Foxe's accounts of martyrs condemned in the diocese of Rochester earlier in Mary's reign were based on extracts from the diocesan registers. The accounts of Frier and of Eagles' sister, however, were not based on official records, and are in fact, quite vague. The identity of one of these martyrs is clear and verifiable: a notice of the excommunication and condemnation of Robert Frier of Tunbridge, dated 11 June 1557, survives (PRO C/85/144/36). But the notice also states that Robert Stevenson of Stowe was excommunicated and condemned at the same time and place; yet Foxe never mentions Stevenson. It is possible that Stevenson died in prison or escaped or (less likely) was pardoned before execution, yet the accounts of two other English martyrologists leave room for doubt. Robert Crowley, writing in 1559, stated that Robert Frier was burned at Rochester on 20 August 1557 along with another man and two other women (Robert Crowley, An epitome of chronicles[London, 1559], STC 15217.5, unpaginated). Thomas Brice, also writing in 1559, declared that Frier was burned, along with two women, on 20 July - this date is clearly an error - 1557 (A compendious regester in metre? [London, 1559], STC 3726, sig. D2v). It is impossible to be sure how many martyrs died in Rochester in August 1557, but it is likely that Stevenson was one of them and certain that Robert Frier was.[Back to Top]
Foxe's account of these martyrs was unchanged in subsequent editions of the Acts and Monuments.
Marginalia August. 20. One Friar and the sister of G. Egles burned at Rochester.
One Friar and the sister of G. Egles burned at Rochester.ABout the same time and moneth, one named Fryar,
We know from official documents that Frier's name was Robert and that he was from Tunbridge, Kent.
This account, based entirely on information sent to Foxe by individual informants, came to light while the 1563 edition was being printed. Foxe realized that it referred to an unnamed shoemaker whose death had already been recounted in the Acts and Monuments and inserted cross-references to the earlier narrative. But he never integrated the two accounts into one narrative. After the first edition, no changes were made to the narrative of this martyr.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaSeptember 20.IN the story before, in the Pag. thus marked 1546. some thyng was touched of a certen Shomaker, suffering at Northampton being vnnamed, whom because we vnderstand by a letter sent from the sayde parties, þt he suffered in this yere 1557. & in the moneth of September, therfore were thought here to place hym. His name was Iohn Kurd a shomaker, late of the paryshe of Sysam, in Northampton shyre, who was imprysoned in Northampton castel, for denying the Popyshe transubstantiation, for the whiche cause MarginaliaW. Brusler Chauncellor to the B. of Peterborowe, condemned I. Kurde.William Brusler Bacheler of lawe, and Chauncellour vnto the Bishop of Peterborow, did pronounce sentēce of death against the sayd Kurd, in the churche of all Saintes in Northampton in August, Anon Do. 1557. And in September followynge, at the commaundement of MarginaliaSyr Thomas Tresham Sherif of North hāton shereSyr Thomas Tresham, Sherife then of the shyre, was led by his officers wtout the North gate of Northampton, and in the stonepittes was burned. A Popyshe priest standing by, whose name was Iohn Iohn Rote, MarginaliaIhon Rote a Popyshe priest. Vicar of saint Giles in Northampton, did declare vnto him, that if he would recant, he was autorised to geue him his pardō. MarginaliaPopish pardon refused.His answere was that he had his pardon by Iesus Christ. &c.[Back to Top]
This entire account first appears in the 1563 edition and it was based entirely on testimony from an individual informant or informants. It was unchanged in subsequent editions.
MarginaliaSeptemb. 1. MarginaliaCicilie Ormes Martyr. ABout the xxiii. day of the said moneth of September, next after the other aboue mencioned, suffered at Norwich Cicelie Ormes, wyfe of Edmond Ormes worstedweuer, dwelling in S. Laurence parysh in Norwich. She being of thage of xxxii. yeres or more, was taken at the death of Simon Miller and Elisabeth Cooper aboue mentioned, in a place called Lollardes pyt, without byshops gate, at the said Norwiche, for that she said she wold pledge them of the same cuppe that they dranke on. For so saing, one maister MarginaliaM. Corbet of sprousō persecutor.Corbet of Sprowson, by Norwich, toke her, & sent her[Back to Top]
to the Chauncellor. when she came before him the MarginaliaThe Chaūcellors name was Downing.Chauncellor asked her, what she said to the sacrament of Christes body. And she saide, she did beleue, that it was the sacramēt of the body of Christ. Yea said þe Chaūcellor, but what is that þe priest holdeth ouer his head? She answered him & said, it is bread: and if ye make it any better, it is worse. wherby at those wordes the Chaūcellor sent her to the bishops prison, to the keper, called master Fellow, with many thretning & hote wordes, as a man being in a great chafe. Then the xxiii. day of Iulye she was called before the Chauncellor again, who sat in iudgement wt maister MarginaliaBrigges a Popish persecutor.Brigges & others. but she was most examined of Brigges. The Chauncellor offered her if she wold go to the church, & kepe her tongue, she shoulde be at libertie, and beleue as she would. But she told him she wold not consent to his wicked desire therein, do with her what he would: for if she shold, she said God wold surely plage her. Thē the Chauncellor told her, he had shewed more fauour to her, then euer he did to any, & that he was loth to condēne her, considering þt she was an ignorāt, vnlearned & folish womā. But she not weying his wordes, tolde him if he did, he shold not be so desirous of her sinful flesh, as she wold (by gods grace) be cōtent to geue it in so good a quarell. Then rose he & red the bloudy sentence of condēnatiō against her,
The sentence condemning Ormes, dated 23 July 1557, survives among Foxe's papers (BL, Harley MS 421, fos. 152r-153r).