Thematic Divisions in Book 11
1. The Martyrdom of Rogers 2. The Martyrdom of Saunders 3. Saunders' Letters 4. Hooper's Martyrdom 5. Hooper's Letters 6. Rowland Taylor's Martyrdom 7. Becket's Image and other events 8. Miles Coverdale and the Denmark Letters 9. Bonner and Reconciliation 10. Judge Hales 11. The Martyrdom of Thomas Tomkins 12. The Martyrdom of William Hunter 13. The Martyrdom of Higbed and Causton 14. The Martyrdom of Pigot, Knight and Laurence 15. Robert Farrar's Martyrdom 16. The Martyrdom of Rawlins/Rowland White17. The Restoration of Abbey Lands and other events in Spring 155518. The Providential Death of the Parson of Arundel 19. The Martyrdom of John Awcocke 20. The Martyrdom of George Marsh 21. The Letters of George Marsh 22. The Martyrdom of William Flower 23. The Martyrdom of Cardmaker and Warne 24. Letters of Warne and Cardmaker 25. The Martyrdom of Ardley and Simpson 26. John Tooly 27. The Examination of Robert Bromley [nb This is part of the Tooly affair]28. The Martyrdom of Thomas Haukes 29. Letters of Haukes 30. The Martyrdom of Thomas Watts 31. Mary's False Pregnancy32. Censorship Proclamation 33. Our Lady' Psalter 34. Martyrdom of Osmund, Bamford, Osborne and Chamberlain35. The Martyrdom of John Bradford 36. Bradford's Letters 37. William Minge 38. James Trevisam 39. The Martyrdom of John Bland 40. The Martyrdom of Frankesh, Middleton and Sheterden 41. Sheterden's Letters 42. Examinations of Hall, Wade and Polley 43. Martyrdom of Christopher Wade 44. Martyrdom of Carver and Launder 45. Martyrdom of Thomas Iveson 46. John Aleworth 47. Martyrdom of James Abbes 48. Martyrdom of Denley, Newman and Pacingham 49. Richard Hooke 50. Martyrdom of William Coker, et al 51. Martyrdom of George Tankerfield, et al 52. Martyrdom and Letters of Robert Smith 53. Martyrdom of Harwood and Fust 54. Martyrdom of William Haile 55. George King, Thomas Leyes and John Wade 56. William Andrew 57. Martyrdom of Robert Samuel 58. Samuel's Letters 59. William Allen 60. Martyrdom of Roger Coo 61. Martyrdom of Thomas Cobb 62. Martyrdom of Catmer, Streater, Burwood, Brodbridge, Tutty 63. Martyrdom of Hayward and Goreway 64. Martyrdom and Letters of Robert Glover 65. Cornelius Bungey 66. John and William Glover 67. Martyrdom of Wolsey and Pigot 68. Life and Character of Nicholas Ridley 69. Ridley's Letters 70. Life of Hugh Latimer 71. Latimer's Letters 72. Ridley and Latimer Re-examined and Executed73. More Letters of Ridley 74. Life and Death of Stephen Gardiner 75. Martyrdom of Webb, Roper and Park 76. William Wiseman 77. James Gore 78. Examinations and Martyrdom of John Philpot 79. Philpot's Letters 80. Martyrdom of Thomas Whittle, Barlett Green, et al 81. Letters of Thomas Wittle 82. Life of Bartlett Green 83. Letters of Bartlett Green 84. Thomas Browne 85. John Tudson 86. John Went 87. Isobel Foster 88. Joan Lashford 89. Five Canterbury Martyrs 90. Life and Martyrdom of Cranmer 91. Letters of Cranmer 92. Martyrdom of Agnes Potten and Joan Trunchfield 93. Persecution in Salisbury Maundrell, Coberly and Spicer 94. William Tyms, et al 95. Letters of Tyms 96. The Norfolk Supplication 97. Martyrdom of John Harpole and Joan Beach 98. John Hullier 99. Hullier's Letters 100. Christopher Lister and five other martyrs 101. Hugh Lauerocke and John Apprice 102. Katherine Hut, Elizabeth Thacknell, et al 103. Thomas Drury and Thomas Croker 104. Thomas Spicer, John Deny and Edmund Poole 105. Persecution of Winson and Mendlesam 106. Gregory Crow 107. William Slech 108. Avington Read, et al 109. Wood and Miles 110. Adherall and Clement 111. A Merchant's Servant Executed at Leicester 112. Thirteen Burnt at Stratford-le-Bow113. Persecution in Lichfield 114. Hunt, Norrice, Parret 115. Martyrdom of Bernard, Lawson and Foster 116. Examinations of John Fortune117. John Careless 118. Letters of John Careless 119. Martyrdom of Julius Palmer 120. Agnes Wardall 121. Peter Moone and his wife 122. Guernsey Martyrdoms 123. Dungate, Foreman and Tree 124. Martyrdom of Thomas More125. Examination of John Jackson126. Examination of John Newman 127. Martyrdom of Joan Waste 128. Martyrdom of Edward Sharpe 129. Four Burnt at Mayfield at Sussex 130. John Horne and a woman 131. William Dangerfield 132. Northampton Shoemaker 133. Prisoners Starved at Canterbury 134. More Persecution at Lichfield
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1785 [1746]

