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certain and sure : that the deed of the man in my mind ought in no dered.
wise to be allowed, which, if he did wittingly, then do I discommend
the man's reason. But if he did it in phrenzy, and as being out of
his witte, then do I greatly pity his case. Yet, notwithstanding, see-
ing God's judgments be secret, and we be likewise in doubt upon
what intent he did thus punish himself, neither again is any man
certain, whether he did repent or no before the last breath went out
of his body ; me seemeth, their opinion is more indifferent herein,
who do rather disallow the example of the deed, than despair of his

(1) Winchester might rather have said, how their cruel dealing w.rketh desperation.


Mary. Otlicrwise, if we will adjudge all those to hell that have departed
. J. the world after this sort, how many examples have we in the first
J555* persecutions of the church, of those men and women, who, being

~ registered in the works of worthy writers, have notwithstanding their

piL-sin praise and commendation? For what shall I think of those young
ofthe'ttrlit men, who being sought for to do sacrifice to heathen idols, did cast
uou^*^'^ down themselves headlong, and break their own necks, to avoid such
horrible pollution of themselves ? What shall I say of those virgins
of Antioch, who, to the end they might not defile themselves with
uncleanness, and with idolatry, through the persuasion of their
mother, casting themselves headlong into a river together with their
mother, did foredo themselves, although not in the same water, yet
after the same manner of drowning as this master Hales did ? What
shall 1 say of other two sisters, who, for the self-same quarrel,
did violently throw themselves headlong into the sea, as Eusebius'
doth record ? In whom, though perchance there was less confi-
dence to bear out the pains which should be ministered of the wicked
unto them, yet that their good desire to keep their faith and religion
unspotted, was commended and praised.

Another like example of death is mentioned by Nicephorus,^ and
that in another virgin likewise, whose name is expressed in Jerome
to be Brassilia Dyn-achina, who, to keep her virginity, feigned herself
to be a witch ; and so, conventing with the young man who went
t about to dishonour her, pretended that she would give him an herb
which should preserve him from all kind of weapons ; and so, to
prove it in herself, laid the herb upon her own throat, bidding him
smite, whereby she was slain ; and so with the loss of her life her
virginity was saved.

Hereunto may be joined the like death of Sophronia', a matron of
Rome, who, when she was required of JNIaxentius the tyrant to be
defiled, and saw her husband more slack than he ought to have been
in saving her honesty, bidding them that were sent for her to tarry
awhile till she made her ready, went into her chamber, and with a
weapon thrust herself through the breast, and died. Now who is he
that would reprehend the worthy act of Achetes, who, biting off his
own tongue, spit it out into the harlot's face ?

*But, in these examples, you will say : The cause was necessary
and honest; and who can tell whether master Hales meaning to
avoid the pollution of the mass, did likewise choose the same kind
of death, to keep his faith undefiled : whereof there ought to be as
great respect, and greater too, than of the chastity of the body. But
you will say : He ought rather to have suffered the tyrants ; and
why may not the same be said of the forenamed virgins ?*

These examples I do not here infer, as going about either to
excuse, or to maintain the heinous fact of master Hales (which I
would wish rather by silence might be drowned in oblivion), but yet
notwithstanding, as touching the person of the man, whatsoever "his
fact was— because we are not sure whether he at the last breath
repented — again, because we do not know, nor are able to compre-
hend the bottomless depth of the graces and mercies which are in Christ

(1) Euscb. Hist. Ei-cl. lib. viii (2) Niopph. lib. iv. c. 13. Brassilia nvrrachina.

(3) Easpb. viii. 14.— Ed.


Jesus our Saviour — we will leave therefore the final judgment of him, Mary
to the determination of him who is only appointed Judge both of the ~7~n~
quick and the dead. I - 5

*And, finally, although he did it of a certain desperation, yet how

know you whether he repented even in breathing out his life ? —
Altliough I truly am so far from allowing his fact, by any means,
that I am wonderfully sorry for his rash, and over hasty temeritv ,
and, therefore, although we do not account him among the martyVs,
yet, on the other side, we do not reckon him among the damned
persons. _ Finally, let us all wish heartily that the Lord impute not
to him, in judgment, that which he offended in his own punishment.

De Jacobo Halisio Carmen.

