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. Alice Benden and other martyrs10. Examinations of Matthew Plaise11. Richard Woodman and nine other martyrs12. Ambrose13. Richard Lush14. Edmund Allen15. 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. Priest's Wife of Exeter49. The Final Five Martyrs50. John Hunt and Richard White51. John Fetty52. Nicholas Burton53. John Fronton54. Another Martyrdom in Spain55. Baker and Burgate56. Burges and Hoker57. The Scourged: Introduction58. Richard Wilmot and Thomas Fairfax59. Thomas Greene60. Bartlett Greene and Cotton61. Steven Cotton's Letter62. James Harris63. Robert Williams64. Bonner's Beating of Boys65. A Beggar of Salisbury66. Providences: Introduction67. The Miraculously Preserved68. William Living69. Edward Grew70. William Browne71. Elizabeth Young72. Elizabeth Lawson73. Christenmas and Wattes74. John Glover75. Dabney76. Alexander Wimshurst77. Bosom's wife78. Lady Knevet79. Mistress Roberts80. Anne Lacy81. Crosman's wife82. Congregation at Stoke in Suffolk83. Congregation of London84. Edward Benet85. Jeffrey Hurst86. William Wood87. Simon Grinaeus88. The Duchess of Suffolk89. Thomas Horton 90. Thomas Sprat91. John Cornet92. Thomas Bryce93. Gertrude Crockhey94. William Mauldon95. Robert Horneby96. Mistress Sandes97. John Kempe98. Thomas Rose99. Complaint against the Ipswich Gospellers100. Tome 6 Life and Preservation of the Lady Elizabeth101. The Unprosperous Queen Mary102. Punishments of Persecutors103. Foreign Examples104. A Letter to Henry II of France105. The Death of Henry II and others106. Justice Nine-Holes107. John Whiteman108. Admonition to the Reader109. Hales' Oration110. Cautions to the Reader111. Snel112. Laremouth113. William Hunter's Letter
Critical Apparatus for this Page
Commentary on the Text
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1970 [1943]

Q. Mary. Persecution at Excester. A poore woman examined.

Marginalia1558. Nouēb.was many times rebuked of them, MarginaliaHusband against the wyfe. & driuen to go to church, to their Idols and ceremonies, to shrift, to folow the Crosse in Procession, to geue thankes to God for restoryng Antichrist againe into this Realme. &c. Which when her spirite could not abide to doo, shee made her prayer vnto God, callyng for helpe and mercy, and so at length lying in her bed, about mydnight, shee thought there came to her a certaine motion and feelyng of singular comfort. Wherupon in short space, shee beganne to grow in contempt of her husband and chyldren, and so taking nothing from them, but euen as shee went, departed from them, MarginaliaHer departing from her husband and returning agayne. seeking her liuyng by labor and spinnyng as wel as she could, here and there for a tyme. In which tyme notwithstanding she neuer ceased to vtter her mynd, as well as she durst: howbeit she at that tyme was brought home to her husband againe. Where at last she was accused by her neighbours, MarginaliaThe poore woman sent vp to Excetor.and so brought vp to Exeter, to be presented to the Bishop and his Clergie. The name of the Bishop whiche had her in examination, was Doctour Troubleuile. MarginaliaD. Trobeluile B. of Excestor, Blackstone Persecutors. His Chauncellour (as I gather) was Blackstone. The chiefest matter wherupon she was charged and condemned, was for the Sacrament (whiche they call of the Aultar) and for speakyng agaynst Idolles, as by the declaration of those which were present, I vnderstand, which reporte the talke betweene her and the bishop on this wise.  

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This would seem to indicate that this account was drawn from eyewitnesses to this exchange.

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MarginaliaTalke betwene the woman and the Byshop.Bishop. Thou foolishe woman (quoth the Bishop) I heare say that thou hast spoken certayne wordes of the most blessed Sacrament of the Aultar, the body of Christe. Fye for shame. Thou art an vnlearned person and a woman: wylt thou meddle with suche high matters, whiche all the Doctours of the world can not define? Wylt thou talke of so hye mysteries? Keepe thy worke, and meddle with that thou hast to doo. It is no womans matters, at cardes and towe to be spoken of. And if it be as I am infourmed, thou art worthy to be burned.

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Woman. My Lord (said shee) I trust your Lordship wil heare me speake.

Bish. Yea mary (quoth he) therfore I send for thee.

Woman. I am a poore woman & do liue by my hands, gettyng a peny truely, & of that I get I geue part to the poore.

Bish. That is wel done. Art thou not a mans wyfe?

And here the Bishop entred into talke of her husband.

To whom she answered againe, declaryng that she had a husband and children: and had them not. So long as she was at libertie, she refused not, neither husbande, nor children. MarginaliaThe wyfe renouncing her husband for Christes sake.But now standing here as I doo (said she) in þe cause of Christ & his truth, where I must either forsake Christ, or my husband, I am contented to sticke onely to Christ my heauenly spouse, and renounce the other.

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And here she making mention of the words of Christ: He that leaueth not father or mother, sister or brother, husband. &c. þe bishop inferred þt Christ spake þt of þe holy martyrs, which dyed because they would not doo sacrifice to the false Gods.

Woman. Sikerly sir, and I wyll rather dye then I wyll doo any worship to that fowle Idol, which with your masse you make a God.

Bish. Yea, you callet, wyl you say that the sacrament of the altar is a fowle Idol?

Wom. Yea truly, quoth she: MarginaliaThe Sacrament of the altar made an Idoll.there was neuer such an Idol as your sacrament is, made of your priests, & cōmaunded to be worshipped of al men, with many fond phantasies, where Christ dyd cōmaund it to be eaten and drunken in remembrance of his most blessed passion our redemption.

