Summary of Evidence: “A breiffe of the Depositions” (undated: late 1589)

The following brief summarizes evidence provided by Humphrey Tomkins (document 9) and Henry Sharpe (document 10); by three harborers of the press, Sir Richard Knightley, John Hales, and Roger Wigston; and by the printer John Hodgkins and his assistants Valentine Symmes and Arthur Thomlin. It was compiled after November 29, 1589, the date of Tomkins’ second examination, but before the December 10 examinations of Symmes and Thomlin (document 11) and the mid-December examinations of the Knightley household members Lawrence Jackson, R. Jeffes, Peter Greye, Stephen Gyfford, and John Wright (evidence summarized in document 16). The focus here, as in the brief compiled in September (document 14), remains on John Penry. Roger Wigston mentions that Job Throkmorton had visited his house while the press was in operation, but Hodgkins, Symmes, and Thomlin had still not yet revealed Throkmorton’s involvement. They would do so, however, by the time the “Puckering brief” (document 16) was compiled in early 1590. The Dutchman who sold the Marprelate press to John Penry, unnamed here, is almost certainly the “Vound Hoël” mentioned in document 9 as having been examined.

This brief is among the Fairhurst papers, now in Lambeth Palace Library. These papers comprise correspondence and other documents originally in Archbishop William Laud's study at the time of his imprisonment (1641), including Elizabethan Privy Council correspondence and some papers of Archbishop John Whitgift. Laud had received a complaint in 1637 that the parishioners of Kilsby, Northamptonshire were mocking the church hierarchy as a result of reading what were by then half-century old copies of the Marprelate tracts (see Black, ed., Marprelate Tracts, xv-xvi). Laud perhaps had been doing some research into the Marprelate project as part of his subsequent investigation.

Source: Lambeth Palace Fairhurst Papers MS 3470, fols. 105-06. Not published previously.


A breiffe of the Depositions allredy taken, touching the printing and publishing of Martins
Libelles, and of the supposed Author thereof.

[Marginal heading:] Of the beeing of the Presse at Mistris Cranes house in Mowlsey: & of printing the first Martyn there.

Nicolas Thomkyns: servaunt to Mistris Crane deposeth, that shortely after Waldegraves owne letters were defaced, which was the 13 of May 1588: he brought a case of letters to Mistris Cranes house in London. And the same being after taken from thense by Waldegraves wyfe, a loade of stuffe at the request of Penry was layed in Mistris Cranes house at Mowlsey in the parish of Kingston wherein this Examinate beleeveth the presse and letters were.

That Penry and Waldegrave were about 3 weekes together in Mistris Cranes house in Mowlsey after Midsommer 1588, and were there also about Michaelmasse [September 29] following. At which tymes this Examinate beleeveth they were printing some bookes there.

That one Udall late Preacher at Kingstone resorted sundry tymes to the same house, when Penry and Waldegrave were there.

That Waldegrave after offered to this Examinate a sale of a number of the first booke of Martyn.

Henry Sharpe to this agreeth, who sayeth the first Martyn was printed in Kingston, as hee gathered by Penryes wordes: and that Waldegrave printed it, as Penry playnely told him.

That the Demonstration of Disciplyne [by John Udall, STC 24449], was also about the same tyme printed in Kingston, which Penry told the Examinate was of Udalles making. And Udall himselfe confessed to Thomkyns, that hee was the Author.

That the Presse was Penryes, which a Dutcheman formerly examined confesseth he sold to Penry.

[Marginal heading:] Of conveighing the Presse to Sir R. Knightleyes house, and of printing the second Martyn there.

The sayd Thomkyns deposeth, that hee thinketh the presse was carried from Mowlsey into Northamptonshyre because hee heard Penry promise Mistris Crane, fearing some trouble by receaving the loade of stuffe, wherein the presse was, that he would fynde the meanes to carie away the same to Northamptonshyre.