Si tua quanta fuit gravitas, prudentia, norma,

Junctaque sincera cum pietate fides ;
Tarn caro firma tibi fortisque, Halise, fnisset,

Sanctorum prime classe ferendus eras.
Instituit sed enim sua quis sic tempora vitae

Sanctorum, ut nullis sint maculata malis?
Quum nihil ergo vides propria quin labe laboret,

Til tua fac cures, caetera mitte Deo.

€Ije K^i^torp of Cfjoma.^ Comfon^", JiBartpr,




Mention was made before of six ])risoncrs, brought and examined
befoi'P bishop Bonner the 8th of February, whose names M'ere Tom-
kins, Pygot, Knight, Hawkes, Laurence, and Hunter: all which,
though they received their condemnation together the next dav after,
yet, because the time of their execution was then driven off from
February till the next month of March, I did therefore refer the
story of them to this present month of March aforesaid, wherein now
remaineth severally to entreat of the martyrdom of these six persons,
as the order and time of their sufferings severally do require. Of the
which six aforenamed martyrs, the first was Thomas Tomkins, burned
in Smithfield. the 16th day of March, a.d. 155.5.

This Thomas Tomkins, a weaver by his occupation, dwelling in His podiy
Shorcditch, and of the diocese of London, was of such conversation, diTposN
and disposition so godly, that if any woman had come to him with *'""•
her web, as sometimes they did, three or four in a day, he would
always begin with prayer ; or if any other had come to talk of any
matter, he would likewise first begin with prayer. And if anv had
sought unto him to borrow money, he would show him such money
as he had in his purse, and bid him take it.

And when they came to repay it again, so far off was he from seek-
ing any usury at their hand, or from strait exaction of his due, that
he would bid them keep it longer, while they were better able.
And these were the conditions of Thomas Tomkins, testified yet to
this present day by the most part of all his neighbours, and almost
of all his parish which knew him, as master Skinner, master Leeke,


Mary, and otlicrs. Of whom more than half a dozen at once came to me,

^ D discreet and substantial men, reporting the same iinto me ; recording

1555. moreover as followeth : That Dr. Bonner bishop of London, kept

the said Tomkins with him in prison half a year ; during which time

the said bishop was so rigorous unto him, that he beat him bitterly

about the face, whereby his face was swelled. Whereupon the

bishop caused his beard to be shaven, and gave the barber twelve


Tomkins Touchiug wliich shaviug of Thomas Tomkins's beard, this is more

maketh ^.^ ^yQ added : Bishop Bonner, having Tomkins with him prisoner at

bishop's Fulham, in the month of July, did set him with his other workfolks

to make hay ; and seeing him to labour so well, the bishop, setting

him down, said, " Well, I like thee well ; for thou labourest well :

I trust thou wilt be a good catholic.'''' " My lord,"" said he, " St. Paul

saith, ' He that doth not labour is not worthy to eat.' " Bonner

said, " Ah ! St. Paul is a great man with thee."" * And so, after

such other talk, the bishop inferring moreover, wished his beard off,

saying, that so he would look like a catholic. " My lord,"'"' said

Tomkins, " before my beard grew I was, I trust, a good Christian,

and so I trust to be, my beard being on.'"' But Bonner, in fine, sent

for the barber, and caused his beard to be shaven off. The very

cause was, for that Bonner had plucked off a piece of his beard


Notable The rage of this bishop was not so great against him, but the con-

cyTn a" staucy of the party was much greater with patience to bear it ; who,

true althouofh he had not the learning as others have, yet he was so endued

christian . . . . ^^ .

soldier, with God"'s mighty Spirit, and so constantly planted in the perfect
knowledge of God"'s truth, that by no means he could be removed
from the confession of truth, to impiety and error. Whereupon
Bonner the bishop, being greatly vexed against the poor man, when
he saw that by no persuasions he could prevail with him, devised
another practice not so strange as cruel, further to try his constancy ;
to the intent, that seeing he could not otherwise convince him by
doctrine of Scriptures, yet he might overthrow him by some fore-
feeling and terror of death. So, having with him master Harpsfield,
master Pendleton, Dr. Chcdsev, master Willanton, and others
standing by, he called for Thomas Tomkins, who, coming before the
Bishop bishop, and standing as he was wont in defence of his faith, the
piayet" ^i^^op fell from beating to burning : who, having there a taper or
kin? For- -vvax caudle of three or four wicks standing upon the table, thought

senna in-i . iii- ni - n>

burning there to represent unto us as it were, tlie old image oi king Porsenna.

