Brief Compiled for the Trial of John Penry (undated: ca. 1593)

The longest and most detailed of the surviving manuscript summaries of evidence, Ellesmere MS 2148 appears, from its heading, to have been compiled in preparation for the trail of John Penry in May 1593. This brief represents a sustained attempt to read the “seditious” texts Penry had produced in Scotland after fleeing England as proceeding naturally out of his association with the Marprelate publications. Penry was not executed for being Martin Marprelate, however: the tracts were not mentioned in his indictment, and no evidence respecting them was introduced at his trial. Ultimately, this evidence seems to have been considered too circumstantial to use in court, and the case was instead made against Penry for writings that were demonstrably his. That Job Throkmorton had been successfully indicted for writing the Marprelate tracts in October 1590 likely posed an additional complication for authorities who wanted to try Penry for authorship.

The manuscript is in the papers of Thomas Egerton (1540–1617), who was Attorney General at the time of Penry’s trial in 1593 and who would succeed Sir John Puckering as Lord Keeper in 1596. He was made Baron Ellesmere in 1603. The brief draws on the evidence compiled by Puckering (document 16), who had also helped prosecute Sir Richard Knightley and other harborers of the press (document 19). But Egerton was also able to draw on the subsequent examinations of Richard Holmes (examined march 1590 and a Mr Grimston (examined June 1590), residents of Northampton who had helped transport printing materials form London; Humphrey Newman (examined July 1590), the primary distributor of the tracts; Jenkin Jones (examined November 1590), John Penry’s kinsman and assistant; John Bowman and Augustine Maicocke (examined at some point in 1590), agents employed by Job Throkmorton; and Henry Kildale, Robert Waldegrave’s assistant (examined October 1591). Kildale appears here as “Kyndall,” but he is listed as Kildale in the notice of his apprenticeship to Waldegrave in the Stationers’ Company records.

Leland H. Carlson drew extensively on this manuscript in his Martin Marprelate, Gentleman (1981). But he never discusses or describes the manuscript directly, preferring instead to bury its importance in footnote references. He evidently felt that any admission that the manuscript was prepared against Penry would undermine his case for Job Throkmorton as the sole author of the Marprelate tracts. But he had no reason to worry: while this brief does at times push responsibility toward Penry in ways not entirely warranted by the still surviving examinations on which it draws, on the whole it presents a clear and fair narrative of the project. Two years later, Matthew Sutcliffe would present the same evidence in a compelling case for Job Throkmorton as being primarily responsible for Martin Marprelate’s distinctive voice, even as he acknowledged that John Penry also contributed to the tracts.

Source: Huntington Library, Ellesmere MS 2148. Not published previously. The foliation noted here reflects the old foliation in the manuscript before it was separated out from the collection with which it was at one point bound and treated as a self-contained manuscript. Transcription conventions: <text struck out> {interlinear additions}


[Heading:] Mr John Penrye proceeding upon <pretence> {cooler} of a <kind of>
{pretendend} reformation

[i.e., the scribe wrote “Mr John Penrye proceeding upon pretence of a kind of reformation”
and then revised to “Mr John Penrye proceeding upon cooler [color] of a pretendend reformation”]

[fol. 85r]
Penry to Feild March 8 1587
Penrye havinge published a supplication which was printed in Oxford about February 1587 in the parlayment time 29o of her Majesty and beinge afterwards imprisoned for the same writt to Mr Feild in this sorte. Concerninge the men with whom I have to deale (meaninge the Byshops) I protest and professe by gods assistaunce never to have peace with them etc. as longe as that league of theyrs wherein they are linked with Sathan in a chayne, that threateneth fatall overthrow unto all sinceratye, doth continew.

