Depositions of Nicholas Kydwell, William Staughton, and Cutbert Cook (14 Nov. 1588)

Documents 5 through 8, the earliest depositions taken in the search for Martin Marprelate, all focus on the possible involvement of the Presbyterian minister and polemicist John Udall, who had been deprived of his lectureship in Kingston-upon-Thomas in July 1588. Nicholas Kydwell and William Staughton (or Stanghton) of Kingston-upon-Thames here depose that they had heard that the first Marprelate tract was being sold out of the houses of two local men (including a town bailiff), and that Udall had been keeping somebody writing a book on his behalf in the house of one Thomas Horton, in nearby Richmond. The apparent suggestion is that the book and/or writer was Martin Marprelate. Cutbert Cook, also of Kingston, confirmed the stories about Udall and the secreted writer in Richmond. Evidently the source of at least some of these rumors was Stephen Chatfield, the absentee vicar of Kingston; his deposition is document 8. Kydwell’s claim that copies of the tract were being sold for 2d is likely an error: other evidence indicates that the price was at least 6d, a normal price of a quarto pamphlet in the period.

Source: British Library Harley MS 6849, fol. 158. Printed in Arber (1879), 81-82. British Library Harley MS 7042, fol. 22 is a transcription made in the early 18th century by the antiquary Thomas Baker.


14o Novemb. 1588. Anno Regine Elizabethe &c xxxmo

The depositions of Nicolas Kydwell of Kingston upon Thames &c, upon his oath sayeth

That this day being the xiiiith of November at the Schoolehouse in Kingeston Mr Chatfield called this Deponent to him, and told him that the bookes or libelles called by the name of Martin Marprelate [i.e., the Epistle] were to bee sold at the house of one Markes Collyns one of the Baylies of the Towne of Kingeston, and at the house of one Robert Doddeson: and that the sayd Mr Chatfield did offer to bee deposed of this. And that the common speeche is, that Mr Udall did kepe one in writing for the space of three weekes in Richemond: but where they cannot tell, but say Mr Waters vicar of Richemond can tell where it was. To the same effect doeth one William Staughton of Kingeston depose. And one Cutbert Cook of Kingeston doeth likewise affirme for the later parte of Master Udalls keeping one to write in Richemond.

Mr Kydwell furder deposeth, that the sayd bookes are sold in the sayd housen for iid a peece.

N Kydwell
William X Staughtons marke.

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