The foresaide fiue weomen and two menne, were all burned together at Maydstone, the yeare and moneth aboue mentioned the viii. daye of the same moneth. &c.
MarginaliaIune. 19.AMong suche infinite sea of troubles
In the 1563 edition, Foxe had an account of these martyrs which was based on trial documents. (In one case Foxe clearly had the confession of one of these martyrs but did not print it because the martyr admitted that he was unsure of his beliefs about the eucharist). In the 1570 edition, Foxe added a narrative of Alice Benden's imprisonment and martyrdom, which was contributed, as Foxe states, by her brothers John and Roger Hall. (On the Hall brothers and Foxe, see Thomas S. Freeman, 'Notes on a Source for John Foxe's Account of the Marian Persecution in Kent and Sussex' Historical Research 67 (1994), pp. 203-11). This account remained unchanged in subsequent editions.[Back to Top]
John Fishcock's examinations survive among Foxe's papers (BL, Harley MS 421, fos 101r-103v. Foxe never revealed that Fishcock confessed that he was uncertain what he believed about the eucharist and that he was ready to accept what Pole believed as the truth.
Among Foxe's papers is the confession of one Adriana Vynall of Tenterden (BL, Harley MS 421, fo. 100r). Very likely this is the same person as 'Barbara Final'.
Joan Bradbridge was burned at Maidstone the day before widow Bradbridge was burned at Canterbury. Presumably they were relatives.
Whiche sayde seuen beyng at the place where they should suffer for the Lordes cause, vndressed them selues ioyfully to the fyre. And being ready therto: they all (lyke the communion of Sainctes) kneled downe and made their humble prayers vnto the Lorde, with suche zeale & affection, as euen the enemies of the crosse of Christe could not but lyke it. When they had made inuocation together, they rose and wēt to the stake, wher being compassed with horrible flames of fyre, yelded their soules and liues gloriously into the handes of the Lord, vnto whose eternitie the sonne of God bryng vs all, Amen.[Back to Top]
Almost all of Foxe's narrative of the seven martyrs burned on 22 June 1557 is devoted to Woodman and almost all of the account of Woodman is based on the martyr's own writings. In the 1563 edition, Foxe printed Woodman's accounts of his six exaninations (apparently written for the benefit of Woodman's fellow believers). He also printed Woodman's letter to Mrs Roberts. In the 1570 edition, Foxe rearranged the material he had printed in his first edition. He also added Woodman's account of his capture and second arrest on 15 March 1556. There were no changes made to this account in subsequent editions.[Back to Top]
Foxe's account of Woodman does not make sense unless one understands the legal context of Woodman's two imprisonments. At the beginning of 1554, Woodman publicly 'admonished' the rector of Warbleton for backsliding from the protestant teachings he had professed during Edward VI's reign. Woodman was then arrested for violating a statute (1 Mary 2 c. 3) forbidding the harassment ofclergy while they were performing their duties (see 1563, p. 1599; 1570, pp. 2189-90, 1576, p. 1875 and 1583, pp. 1948-49). Woodman was brought before two quarter sessions and, in June 1554, sent to Bishop Bonner. This was a move of dubious legality, as Bonner had no conceivable jurisdiction over Woodman; nevertheless Woodman was imprisoned in the King's Bench until November 1555. Woodman was then imprisoned in Bonner's palace while the Bishop interrogated him. Woodman had been studying the law and he pointed out that the rector of Warbleton had been married and thus, under Marian law, he was not a legitimate clergyman when Woodman had publicly denounced him.[Back to Top]
This technicality secured Woodman's release on 18 December 1555. Woodman then returned to his native Sussex where he became an itinerant lay preacher. Woodman's activities created a local uproar and warrants were issued for his arrest. Woodman went into hiding and then fled overseas. After his second arrest, described in Foxe, Woodman insisted that he be tried by his ordinary, the bishop of Chichester. Unfortunately for the authorities, the bishop-designate of Chichester, John Christopherson, had not been consecrated and thus could not preside over Woodman's trial. Finally, the authorities found a way around this by having the cardinal use his legatine authority to appoint Nicholas Harpsfield, the archdeacon of Canterbury, as Woodman's ordinary. Woodman was then duly tried and executed.[Back to Top]
Marginalia1557 MarginaliaR. Goodman.IN the towne of Lewys were x. faythful seruauntes of God put in one fyre, the xxii. daye of Iune of whome Rychard Woodman was the first, concerning whose godly letter wrytten to a faithfull syster of his, and his fiue examinations before the Byshop and the Commissioners with other, according as they were penned with his owne hand, so haue we here faithfully worde for worde related the same, fyrst begynning with his letter, the tenour whereof is this.[Back to Top]
Part of this letter survives in manuscript in Foxe's papers as BL, Harley MS 425, fo. 104r-v.
GRace, mercy, and peace, from God the father, and from his sonne our alone sauiour Iesus Christ, by the operation and working of the holy Ghost, be multiplied plenteouslye vpon you, (deare syster Robarts) that you may the more ioyfully bear the crosse of Christ that ye are vnder, to the end, to your only comfort & consolation, and to al our brethren and sisters that are round about you, both now and euer, Amen.[Back to Top]
In my most humblest wise I commend me vnto you, and to all our brethren and systers, in that parties, MarginaliaPhilip. 2.that loue our Lorde vnfaynedly, certifiyng you that I and all my brethren with me, are mery and ioyfull, we prayse God therfore, lokyng daily to be dissolued from this our mortall bodies, MarginaliaMath. 24according to the good pleasure of our heauenly fathers will: also I prayse God for your constancie, and gentle beneuolence, that you haue shewed vnto Gods electe people, MarginaliaMath. 5 in this troublesome time of persecutiō, which may be a sure pledge and token of Gods good will and fauour towards you, and to all other that here thereof. For blessed ar the mercifull, for they shall obteine mercy. wherefore the fruites declare alway what the tree is. for a good man or woman, out of the good treasur of their hartes bring forth good things. Wherfore deare syster, it is not as many affirme in these dayes, (the more it is to be lamēted) that say God asketh but a mans hart, whiche is the greatest iniury that can be deuised against god and his worde. For MarginaliaIames. 2saint Iames saieth, shewe my thy faith by thy dedes, and I will shew thee my faith by my dedes, saying the Deuils haue faith, and tremble for feare, and yet shalbe but Deuils still, MarginaliaPhilip. 2. because their mindes were neuer to doe good. Let not vs therefore be like vnto them, but let our faith be made manifest to the whole worlde by our deedes. And that in the[Back to Top]