Thematic Divisions in Book 12
1. Exhumations of Bucer and Phagius along with Peter Martyr's Wife2. Pole's Visitation Articles for Kent3. Ten Martyrs Burnt at Canterbury4. The 'Bloody Commission'5. Twenty-two Prisoners from Colchester6. Five Burnt at Smithfield7. Stephen Gratwick and others8. Edmund Allen and other martyrs9. Edmund Allen10. Alice Benden and other martyrs11. Examinations of Matthew Plaise12. Richard Woodman and nine other martyrs13. Ambrose14. Richard Lush15. The Martyrdom of Simon Miller and Elizabeth Cooper16. Rose Allin and nine other Colchester Martyrs17. John Thurston18. George Eagles19. Richard Crashfield20. Fryer and George Eagles' sister21. Joyce Lewes22. Rafe Allerton and others23. Agnes Bongeor and Margaret Thurston24. John Kurde25. John Noyes26. Cicelye Ormes27. Persecution at Lichfield28. Persecution at Chichester29. Thomas Spurdance30. Hallingdale, Sparrow and Gibson31. John Rough and Margaret Mearing32. Cuthbert Simson33. William Nicholl34. Seaman, Carman and Hudson35. Three at Colchester36. A Royal Proclamation37. Roger Holland and other Islington martyrs38. Stephen Cotton and other martyrs39. Scourging of Thomas Hinshaw40. Scourging of John Milles41. Richard Yeoman42. John Alcocke43. Thomas Benbridge44. Four at St Edmondsbury45. Alexander Gouch and Alice Driver46. Three at Bury47. A Poor Woman of Exeter48. The Final Five Martyrs49. John Hunt and Richard White50. John Fetty51. Nicholas Burton52. John Fronton53. Another Martyrdom in Spain54. Baker and Burgate55. Burges and Hoker56. The Scourged: Introduction57. Richard Wilmot and Thomas Fairfax58. Thomas Greene59. Bartlett Greene and Cotton60. Steven Cotton's Letter61. James Harris62. Robert Williams63. Bonner's Beating of Boys64. A Beggar of Salisbury65. Providences: Introduction66. The Miraculously Preserved67. William Living68. Edward Grew69. William Browne70. Elizabeth Young71. Elizabeth Lawson72. Christenmas and Wattes73. John Glover74. Dabney75. Alexander Wimshurst76. Bosom's wife77. Lady Knevet78. John Davis79. Mistress Roberts80. Anne Lacy81. Crosman's wife82. Congregation at Stoke in Suffolk83. Congregation of London84. Englishmen at Calais85. Edward Benet86. Jeffrey Hurst87. William Wood88. Simon Grinaeus89. The Duchess of Suffolk90. Thomas Horton 91. Thomas Sprat92. John Cornet93. Thomas Bryce94. Gertrude Crockhey95. William Mauldon96. Robert Horneby97. Mistress Sandes98. Thomas Rose99. Troubles of Sandes100. Complaint against the Ipswich Gospellers101. Tome 6 Life and Preservation of the Lady Elizabeth102. The Unprosperous Queen Mary103. Punishments of Persecutors104. Foreign Examples105. A Letter to Henry II of France106. The Death of Henry II and others107. Justice Nine-Holes108. John Whiteman109. Admonition to the Reader110. Hales' Oration111. The Westminster Conference112. Appendix notes113. Ridley's Treatise114. Back to the Appendix notes115. Thomas Hitton116. John Melvyn's Letter117. Alcocke's Epistles118. Cautions to the Reader119. Those Burnt at Bristol: extra material120. Priest's Wife of Exeter121. Snel122. Laremouth123. William Hunter's Letter124. Doctor Story125. The French Massacre
Critical Apparatus for this Page
View an Image of this PageCattley Pratt ReferencesCommentary on the TextCommentary on the Woodcuts
Person and Place Index  *  Close
Agnes Bongeor

Wife of Richard Bongeor. Of Colchester.

Agnes Bongeor's martyrdom was delayed, as her name was incorrectly written on the writ. 1563, pp. 1631-32, 1570, p. 2215, 1576, p. 1912, 1583, p. 2020.

