Lord quod he, you cal myne opinion heresye. yt is the true light of the word of God: and agayne repeating the same, professed that he would neuer forsake his staied & wel grounded opinion, while the breath should be in his body. Wherupon the Bishop being to weake eyther to refute hys sentence, or to remoue his constancye, proceaded consequently to reade the popysh sentence of cruell condemnatiō, wherby this godly & constant yong mā beyng committed to the secular power of the Shyriffes there present, was then adiudged, and not longe after suffered the same daye with Maister Bradford, confirming with hys death that, which he had spoken and professed in his lyfe.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaBradford and Ihon Leafe at the stake howe they behaued thē selues.FIrst, when they came to the stake in Smithfielde to be burned, Mayster Bradforde lyenge prostrate on the one syde of the stake, and the yonge man Iohn Leafe on the other syde, they laye flatte on theyr faces, praying to them selues the space of a minute of an houre. Then one of the Shiriffes sayde to Maister Bradforde: aryse and make an ende: for the prease of the people is great.
This is another indication of the size of the crowd at Bradford's execution.
At that woorde they both stoode vp vpon their feete: and then Maister Bradford tooke a faggot in hys hande and kyssed it, and so lykewise the stake. And when he had so done, he desyred of the Shiriffes that his seruaunt myght haue his raiment. For (said he) I haue nothing els to geue hym: and besydes that, he is a poore manne. And the Shiriffe sayd, hee shoulde haue it. And so foorthwith, Mayster Bradford dyd put of hys rayment, and went to the stake: holdyng vp hys handes, and castyng vp his countenaune to heauen, he sayd thus: O Englande, Englande, repent thee of thy synnes, repent thee of thy synnes. Beware of idolatrye, beware of false Antichristes: take heede they do not deceyue you. And as he was speakyng these woordes, the Shiriffe bad tye hys handes, if he would not be quyet. O Maister Shiriffe (sayde mayster Bradford) I am quyet: God forgeue you this, Mayster Shiriffe. And one of the Officers whyche made the fyre, hearing maister Bradforde so speaking to the Shiriffe, sayd: if you haue no better learning then that, you ar but a foole, & were best to hold your peace. To the which woordes maister Bradford gaue no answer: but asked al the worlde forgeuenes, and forgaue al the worlde, and prayed the people to[Back to Top]
pray for hym, and turned hys head vnto the yonge man that suffred with hym, and sayde: Be of good comfort brother: for we shall haue a mery supper with the Lord this night. And so spake no more wordes that anye man dyd heare, but embracing the reedes sayde thus: Strayght is the waye, and narrowe is the gate that leadeth to eternal saluation, and few there be that fynde it[Back to Top]
And thus they both ended their mortall lyues, most lykest two Lambes, without any alteration of their countenaunce, beyng void of all feare, hoping to obtayne the price of the game that they had longe runne at, to the whych I beseche almightye God to sende vs all at our endes. Amen.
MarginaliaA notable example of Gods hand vpon Mayster Woodrof.TOuching Maister Wodriffe the Shiriffe, mention is made a lyttle before, how churlyshly here he answered maister Bradford at the stake, not suffering hym to speake, but cōmaundyng hys handes to be tyed. &c. The lyke extremity or woorse he vsed also before to maister Rogers: For when the sayde mayster Rogers was brought out of Newgate to Smithfielde (as is before declared) this Mayster Wodroffe being then one of the shirifes, called maister Rogers vnto hym, and asked hym if he would reuoke his abhominable doctrine, and hys euyll opinion of the sacrament of the aultar. Maister Rogers aunswered and sayde: that whyche I haue preached, I wyll seale wyth my bloude. Then quod mayster Woodrofe, thou art an hereticke. That shalbe knowen (quod Rogers) at the day of iudgement. Wel quod maister Woodrofe, I wyll neuer pray for thee. But I wyll pray for you, quod maister Rogers, and with that went to the stake, saying the psalme of Miserere. 51.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaSir W. Chester cōmended.This maister Wodroffe shiriffe aboue mētioned, was ioyned in office wyth an other, called syr Williā Chester, for the yere. 1555: Betwene these two shiriffes suche difference ther was of iudgement and religion, that the one, that is maister Wodroffe, was wont cōmonlye to laughe, the other to weepe wyth teares at the deathe of Christes people. And where as the other was wont to restrain and to beate the people, whiche were desirous to take them by the handes that shoulde be burned:
This is an interesting indication of popular support for Bradford and Leaf.
In fine, this foresayd maister Wodrofe, after the burning of maister Bradford, returnyng home to hys house, straight vpon the same, was taken lame both arme and leg, so that to this day he cannot styrre out of his house, nor yet scarse moue him selfe, but as he is helped. The Lord if it be his pleasure be his helper.[Back to Top]