H. Newman examined 9 July 1590
Nicol: Tomkins examined 29 Novemb. 1589
John Penrye was no soner delivered out of prison: but he applyed himself agreably to his sayd protestation for Walgraves presse beinge taken for printinge of the Dialogue knowen by the name of Diotrephes (and defaced in the Stationers hall as the record there sheweth 13 May 1588) Penry bought another presse and caryed it to Mowlsey Mrs Cranes howse

N. Tomkins ibidem
Newman ibidem
There Penrye and Walgrave were occupied abowt printinge. And the first book that Walgrave printed there was the Demonstration of discipline. Whereunto Penrye prefixed (as it is supposed) a most seditious preface.

Newman ibidem
The next after came out from thence also abowt michaelmas 1588 a book of Penryes against Dr Some printed by Walgrave at Mowlsey.

Newman ibidem
Thirdly abowt 3 weekes after michaelmas vz abowt St Lukes tide Martins Epistle came owt beinge printed also by Walgrave at Mowlsey.

N. Tomkins ibidem
By this time Mrs Crane grew fearfull of the presses beinge there, and dealt with Penrye for the removinge of it.

H. Sharpe examined 15 October 1589
S. Ric. Knightly examined 20 October 1589
Penry hereupon went unto Northampton shire: he talked with Henry Sharpe concerninge the fetchinge of the presse into that contrye. And such orders he took which Sr Richard Knightlyes at Fawsley was the place whither it shold be brought.

H. Sharpe ibidem
Whereupon he hired one Jeffes a servant of Mr Valentine Knightlyes to goe with his carte to Mowsley for the sayd presse.

[fol. 85v]
R. Jeffes examined 11 December 1589
Sharpe ibidem
At Jeffes comminge to mowsley Penrye was ready there and was at the loadinge of the presse thence. He mett Jeffes on Hounsloe heath and gave him 30s and payd him the rest at his father in lawes howse one Godly at Northampton. Penry told Sharpe that, the cariage of the sayd presse cost him fiftye shillings.

Lawrence Jackson examined 11 and 12 Decemb: 1589
Abowt a fortnight or three weekes after Allhalowtyde, Penrye came to Fawslye with a token from Sr Richard Knightlye to his servaunt one Jackson that kept that howse, for the receyvinge of the sayd presse.

Jackson ibidem
Within an hower or two after this token thus delivered by Penrye, the carte with the presse came to Fawslye. It was unloaden. Penry required a convenient chamber to bestow it in. He saw it there layd up, and had the key of the chamber

Jackson ibidem
A day or two after the presse was thus bestowed, there came thither two or three persons (Walgrave and his man). They printed. Penry continued not with them but came usually unto them.

Sir R. Knightly examined 20 November 1589
Sharp ibidem
The booke that was here printed was Martins Epitome. It came owt abowt three weekes before Christmas. Of these bookes thus printed Penry brought himselfe a clokebagg full behinde him on horsebacke from Fawslye to Northampton. Sharpe had diverse of him and payd him for them.

Newman ibidem
Newman beinge at Northampton upon the comminge owt of this booke, mett with Penry there who willed him to carry 400 of them to London which he did upon Penryes mare. 200 of them were delivered to Walgraves wife by Penryes commandement.

Newman ibidem
Newman havinge bestowed his sayd 400 bookes returneth to Penry agayne before Christmas, and made him an account both of his bookes and monnye. Whereupon he procured him Sir Richard Knightlyes liverye, signifyinge that he had occasion to use him in that contrye, and that by his livery he might imploy him withowt suspition.

S. Rich. Knightly ibidem
Sharpe ibidem
By this time there was a rumor of a presse at Fawslye: whereupon it was taken downe and sent to Norton and from thence after Christmas to a howse of Mr Hales in Coventrye by Steven Sir Richard Knightlyes man.

[fol. 86r]
Newman ibidem
Sharpe ibidem
The presse beinge sett up in the Fryers Mr Hales howse in Coventrye the Mineralls was first printed by Walgrave and came owt abowt a fortnight before Shrostide. These vz about 1000 of them Sharpe receyved of Penrye and sent them to his howse in Northampton. As these were in printinge Penry sent for Newman at London. At his comminge downe he receaved of Sharpe by Penryes direction 700 and caryed 500 of them to London by Penryes commandement. He payd for them pence a piece.

