Mr William Flower

William Flower, otherwise Branch, was born at Snow-hill, in the county

of Cambridge, where he went to school some years, and then came to the

abbey of Ely. After he had remained a while he became a professed monk,

was made a priest in the same house, and there celebrated and sang mass.

After that, by reason of a visitation, and certain injunctions by the

authority of Henry VIII he took upon him the habit of a secular priest,
br /> and returned to Snow-hill, where he was born, and taught children about

half a year.

He then went to Ludgate, in Suffolk, and served as a secular priest

about a quarter of a year; from thence to Stoniland; at length to

Tewksbury, where he married a wife, with whom he ever after faithfully

and honestly continued: after marriage he resided at Tewksbury about two

years, and from thence went to Brosley, where he practised physic and

surgery; but departing from those parts, he came to London, and finally

settled at Lambeth, where he and his wife dwelt together: however, he

was generally abroad, excepting once or twice in a month, to visit and

see his wife. Being at home upon Easter Sunday morning, he came over the

water from Lambeth into St. Margaret's church at Westminster; when

seeing a priest, named John Celtham, administering and giving the

sacrament of the altar to the people, and being greatly offended in his

conscience with the priest for the same, he struck and wounded him upon

the head, and also upon the arm and hand, with his wood knife, the

priest having at the same time in his hand a chalice with the

consecrated host therein, which became sprinkled with blood.

Mr. Flower, for this injudicious zeal, was heavily ironed, and put into

the gatehouse at Westminster; and afterward summoned before bishop

Bonner and his ordinary, where the bishop, after he had sworn him upon a

book, ministered articles and interrogations to him.

After examination, the bishop began to exhort him again to return to the

unity of his mother the catholic church, with many fair promises. These

Mr. Flower steadfastly rejecting, the bishop ordered him to appear in

the same place in the afternoon, and in the mean time to consider well

his former answer; but he, neither apologizing for having struck the

priest, nor swerving from his faith, the bishop assigned him the next

day, April 20th, to receive sentence, if he would not recant. The next

morning, the bishop accordingly proceeded to the sentence, condemning

and excommunicating him for a heretic, and after pronouncing him to be

degraded, committed him to the secular power.

April 24, St. Mark's eve, he was brought to the place of martyrdom, in

St. Margaret's churchyard, Westminster, where the fact was committed:

and there coming to the stake, he prayed to Almighty God, made a

confession of his faith, and forgave all the world.

This done, his hand was held up against the stake, and struck off, his

left hand being fastened behind him. Fire was then set to him and he

burning therein, cried with it loud voice, O thou Son of God, have mercy

upon me! O thou Son of God, receive my soul! three times; his speech

being now taken from him, he spoke no more, but notwithstanding he

lifted up the stump with his other arm as long as he could.

Thus he endured the extremity of the fire, and was cruelly tortured for

the few fagots that were brought being insufficient to burn him, they

were compelled to strike him down into the fire, where lying along upon

the ground, his lower part was consumed in the fire, whilst his upper

part was little injured, his tongue moving in his mouth for a

considerable time.