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The Rev Mr George Marsh








George Marsh, born in the parish of Deane, in the county of Lancaster,
received a good education and trade from his parents; about his 25th
year he married, and lived, blessed with several children, on his farm
till his wife died. He then went to study at Cambridge, and became the
curate of the Rev. Mr. Lawrence Saunders, in which duty he constantly
and zealously set forth the truth of God's word, and the false doctrines
of the modern Antichrist.

Being confined by Dr. Coles, the bishop of Chester, within the precincts
of his own house, he was kept from any intercourse with his friends
during four months: his friends and mother, earnestly wished him to have
flown from "the wrath to come;" but Mr. Marsh thought that such a step
would ill agree with that profession he had during nine years openly
made. He, however, secreted himself, but he had much struggling, and in
secret prayer begged that God would direct him, through the advice of
his best friends, for his own glory and to what was best. At length,
determined, by a letter he received, boldly to confess the faith of
Christ, he took leave of his mother-in-law and other friends,
recommending his children to their care and departed for Smethehills,
whence he was, with others, conducted to Lathum, to undergo examination
before the Earl of Derby, Sir William Nores Mr. Sherburn, the parson of
Grapnal, and others. The various questions put to him he answered with a
good conscience, but when Mr. Sherburn interrogated him upon his belief
of the sacrament of the altar, Mr. Marsh answered like a true
Protestant, that the essence of the bread and wine was not at all
changed, hence, after receiving dreadful threats from some, and fair
words from others, for his opinions, he was remanded to ward, where he
lay two nights without any bed.--On Palm Sunday he underwent a second
examination, and Mr. Marsh much lamented that his fear should at all
have induced him to prevaricate, and to seek his safety, so long as he
did not openly deny Christ; and he again cried more earnestly to God for
strength that he might not be overcome by the subtleties of those who
strove to overrule the purity of his faith. He underwent three
examinations before Dr. Coles, who, finding him steadfast in the
Protestant faith, began to read his sentence; but he was interrupted by
the Chancellor, who prayed the bishop to stay before it was too late.
The priest then prayed for Mr. Marsh, but the latter, upon being again
solicited to recant, said he durst not deny his Saviour Christ, lest he
lose his everlasting mercy, and so obtain eternal death. The bishop then
proceeded in the sentence. He was committed to a dark dungeon, and lay
deprived of the consolation of any one, (for all were afraid to relieve
or communicate with him) till the day appointed came that he should
suffer. The sheriffs of the city, Amry and Couper, with their officers,
went to the north gate, and took out Mr. George Marsh, who walked all
the way with the book in his hand, looking upon the same, whence the
people said, This man does not go to his death as a thief, nor as one
that deserveth to die.

When he came to the place of execution without the city, near
Spittal-Boughton, Mr. Cawdry, deputy Chamberlain of Chester, showed Mr.
Marsh a writing under a great seal, saying, that it was a pardon for him
if he would recant. He answered, That he would gladly accept the same
did it not tend to pluck him from God.

After that, he began to speak to the people, showing the cause of his
death, and would have exhorted them to stick unto Christ, but one of the
sheriffs prevented him. Kneeling down, he then said his prayers, put off
his clothes unto his shirt, and was chained to the post, having a number
of fagots under him, and a thing made like a firkin, with pitch and tar
in it, over his head. The fire being unskilfully made, and the wind
driving it in eddies, he suffered great extremity, which notwithstanding
he bore with Christian fortitude.

When he had been a long time tormented in the fire without moving,
having his flesh so broiled and puffed up, that they who stood before
him could not see the chain wherewith he was fastened, and therefore
supposed that he had been dead, suddenly he spread abroad his arms,
saying. Father of heaven have mercy upon me! and so yielded his spirit
into the hands of the Lord. Upon this, many of the people said he was a
martyr and died gloriously patient. This caused the bishop shortly after
to make a sermon in the cathedral church, and therein he affirmed, that
the said Marsh was a heretic, burnt as such, and was a firebrand in
hell.--Mr. Marsh suffered April 24, 1555.





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