Henry Sharpe sayeth, that Waldegrave had conference with Sir Rich: Knightley at a muster in Northampton: and shortely after the presse was caried to Fawseley in Northamptonshyre to Sir Rich: Knightleyes house by one Jeffes of Upton, a tenant of Mr Valentyne Knightleyes, where the Epitome (which is the second book of Martyn) was printed by Waldegrave as Newman told this Examinate.

Sir Richard Knightley in his examination confesseth, that a little before Michaelmasse 1588 Penry came to him, and moved him that he might have a rowme in his house, to print suche a lyke book, as hee had before made concerning the unlearned ministerie of Wales [STC 19611]. Whereupon hee sayeth, that the book called the Epitome [the second Marprelate tract] was printed in his house by Waldegrave. But being afterwardes told by one Sharpe the Minister of Fawseley, that Penry caused a lewde book to bee printed in his house, the Examinate willed the Minister to pull downe the presse presently. Which was doon.

The sayd Sir Rich. Knightley furder confesseth, that Newman hadd his liverey and Cognizaunce in Sommer 1588.

[Marginal heading:] Of conveighing the Presse to the house of John Hales in Coventree, & printing 3 other bookes there.

Sir Rich: Knightley deposeth, that Stephen his servaunt caried the Presse and letters from his house to Coventree, to the house of Mr John Hales there.

And Henry Sharpe sayeth the same upon the report of the sayd Stephen. [fol. 105v]

The presse being settled at Mr Hales house, Henry Sharpe sayeth, that Waldegrave there printed first the Minerall Conclusions [the third Marprelate tract], which came fowrth in Februarye last. Next, the Supplication [John Penry’s Viewe, STC 19613], which came fowrth before Midlent [early March in 1589]. And after the book entituled, Hay any work for the Cooper [the fourth Marprelate tract], which came fowrth about Palmesonday [March 23, 1589].

The sayd Sharpe rendring reasons of his knoledge hereof, sayeth that in the tyme of the printinge these, this Examinate rode with Penry to Coventree, and sawe Mr Hales and Penry going towardes the Fryers [White Friars, Hales’ manor]: but Penry had forbidden this Examinate to goe thither for feare of suspicion.

Hee also sayeth, that of the first sorte of booke Waldegrave sent unto this Examinate 1000 to bee bounde for him. Of the second sort Newman brought him the lyke nomber. And of the third Newman also brought about 700. All which bookes the sayd Newman receaved agayne of this Examinate to carie to London, except some fewe leaft with this Examinate.

Mr Hales confesseth, that Sir Rich: Knightley shortely after Christmasse last, sent him a letter by one whom this Examinate knewe not, thereby requyring this Examinate to suffer the bearer to have Rowme in this Examinates house at Coventree for a tyme, until hee could otherwise provide. Which this Examinate graunted and delivered unto the sayd bearer the kay of his house at Coventree. And sayeth, that Penry being pursued came to Coventree, and at a lecture requyred this Examinate to goe with him to this Examinates house there. Which this Examinate did. And then Penry brought him to the place, where the presse stood.

Hee sayeth, that the person that brought him the letter, was the same person that printed there, whom he thinketh to bee Waldegrave. But sayeth, hee knoweth not of any more books there printed then the Supplication to the Parlement: whereof hee had one.

[Marginal heading:] Of conveighing the Presse to the house of Rog. Wigstone & printing Martyn Senior & Martyn Junior there.

In Easter week [March 23-30] 1589 Waldegrave told Henry Sharpe this Examinate, that he would no longer deale in that course. Whereupon Penry dealt with this same Examinate, and moved him to become the Printer. Which this Examinate refusing, and Penry despayring of Waldegraves retorne, hee procured Hodgekyns nowe prisoner in the Tower to supply Waldegraves place.

In this tyme the sayd Henry Sharpe sayeth, the Presse was conveighed from Mr Hales house to Mr Wigstones house at Wolleston. For within a fortenight after Midsommer this Examinate found Hodgekyns at work in the sayd Mr Wigstones house, printing of Martyn Senior, and Martyn Junior [the fifth and sixth Marprelate tracts], working there privately in a lowe parler under the name of an Embroderer. Parte of which bookes of Martyn Junior this Examinate sayeth hee helped to make up in a bedd chamber whereof Newman carried thense 700 or 800. And the others of Martyn Senior this Examinate bound up for the Carier of Warrwik to conveigh to London.