Quene Mary. The story of William Flower striking a Priest at VVestminster, Martyr.
MarginaliaAn. 1555. Aprill. The life and history of W. Flower, who for striking of a Priest, was apprehended, first hauyng his hand cut of, and after Martyred for his constant standyng to the truth. 
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The Martyrdom of William Flower

There is only a brief note on Flower in the Rerum (p. 431). This note merely states that William Flower, alias Branch, struck a priest at Westminster while he was celebrating mass. A month later on 24 April 1555, Flower had his hand cut and was then burned at the stake.

In the 1563 edition, Foxe had all of the materials on Flower's martyrdom which he would ever print. Most of this material came from Bishop Bonner's official records, but Foxe also printed an account of an interview the Marian martyr Robert Smith had with Flower. And in the appendix to the 1563 edition, Foxe printed an account of Flower's execution and a final prayer which he undoubtedlyobtained from an eyewitness while the first edition was being printed. Apart from moving the description of Flower's execution from the appendix into the main narrative of his martyrdom, Foxe made no substantial changes to his account of Flower in his second edition nor in any subsequent editions.

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Commentary on the Glosses  *  Close
William Flower

Flower's mind does not seem to have been entirely balanced, and Foxe's notes seek to steer the reader away from this conclusion to the belief that he was a genuine, if somewhat confused martyr (with a penchant for physically attacking priests). Thus, the gloss which describes him leaving his monastic house says he 'turned his religion', but as the next gloss records that he went on to be a mass priest, one must doubt the assertion; the gloss plants the suggestion that Flower underwent a conversion to the truth when no solid evidence exists for when that occurred: the gloss supplies a generic necessity in a case where empirical proof is lacking. Several of the glosses show that Foxe was keen to play down the violent aspects of the story: Flower's regret at the violence is highlighted and distinguished from regret about his religious principles ('W. Flower repenteth his acte in striking'; 'W. Flower constant in his fayth'), while another gloss asks the reader to bear in mind that Flower later revised his opinion about the violence (with the implication that his regret increased) ('Note that the sayd W. Flower afterward in his next appearaunce, corrected & reformed this aunswere'). Foxe's difficulties with Flower can perhaps be seen most clearly at the gloss 'Extraordinary zeales are no generall rules to be followed': the text it is next to is Flower's slightly confused assertion that God sometimes acts through individuals (which would seem to be a justification for his violent actions) followed by the assertion that he had been willing to suffer before striking the priest; Foxe's gloss notes that extraordinary zeals should not be followed as general rules, which would seem to be a warning to his readers not to do likewise. As such, this gloss marks the limits of the imitation of the martyrs which Foxe makes so much of elsewhere. Indeed, it would seem that Flower's status as a martyr is all that stops the reader seeing him as an unbalanced ruffian with an iconoclastic bent. As often happens, Foxe greets a popish text with some adversarial glosses ('In the latter dayes certayne shall depart frō the fayth, forbidding mariage and eating of meates'; '1. Tim. 4'). Despite his somewhat unconventional route to the stake, the marginal glosses accord Flower the usual honour of emphasising his constancy ('W. Flower refuseth to reuoke his fayth and doctrine'; 'W. Flower standeth to his doctrine'; 'W. Flowers constancie'; 'Cōstancy' [1563]).

