Critical Apparatus for this Page
Commentary on the Text
Names and Places on this Page
Unavailable for this Edition
940 [940]

K. Henry. 7. Laurence Ghest. A woman in Chyppyngsadbery, Martyrs.

Christes cause and of his Sacramentes. Whose memory beyng registred in the booke of life, albeit it nede not the commemoration of our storyes, yet for the more confirmation of the Church, I thought it not vnprofitable, the suffering & martyrdome of them to be notified, which innocently haue geuen their bloud to be shed in Christes quarell. In the catalogue of whom next in order cōmeth the memoriall of Laurence Gheste, who was burned in Salisbury 

Commentary  *  Close

Foxe's account, obtained from two second-hand sources, provides theonly surviving information on the burning of Laurence Ghest. But there was anotherburning in Salisbury, of one William Prior, at about the same time (J. A. F. Thomson, The Later Lollards, 1414-1520 [Oxford, 1965], p. 83).

for matter of the Sacrament, in the dayes of kyng Henry vij: he was of a comlye and talle personage, and otherwise (as appeareth) not vnfrended, for the whiche the Byshop and the close were the more lothe to burne him: MarginaliaLawrence Ghest two yeares in prison at Salisberye.but kept him in prison þe space of ij. yeares. This Laurēce had wife and vij. children. Wherfore they thinkyng to expugne and to persuade his minde, by the styrring his fatherly affection toward his children, when tyme came which they appointed for his burnyng, as he was at þe stake, they brought before hym his wife and his foresayd vij. childrē. At the sight wherof, although nature cōmonly is wont to worke in other, yet in him Religion ouercōmyng nature, made his constancie to remaine vnmoueable: MarginaliaLaurence would not be turned for wyfe & such sorte as when his wife beganne to exhorte and desire him to fauour him selfe, he agayne desired her to be content, and not to be a blocke in his waye, for he was in a good course, runnyng toward the marke of his saluation: MarginaliaLaurence dyed a Martyr.and so fire beyng put to him, he finished his lyfe, renouncing not onely wife and children, but also him selfe, to folow Christ. As he was in burnyng, one of the Byshops men, threw a firebrand at his face: Whereat the brother of Laurence stāding by, ranne at him with his dagger, and would haue slayne him, had he not bene otherwise stayde. MarginaliaWitnes to the story.Testified & witnessed by the credible reporte of one William Russel an aged man dwellyng a late in Colmanstreate, who was there present 
Commentary  *  Close

William Russell, a tailor of Coleman Street, London, hosted Lollardconventicles in his house during the 1520s (Susan Brigden, London and the Reformation [Oxford, 1989], p. 103).

the same tyme at the burnyng of Laurence, and was also him selfe burned in the cheeke, and one of the persecuted flocke in those dayes, whose daughter is yet liuing: The same is cōfirmed also with þe testimonie of one Richard Webbe, seruaunt sometyme to M. Latymer, who 
Commentary  *  Close

Webb is also the source for a demonstrably fictitious story. The Richard Webb who is the source for this story was Foxe's source for the burning of Laurence Ghest.

soiournyng in the house of the sayd William Russel, heard hym many tymes declare the same.

[Back to Top]
¶ A faithfull woman burned.

MarginaliaA notable storye of a faythfull woman burned in Chyppyng sadbery.BVt amongest all the examples of them, wherof so many haue suffered from tyme to time for Christ and his truth, I can not tell if euer were any martyrdome more notable and admirable, wherin the playne demonstratiō of Gods mightie power and iudgement hath at any time bene more euident agaynst the persecutors of his flocke, then at the burnyng of a certeine godly woman, put to death in Chepyngsadbery, about the same tyme, vnder þe reigne of kyng Henry vij. The constancie of whiche blessed woman as it is glorious for all true godly Christians to beholde: so agayne the example of the Byshops chaūcelour, whiche cruelly condemned the innocent, may offer a terrible spectacle to the eyes of all papisticall persecutors to consider, and to take example: whiche the lyuyng God graunt they may, Amen. The name of the town where she was martyred, was as is said, Chepyngsadbery. The name of the woman is not as yet come to my knowledge. MarginaliaD. Whyttyngton Chancelor a persecutour.The name of the Chauncelour, who condemned her, was called D. Whyttington. The tyme of her burnyng was in the reigne & tyme of K. Henry vij. orderly therefore in this place and tyme to bee inserted. 

Commentary  *  Close

Although there is no surviving record of this woman's execution and,although the coda to this tale is untrue, it is true that Dr. ThomasWoodington was chancellor and vicar general of the diocese of Worcester in 1500-1501. (See Emden A; also see J. F. Mozley, John Foxe and his Book [London, 1940], p. 164). It is therefore probable that this burning took place.

[Back to Top]
Wherin is to be noted moreouer the oportunitie of this present hystory brought to my handes, and that in such conuenient season, as I was drawyng toward the ende of the foresayd kynges reigne: so that it may appeare to them, whiche behold the oportunitie of thinges, not to be without Gods holy will and prouidence, that this foresayd example should not lye hyd and vnremembred, but should come to lyght and knowledge, and that in such order of placyng, accordyng as the due course of our story hetherto kept, requireth.

