they mighte (as they thoughte) be saued: but Marshe sayde he woulde not as then bee troubled with medling with money, but wylled some good manne to take the money, yf the people were disposed to geue anye, and to geue it vnto the prisoners or poore people. So he went all the way vnto his death, with his booke in his hande, lookyng vppon the same, and many of the people sayde: this man goeth not vnto his death as a thiefe, or as one that deserued to dye. Nowe when he came to the place of execution, without the citye, nere vnto Spittle boughton, one Vawdrey, being thē deputie chaumberlayne of Chester, shewed Marshe a writing vnder a great seale, saying that it was a pardon for hym if he woulde recant. Whereat Marshe aunswered, that he would gladly accepte the same, and sayde farther, that he loued the Quene: but forasmuch as it tended to plucke him from god, he coulde not receiue it vpon that condition. After that, he beganne to speake to the people shewynge the cause of his death, and would haue exhorted them to sticke vnto Christ. Whervpon one of the Sheriffes sayd: George Marsh, we must haue no sermoning nowe. To whom he sayd, maister, I cry you mercy: & so kneling downe made his prayers, and then put of his clothes vnto his shirte, and then was cheined vnto the post, MarginaliaThe burning and marterdōe of George March. hauing a number of Fagots vnder hym, & a thing made like a firkin
A small cask for liquids (OED).
The difference between the account of the death of Bishop Cotes in the 1563 edition and the version in subsequent editions is striking. The account, while similar in its essentials in all four editions - that the bishop died of a venereal disease as divine punishment for executing Marsh - is considerably less graphic and detailed in the later editions of the Acts and Monuments. This is one indication that Foxe, possibly in response to Catholic attacks on his first edition, modified some of his rhetoric in later editions.[Back to Top]
a mariner, which died vpon the like disease, & in euery case had such euidente sores & tokens as the Byshop had: more particularly mighte be sayde touching the last tragedy of this Byshop, and of his whorehunting: but shamefastnesse calleth backe.
Marsh was also the curate of Laurence Saunders' other living at All Hallow's Bread Street, London. Clearer evidence that Marsh's career was being fostered by powerful Edwardian protestants could not be desired.
As is usual with the martyrs' letters, scriptural references dominate. There are also glosses which contrast worldly and outer things with godly and inner things ('The glory of the Church standeth not in outward shewes'; 'If worldly men ieopard so much for earthly thinges, how much more ought we to ieopard for euerlasting thinges?' ). There are glosses relating to the binary between truth and falsehood ('True salte discerned from the corrupt and vnsauory salt'; 'True receauers of the word, who they be'). The paradoxical characterisation 'Death is a dore to lyfe' is also highlighted. A section concerned with the proper conditions for godly fasting is quite heavily annotated ('Praying and fasting'; 'True fast what it is'; 'How to fast without hipocrisie'; 'Abuse of fasting among Christians'; 'The Iewish maner of fasting reproued'; 'The Christians in superstitious fasting exceede the Iewes'). Most of the non-scriptural glosses simply note the basic topics under discussion, but there are some examples of Foxe drawing out some of the theological issues implicit in Marsh's letters, as with the soteriological 'Workes of mercy doe not merite with God touching our saluation, any thing' and the glossing of the term 'we' as the 'elect' in 'Straite is the way which the elect must walke in' (there is a reversal of this in 'The Church is euer forewarned before afflictions', in which the 'the Church' is substituted for the 'elect' in the text). Marsh's warning against strange doctrine is taken by Foxe (without direct textual warrant) as a reference to 'Doctrine of good workes'. There are many examples of disagreement between editions among the large number of scriptural references.[Back to Top]
Marsh's letter to his congregation at [Church] Langton, and his letter to his friends in Manchester, were both first printed in the Rerum and then subsequently in all editions of the Acts and Monuments, and in the Letters of the Martyrs as well. All of the other letters of Marsh were first printed in the 1570 edition of the Acts and Monuments and are not in the Letters of the Martyrs. They may very well have been sent to Foxe by the same person or persons (perhaps Robert Langley) who sent him Marsh's account of his examinations.[Back to Top]
This letter, from Marsh to his congregation at [Church] Langton, was first printed in the Rerum (pp. 432-7). This letter was reprinted in all editions of the Acts and Monuments and in the Letters of the Martyrs (pp. 664-72) as well.
Laurence Saunders, the martyr.