Deposition of Stephen Chatfield, vicar of Kingston-Upon-Thames (undated: probably November 1588)

Stephen Chatfield (d. 1598) was the absentee vicar of Kingston-Upon-Thames; he took over the parish once John Udall was deprived of his lectureship in summer 1588. In the first Marprelate tract, the Epistle, Martin mocks the local church authorities responsible for Udall’s deprivation, including Dr John Hone (mentioned below), and charges Chatfield with fraudulently retaining funds raised to endow a grammar school in town (Black, ed., Marprelate Tracts, 31-32). This deposition is undated, and Arber suggests Autumn 1589 (Introductory Sketch, 83). But November 1588 seems more likely, since authorities were taking statements from others from Kingston at that time (documents 5, 6, 7), and in document 5 Chatfield was named as somebody willing to provide a deposition. Udall would later be examined (document 12) on the claim here that he had threatened to take revenge for his deprivation by giving “the Bishoppes suche a blowe as they never had the lyke in their lyves.”

Source: British Library Harley MS 6849, fol. 130. Printed in Arber (1879), 83. British Library Harley MS 7042, fol. 21 is a transcription made in the early 18th century by the antiquary Thomas Baker.


1. About ii years synce [i.e., 1586] being in Master Udalls studie, after private conference had betweixt him and mee, hee shewed me certen written papers, which when I had seen, I clapt them up together agayne and told him I would not proceed to reade any furder of them, demaunding of him where he had them: He aunswered they were sent him from a frend of his. I told him, if he loved his owne quietnesse, he should retourne them where he had them: foursomuche as in deed by the tytles of the bookes I perceaved they did importe suche matter as is conteyned in the scandalouse Libell

2. About a ffortenight before Michaellmasse last [September 29, 1588] Master Udall and I having conference together in a field called the little Field nere Kingeston, after certen speeches used in choller touching his putting to silence by Doctor Hone [in June 1588], he sayed that it was best for them not to stopp his mouth: For if they did, he would then sett himself to writing, and geve the Bishoppes suche a blowe as they never had the lyke in their lyves.

Stephen Chatfild.

Let Doddeson bee examined whether he did not offer one of the libelles to Roger Watson of Kingeston for vid [6d]

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