All of Sheterden's letters were first printed in the 1563 edition. Only one of these letters, Sheterden's final letter to his mother, was reprinted in the Letters of the Martyrs.
AFter my humble and bounden duty remembred welbeloued Mother, thys shalbe to wysh you encreace of grace, and Godly wysdome, that ye may se and perceaue the craftye bewitching of Sathā our mortal enemy, which as I haue diuers tymes declared vnto you, doth not openly shewe hym selfe in his likenes but vnder colour of deuotion he deceaueth thē that kepe not a diligent eye vpon hym, but hauing confidence in mannes tradicions & custōs of the world, leauing the commaundementes of God, and testament of hys sonne Christ Iesus our Lorde, do grow more into supersticion and hipocrisy, then into wisdome and true holynes. For thys is most true, that Sathan the enemy of soules doth by hys mynisters make many beleue, that those thinges, which they cōpell vs vnto for theyr bellyes sake, hath many godly signifycations, although they be moste contrary to Gods wyl, as doubtles they be: euen as dyd the serpent in paradise to our fyrste Mother Eue: what (sayd he) hath God commaunded ye shall not eate of al the trees in the gardē? the womā said of the frutes of the trees in the garden we may eate: but of the tree in the myddest of the garden, sayd God, se ye eate not, least ye dye: euen so say our ministers now adayes: hath God commaunded ye shall not make you any Image or likenes of any thing? (ye forsoothe) tushe say they, what harme can they do? may we not remember God the better when we se his Image or picture? for they are good bookes for the laye men: but in dede they be better for the Priestes, because they receyue the offerings: and looke how true the promys of the serpent was kepte with Eue, so is the perswasiō of our priestes found true to vs: for as Adam and Eue dyd become lyke God in knowing good and euill, so are we in remembringe God by hys Image: for Adams eyes were so open, that he lost both innocency and ryghteousnes, and was becom most miserable of al creatures: & euen so we remember Christ so well by Images, that we forget hys commaundementes, and counte hys Testamente confyrmed in hys bloud for starke madnes or heresy: so miserably haue we remembred hym, that of al people we are moste blynde: and this doth folowe vpon our presumption, when we remember God by breaking of hys lawe: and therfore suerly except we repent shortly, God will remember vs in hys wrath, and reward vs with hys plages: as sure as there is a God it wyll come to passe: But I knowe the craftynes of them herein (I thanke God) which will saye where went he to schole? is he wyser then our greate doctors that studied all their lyfe?
Sheterden's defensiveness due to his lack of learning is a recurrent theme in his letters.
are neuer without some shifte: for paraduenture they wyll not be ashamed to saye that Christ comming on hys fathers message, dyd forgette halfe his errand by the way: for I dare saye, the greater halfe of their ceremonies were neuer commaunded by Christ: yea, I doubte it would be hard to find one in the Church perfectly as he lefte it: so romishly hath Antichrist tourned the church vpsy down for lucres sake. Beloued mother, as I often tymes haue sayd vnto you, euen so now I beseche you from my very hart roote in christ, to consider, your own soules health is offered you, do not caste it of. we haue not long tyme here. Why should we deceaue our selues, eyther for ease of our flesh, or for the wynning of this worldes treasure? I know that some wyl say to you, why should we condemne our fathers that liued thus? god forbyd that we should condemne any that dyd according to their knowledge: but let vs take hede that they condempne not vs: for if they had hearde the word as we haue, and had bene warned as we haue, it is to be thoughte that they would more thankefully haue receaued it thē we do: yea they were more faythful in that they knew, then many nowe are: therfore they shalbe our condempnacion, if wee do not embrace this grace offered vs: & suerly loke how many of them God wyl accepte and saue, those shall wee neuer se, nor haue any parte amonge them: for our disobedience is more greate thē their ignoraunce: wherfore if we wil mete our fathers in blesse and ioye, let vs not refuse hys mercy offered more largely to vs, then to them euen according to Christes promis, which said after such great ignoraunce, as to seke hym frō country to countrye, and fynde hym not: yet shall the gospell (sayth he) be preached in al the world, and then shall the end come: and nowe let vs know the tyme of our visitation, & not turne backe agayne, seing we are once deliuered: for suerly God wyll not beare it at our handes to tourne backwarde: Oh remember Lottes wyfe: God must nedes punish out of hand our shameful backe slydinge, eyther with induracion
Your owne child Nicolas Shetterden priso-
ner for the truth in Westgat. 1555.