If^sc^"^ ^"r as he burned the hand of Scajvola, so this catholic bishop 'took

voia. Tomkins by the fingers, and held his hand directly over the flame,

supposing that by the smart and pain of the fire being terrified, he

would leave off the defence of his doctrine which he had received.

Tomkins, thinking no otherwise but there presently to die, began
to commend himself unto the Lord, saying, " O Lord ! into thy
hands 1 commend my spirit," etc. In the time that his hand was in
burning, the same Tomldns afterward reported to one James Hinse,
that liis spirit was so rapt, that he felt no pain. In the which

(1) And so should he be with i/oit, if you were a right bishop. (2) See Appendix. — Ed.


burning he never shrank, till the veins shrank, and the sinews burst, Manj.
and the water did spirt in master HarpsfieWs face : insomuch that ^aTdT
the said master Harpsfield, moved with pity, desired the bishop to 1555.
stay, saying, that he liad tried him enough. This burning was in
the hall at Fulham.

And whereas the bishop thought by that means to drive him from xomkins
his opinions, it proved much otherwise : for this christian Screvola so to sc'^-^"^
valiantly did despise, abide, and endure that burning, that we have ^'°'^'
less cause hereafter to marvel at the manfulness of that Roman more
Sceevola : I would to God the other had as well followed the example than por.
of ihat Etruscan tyrant. For he, after the left hand of Sceevola was senna.the
half burned, either satisfied with his punishment, or overcome by his
manhood, or driven away by fear, sent him home safe unto his
people : whereas Bonner, hitherto not contented with the burning of
his hand, rested not until he had consumed his whole body into
ashes, at London in Smithfield.

But before we come to his suffering, we will first entreat of some
part of his examination and articles, with his answers and confession
thereunto annexed, as it is credibly in register recorded.


This faithful and valiant soldier of God, Thomas Tomkins, after
he had remained the space (as is said) of half a year in prison, about
the 8th day of February Avas brought with certain others before
Bonner, sitting in his consistory, to be examined. To whom first
was brought forth a certain bill or schedule, subscribed (as appeareth)
with his own hand, the fifth day of the same month last before., con-
taining these words foUowino-.

The Confession of Tomkins subscribed with his own Hand.

Thomas Tomkins of Shoreditch, and of the diocese of London, hath believed
and doth believe, that in the sacrament of the altar, under the forms of bread
and wine, there is not the very body and blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ in
substance, but only a token and remembrance thereof, the very body and blood
of Christ being only in heaven, and no where else.

By me, Thomas Tmukins.

Whereupon he was asked, whether he did acknowledge the same xomkins
subscription to be of his own hand. To the which he granted, con- l^nh'^f"'
fessing it so to be. This being done, the bishop went about to ^*'"'-
persuade him (with words, rather than with reasons) to relinquish his
opinions, and to return again to the unity of the catholic church,
promising if he would so do, to remit all that was past. But he
constantly denied so to do. When the bishop saw he could not so
pervince him, he brought forth and read to him another writing,
containing articles and interrogatories, whereunto he should come the
next day and answer : in the mean time he should deliberate with
himself what to do. And so the next day, being the Dth of March,
at eight o"'clock in the morning to be present in the same place again
to give his determinate answer what he would do in the premises


Mary, and thcii either to revoke and reclaim himself, or else in the after-
. Q noon the same day to come again, and have justice (as he called it)
1555. ministered unto him. The copy of which articles here followeth.

Articles objected and ministered the 8th day of February against
Thomas Tomkins, with his own Hand subscribing to the same.

Transub- Thou dost believe, that in the sacrament of the altar, under the forms of
stantia- tread and wine, there is not, by the omnipotent power of Almighty God, and
denied, his holy word, really, truly, and in very deed, the very true and natural body
of our Saviour Jesus Christ, as touching the substance thereof; which was con-
ceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and hanged upon the cross, suffering
passion and death there for the life of the world.

I do so believe.