In their letter to Bonner, Robert Brown and Robert Mainard said that they did not have a prisoner by the name of Agnes Bowyer, wife of Richard Bowyer. They explained that the prisoner was in fact Agnes Bongeor, wife of Richard Bongeor. 1563, p. 1632, 1570, p. 2215, 1576, p. 1912, 1583, p. 2020.

Foxe describes her godly behaviour at her death on 17August 1557. 1563, p. 1632, 1570, p. 2215, 1576, p. 1912, 1583, p. 2020.

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Joan Cooke

Later, wife of John Sparke.

Shortly before her death, Margaret Thurston was taken back to the castle and told Joan Cook, later the wife of John Spark, what had happened. On the morning Margaret Thurston was due to be burned, her case was deferred. As she was preparing to be burned, she began to shiver and tremble, and felt as though she were being lifted up. She turned to get her psalter, just as the jailor took away her fellow prisoners. She was later taken to the town-prison where she remained for around another week. 1563, p. 1632, 1570, p. 2215, 1576, p. 1912, 1583, p. 2020.

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Margaret Thurston

Wife of John Thurston. Of Great Bentley, Essex.

Edmund Tyrrel found Margaret and John Thurston at William Mount's house and so sent them to prison at Colchester castle, along with the Mounts and their daughter. 1563, p. 1631, 1570, p. 2200, 1576, p. 1898, 1583, p. 2007.

On the morning Margaret Thurston was due to be burned, her case was deferred. As she was preparing to be burned, she began to shiver and tremble, and felt as though she were being lifted up. She turned to get her psalter, just as the jailor took away her fellow prisoners. She was later taken to the town-prison where she remained for around another week. Shortly before her death she was taken back to the castle and told Joan Cook, later the wife of John Spark, what had happened. 1563, p. 1632, 1570, p. 2215, 1576, p. 1912, 1583, p. 2020.

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Foxe describes her behaviour at her death on 17 August 1557. 1561, p. 1632, 1570, p. 2215, 1576, p. 1912, 1583, p. 2020.

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Colchester, Colchestre
NGR: TM 000 250

A borough, having separate jurisdiction, locally in the Colchester division of the hundred of Lexden, county of Essex. 22 miles north-east by east from Chelmsford. The town comprises the parishes of All Saints, St. James, St. Martin, St. Mary at the Walls, St. Nicholas, St. Peter, St. Rumwald and Holy Trinity within the walls; and St. Botolph, St. Giles, St. Leonard and St. Mary Magdalene without the walls; all in the archdeaconry of Colchester and Diocese of London

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English information from Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of England (S. Lewis & Co: London, 1831)

Scottish information from Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (S. Lewis & Co: London, 1846)

Welsh information taken from Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales(Lewis & Co: London, 1840)

The reason for the use of these works of reference is that they present the jurisdictional and ecclesiastical position as it was before the major Victorian changes. The descriptions therefore approximate to those applying in the sixteenth century, after the major changes of 1535-42. Except for the physical locations, which have not changed, the reader should not therefore take these references as being accurate in the twenty-first century.

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2044 [2020]

Queene Mary. Agnes Bongeor, and Margaret Thurston, Martyrs.

MarginaliaAnno 1557. Septem.The Bishop not greatly caring for this talke, proceeded to examine hym of other matters, amongest whiche this high and waighty thyng was one, videlicet, how he did lyke the order and rites of the Churche then vsed here in England.

To whome he said, that hee euer had, and yet did abhorre the same with all his heart.

Then diuers of the Bishops complices entreated and perswaded with him to recant, and aske mercy of the bishop.

No (quoth Roth) I will not aske mercy of hym that cannot geue it. MarginaliaThe condemnatiō of Rich. Roth.Wherupon he was (as the rest before mētioned) condemned, and deliuered vnto the Shiriffe, and the xvij. day of September, they all most ioyfully ended their lyues in one fire at Islington, for the testimonie of Christ, as before is declared.

