Summary of Evidence: “Breife instructions” (September 21, 1589)

This summary of evidence represents the earliest surviving attempt to pull together information about the Marprelate press. The document is dated ‘21. 7’, that is, September 21: the first month of the legal year was often still considered to be March. It draws primarily on the first examination of Nicholas Tomkins, a servant in the household of Elizabeth Crane (document 9), and on a preliminary examination of Henry Sharpe. Sharpe was arrested in early September: the reports of his initial examination do not survive, but the evidence he provided, summarized here, also appears in the more formal deposition he would make in mid-October (document 10). This summary also draws on evidence provided by the discovery of the Marprelate press five weeks earlier, on August 14. We learn, for example, that the manuscript of the seized work in progress, More Work for the Cooper, contained two hands: John Penry and (it was subsequently discovered) Job Throkmorton. While the printers John Hodgkins (see document 20), Valentine Symmes, and Arthur Thomlin (see document 11) had been captured and examined, they had so far proved unforthcoming, particularly about the role of Throkmorton. The preliminary narrative sketched here consequently needs to be read in light of the more detailed narratives created in light of subsequent examinations.

Source: British Library Lansdowne MS 61/22, fols. 68-69. Printed in Arber (1879), 114-17.


21. 7: [September 21] 1589
Discovery of the authors and pryntors of the sedicious intitled Martyn Marprelate
Penry Sir
Ric. Knyghtley
Mr Wigston
Hu. Newman a Cobler
— Baker of Northpt. [Northampton]
Robt Waldgrave
A spurryer in Smythfeld

Breife instructions towchinge the Printer and place of Printinge the 3 first bookes of Martin and the Minerall Conclusions, all beinge printed in a Dutch letter.

It is discovered, that one comminge aboute Hallowen-tyde, and allso abowt Candlemas last [February 2, 1589] to an acquayntance of his at Northampton, was both the sayde tymes broughte by his sayde frende to Sir Richard Knightleys to see the Printer of Martin, viz Robarte Walde-grave, of whom at both the sayde tymes he receyved some of the Libells newlye printed. He was offred by his sayde frende to see allso Martin, as he termed him; but he did not, because he coulde not staye.

One of Sir Richarde Knightleys men beinge at wyne aboute Easter last [March 30, 1589] with an acquayntance of his in London, tolde him that he had then brought up from his sayde Master to the Earle of Hertforde a letter and a litle packett of writinges or bookes, which when the Earle had seene, he willed the servante to tell his brother from him, that he liked not that course: addinge, that as they shoote at Bishopps now, so will they doe at the Nobilitie also, if they be suffred.
The sayde servante then allso tolde unto his acquayntance that the bookes were printed there; that Martin was there, and went apparelled in greene; and that the paper, or such thinges they needed, weas allwayes sent downe from a Spurrier dwellinge aboute Pie Corner neere West Smithfield, who sent thither and receyved thinges from thence.

Mr Baker of Northampton tolde Sharpe, that some of the Libells were printed at Sir Richarde Knightleys, and so there was a speeche. Penrye resorted much to Sir Rich. Knightleys.

Towchinge the printinge of the two last Libells in a litle Romaine and Italian letter.

The letter that these [i.e., Theses Martinianae (“Martin Junior”) and Just censure (“Martin Senior”), the fifth and sixth Marprelate tracts], be printed in, is the same that did printe the Demonstration of Discipline [by John Udall, STC 24499] aboute Midsommer was twelve moneth [actually October 1588], which was printed by Walde-grave neere Kingston upon Thames, as is discovered.

When his other letters and presse were defaced aboute Easter was twelve moneth [actually May 1588], he saved these letters in a boxe under his Cloke, and brought them to Mistris Cranes howse in London, as is allso confessed; and they are knowen by printers to be Walde-graves letters: And it is the same letter that was taken with Hodgkys.
These two last Libells came abroade in Julye last. Now it is confessed by the Carier, that John Hodgkys that is taken, did send from a gentlemans howse at Wolston in Warwikeshier unto Warrington immediatlye after whitsontyde last [May 18, 1589] [fol. 68v] a printinge presse, two boxes of letters, a barrell of incke, a basket and a brasse pott, which were delyvered to him at Warrington.

When the Carier overtooke Hodgkys on Dunsmoore, there were two strangers with him. It is like they were workemen printers, whom he then brought with him from London; and it seemeth they were not the same that were taken last with him, if they say true concernynge the tyme of his hiringe of them.

Hodgkys confessed to the Caryer, that the gent. at Wolston, at whose howse he receyved the presse, did often harboure him a fourte-night together, and relieved him with meat, drinck and money.

This gentleman seemeth to be Mr Wigston, because (as wee heare) there dwelleth none other gent. but he at Wolston. Allso he threatned the Bailiffe (beinge his tenante) that apprehended Sharpe there, that he woulde be revenged of him: and he is discovered to be an harbourer of Penrie and such like.

Confessed, that Penrye sayde that Hodgkys printed the sayde two Libells called Martin Junior, and Martin Senior; and that he sett Hodgkys on worke. That Hodgkys aboute Easter last told Sharpe he had a presse, but woulde not name where; that at Penryes motion he woulde take the worke in hande in steed of Walde-grave, who was gone: that Sharpe should shortlye heare more from him: that Penrye tolde Sharpe how Hodgkys was in printinge of a Martin; that he moved him to goe with him into the Northe to help Hodgkys in printinge, who refused; and that Penrye thereupon was missinge at Northampton by a space.

Towchinge the Cheife utterers [i.e., dispersers] and publishers abrode of all the Libells.

Discovered by manye, that Humphrey Newman a Cobbler in London is the principall utterer of them, and hath had 6 or 7 hundred at once of them. Sharpe confesseth that Penrye and this Newman are the Cheife utterers of them; and that Newman about Midsommer last would have had Sharpe into the Northe with him unto Hodgkys, to make up the bookes after they were printed. Newman came often to Northampton unto Penrye.

Towchinge the Authoure of these Libells.

The authoure of the written copie, that was taken by the Erle of Darbie, taketh upon him to be the same, that made the first 3 Libells, and the stile doth not varie.

That this last was contryved by Penrie beside the former presumptions (gathered of his owne speeches and dealinges in providinge a printer &c after Walde-grave his departure) the two handes used in the same doe seeme to be, the one Penryes, and the other his mans hande [actually, Job Throkmorton’s]; as by collation of such their writinges (as have bene heretofore taken) may appeare. [fol. 69r]

The stile of it and spiritt of the man (where he is out of his scoffinge vayne) doth alltogether resemble such his wrytinges, as he hath published with his name to them. In one or two places of it, where he mencioneth Penrye as a thirde person, there is a slipp unto the first person, as if the wryter did speake of himselfe at unawares.

Dr [Robert] Some hath somethinge sharply confuted Penries fansies [in STC 22908]. Now this written Libell is verye longe and moste bitter and virulent againste him & his bookes.

It is confessed that Penrie hath sayde before anye of these Libells came forthe, that a Noble man deceased did encourage him to write bitterlye against the Bishops and that (if he were discovered) he should not be imprisoned by the Commissioners but by some others for a fashion, and so shortly after delyvered.

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