John Fetty and His Son in the Lollard's Tower
Among those who were put in prison charged with heresy was John Fetty, the father of this boy. Strange to say, he had been arrested upon information given by his own wife. He was taken before Sir John Mordaunt, one of the queen's commissioners. After examination, he was sent to the Lollards' Tower, where he was put in the stocks, and had a picture of water set by him, with a loaf of bread near it, to show him that it was the only food he might expect to receive.
This place of imprisonment, called the Lollards' Tower, was a large, detached room, belonging to bishop Bonner's palace, in London. It was used for the punishment of Protestants (sometimes called Lollards). who were brought before the bishop accused of heresy, and who were also sometimes tortured. The most common punishments inflicted here were scourging, and setting in the stocks; some being fastened by the hands, and others by the feet. They were generally permitted to sit on a stool, but to increase their punishment some were given no seat, so that, lying with their backs on the ground, their position was exceedingly exhausting and painful. In this dungeon, and under these tortures, some were kept for several days, and others for weeks, without any other food than bread and water. During all this time admission was refused to their relatives or friends. Many of the unfortunate prisoners who had weak constitutions, died form the effects of their confinement in the Lollards' Tower.
After John Fetty had been in the Lollards' Tower for fifteen days, the greater part of the time fast in the stocks, sometimes by his legs, and sometimes by his hands, William Fetty, one of his sons, came to the bishop's palace, in order to obtain permission to see him. When he arrived there, the bishop's chaplain asked him his business; the boy replied he wanted to see his father, at the same time shedding tears, and looking sorrowfully toward the prison in which his father lay. the chaplain asked who was his father; and when the boy told him, he replied that his father was a heretic, and was being taught a lesson in the stocks; which, said he, might prove a good warning to his son not to follow in his footsteps.
The boy, who had a high spirit, was stung by this abuse of his kind father, and quickly replied, "My father is not heretic, but you are a pack of murderers."
At this the angry chaplain seized the boy by the hand, and dragged him to another room in the palace, where, after stripping him, he scourged him in the most unmerciful manner; after which he ordered one of his servants to take him, just as he was, to his father, with the blood running down to his heels. As soon as the boy saw his father, he fell on his knees, and showed him his wounds. The poor man beholding his son in so dreadful a state, exclaimed, with great grief, "Alas! who hath thus cruelly treated thee?" The boy replied, "I was seeking to find you out, when a murdering chaplain took me into the bishop's house, and beat me as you see."
One of the keepers overhearing this, seized the boy, and dragging him away from his father, took him back to the place where he had been scourged. Here he was kept three days with scarcely any food, and was beaten again. The father was also beaten for protesting against their cruelty. At last the poor young prisoner became very faint and weak from this inhuman treatment, and Bonner gave orders to let him go. He also ordered the father to be brought before him, in his bed-chamber, early in the morning.
The bishop at first roundly abused the man for his
religious belief, but considering that trouble might result from having scourged the boy,
he ordered both father and son to be set at liberty. They were, therefore, allowed to
depart and went to their home, but the unfortunate boy, form the pain, loss of blood and
inflammation of his wounds, died a few days afterward.
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