Sub- Thou dost believe, that after the consecration of the bread and wine prepared

stance of f^,. (j^g ^gg pf ^j^g sacrament of the altar, there doth remain the very substance
maineth of niateri:)! bread and material wine, not changed nor altered in substance by the
in the sa- power of Almighty God, but remainnig as it did before,
crament. r i i i-

1 do so believe.

The na- Thou dost believe, that it is an untrue doctrine, and a false belief, to think
tural pre- ^j, g^y^ ^^^ j^ ^]^g sacrament of the altar there is, after consecration of the
Christ in bread and wine, the substance of Christ's natural body and blood, by the omni-
the sacra- potent power of Almighty God, and his holy word.

denied. I do SO believe.

The error Thou dost beliftve, that thy parents, kinsfolks, friends, and acquaintance, and
of the also thy godfathers and godmother, and all people, did err, and were deceived,
eWers i^ they did believe, that in the sacrament of the altar there was, after the conse-
touching cration, the body and blood of Christ, and that there did not remain the sub-

the sacra- gtm^ce of material bread and wine,

I do so believe.

By me Thomas Tomkins.

The next day, being the 9th of February, at eight o'clock before
noon, the said Thomas Tomkins (according to the former command-
ment) was brought again into the place aforenamed, before the bishop
and other his assistants, where the aforesaid articles were propounded
unto him : whereunto he answered as followeth :

To the first he said, that he did so believe, as in the same is contained.

To the second he said, that it was only bread, and a participation of Christ's
death and passion, and so do the Scriptures teach.

To the third he said and did believe, it was a false doctrine, to believe and
think as is contained in this article.

To the fourth, he did also believe the same.

After this ansM-er, he did also subscribe his name to the said
articles. Whereupon the bishop, drawing out of his bosom another
confession subscribed with Tomkins's own hand, and also that article
that was the first day objected against him, caused the same to be
openly read ; and then willed him to revoke and deny his said
opinions, the which he utterly refused to do ; and therefore was
commanded to appear before the bishop again in the same place at
two o'clock in the afternoon.


The Bishop repeateth again the Confession of Thomas Tomkins ; Manj.
written before by the said Bishop of London, and subscribed by
the said Tomkins, the 26th of September, anno 1554, which is j^'^r/^

I, Thomas Tomkins of the parish of Shoreditch, in the diocese of London,
having confessed and declared openly heretofore, to Edmund bishop of London,
mine ordinary, that my belief hath been many years past, and is at this present,
tliat the body of our Saviour Jesus Christ is not truly and in very deed in the
sacrament of the altar, but only in heaven ; and so in heaven, that it cannot
now indeed be really and truly in the sacrament of the altar : And moreover, The mass
having likewise confessed and declared to my said ordinary openly many times, ^""j^^^j
that although the church, called the catholic church, hath allowed, and doth tkm and
allow the mass and sacrifice made and done therein, as a wholesome, profitable, idolatry,
and a godly thing; yet my behef hath been many years past, and is at this present,
that the said mass is full of superstition, plain idolatry, and unprofitable for my
soul ; and so have I called it many times, and take it at this present : Having Baptism
also likewise confessed and declared to my said ordinary, that the sacrament ""^j^J^^^?,
of baptism ought to be only in the vulgar tongue, and not otherwise ministered, ^^^^^ j„
and also without any such ceremonies, as accustomably are used in the Latin the
church, and otherwise not to be allowable : — Finally, being many times and oft \^l^^
called openly before my said ordinary, and talked withal touching all my said jomtins
confessions and declarations, both by the said mine ordinary and divers other con-
learned men, as well his chaplains as others, and counselled by all of them to ^J^JJ^j^Jj^
embrace the truth, and to recant mine error in the premises, which they told to the
me was plain heresy and manifest error; do testify and declare hereby, that I truth of
do and will continually stand to my said confession, declaration, and belief, in g^jp^,^
all the premises, and every part thereof, and in no wise recant or go from any
part of the same. In witness whereof I have subscribed and passed this
writing the 26th day of September, in the year of our Lord God 1554.

Bv me Tho. Tomkins aforesaid.