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¶ Agnes Bongeor, and Margaret Thurston, 
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Agnes Bongeor and Margaret Thurston

Margaret Thurston was the wife of John Thurston, who died in prison (see 1563, p. 1611; 1570, p. 2202; 1576, p. 1900 and 1583, p. 2009.

two godly Christian women, burnt at Colchester for the sincere professing of Christes Gospell.  
Commentary  *  Close

In 1563, Foxe printed an account of the martyrdoms of Bongeor and Thurston which was based on a letter to Bonner from the baliffs of Colchester and on testimony from individuals about Bongeor's readiness to die and about Thurston's temporary backsliding. In the 1570 edition, Foxe added Joan Cook's testimony about the postponement of Thurston's martyrdom. But in the same edition, Foxe deleted the letter to Bonner, which explained why Bongeor's execution was postponed; instead Foxe merely replaced it with a short explanation of Bongeor's temporary reprieve. The account remained unchanged in subsequent editions.

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MarginaliaSeptember. 17. MarginaliaMargaret Thurston, Agnes Bongeor, Martyrs.A Little before (gentle Reader) was mention made of ten that suffred Martyrdome at Colchester, pag. 2007. at which tyme there were two other women also, one called Margaret Thurston, and the other Agnes Bongeor, that should haue suffered with them, and were likewyse condemned at the same tyme and place that the other aboue named ten were, for the like cause, and aunswered also in their examinations the like in effect as the other did. But the one, namely Margaret Thurston, that morning she should suffer with those that went from the Castle,  

Cattley Pratt  *  Close
Cattley/Pratt, VIII, Appendix: ref page 420, last line

What follows these words in the first edition, p. 1631, gives a better or an additional reason for Margaret Thurston's being deferred; and accords better with her subsequent history, where her "backsliding" is alluded to. "... was mightely attempted of the wicked papistes to relent from her conceived and undoubted truth: and what through infirmity, the fear of the fier, and their flattering perswasions, she yelded unto them after a sort; whereby for that present she was kept backe from martirdome, and committed that daye prysoner to Mote-hall in Colchester, wher before she was prisoner in the Castel aforesaid." The Register of Thomas Bryce also supports this view:-
"When widow Thurstone thei did assaile,
And brought An Banger to death his daunce."
Farr's "Select Poetry of the reign of Queen Elizabeth," I. 172, Parker Soc. edit.

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was for that tyme deferred. MarginaliaA note of Margaret Thurston.What the cause was, the testimonie of Ione Cooke shal declare vnto vs. Which Ione Cooke, the wife now of Iohn Sparke, beyng then in the castle of Colchester for religion, did demaund of this widow Thurston, whose husband died in the prison being imprisoned for religion, wherefore the sayd Margaret beyng a condemned woman, should be reserued, when the other suffred in the Castle Baily. She aunswered, that it was not for any feare of death, but beyng prepared as the rest were that suffered the same day, she felte in her selfe a great shiuering and trembling of the flesh. Whereuppon forsaking the company, she went aside to pray. And whilest she was a praying, she thought that she was lifted vp with a mighty wynd that came round about her. Euen at that instant came in the Gaoler and company with hym, & whilest she turned her selfe to fetch her Psalter, they tooke the other prisoners and left her alone. Shortly after shee was remooued out of the Castle and put into the Towne prison, where she continued vntill Friday seuennight after her company were burnt. That day, not two howers before her death, she was brought to the Castell agayne, where shee declared thus much to the aforesayde Ioane Cooke.

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MarginaliaThe Martyrdome of Margaret Thurston, & Agnes Bongeor deferred, for what causes.The other named Agnes Bongeor, who should haue suffred in like maner with the 6. that went out of Motehal was also kept backe at that tyme, but not in lyke sort, because her name was wrong written within the writte, 

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Foxe is referring to the writ from chancery authorizing the execution of a particular heretic. In Agnes Bongeor's case the writ was defective and her execution had to be postponed until the mistake in the writ was corrected. The privy council fined the sheriff of Essex £10 for this error (APC VI, p. 144).

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Word of this reprieve may have reached Foxe in exile. In the Rerum, Foxementioned an unnamed Essex woman who was providentially saved from burning because a court official was unable to pronounce her last name (Rerum, p. 636). If this is a garbled account of Agnes Bongeor, then, in 1559, Foxe does not seem to have realized that her reprieve was temporary.

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as in the Bailiffes letters of Colchester, sent to Boner about the same, more plainely doth appeare in the booke of our first edition, pag. 1632.

