Apprehensions At Islington

In a retired close, near a field, in Islington, a company of decent

persons had assembled, to the number of forty. While they were

religiously engaged in praying and expounding the scripture,

twenty-seven of them were carried before Sir Roger Cholmly. Some of the

women made their escape, twenty-two were committed to Newgate, who

continued in prison seven weeks. Previous to their examination, they

were informed by the k
eper, (Alexander,) that nothing more was

requisite to procure their discharge, than to hear mass. Easy as this

condition may seem, these martyrs valued their purity of conscience more

than loss of life or property; hence, thirteen were burnt, seven in

Smithfield, and six at Brentford; two died in prison, and the other

seven were providentially preserved. The names of the seven who suffered

were, H. Pond, R. Estland, R. Southain, M. Ricarby, J. Floyd, J.

Holiday, and R. Holland. They were sent to Newgate June 16, 1558, and

executed on the 27th.

The story of Roger Holland is the only one of these martyrs which has

been handed down to us. He was first an apprentice to one Mr. Kempton,

at the Black-Boy, Watling-street. He was, in every sense of the word,

licentious, a lover of bad company, and, more than all, a stubborn

determined papist--one of whom it might be said, that a miracle only

could effect his conversion. Dissipated as he was, his master had the

imprudent confidence to trust him with money; and, having received

thirty pounds on his master's account, he lost it at the gaming table.

Knowing it was impossible to regain his character, he determined to

withdraw to France or Flanders.--With this resolution, he called early

in the morning on a discreet servant in the house, named Elizabeth, who

professed the gospel, and lived a life that did honour to her

profession. To her he revealed the loss his folly had occasioned,

regretted that he had not followed her advice, and begged her to give

his master a note of hand from him acknowledging the debt, which he

would repay if ever it were in his power; he also entreated his

disgraceful conduct might be kept secret, lest it would bring the grey

hairs of his father with sorrow to a premature grave.

The maid, with a generosity and Christian principle rarely surpassed,

conscious that his imprudence might be his ruin, brought him the thirty

pounds, which was part of a sum of money recently left her by legacy.

"Here," said she, "is the sum requisite: you shall take the money, and I

will keep the note; but expressly on this condition, that you abandon

all lewd and vicious company; that you neither swear nor talk

immodestly, and game no more; for, should I learn that you do, I will

immediately show this note to your master. I also require, that you

shall promise me to attend the daily lecture at Allhallows, and the

sermon at St. Paul's every Sunday; that you cast away all your books of

popery, and in their place substitute the Testament and the Book of

Service, and that you read the Scriptures with reverence and fear,

calling upon God for his grace to direct you in his truth. Pray also

fervently to God, to pardon your former offences, and not to remember

the sins of your youth, and would you obtain his favour, ever dread to

break his laws or offend his majesty. So shall God have you in his

keeping, and grant you your heart's desire." We must honour the memory

of this excellent domestic, whose pious endeavours were equally directed

to benefit the thoughtless youth in this life and that which is to come.

May her example be followed by the present generation of servants, who

seek rather to seduce by vain dress and loose manners the youth who are

associated in servitude with them! God did not suffer the wish of this

excellent domestic to be thrown upon a barren soil; within half a year

after the licentious Holland became a zealous professor of the gospel,

and was an instrument of conversion to his father and others whom he

visited in Lancashire, to their spiritual comfort and reformation from


His father, pleased with his change of conduct, gave him forty pounds

to commence business with in London. Upon his return, like an honest

man, he paid the debt of gratitude, and, rightly judging that she who

had proved so excellent a friend and counsellor, would be no less

amiable as a wife, he tendered her his hand. They were married in the

first year of Mary, and a child was the fruit of their union, which Mr.

Holland caused to be baptised by Mr. Ross in his own house. For this

offence he was obliged to fly, and Bonner, with his accustomed

implacability, seized his goods, and ill-treated his wife. After this,

he remained secretly among the congregations of the faithful, till the

last year of queen Mary, when he, with six others was taken not far from

St. John's Wood, and brought to Newgate upon May-day, 1558.

He was called before the bishop, Dr. Chedsey, the Harpsfields, &c. Dr.

Chedsey expressed much affection for him, and promised he should not

want any favour that he or his friends could procure, if he would not

follow his conceit. This was seconded by squire Eaglestone, a gentleman

of Lancashire, and a near kinsman of Holland's, who said, "I am sure

your honour means good to my cousin. I beseech God he may have the grace

to follow your counsel." Holland directly replied, "Sir, you crave of

God you know not what. I beseech of God to open your eyes to see the

light of his blessed word." After some private communication among the

commissioners, Bonner said, "I perceive, Roger, you will not be ruled by

any counsel that I or my friends can give."

The following speech of Mr. Holland we are induced to give unabridged,

as it contains a pointed charge, founded on the sins resulting from

false doctrines; and, besides, is in itself a well-digested and just

attack upon the tenets of popery.

"I may say to you, my lord, as Paul said to Felix and to the Jews, in

the 22d of the Acts, and in the 15th of the first epistle to the

Corinthians. It is not unknown to my master, to whom I was apprenticed,

that I was of your blind religion--that which now is taught, and that I

obstinately and wilfully remained in it, till the latter end of king

Edward. Having liberty under your auricular confession, I made no

conscience of sin, but trusted in the priests' absolution, who for money

did also some penance for me; which after I had given, I cared no

farther what offences I did, no more than he did after he had my money,

whether he tasted bread and water for me, or not: so that lechery,

swearing, and all other vices, I accounted no offence of danger, so long

as I could for money have them absolved. So straitly did I observe your

rules of religion, that I would have ashes upon Ash Wednesday, though I

had used ever so much wickedness at night. Though I could not in

conscience eat flesh upon the Friday, yet I made no conscience at all of

swearing, drinking, or gaming all night long: thus I was brought up, and

herein I have continued till now of late, when God hath opened the light

of his word, and called me by his grace to repent of my former idolatry

and wicked life; for in Lancashire their blindness and whoredom is much

more, than may with chaste ears be heard. Yet these my friends, who are

not clear in these notable crimes, think the priest with his mass can

save them, though they blaspheme God, and keep concubines besides their

wives, as long as they live. Yea, I know some priests, very devout, my

lord, yet such have six or seven children by four or five sundry women.