The names of them that sat upon Thomas Tomkins at this session,
were these : Edmund Bonner ; John Fecknam, dean of PauFs ;
John Harpsfield, archdeacon of London ; John Morwen, master of
arts ; Thomas Morton, parson of Fulham ; Tristram Swadell,
Thomas More, Thomas Bekinsaw, James Cline, clerks.


The same day and place, at two o'clock in the afternoon, he was, the
last time, brought before the bishops of London, Bath, and St. David's,
with others ; where he was earnestly exhorted by the said bishop of
Bath, to revoke and leave off his opinions. Unto whom he answered,
" My lord, I was born and brought up in ignorance until now of late
vears ; and now I know the truth, wherein I will continue unto the

Then Bonner caused all his articles and confession to be again sentence
openly read, and so, in his accustorned manner, persuaded with him ag^fust
to recant. To whom he finally said, " My lord, I cannot see but Tomkins.
that you would have me forsake the trulh, and to fall into eiTor and
heresy." The bishop seeing he would not recant, did proceed in his
law, and so gave sentence of condemnation upon him.

Then he delivered him to the sheriff of London, who carried him ins mar-
straight unto Newgate, where he remained most joyous and constant smit"™ '"
until the 16th of'^Larch next after, on which day, he was by the fi'^'^.

VOL. VI. 3 A


Mary, saicl slierifF conveyed into Smithfield, and there scaled up his faith in
"aTdT the flaming fire, to the glory of God''s holy name, and confirmation
1555. of the Aveak.

211 i^otatJle ^^i.storp of l©il[iam K|unter,





The 26th day of the said month of March, the year aforesaid, fol-
lowed the martyrdom of William Hunter, a right godly young man,
of the age of nineteen years, and born of like godly parents : by
whom he was not only instructed in true religion and godliness, but
also confirmed by them unto death, after a rare and strange example,
worthy to be noted and had in admiration of all parents. Wherein
may appear a singular spectacle, not only of a marvellous fortitude in
the party so young, but also in his parents, to behold nature in them
striving with religion, and overcome of the same : whereby christian
parents may learn what is to be done, not only in their children, but
also in themselves, if need at any time do require, or godliness should
demand the duty of a christian man against natural affection.
*Nature' is a strong thing, I must needs confess, and almost invincible,
. and, among all the affections of nature, there is none that is so
deeply graved in a father^s mind, as the love and tender affection
towards his children, that is, as you would say, towards his own
bowels. By which affection we see many, yea rather infinite
parents, that are overcome ; but, of them that overcome it, very
few, or rather none. So much the more, therefore, am I moved not
to pass over, in this place, such notable and singular godliness of
these parents ; who, when they saw their son led towards the fire, did
not follow him with lamentation, neither laboured, by their words, to
draw him from his godly purpose, neither took pity of his fortune ;
but, setting aside all private affection of natural love, forgetting
nature, and, as it were, forgetting themselves, — neither yet following
that common affection of parents at this day, but the example of that
holy mother of the Maccabees — encouraged their son, as much as
they could ; and rejoicing with wonderfnl gladness, exhorted him to
go through valiantly : insomuch, that when he was ready to suffer
death, either of them drinking unto him, rejoiced over him, and con-
firmed him in the Lord. And here, truly, I cannot tell whether I
should rather praise the virtue of the son, or of the parents ; for he,
indeed, died with great constancy, and after he had recited the
eighty-fourth psalm, as he was a-dying, doubtless obtained the crown
of blessed martyrdom. But no less constancy, as I think, appeared
in them, and they are no less to be accounted martyrs, in the martyr-
dom of their son : for he, offering his body to torments, with great
praise, overcame the tormentors, the torments, and the tyrants. And
they, with no less praise, overcame their own natures, offering to the
Lord a mind no less constant and strong than he did, and, per-
chance, felt no less torments inwardly, than he did outwardly. He,

(1) Sue I'.iiixion 1563, page 1110.— Ed.


broiling in the miJst of tlic flanio, suffered his life to be taken from Mary.
him, not without cruel torment ; and they, also, with no less torment, "XTT"
suffered their son to be taken from them. On both sides the strength \f^b^^.
of the spirit, the fervent heat of godliness, and the love of Christ,
overcame all the torments ; and, therefore, I thought the praise of
the son could not well be recorded, without the commendation of the
parents : for as he, dying for the gospel, hath left behind him in the

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