Mr John Philpot

This martyr was the son of a knight, born in Hampshire, and brought up

at New College, Oxford, where he several years studied the civil law,

and became eminent in the Hebrew tongue. He was a scholar and a

gentleman, zealous in religion, fearless in disposition, and a detester

of flattery. After visiting Italy, he returned to England, affairs in

King Edward's days wearing a more promising aspect. During this reign he

tinued to be archdeacon of Winchester under Dr. Poinet, who succeeded

Gardiner. Upon the accession of Mary, a convocation was summoned, in

which Mr. Philpot defended the Reformation against his ordinary,

Gardiner, (again made bishop of Winchester,) and soon was conducted to

Bonner and other commissioners for examination, Oct. 2, 1555, after

being eighteen months imprisoned. Upon his demanding to see the

commission, Dr. Story cruelly observed, "I will spend both my gown and

my coat, but I will burn thee! Let him be in Lollard's tower, (a

wretched prison,) for I will sweep the King's Bench and all other

prisons of these heretics!" Upon Mr. Philpot's second examination, it

was intimated to him, that Dr. Story had said that the Lord Chancellor

had commanded that he should be made way with. It is easy to foretell

the result of this inquiry; he was committed to Bonner's coal-house,

where he joined company with a zealous minister of Essex, who had been

induced to sign a bill of recantation; but afterward, stung by his

conscience, he asked the bishop to let him see the instrument again,

when he tore it to pieces; which induced Bonner in a fury to strike him

repeatedly, and tear away part of his beard. Mr. Philpot had a private

interview with Bonner the same night, and was then remanded to his bed

of straw like other prisoners, in the coal-house. After seven

examinations, Bonner ordered him to be set in the stocks, and on the

following Sunday separated him from his fellow-prisoners as a sower of

heresy, and ordered him up to a room near the battlements of St. Paul's,

eight feet by thirteen, on the other side of Lollard's tower, and which

could be overlooked by any one in the bishop's outer gallery. Here Mr.

Philpot was searched, but happily he was successful in secreting some

letters containing his examinations. In the eleventh investigation

before various bishops, and Mr. Morgan, of Oxford, the latter was so

driven into a corner by the close pressure of Mr. Philpot's arguments,

that he said to him, "Instead of the spirit of the gospel which you

boast to possess, I think it is the spirit of the buttery, which your

fellows have had, who were drunk before their death, and went I believe

drunken to it." To this unfounded and brutish remark, Mr. Philpot

indignantly replied, "It appeareth by your communication, that you are

better acquainted with that spirit than the spirit of God; wherefore I

tell thee, thou painted wall and hypocrite, in the name of the living

God, whose truth I have told thee, that God shall rain fire and

brimstone upon such blasphemers as thou art!" He was then remanded by

Bonner, with an order not to allow him his Bible nor candlelight.

December 4th, Mr. Philpot had his next hearing, and this was followed by

two more, making in all, fourteen conferences, previous to the final

examination in which he was condemned; such were the perseverance and

anxiety of the Catholics, aided by the argumentative abilities of the

most distinguished of the papal bishops, to bring him into the pale of

their church. Those examinations, which were very long and learned, were

all written down by Mr. Philpot, and a stronger proof of the imbecility

of the Catholic doctors, cannot, to an unbiassed mind, be exhibited.

December 16th, in the consistory of St. Paul's bishop Bonner, after

laying some trifling accusations to his charge such as secreting powder

to make ink, writing some private letters, &c. proceeded to pass the

awful sentence upon him, after he and the other bishops had urged him by

every inducement to recant. He was afterward conducted to Newgate, where

the avaricious Catholic keeper loaded him with heavy irons, which by the

humanity of Mr. Macham were ordered to be taken off. December 17th, Mr.

Philpot received intimation that he was to die next day, and the next

morning about eight o'clock, he joyfully met the sheriffs, who were to

attend him to the place of execution. Upon entering Smithfield the

ground was so muddy, that two officers offered to carry him to the

stake, but he replied, "Would you make me a pope? I am content to finish

my journey on foot." Arrived at the stake, he said, "Shall I disdain to

suffer at the stake, when my Redeemer did not refuse to suffer the most

vile death upon the Cross for me?" He then meekly recited the cvii. and

cviii. Psalms, and when he had finished his prayers, was bound to the

post, and fire applied to the pile. On December 18th, 1555, perished

this illustrious martyr, reverenced by man, and glorified in heaven! His

letters arising out of the cause for which he suffered, are elegant,

numerous, and elaborate.