"Mr. Doctor, as to your antiquity, unity, and universality, (for these

Dr. Chedsey alleged as notes and tokens of their religion,) I am

unlearned. I have no sophistry to shift my reasons with; but the truth I

trust I have, which needs no painted colours to set her forth. The

antiquity of our church is not from pope Nicholas, nor pope Joan, but

our church is from the beginning, even from the time that God said unto

Adam, that the seed of the woman should break the serpent's head; and so

to faithful Noah; to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to whom it was promised,

that their seed should multiply as the stars in the sky; and so to

Moses, David, and all the holy fathers that were from the beginning unto

the birth of our Saviour Christ. All who believed these promises were of

the church, though the number was oftentimes but few and small, as in

Elias' days, who thought he was the only one that had not bowed the knee

to Baal, when God had reserved seven thousand that never had bowed their

knees to that idol: as I trust there be seven hundred thousand more than

I know of, that have not bowed their knee to that idol your mass, and

your God Maozim; in the upholding of which is your bloody cruelty while

you daily persecute Elias and the servants of God, forcing them (as

Daniel was in his chamber) closely to serve the Lord their God; and even

as we by this your cruelty are forced in the fields to pray unto God,

that his holy word may be once again truly preached amongst us, and that

he would mitigate and shorten these idolatrous and bloody days wherein

all cruelty reigns. Moreover, of our church have been the apostles and

evangelists, the martyrs and confessors of Christ, who have at all times

and in all ages been persecuted for the testimony of the word of God.

But for the upholding of your church and religion, what antiquity can

you show? The mass indeed, that idol and chief pillar of your religion,

is not yet four hundred years old, and some of your masses are younger,

as that of St. Thomas a Becket, the traitor, wherein you pray, That you

may be saved by the blood of St. Thomas. And as for your Latin service,

what are we of the laity the better for it? I think if any one were to

hear your priests mumble up their service, although he well understood

Latin, yet he would understand very few words of it, the priests so

champ them and chew them, and post so fast, that they neither understand

what they say, nor they that hear them; and in the mean time the people,

when they should pray with the priest, are set to their beads to pray

our Lady's Psalter. So crafty is Satan to devise these his dreams,

(which you defend with fagot and fire,) to quench the light of the word

of God; which, as David saith, should be a lantern to our feet. And

again, Wherein shall a young man direct his way, but by the word of

God? and yet you will hide it from us in a tongue unknown. St. Paul had

rather have five words spoken with understanding, than ten thousand in

an unknown tongue, and yet will you have your Latin service and praying

in a strange tongue, whereof the people are utterly ignorant, to be of

such antiquity.

"The Greek church, and a good part of Christendom besides, never

received your service in an unknown tongue, but in their own natural

language, which all the people understand; neither your

transubstantiation, your receiving in one kind, your purgatory, your

images, &c.

"As for the unity which is in your church, what is it but treason,

murder, poisoning one another, idolatry, superstition, and wickedness?

What unity was in your church, when there were three popes at once?

Where was your head of unity when you had a woman pope?" Here he was

interrupted, and was not suffered to proceed. The bishop said his words

were blasphemous, and ordered the keeper to take him away. Bonner

observing, on his second examination, that Holland said, he was willing

to be instructed by the church, (meaning the true church,) he ordered

the keeper to let him want for nothing, not even for money, by which

conduct he hoped to inveigle him from the truth. This, however, upon his

last examination did not produce the intended effect. Bonner spoke very

handsomely to him, and assured him his former hasty answers should not

operate against him, as he himself (the bishop) was sometimes too hasty,

but it was soon over; he further said, that he should have consigned him

to his own ordinary for examination, but for the particular interest he

took in his welfare, for his and his friends' sake. From this exordium

he proceeded to the touchstone question of the real presence in the


"Do you not believe, that, after the priest hath spoken the words of

consecration, there remains the body of Christ, really and corporeally

under the forms of bread and wine? I mean the self-same body as was born

of the Virgin Mary, that was crucified upon the cross, that rose again

the third day." Holland replied, "Your lordship saith, the same body

which was born of the Virgin Mary, which was crucified upon the cross,

which rose again the third day: but you leave out 'which ascended into

heaven;' and the Scripture saith, He shall remain until he come to judge

the quick and the dead. Then he is not contained under the forms of

bread and wine, by Hoc est corpus meum, &c."

Bonner, finding no impression could be made upon his firmness, and that

he himself could not endure to hear the mass, transubstantiation, and

the worshipping the sacrament, denominated impious and horrid idolatry,

pronounced the condemnatory sentence, adjudging him to be burnt.

During this fulmination, Holland stood very quiet, and when he was about

to depart, he begged permission to speak a few words. The bishop would

not hear him, but, at the intercession of a friend, he was permitted.

In the following speech, there is a spirit of prophecy which entitles it

to particular attention; they were not the words of a random enthusiast,

but of one to whom God seems to have given an assurance, that the

present abject state of his faithful people should shortly be altered.