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Burning of Eleven Men and Two Women

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Thirteen persons who lived in the country of Essex, England, were arrested in May 1556, and sent to London to be examined by bishop Bonner. Their names were as follows: Ralph Jackson, Henry Adlington, Lyon Cawch, William Halliwell, George Searles, John Routh, John Derifall, Henry Wye, Edmund Hurst, Laurence Parnam, Thomas Bower, Elizabeth Pepper, and Agnes George.

Being all brought together before Dr. Darbyshire, the bishop's chancellor, he called upon each of them, separately, to answer the usual set of questions prepared for persons suspected of heresy. All answered boldly; not one of them denied that he believed in the reformed religion. Even the two women refused to save their lives by changing their faith. Sentence of condemnation was therefore pronounced upon all of them, and they were put in charge of the sheriff, who took them to Newgate prison.

On the Sunday after their condemnation, Dr. Fecknam, dean of St. Paul's, said, in his sermon, that "the thirteen prisoners held as many different beliefs as there were faces among the whole." This being reported to them, they drew up one confession of faith, to which they signed their names, so that all men might know they were of the one religion, and for that religion were willing to die.

Early on the morning of the 28th of June, 1556, the day appointed for their execution, they were taken from Newgate to Stratford-le-Bow, the place where they were to suffer. When they had come there, the sheriff tried by a stratagem to win them over. He divided them into two companies, and placed them in separate rooms. This done, he went to one of the companies, and told them the others had recanted, by which means their lives had been saved. He advised the others to follow their example, and not cast themselves away by continuing obstinate.

But his appeal had no effect on the little band, and when the sheriff saw this he made no further attempt to persuade them to change from the faith they loved. They were brought out and all led together to the place where the stakes had been set up.

The eleven men were tied to three stakes, but the two women were in the middle, not tied to any stake--being in the midst of the fagots. So they were all burned together in one fire; and it is told of them, that "such was their love to each other, and constancy in their Savior Christ, that it made all the lookers-on to marvel."












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