Newman ibidem
Sharpe ibidem

As sone as the Mineralls was printed Penryes second supplication to the parlayment was taken in hand and dispatched before Shrostide 1588 [=1589]. Both his preface and the supplication it self are most seditious.

Newman ibidem
Sharpe ibidem
Newman returninge from dispersinge the Mineralls fownde this supplication finished. He had a 1000 of them from Penrye which Sharpe bound up at Northampton. Newman caryed 500 of them to London: and returninge made his accounte for all to Penrye.

Sharpe ibidem
Whilest the supplication was in printinge Sharpe rydde with Penrye to Coventry. But Penry wold not lett him goe with him to see Walgrave printe, for makinge the place to be suspected. They dyned together at one Pigotts in Coventrye, and after dinner Mr Hales and Penrye goinge to the Fryers and seinge Sharpe followinge them, beckned that he shold goe backe.

Newman ibidem
Sharp ibidem
The sayd supplication was not of [i.e., off] the presse: when Hay any worke for cooper was ready for it. It was finished there by Walgrave a week and more before Easter. There was printed of that sorte 1500. When they were almost finished, Penry sent to London for Newman to disperse them. He came, and had of him abowt 700 which Sharpe bownd up. The price of these from Penrye was vi d [6 pence] a piece.
Whilest Hay any worke for cooper was in printinge Penry begonne his sojourninge with Mr Job Throgmorton vz. the 2 of March 1588 [i.e., 1589] where he continued especially till the 2 of October followinge. So as in that which followeth when speach is made of goinge to Penrye yow must understand at Mr Job Throgmortons.

Newman ibidem
Penry and Walgrave fell at some litle jarre they parted in the latter ende of Easter week Walgrave having then [fol. 86v] in his hands: Some in his colers and Penryes appellation to have printed immediatly after Hay any worke for cooper: wold not redeliver them: But promised Penrye to print them in the west contrye and to bringe them agayne unto him by Whitsontide.

Sharpe ibidem
In May followinge Penrye mett with Sharpe: and told him that Walgrave was printinge his Apellation: and that afterward he shold printe: More work for Cooper

Sharpe ibidem, Newman ibidem
Abowt Whitsontide Penry hearinge that Walgrave was gone to Rochell, moved Sharpe to supplye his place in printinge, which he refused. Whereupon Penry sent to Newman at London to provide him an other printer. Accordingly he dealt with Hoskins: and sente him to Penrye. These two havinge agreed together Hoskins returned to London to furnish himselfe. To the which purpose Newman lent him fower pounds by Penryes direction.

Symmes and Thomlin examined 10 October 1589
Hoskins confessed to the HC
Hoskins hereupon hyred two men: Valentyne Symmes and Arrthur Thomlin: and sent a presse into Lancashire and so went downe all three to Penrye. This was St. James tyde vz the 23 or 24 of July 1589 [actually, mid July].

Hoskins examined 27 Novemb. 1589
Hoskins confessed before the HC and his examination
When they came to Penrye: he told Hoskins, that before he went into Lancashire he must printe a litle booke that wold be sone done, signifyinge that there was a presse though a bad one at Mrs Wigstones. This presse when Mr Hales grew weary of it was conveyed to Wolston. Hoskins asked Penrye where the booke was: and he sayd it wold come to Hoskins hands. And as they walked, Hoskins found two or three sheets of paper rolled up together which he took up and put in his bagge. It was Martin Junior.

Hoskins ibidem, Symmes and Tomlin
Penrye hereupon writt to Mrs Wigston at Wolston: and sent Hoskins and his men thither. They going thither on the twesday: the thursday after Penrye came unto them. There were printed of this sorte 1500. Newman had 700 to London. The price was 3d a piece.

