I besech you Christian brethren and sisters, that ye bee not offended in the worde of God for the afliction and tormentes, which ye see al ready prepared for me. But I exhort you that ye loue the worde of God, and suffer patienly and with a comfortable hart for the wordes sake, which is your vndoubted saluatyon and euerlasting comfort.[Back to Top]
Moreouer I pray you shew my brethren and sisters, which haue hard me ofte before, þt they cease not, nor leaue of the word of God, which I taught vnto them after the grace geuen vnto me, for no persecutions or troubles in thys worlde, whiche lasteth not. And shew vnto thē that my doctrine was no wiues fables after þe constitutions made by men. And if I had taught mennes doctrine, I had gotten great thankes by men. But for the words sake and true Euangell, whiche was geuen to me by the grace of God, I suffer this day by menne, not sorowfully, but with a glad harte and minde. For this cause I was sent, that I should suffer this fire for Christes sake. Cōsider and behold my visage, ye shall not see me chaunge my coloure. This grimme fire I feare not. And so I pray you for to do, if that any persecutiō come vnto you: for the words sake. And not to feare them that slaye the body, and afterward haue no power to slay the soule. Some haue said of me that I taught, that the soule of man shuld slepe vntill the last day. But I knowe surelye and my faith is such, that my soule shall suppe with my Sauioure Christ this nighte, or it be vi. houres for whome I suffer this. Then he prayed for them which accused him, sayinge: I beseche thee (father of heauen) to forgeue them, that haue of any ignoraunce, or elsse of any euill minde, forged any lies vpon me. I forgeue them with all my hart, I beseche Christ to forgeue them that haue condempned me to death this day ignorauntly.[Back to Top]
And last of all, he said to the people on thys manner. I beseche you brethren and sisters to exhorte your Prelates to the learninge of the word of God, that they at the last may be ashamed to do euill and learne to do good. And if they will not conuert them selues from their wicked erroure, there shall hastely come vpon them the wrathe of God, whiche they shal not eschewe. Manye faithfull woordes sayde he in the meane time, takinge no hede or care of the cruell tormentes which were then prepared for him.[Back to Top]
And last of all, the hange man that was his tormentor sate downe vppon his knees, and sayed. Sir I praye you forgeue me, for I am not giltye of your death. To whome he answered. Come hither to me. When that he was come to him, he kissed his cheke, and sayed. Lo here is a token that I forgeue thee. My harte doo thine office. And then by and by, he wasput vppon the Gibbet and hanged, and thece burnte to pouder. When that the people behelde the greate tormentinge, they mighte not with hold from piteous mourning and cōplaining of this innocent Lambes slaughter.[Back to Top]
The Rerum contains a brief narrative that might be a garbled account of the burning of Roger Clarke. In a few sentences, Foxe related that a layman of Norfolk (not Suffolk) named Roger was burned for sacramentarian heresy (Rerum, p. 144). By the time the 1563 edition was printed, Foxe had learned a great deal more about the burnings of John Kerby and Roger Clarke; most of his detailed account of their trials and executions first appeared in this edition. This material was contributed by unnamed eyewitnesses. In the 1570 edition, Foxe added details to the account of the martyrdoms of Kerby and Clarke, which were also obtained from informants, probably including the Ipswich gaoler John Bird (Richard Bird, also an Ipswich gaoler, would be denounced by Catholics in Mary's reign for encouraging prisoners in their heresy (1576, p. 1981 and 1583, p. 2089). Were the Birds a family of evangelical gaolers? In any case, John Bird was probably the source the interview between Kerby and Robert Wingfield). In the 1570 edition, Foxe also added an account of Henry VIII's oration to Parliament on Christmas Eve 1545. Foxe printed this speech from Edward Hall, The union of the two noble and illuste famelies of Lancastre and Yorke (London, 1560), STC 12734a, fos.260r-262r. His purpose in including the speech was to criticize appeal for compromise for the sake of concord and religious unity. In 'notes' upon the speech, Foxe argued instead - in passages clearly intend to goad Elizabeth and her magistrates into further reformation of the Church - that correct doctrine and religious purity were more important than peace or unity.[Back to Top]
Thomas S. Freeman
This is the Monday of the Minor Rogations, i.e., the Monday before Ascension Day.
Kirby and Clarke were tried before a commission, headed by Lord Wentworth, to enforce the Six Articles.
But fyrst touching the behauiour of Kyrby and Roger. When they came to the iudgemēt seat. The Lord Wentworth withall the reast of the iustices there ready, the commissary (also by vertue of ex officio sittinge nexte to my Lorde Wentworth, but one betwene:
Foxe is explaining the elevated status of the bishop's commissary, of near equality to Lord Wingfield, the head of the commission, in what was essentially a lay tribunal.
William Foster was a lawyer, minor magistrate, staunch Catholic and zealous persecutor who appears several times in the pages of Foxe. His name is first mentioned in the narrative of the Kerby and Clarke martyrdoms, in the 1570 edition.