestantism: the London godly, the exchequer and the Foxe circle', in David Loades (ed.), John Foxe: an Historical Perspective (Aldershot, 1999), p. 129;
T. S. Willan, The Muscovy Merchants of 1555 (Manchester, 1953), pp. 106-7.
Brett Usher, 'Backing Protestantism: the London godly, the exchequer and the Foxe circle', in David Loades (ed.), John Foxe: an Historical Perspective (Aldershot, 1999), p. 129;
T. S. Willan, The Muscovy Merchants of 1555 (Manchester, 1953), p. 118.
Brett Usher, 'Backing Protestantism: the London godly, the exchequer and the Foxe circle', in David Loades (ed.), John Foxe: an Historical Perspective (Aldershot, 1999), pp. 1ll, 131;
T. S. Willan, The Muscovy Merchants of 1555 (Manchester, 1953), p. 126.
For some discussion of events in Suffolk and of his checklist of 'the persecuted in Essex' see
Patrick Collinson, John Craig and Brett Usher (eds), Conferences and combination lectures in the Elizabethan church (Woodbridge, 2003), p. lxiii.
Stories of 'providential reward and punishment' for saints and sinners nevertheless remained on Foxe's agenda: see
Thomas S. Freeman, 'Fate, faction and fiction in Foxe's Book of Martyrs', Historical Journal 43 (2000), pp. 601-23.
What follows is based on
Brett Usher, ''In a time of persecution': new light on the secret protestant congregation in Marian London', in David Loades (ed.), John Foxe and the English Reformation (Aldershot, 1997), pp. 233-51.
Acts and Monuments (1563) p. 1700 (Foxe p. 1700, (corrected) p. 1712).
Brett Usher, ''In a time of persecution': new light on the secret protestant congregation in Marian London', in David Loades (ed.), John Foxe and the English Reformation (Aldershot, 1997), pp. 238-9, and references there cited.
Brett Usher, ''In a time of persecution': new light on the secret protestant congregation in Marian London', in David Loades (ed.), John Foxe and the English Reformation (Aldershot, 1997), pp. 233-6.
Acts and Monuments (1563)
the Lyvings: pp. 1673-5 (Foxe pp. 1673-5, (Corrected p. 1685-87))
Cole: p. 1679 (Foxe p. 1679, (Corrected p. 1691))
Simpson: p. 1700 (Foxe p. 1700, (Corrected p. 1712))
Acts and Monuments (1563), p. 1646 (Foxe p. 1646, (Corrected p. 1658)).
Brett Usher, 'Backing Protestantism: the London godly, the exchequer and the Foxe circle', in David Loades (ed.), John Foxe: an Historical Perspective (Aldershot, 1999), pp. 234-8, 250;
for Cole, see Brett Usher's entry in Oxford DNB:
for Crowley, see J. W. Martin, Religious radicals in Tudor England (London, 1989), pp. 157-69.