[Back to Top]

After this godly woman and manly Martyr of Christ was condemned by the wretched Chauncelour aboue named D. Whittyngton, for þe faithful professiō of þe truth, whiche the Papistes then called Heresie, and the tyme now come whence she should be brought to the place and paynes of her Martyrdome, MarginaliaA faythfull christian woman and Martyr, burned at Chepyng adbery.a great concourse of all the multitude both in the towne and countrey about (as the maner is in such times) was gathered to behold her end. Among whom was also the foresayd D. Whittyngton þe Chauncelour, there present to see execution done. Thus this faithfull woman, & true seruaunt of God constantly persistyng in þe testimonie of þe truth, cōmitting her cause to the Lorde, gaue ouer her life to the fire, refusing no paynes nor tormentes to kepe her conscience cleare and vnreproueable in the day of þe Lord. The sacrifice beyng ended, the people begāne to returne homeward, cōming frō the burning of this blessed martyr. MarginaliaA comparison betwene butchers, and the popes murthering ministers.It happened in þe meane time þt as the catholicque executioners were busye in slaying this sely lambe at þe townes side, a certeine butcher within the towne was as busie in slayng of a Bull, whiche Bull he had fast bound in ropes, ready to knocke him on the head. But the butcher (belike not so skilfull in his arte of killyng beastes, as the Papistes be in murderyng Christians) as he was liftyng his axe, to stricke the Bull, fayled in his stroke and smitte a litle to low, or els how he smite, I know not. This was certein that the Bull although somewhat greued at the stroke, but yet not stroocken down, put his strēgth to the ropes, and brake lose from the butcher into the streat, the very same tyme as the people were commyng in great presse frō the burnyng. Who seyng the Bull cōming towardes thē, and supposing him to be wild (as was no other lyke) gaue way for the beast, euery man shiftyng for hym self, as well as he might. MarginaliaA rare and speciall example of the iust punishment of God vpon a persecutour.Thus the people geuyng backe and makyng a lane for the Bull, he passed through the throng of them, touchyng neither man nor childe, till hee came where as the Chauncelor was. MarginaliaD Whyttington slayne of a Bull.Agaynst whom the Bull, as pricked with a sodein vehemēcie, rāne fulbut with his hornes, & takyng hym vpon þe panche, gored him through & through, & so killed him immediatly, carieng his guttes and traylyng them with his hornes all the streate ouer, to the great admiration and wonder of all them, that sawe it. 

Commentary  *  Close

It seems a shame to spoil a splendid story, but Thomas Woodington, far from being slain by a bull in the reign of Henry VII, rose to become dean of theArches in 1513 and died around 1522 (Emden A).

[Back to Top]

Although the carnall sense of man be blynd in consideryng the workes of the Lord, imputyng many tymes to blynde chaunce the thynges which properly perteyne to Gods onely prayse & prouidence: yet in this so straūge and so euident example, what man can be so dul or ignoraunt, which seeth not herein a playne miracle of Gods myghtye power and iudgement both in the iust punishyng of this wretched Chauncelour, and also in admonishyng all other lyke persecutours, by his example, to feare the Lord, and to absteine from the lyke crueltie?

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaWitnes to the storye.Now for the credite of thys storye, least I be sayd vpon myne own head to committe to storie, thinges rashly which I can not iustify, therfore to stoppe such cauilling mouthes, I will discharge me selfe with authoritie I trust sufficient: that is, with the witnes of hym which both was a Papiste, and also present the same tyme at the burning of the womā, whose name was Rouland Webbe: which Rouland dwelling then in Chepyngsadbery, had a sonne named Richard Webbe, seruaunt sometyme to M. Latymer, who also enduring with hym in tyme of hys trouble vj. yeares together, was hym selfe emprysoned and persecuted for the same cause. Vnto the which Richard Webbe 

Commentary  *  Close

The Richard Webb who is the source for this story was Foxe's source for the burning of Laurence Ghest. Webb is also the source for a demonstrably fictitious story.

being nowe aged, then younge, the foresayd Rouland hys father, to the entent to exhorte hym from thys secte of heresye (as he then called it) recited to hym many tymes the burnyng of thys woman, and withall added the storye of the Bull aforesayd, which hym selfe dyd see and testifye. Thys Richard Webbe is yet lyuing, a witnes of hys owne fathers wordes and testimonye, which I trust may satisfye all indifferent readers, excepte onely such as thynke no truth to be beleued, but that onely which is in their Portues.

[Back to Top]
Go To Modern Page No:  
Click on this link to switch between the Modern pagination for this edition and Foxe's original pagination when searching for a page number. Note that the pagination displayed in the transcription is the modern pagination with Foxe's original pagination in square brackets.
Type a keyword and then restrict it to a particular edition using the dropdown menu. You can search for single words or phrases. When searching for single words, the search engine automatically imposes a wildcard at the end of the keyword in order to retrieve both whole and part words. For example, a search for "queen" will retrieve "queen", "queene" and "queenes" etc.
Humanities Research Institute  *  HRI Online  *  Feedback
Version 2.0 © 2011 The University of Sheffield