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Bish. See this pratling woman. Doest thou not heare, that Christ dyd say ouer the bread: This is my body, & ouer the cup: This is my bloud?

Wom. Yes forsooth, he said so, but he meant that it is his body and bloud not carnally, but sacramentally.

Bish. Lo, she hath heard pratlyng among these new preachers, or heard some peeuish booke. Alas poore womā, thou art deceiued.

Wom. No, my Lorde, that I haue learned, was of godly preachers, & of godly bookes which I haue heard read. MarginaliaReasons shewing why the Sacrament of the Lordes body is not to be worshipped.And if you wyll geue me leaue, I wyll declare a reason why I wyl not worship the sacrament.

Bish. Mary say on, I am sure it wyl be goodly geare.

Woman. Truely such geare as I wyl loose this poore life of myne for.

Bish. Then you wyl be a martyr, good wyfe.

Woman. In deede if the denying to worship that bready God be my martyrdome, I wyl suffer it with al my hart.

Bish. Say thy mynd.

Wom. You must beare with me a poore woman, quoth she.

Bish. So I wyl, quoth he.

Woman. I wyll demaund of you, whether you can denye your Crede, which doth say, that Christ perpetually doth sit at the right hand of his father both body & soule, vntyll he

come againe, or whether he be there in heauen our aduocate, & doo make prayer for vs vnto God his father. If it be so, he is not here in the earth in a peece of bread. If he be not here, & if he doo not dwell in temples made with hands, but in heauen, what shal we seeke hym here? if he dyd offer his body once for al, why make you a new offring? if with once offring he made all perfect, why doo you with a false offring make al vnperfect? if he be to be worshipped in spirite and truth, why doo you worship a peece of bread? if he be eaten & drunken in faith & truth, if his flesh be not profitable to be among vs, why doo you say, you make his body and fleshe, and say it is profitable for body & soule? Alas, I am a poore woman: but rather then I would doo as you doo, I would lyue no longer, I haue said sir.

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Bish. I promise you, you are a iolly Protestant. I pray you in what schooles haue you ben brought vp?

Wom. I haue vpon the sondayes visited the sermons, and there haue I learned such things, as are so fixed in my brest that death shal not separate them.

Bish. O foolish woman, who wyl wast his breath vpō thee or such as thou art? But how chanceth it that thou wentest away from thy husbande? if thou were an honest woman, thou wouldest not haue leaft thyne husband & childrē, and run about the countrey like a fugitiue.

Wom. Syr, I laboured for my liuyng: And as my master Christ counselleth me, when I was persecuted in one citie, I fled vnto an other.

Bish. Who persecuted thee?

Wom. MarginaliaThe wyfe persecuted by husband and children.My husband and my chyldren. For when I would haue hym to leaue Idolatrie, and to worship God in heauen, he would not heare me, but he with his chyldren rebuked me, and troubled me. I fled not for whoredome, nor for theft, but because I would be no partaker with hym & his, of that foule Idoll the Masse. And where soeuer I was, as oft as I could, vpon sondayes and holy dayes, I made excuses not to go to the popish church.

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Bish. Belike then you are a good houswife, to flee frō your husband, and also from the church.

Wom. My houswifry is but smal: but God geue me grace to go to the true church.

Bish. The true church: what doest thou meane?

Woman. Not your popish Church, full of Idolles and abominations, but where three or foure are gathered together in the name of God, to that Church wyl I go as long as I lyue.

Bish. Belike then you haue a Church of your owne. Wel, let this mad woman be put downe to prison, vntyl we send for her husband.

Wom. No, I haue but one husband, which is here already in this citie and in prison with me, from whom I wyl neuer depart: and so their communication for that day brake of. Blackstone and others perswaded the Bishop that shee was a mazed creature, and not in her perfect wyt (which is no new thing, for the wisdome of God to appeare foolishnes to carnall men of this world:) and therefore they consulted together, that shee should haue libertie and goe at large. So the keeper of the Bishops prison had her home to his house, where shee fell to spinnyng and cardyng, and dyd all other worke as a seruant in the said keepers house, & went about the citie, when and whither shee would, and diuers had delight to talke with her. And euer shee continued talkyng of the sacrament of the altar. Which, of all thyng they coulde least abide. Then was her husband sent for, but shee refused to goe home with hym, with þe blemish of the cause and Religion, in defence whereof she there stood before the Bishop and the priestes.

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MarginaliaTalke betwene the woman and the priestes about the Sacrament.Then diuers of the Priestes had her in handlyng, perswadyng her to leaue her wicked opinion about the Sacrament of the Aultar, the natural body and bloud of our Saueour Christe. But shee made them answeare, that it was nothyng but very bread and wyne, and that they might be ashamed to say, that a peece of bread shoulde be turned by a man into the naturall body of Christ, which bread doth vinow, and Mice oftentymes doo eate it, and it doth mould & is burned: And (sayd shee) Gods owne body wyll not be so handled nor kept in prison, or boxes, or aumbries. Let it be your God: it shall not be myne: for my Saueour sitteth on the right hand of God, & doth pray for me. And to make that sacramental or significatiue bread instituted for a remēbraunce, the very body of Christ, and to worship it, it is very foolishnes and deuilish diceit.

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Nowe truely (said they) the deuyl hath deceiued thee.

No (said she) I trust the liuyng God hath opened mine eyes, and caused me to vnderstand the right vse of the blessed sacrament, which the true church doth vse, but the false church doth abuse.

MarginaliaTalke betwene the woman and a Fryer.Then stept forth an old Fryer, and asked what she said of the holy Pope.

I say
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