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MarginaliaW. Flower, Martyr.WIlliā Flower, otherwise named Brāch, first concernyng his trade of lyfe and bringing vp, was borne at Snowhill in in the Countie of Cambridge, where he went to schole certaine yeares, and then came to the Abbey of Ely: where after he had remained a while, MarginaliaW. Flower first a Monke, then a priest in the house of Ely.he was professed Mōke, accordyng to the order & rule of the same house, wherin he remained vsing & bearyng the habite of a Mōke, and obseruyng the rules and orders of the same house vntill he came to 21. yeares of age, or thereabout: and before he came to that age, & being a professed Monke, he was made a Priest also in the same house, and there did celebrate and sing Masse a good space together. MarginaliaW. Flower at the suppression of Abbays, turned his religion.After that, by reason of a visitation, & certaine Iniunctions geuē in the same time by þe authoritie of K. Henry the viij. he forsoke the same house, and castyng from him the sayd Monkes habite and Religion aforesayd, tooke vpō him and vsed the habite of a secular Priest, & returned to Snowhill, where he was borne, & there he did celebrate and sing Masse, and taught children their Primer and Accidence, about halfe a yeare together.

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MarginaliaW. Flower a Masse Priest.Then he wēt from thence to Ludgate in Suffolke, and there serued as a secular Priest about a quarter of a yeare: and from thence he then went to Stonyland, where he taried and serued as a secular Priest also, vntill the comming out of the vj. Articles: and then he departed from thence, & went into Glocestershire, where after he had made his abode in the countrey a while, at lēgth in Tewkesbery according to gods holy ordināce, MarginaliaW. Flower marieth a wife.he maried a wife, with whom he euer after faythfully and honestly continued: and after this his Mariage, he taried in Tewkesbury about ij. yeares together: and then from thence he went vnto Borsley, where he taried iij. quarters of a yeare, and practised Phisicke and Surgery, and from thence remoued to Northamptonshyre, where vnder a gentleman he taught children their Primers, and to write and read a good space. And so departyng from those parties, hee came to London, and there remayned for a certaine space. After that being desirous to see his countrey, hee returned to Snowhil where he was borne: from thence to Brāckstrey in Essex, then to Coxal, where he taught children a space: MarginaliaW. Flower commeth to Lambeth.and so came to Lambeth beside Londō, where he hired a house, and placed his wife, where he and his wife dyd euer since dwell together till this tyme: howbeit for þe most part he was alwayes abroad, and very seldome at home, except once or twise in a moneth to visite and see his wife: where he beyng at home vppon Easter day about x. and xj. a clocke in the forenoone of the same day came ouer the water from Lambeth into S. Margaretes Church at Westminster, MarginaliaW. Flower striketh a popishe Priest at the aultar, in Westminster.where he findyng and seyng a Priest called Iohn Cheltam ministryng and geuyng the Sacramēt of the aultar to the people, and therewith beyng greatly offēded in his conscience with the Priest for the same hys doyng (for that he iudged hym not to be a Catholicke Minister) neither his Act to be Catholicke & laudable, accordyng to Gods word, did strike and wound hym vpon the head and also vppon the arme and hand with his woodknife, the Priest hauyng the same tyme in hys hand a chalice, with certaine consecrated hostes therin, which were sprinkled with the bloud of the said Priest.

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MarginaliaW. Flower repenteth hys act in striking.In the whiche so doyng as in deede he did not well, or euangelically, 

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Foxe is quite concerned to register his disapproval of Flower's assault on Cheltham.

so afterward beyng examined before Byshop Boner, did no lesse confesse his not well doyng in the same, submittyng therfore him selfe willyngly to punishment when it should come. MarginaliaW. Flower constant in hys fayth.Howbeit touchyng hys belief in the Sacrament and the Popish ministra-

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tion, he neither would nor did submit him selfe.