Simmes and Tomlin, Hoskins ibidem, Newman ibidem
Theses Martinianae or Martin Junior beinge finished within 5 or 6 dayes Penrye delivered an other book to Hoskins, there to be also printed: which was Martin senior. It was there printed. [fol. 87r]

Sharpe ibidem, Hoskins
In the printinge of these two last bookes Penrye was the corrector as Sharpe thinketh. He came often thither.

Sharpe ibidem
Sharpe comminge to Mr Wigstons and findinge them printing these two bookes with the same letter that the latter supplication was printed withall, talked with Penrye and told him, that it wold descry him to be Martin. But he made a carelesse aunswere and so passed it over.

Symmes examined 10 Oct 1589
When Hoskins hyred Simmes and Tomlins he made them to sweare that they sholde not disclose any thinge that he shold committ unto them to be printed. He told them that when they came into the contrye, a gentleman shold give his worde for the payment of such wages, as he had agreed with them for. So as when they went printinge at Wolston, Penry comminge thither Hoskins told Simmes that was the Gentleman he had told him of. Whereupon Symmes together with Hoskins movinge Penry as concerninge that promise, he did ratifye the same: so as (sayde he) yee (meaning Symmes and his fellow) will be faithfull to Hoskins. At what time Symmes renued his oath for his secrecye.

Symmes ibidem
When Martin Senior was in printinge Symmes perusinge the copye found fault with some thinge writ towards the ende as beinge written withowt sense. Whereupon Hoskins caryinge the copye to Penrye, he stroke owt certayne lines, and interlined that which shold be supplyed.

Sharpe ibidem
Penrye told Sharpe that Hoskins had printed both Martin Senior and Martin Junior: and Hoskins confesseth that he had 51i [£5] for printinge them of Penrye.

Hoskins examined 28 Novemb. 1589
Whilest these sayd two bookes or the last was in printinge Hoskins was informed of an other that was in redynes called More work for Cooper. And it was agreed upon betwixt him Penry and Newman that the sayd book shold come to Hoskins hands before he departed from Mr Wigstons. But in such manner as he shold not come by it by the delivery of any man. And afterwards accordingly it was dropt downe by Penry in a voyd chamber at Mr Wigstons, where some of the former bookes were bound up. A third parte of [the] book is of Penries hand writing. [This last sentence has been added, possibly in a different (but contemporary) hand.] [fol. 87v]

Sharpe ibidem
When Martin Junior and Martin Senior were printed, Penrye was earnest with Hoskins to have had him stayed there and printed More work for Cooper: but he wold not partly because that presse was nought; and partly for that he had promised his wife to have been in Lancashire three weekes before that time.

Symmes and Tomlin ibidem
Upon the former resolution Hoskins and his men prepared toward Lancashire in the latter ende of July 1589. They packed up three payre of cases with letters of three sorts: likewise all the inke [that] was lefte and twelve reams of paper: and so departed from Wolston.

Newman ibidem
A litle after they were gone Newman came to Penrye from London to lett him know the dispersing of Martin Senior. At what time Penrye moved him to have gone into Lancashire to Hoskins with a litle Copye of a new worke: and told him it wold be done in 4 or 5 dayes and that he shold bringe it with him backe agayne. But Newman refused that jorney.

Symmes and Tomlin
From the time that Hoskins and his men departed from Wolston they were in preparing the place and things fitt untill the 14 of August. Upon which day after they had been in printinge of More work for Cooper abowt 3 howres, they were all apprehended by the Earle of Darbyes direction.

Symmes and Tomlin ibidem
As Hoskins and his men were in bringinge up towards London owt of Lancashire he dealt with them, that according to theyr othe they shold be secrett, even till death, rather then to detect where Martin Junior and Martin Senior were printed: nor once make mention of Mr Wigston.