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The same morning, the 2. of August, that the sayd sixe in Motehall were called out to goe to their Martyrdome, was Agnes Bongeor also called with them, by the name of Agnes Bowyer. MarginaliaThe name of Agnes Bongeor mistaken. Wherefore the Bailiffes vnderstāding her (as I sayd) to be wrong named within the writ, commanded the sayd Agnes Bongeor to prison agayne, as ye haue heard in the letter before named, and so from Motehall that day, sent her to the Castle, where shee remayned vntill her death.

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But when she saw her selfe so separated from her sayd prison fellowes in that sort, Oh good Lord what piteous mone that good woman made, how bitterly shee wepte, what strange thoughts came into her mynde, how naked and desolate she esteemed her selfe, and into what plunge of dispayre and care her poore soule was brought, it was piteous and wonderful to see: which all came because she went not with them to geue her lyfe in the defence of her Christ: for of all thyngs in the world, lyfe was least looked for at her hands. MarginaliaAgnes Bongeor troubled for not suffering with her company. For that morning in which she was kept backe from burnyng, had she put on a smocke that she had prepared onely for that purpose. And also hauyng a child, a little yong Infant suckyng on her, whom she kept with her tenderly all the tyme she was in prison, agaynst þt day likewyse did she send it away to another Nurse, and prepared her selfe presently to geue her selfe for the testimonie of the glorious Gospell of Iesus Christ. So little did shee

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looke for lyfe, and so greatly did Gods gifts worke in her aboue nature, that death seemed a great deale better welcome then lyfe. But this tooke not effect at that time as she thought it would, and therfore (as I sayd) was she not a little troubled.

Beyng in this great perplexitie of mynde, a friend of hers came to her and required to knowe whether Abrahams obedience was accepted before God for that hee did sacrifice his sonne Isaac, or in that he would haue offered hym. Vnto which she answered thus.

I know (quoth she) that Abrahams will before God was allowed for the deeede, in that he would haue done it, if the Aungell of the Lorde had not stayed him: but I (said she) am vnhappy, the Lorde thinketh me not worthye of this dignitie, and therfore Abrahams case and mine is not alyke.

Why (quoth her friend) would ye not willingly haue gone with your company, if God should so haue suffered it?

Yes (said she) with all my hart, and because I did not, it is now my chiefe and greatest griefe.

Then said her friend: My deare sister, I pray thee consider Abraham and thy self well, & thou shalt see thou doest nothing differ with him in will at all.

Alas (quoth she) there is a farre greater matter in Abraham then in me: for Abraham was tried with the offering of his owne childe, but so am not I, and therefore our cases are not lyke.

Good sister (quoth her friend) way the matter but indifferently. Abraham I graunt (sayd he) would haue offered his sonne: and haue not you done the lyke in your little suckyng babe? But consider further then this, my good sister (sayd he) where Abraham was commanded but to offer his sonne, you are heuy and grieued because you offer not your selfe, which goeth somewhat more neere you then Abrahams obedience did, & therefore before God assuredly, is no lesse accepted & allowed in his holy presence: which further the preparing of your shroud also doth argue full well, &c. MarginaliaAgnes Bongeor receiueth comforth.After which talke betweene them, she began a little to stay her selfe, and gaue her whole exercise to readyng and prayer, wherein she found no little comfort.

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In the tyme that these foresayd ij. good women were prisoners, one in the Castle, & the other in Motehall, God by a secret meane called the sayd Margaret Thurston vnto his truth agayne, who hauyng her eyes opened by the workyng of his spirit, did greatly sorrow and lament her backsliding before, and promised faithfully to the Lord, in hope of his mercies, neuer more while she liued to doe the like agayne, but that she would constantly stand to the cōfession of the same, against all the aduersaries of the crosse of Christ. After which promise made, came in short tyme MarginaliaA writte for the burning of Margaret Thurston, and Agnes Bongeor.a writ from London for the burning of them, which accordyng to the effect thereof, was executed the 17. day of September, in the yeare aforesayd.

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MarginaliaThe Martyrdome of Margaret Thurston, Agnes Bongeor, at Colchester, Anno. 1557. September. 17. The burning of Margaret Thurston, and Agnes Bongeor, at Colchester.
woodcut [View a larger version]
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A repeat of the cut used for two women burned at Ipswich the previous year.

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