Executions At Colchester

It was before mentioned that twenty-two persons had been sent up from

Cholchester, who upon a slight submission, were afterward released. Of

these, Wm. Munt, of Much-Bentley, husbandman, with Alice, his wife, and

Rose Allin, her daughter, upon their return home, abstained from church,

which induced the bigoted priest secretly to write to Bonner. For a

short time they absconded, but returning again, March 7th, one Mr.

mund Tyrrel, (a relation of the Tyrrel who murdered king Edward V. and

his brother) with the officers, entered the house while Munt and his

wife were in bed, and informed them that they must go to Colchester

Castle. Mrs. Munt at that time very ill, requested her daughter to get

her some drink; leave being permitted, Rose took a candle and a mug; and

in returning through the house was met by Tyrrel, who cautioned her to

advise her parents to become good catholics. Rose briefly informed him

that they had the Holy Ghost for their adviser; and that she was ready

to lay down her own life for the same cause. Turning to his company, he

remarked that she was willing to burn; and one of them told him to prove

her, and see what she would do by and by. The unfeeling wretch

immediately executed this project; and, seizing the young woman by the

wrist, he held the lighted candle under her hand, burning it crosswise

on the back, till the tendons divided from the flesh, during which he

loaded her with many opprobious epithets. She endured his rage unmoved,

and then, when he had ceased the torture, she asked him to begin at her

feet or head, for he need not fear that his employer would one day repay

him. After this she took the drink to her mother.

This cruel act of torture does not stand alone on record. Bonner had

served a poor blind harper in nearly the same manner, who had steadily

maintained a hope that if every joint of him were to be burnt, he should

not fly from the faith. Bonner, upon this, privately made a signal to

his men, to bring a burning coal, which they placed in the poor man's

hand, and then by force held it closed, till it burnt into the flesh

deeply. But to return.--

In searching Munt's house, John Thurston and Margaret his wife were

found, and conveyed to Colchester Castle; where lay J. Johnson, of

Thorp, Essex, aged 34, widower, with his three young children, all

indicted for heresy.

The following lay in Mote-hall, or town prison: Wm. Bongeor, of St.

Nicholas, in Colchester; Thomas Penold, Colchester, tallow chandler; W.

Pucras, of Bocking, Essex, fuller, 20; Agnes Silversides, Colchester,

widow, 70; Helen Ewring, wife of John Ewring, miller, of Colchester, 45;

and Eliz. Folks, a servant, Colchester.

Shortly after their condemnation, Bonner's writ arrived for their

execution, which was fixed for the 2d of August, 1557. About seven

o'clock in the morning, the town prisoners in the Mote-hall were brought

to a plot of ground on the outside of the town wall, where the stake was

erected, surrounded by fagots and fuel. Having prayed, and prepared

themselves for the fiery torment, Elizabeth Folks, as she was standing

at the stake, received a dreadful blow on the shoulder from the stroke

of a hammer, which was aimed at the staple that secured the chain. This,

however, in no wise discomposed her, but turning her head round, she

continued to pray and exhort the people. Fire being put to the pile,

these martyrs died amidst the prayers and commisseration of thousands

who came to be witnesses of their fortitude and their faith.

In the same manner, in the afternoon, the county prisoners from

Colchester castle were brought out, and executed, at different stakes,

on the same spot; praising God, and exhorting the people to avoid

idolatry and the church of Rome.

John Thurston, of whom mention was made before, died in May, in

Colchester castle.

George Eagles, tailor, was indicted for having prayed that "God would

turn queen Mary's heart, or take her away;" the ostensible cause of his

death was his religion, for treason could hardly be imagined in praying

for the reformation of such an execrable soul as that of Mary. Being

condemned for this crime, he was drawn to the place of execution upon a

sledge, with two robbers, who were executed with him. After Eagles had

mounted the ladder, and been turned off a short time, he was cut down,

before he was at all insensible; a bailiff, named Wm. Swallow, then

dragged him to the sledge, and with a common blunt cleaver, hacked off

the head: in a manner equally clumsy and cruel, he opened his body and

tore out the heart.

In all this suffering the poor martyr repined not, but to the last

called upon his Saviour. The fury of these bigots did not end here; the

intestines were burnt, and the body was quartered, the four parts being

sent to Colchester, Harwich, Chelmsford, and St. Rouse's.--Chelmsford

had the honor of retaining his head, which was affixed to a long pole in

the market-place. In time it was blown down, and lay several days in the

streets, till it was buried at night in the church-yard. God's judgment

not long after fell upon Swallow, who in his old age became a beggar,

and affected with a leprosy that made him obnoxious even to the animal

creation; nor did Richard Potts, who troubled Eagles in his dying

moments, escape the visiting hand of God.

About this time, Richard Crashfield, of Wymundham, suffered at Norwich.

Nearly about this time a person named Fryer, and the sister of George

Eagles, suffered martyrdom.