Sharpe 15 October 1589
Upon Hoskins apprehension in Lancashire Sharpe asked Penrye beinge then at Wolston, what booke he was then in printinge. Who aunswered that he thought they were printinge: More work for Cooper. Sharpe asked him likewise what letter they had: and his aunswere was, that they had his owne letters that Martin Junior and Martin Senior were printed with. Whereunto Sharpe replyinge that then both he and Wolston wold be more notoriously descryed: Penrye sayd that the printers wold salve that in sayinge (if need were) that they printed the other in that place. So as it seemeth he had taught Hoskins his lesson before hand if the worst fell owt: and Hoskins as yow have heard put the same in practise.

Newman ibidem
Hoskins and his men beinge examined after theyr comminge up to London: devised many shifts: but wold confesse in effect no more then was apparaunt. Whereof Penry was fully in all points advised (which made him somewhat secure as I suppose insomuch as he fell to worke agayne[)]. He writt to Newman to convey forthwith unto him to Wolston two pounds of thinne Ink, which he performed. And with this Inke Newman doth thinke that Martins protestation was printed.

Grimston examined 3 June 1590, R. Holmes 12 March 1589
The letter that Penry writt to Newman did conteyne more matter then that of Ink. It was sent to Newman by one Grimston of Northampton: when Penry sent up for the providinge with Newmans helpe (besides the Inke) of an Iron frame to printe in, of paper and of letters. The frame was provided: also the paper vz eight Reames. And Richard Holmes of Northampton caryed them both to Mrs Mores howse at Wolston. (This Mrs More is an entyer woman with Mistress Wigston). The Ink and letters Grimston sayth that Newman promised to bringe downe behinde him on horsbacke.

Newman ibidem
Now abowt this time Walgrave returned to Penrye at Fawsley. Insomuch as Newman comminge thither to Penrye beinge sent for by him abowt 3 dayes before Michaelmas 1589 found Walgrave there: and fower other new printed bookes vz Penryes appellation Some in his coolers; a Dialogue and Martins protestation.

Newman ibidem, Holmes ibidem
Newman thinketh that of these 4 sayd bookes; the three first Walgrave brought with him thither ready printed: but that he had printed the protestation in the presse that was at Mr Wigstons after his returne. But Holmes thinketh that with the provision which he caryed to Wolston, there were some of the rest printed also. It was abowt six weekes before Michaelmas that Holmes caryed the frame and paper to Wolston.

Newman ibidem, Holmes ibidem
Newman beinge at Hasely at Michaelmas as is before mentioned worde was brought thither by one Gardiner of Northampton that Godlyes howse was searched for Penrye by certayne pursevaunts. Whereupon the sayd bookes at Haselye were packed up: vz 500 of the protestations: 500 of the Apellations, and of Some in his coolers 600 and sent by the sayd Gardiner upon Penryes mare to widdow Adams howse in Banburye.

Penryes diarye
It appeareth that somewhat before Michaelmas Penry findinge matters to be daily detected more and more: he was purposed to go into Scotland. Whereupon findinge now that there were pursivaunts abroad for him he presently tooke his jorney from Haselye towards that contrye vz the third day after the sayd Michaelmas beinge the seconde of October, and havinge harbored at Haselye with Mr Job Throgmorton from the beginninge of March 1588 untill this 2 of October 1589.

Penryes diary
Penrye comminge into Scotland abowt the 15 of November: fell in hande (as I gesse) with an other libell: which he intituled Martin Marprelates Interim. Or if he made it not in Scotland he then caryed it with him from Haselye. And peradventure it was the litle copye before mentioned that Penry wold have had Newman to have caryed into Lancashire to Hoskins. This (as I am enformed) Penrye cawsed to be printed in Scotland. It is a most scurrilous pamphlett. He affirmeth in it that Sir Richard Knightly Mr Wigston Mr Hayles Mrs Wigstone and Mrs Crane (being then in prison) had offended no lawes.

