Simson Refuses to Tell the Names of His Friends
Account of the Trial of Cuthbert Simson, Hugh Fox, and John Davenish
These three men were arrested together at the saracen's head, at the same time as John Rough, and at first dismissed, but afterward being brought before the council, were committed to different prisons.
Cuthbert Simson, who was deacon of the same congregation of which John Rough was pastor, was committed prisoner to the Tower. He was examined by the recorder of London, and commissioner named Cholmley, who commanded him to give the names of the persons who had attended the secret services. This he would not do, in spite of threats and persuasion.
At last, infuriated at Simson's stubborn refusal to betray the names of his friends, they ordered the jailers to take him to the torture-room of the tower, and scourge him. This was immediately done, and when he had suffered from their stripes he was brought back; they then repeated their questions, but he still resolutely refused to give the names of his friends. Finding it impossible to force the information form him, they at last sent him back to his dungeon.
On the Sunday following Simson was again brought to the room in which he had been scourged, when the recorder of London, and the lieutenant of the Tower, once more demanded a confession, but he replied that he was determined not to betray those who had trusted him. One of the jailers then tied Simson's two fore-fingers together, with a small arrow between them; this done, he drew the arrow backward and forward so quickly that the blood followed, and finally the arrow broke; after which they put him on the rack, and then sent him back half dead to his dungeon. About ten days after this the lieutenant again asked him if he would supply the information needed to enable them to make further arrests. But Simson firmly replied that he would say no more than he had said.
Simson was finally taken before the bishop of London for examination. While in court Bonner pointed the prisoner out to the people, saying, "Look upon him, what a personable man he is! I tell you that if he were not a heretic, he is a man of the greatest patience that ever came before me. He hath been twice scourged in on day in the Tower, and also in my house he hath felt much pain, and yet I never saw his patience broken." But in spite of this tribute to his courage Bonner soon condemned Simson to the fire, with two other men, named Hugh Fox and John Davenish.
One week later these three were taken by the
sheriffs and their officers to Smithfield, where they were all fastened to one stake and
burned in the same fire. They behaved with wonderful fortitude to the last, praising God
that He had given them strength to bear the dreadful punishment.
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