Wherupon the foresayd Williā Flower, beyng first apprehended and MarginaliaWilliam Flower layd in the Gatehouse at Westminster.layd in the Gate house at Westminster (where he had geuen ij. groates the same day a litle before to the prisoners saying, he would shortly after come to them) with as many yrons as he could beare: afterward MarginaliaWilliam Flower brought before B. Boner.was conuented before Boner his Ordinary, Aprill. 19. an. 1555. where the Byshop after he had sworne him vpon a booke (accordyng to his Ordinary maner) ministred Articles & Interrogatories to him. But before I speake of the Articles, first we haue here to set forth what cōmunication passed betwixt him and Robert Smith beyng thē also there prisoner with him in Newgate, concernyng his fact done at Westminster: the tenour and effect of which communicatiō here foloweth.

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¶ A cōmunication or debatyng betwene R. Smith prisoner in Newgate, and W. Flower, concernyng his strikyng of the Priest at Westminster. 
Commentary  *  Close

Flower's assault posed problems for English protestants. Smith was clearly anxious to establish Flower's orthodoxy to his own satisfaction. Having done so, he then wrote an account of his interview with Flower presumably to reassure fellow protestants of Flower's orthodoxy (and perhaps sanity). Foxe printed the interview for the same reasons.

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Robert Smith.

MarginaliaThe talke betwene R. Smith and W. Flower.FRend, for as much as I do vnderstand that you do professe the Gospell, and also haue so done a long season, I am bold to come vnto you and in the way of communication, to demaund & learne a truth at your owne mouth, of certaine thynges by you committed, to the astonishing not onely of me but of diuers other that also professe the veritie.

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Flower. I prayse God for his great goodnes, in shewyng me the light of his holy word: and I geue you harty thankes for your visitation: intendyng by Gods grace to declare all the truth that ye shall demaund lawfully of me, in all thinges.

Smith. Then I desire you to shew me þe truth of your deede, committed on Iohn Cheltam Priest in the Church, as nere as ye can, that I may heare of your owne mouth how it was.

Flo. I came from my house at Lambeth, ouer the water, and entryng into S. Margaretes Church (so called) and there seyng the people fallyng downe before a most shamefull & detestable Idole, 

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I.e., the Host elevated by the priest.

MarginaliaThe zeale of Will. Flower in seing the Lords honour defaced.beyng moued with extreme zeale for my God, whō I saw before my face dishonored, I drew forth my hanger, 
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A dagger (OED).

and strake the Priest which ministred the same vnto them: wherupō I was immediatly apprehended: and this is most true as the act is manifest.

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Sm. Did ye not know the person that ye strake, or were ye not zelous vpon him for any euill will, or hatred betwene you at any tyme?

Flo. No verely: I neuer to my knowledge saw the person before that presēt, neither ought him or any mā alyue euill will, or malice: for if he had not had it, an other should, if I had any tyme come where the like occasion had bene ministred, if God had permitted me to do it.

Sm. Do ye thinke that thyng to be well done, & after the rule of the Gospell?

Flo. I do confesse all flesh to be subiect to the power of almighty God, whom he maketh his ministers to do his will, and pleasure: as in example Moses, Aaron, Phinees, Iosua, Zimrie, Ihehie, Iudith, Mathathiah 

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These are all examples from the Old Testament of divinely approved violence. See Exodus 2: 11-15; Numbers 25: 6-8; Joshua 6-12; 1 Kings 16: 8-12; 2 Kings 10: 18-28; Judith 13: 4-20 and 1 Maccabees 2: 23-28.

with many other, MarginaliaExtraordinary zeales are no general rules to be folowed. not onely chaungyng degrees, but also plantyng zeales to his honour, agaynst all order and respect of flesh & bloud. For, as sayth S. Paul, his workes are past findyng out:  
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See Romans 11:33.

by whose spirite I haue also geuen my flesh at this present vnto such order, as it shal please the good will of God to appoint, in death, which before the fact committed, I looked for.

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Sm. Thinke you it conuenient for me, or any other to do the lyke by your ensample?

Flo. No verely: neither do I know if it were to do agayn, whether I could do it agayne or no: MarginaliaWilliam Flower intending at Paules to haue done the like.for I was vp very early at Paules Church (so called) vpon Christes day in the mornyng, to haue done it in my ielousie: but when I came in place, I was no more able to do it, thē

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now