Jenkin Jones Penryes man examined the 6 of November 1590
Penrye beinge now in Scotland and havinge Walgrave with him they printed abowt Christmas 1589 a book intituled Reformation no enemie to the state. To the which booke Penrye sett his name and prefixed unto it a very seditious and slaunderous preface all together sutable to the worke itselfe. There was 800 of this sort printed. Being finished Penrye disperseth them. He sent his servaunt Jenkin Jones with 300 of them to London who havinge made his markett of them caryed with him to Penrye backe agayne Vli [£5] besides his charges

H. Kyndall walgraves man examined 30 Octob. 1591
Not longe after this book was thus finished and dispersed Penrye and Walgrave took in hande the printinge of an other book intituled: An humble motion. Of these a 1000 were printed. In this book besides the raylinge are many desperate and daungerous pointes. It is not thought to be of Penryes makinge: but sent thither to be printed. It was printed abowt a fortnight before Whitsontide 1590.

Kyndall ibidem
After this book was dispatched: he then writt an other and cawsed Walgrave to print it. The title is: A briefe discovery etc. It conteyneth in it many slaunderous speaches of the church of England. 700 of this sorte [fol. 89r] was printed. Of the which number Penrye sent his sayd servaunt to London with 300.

Edm. Copingener to Penry 26 March 1591
Arthington confess:
Conspiracy for discip. pa. 20
When upon Cartwrights committment to prison Edmond Copinger beganne to pretende his extraordinary callinge he writt thereof (as he did to others there also) unto Penry in Scotland. A litle after that time (as I suppose) Penrye writt to Arthington the sayd Copingers fellow: that reformation shold be shortly erected in England.

Jenkin Jones examination
Whilest Edmond Copingener with his fellowes were allmost in the heate of theyr intended mischiefs: Penrye conveyeth himself privilye to London: hopinge of likelyhood to have seen the beginning of the reformation which he writt of to Arthington. But perceaving upon theyr apprehensions how all theyr purposes were prevented: the same afernone that Hackett was expected vz the 26 of Julye he ridde presently back agayne towards Scotland: and makinge some litle stay with his associates by the way he came thither about the 18 of August.

Penry to J. Edwardes at the signe of the sunne in Watling Street
Hereof he writeth to John Edwardes in London after this sorte: I came home in safetye I thank god abowt the 18 of the 8 moneth August. My wife was delivered of a daughter the 26 of the same moneth. I had cause to name her Safetye: and so I did.

These 2 bookes are to be shewed of his owne handwritinge
Not longe after the publishinge of the bookes mentioned Penrye grew to dislike the church of Scotland as before he had done of the state of England, and in shorte time became a great Barrowist. Which new fantasticall schisme increasinge his furye, he hath written two other bookes much worse and more seditious then any of the former. The first is thus intituled: Towchinge that forme of the owtward worship of god whereunto the church is bound to yeald obedience under the new testament. The other is: A treatise or discourse unto her Majesty from Penrye himselfe, and in the name of his new brotherhood. The particular pointes in them are noted by themselves.

Penry positions
Penry havinge so disturbed the church of Scotland, as that he durst not stay there any longer, returned this last yeare into England. And in his journye hitherward, as also since his comminge to London, he hath dispersed certayne positions of his owne: wherein he affirmeth that the preachers of the parisshe assemblyes in England are no ministers: that therfore the people are bownd to reject them: and that those ministers that will be silenced by man are Apostates. [fol. 89v]
There is also an other treatise supposed to be Penryes: it was taken in his chest: it is quoted with his hand: he dispersed it. The effect of it is: that there is no trewe church in England: But such secret assemblyes as are squared after Barrow and his devise. Many seditious points are contyned in it.

Lastly there as taken in one of his chestes which came lately out of Scotland a book newly printed in English of succession etc.

[Endorsed, fol. 90v]
Penrys proceedinges in penninge, printing, & publishing of diverse bookes. Out of diverse depositions

PDF Version of Document