To this in substance agreeth John Hodgekyns the Printer, and Valentyne Symmes, & Arthur Tamlyn that wrought with Hodgekins at the presse. For Hodgekins sayeth, that beeing moved in London by Newman to print, and consenting thereunto, hee had instructions that there was a presse at Mr Wigstones house at Wollaston. Whether hee repayred with his two men, and there printed the sayd two bookes of Martin Junior & Martyn Senior with the presse and lettres which hee found at Mr Wigstones. And his sayd two men also confesse, they printed the same bookes at the same place, though hardly they could bee persuaded to confesse so muche, because (as they sayd in the end) Hodgekyns had taken an oath of them not to reveale the bookes which they should print for him. [fol. 106r]

Mr Wigstone beinge examined sayeth, that he was moved by his wyfe, that Hodgekyns might doo peece of work in his house, which him self sawe not, but heard afterward, that Martyn Junior & Senior were printed in a lowe parler of his house. Which bookes when they were printed hee did see, and readd the Tytles of them. And also heard one of the bookes readd, which hee mislyked as hee sayeth. Hee heard also that those bookes were conveighed thense by Newman.

[Marginal heading:] Of the Resorters to the Printers in Mr Wigstones house

The sayd Mr Wigstone and Hodgekyns the printer and his two men being examined of the resorters thether in the tyme of printing, say, that one Harrison resorted thether often, who was also called Bridges, but in trueth was Penry, as they beleeve. And that Humfrey Newman also resorted thether, called by another name Brownebread. And one George [several illegible words, due to torn paper]. And one other dwelling about Northampton likely to bee Henry Sharpe, one of the foresaid and bynder of the bookes.

Mr Wigstone sayeth, that Job Throgmorton came to the house during the printing there: and the rest say, a fatt gentleman and thick sett.

The Printer and his men say, that Mistris Wigston often resorted unto them, where they printed, but Mr Wigstone came not to the place of printing.

[Marginal heading:] Praesumptions that Penry is the Author of theis libelles.

Being examined touching the Author of the books, Hodgkyns sayeth, that the person, named Harrison, whom hee beleeveth to bee Penry, delivered unto him the written copies of Martyn Junior & Martyn Senior: and by agreement betwene them let fall in a chamber at Mr Wigstones house the written copie of the book called More Work for the Cooper in printing whereof the Examinate was taken at Manchestre. And sayeth moreover, that the sayd Harrison payed him vli [£5] for printing two of those books.

Sir Rich: Knightley sayeth, hee knoweth no Author unlesse it were Penry.

Mr Hales sayeth, that hee thinketh Penry to bee the Author of the Supplication to the Parlement, printed in his house: for that either his whole name was subscribed to the book, or two lettres for his name.

Henry Sharpe sayeth, that Penry shewed him the Minerall Conclusions in written hand before they were printed, and hee thinketh Penry to bee the Author of diverse of the other bookes. For that certeyn thinges are conteyned in them, which Penry uttered to this Examinate before the bookes were printed: and for that Penry also being told by this Examinate, that hee conjectured some of the bookes to bee made by him, Penry denyed it not, but laughed: Saving of the first Martyn, Penry sayed, some notes were found in Mr [John] Fieldes studie.

Moreover the sayd Henry Sharpe deposeth, that he never sawe nor knewe any other man to busie himself so muche about the bookes as Penry did. For hee was the dealer with men to print them, the presse was his wherein they were printed: he had the books with the first, hee could talk of them before they were printed, and of the tymes of their coming fowrth. He devyded stakes with Waldegrave the Printer, and allowing Hodgekyns after viis [7s] a realm [i.e., ream] for printing had the commoditee of the sale of the books, as this Examinate hath heard and beleeveth.

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