Examinations of John Udall (January 13, 1590; July 13, 1590)

These documents record two examinations of John Udall, the first on January 13, 1590 and the second on July 13 that same year. Udall was committed to prison shortly after the second examination, sentenced to death for his Presbyterian manifesto A demonstration of the trueth of that discipline which Christe hath prescribed for the governement of his church, printed on the Marprelate press in the house of Elizabeth Crane in East Molesey in 1588. He would die in prison, despite support from numerous prominent figures asking for a reprieve. While imprisoned he wrote an extended narrative of his examinations and trial that would eventually be published in 1643 as A new discovery of old pontificall practises for the maintenance of the prelates authority and hierarchy. That (lengthy) text has not been reproduced on this site because it focuses almost entirely on Udall’s defense against charges stemming from his authorship of the Demonstration and offers little about the Marprelate project per se. Udall does note, however, that he had been investigated and cleared of being Martin Marprelate in late 1588, probably around the time that the depositions in documents 5-8 were taken (New discovery, B1v). Documents of that examination do not survive.

The examinations here focus on his authorship of the Demonstration and of The state of the church of Englande, a pamphlet usually known as “Diotrophes” from the name of one of the dialogue‘s interlocutors and published by the Marprelate printer Robert Waldegrave earlier in 1588. But the interrogatories also press him on claims made in the depositions against him or that mention his involvement with the Marprelate project (documents 5-9). For references in the Marprelate tracts themselves to Udall’s account of his treatment at the hands of Dr James Cottington, archdeacon of Surrey, Dr John Hone, a local church official, Stephen Chatfield, the absentee vicar of Kingston-upon-Thames, and “the usurer” Mr Havey, see Black, ed., Marprelate Tracts (2008), 31-32. Udall admits here that he had given an account of actions taken against him to John Field (d. 1588). The examination was conducted by Sir John Puckering, at the time the queen’s serjeant-at-law and later Lord Keeper, who would compile document 16 and possibly document 17.

The interrogatories for the second examination do not survive, though with the exception of number seven Udall’s answers correspond to questions asked in the first examination (1=1, 6=19, 8=22, 9=23-24). Occasionally the scribe has added summaries of Udall’s answers in the second examination to the record of the first.

Source: British Library Harley MS 6849, fols. 154, 164. Printed in Arber (1879), 88-93.


Examination 1

Interrogatories for Mr Udall.

xiii die Januarii 1589 [i.e., 1590]

The examination of John Udall late the preacher at Kingston uppon Theames uppon certen Interrogatories, and questions objected unto him.

1. Did you not verie often resorte to one Hortons howse then dwellinge in Richmond betwene Michelmas and Hollowmasse in the yere 1588 [see document 7].

To the first he saith that he often times resorted to the howse of Thomas Horton in Richemond

2. Was there not one in that time and in that howse by your meanes or privitie kept there, to write thinges for you.

To the second he aunswereth negativelie.

3. What was his name.
4. What did he write there.
5. How longe time continued he there in writinge.
6. Did not you often resorte within that tyme to Mistress [Elizabeth] Cranes howse at Mowlsey [see document 8]

To the vith he confesseth that he resorted nowe and then to Mistress Cranes howse in Moulsey.

7. What company founde you there, at the time of your so resorting thither.
8. Amonge other did you not finde in that howse Robert Wallgrave and John Penry.
9. Whether were they not printinge of some bookes at that time.
10. What bookes were then printed there.

To the vii, viii, ix and xth he first aunswereth that if he should aunswere generallie whether anie bookes were there printed, that then peradventure he might accuse him self, wherein he desireth to be pardoned.

He added upon his now examination xiii Julii 1590 that he can neyther accuse nor excuse him selfe and so he saithe in like manner for Walgrave.

11. Was not the Demonstracion of discipline one of the bookes then printed there, and the dialogue called Diotrephes.
12. Were not you the maker of those bookes or of either of them.

Being asked whether he were not acquainted with the making of the Demonstracion of Discipline and of Diotrephes saith that he desireth to be pardoned to aunswere for anie booke towchinge [Presbyterian] Discipline.

13. Have not you confessed to Nicholas Tomkins [see document 9], John Penry or any other, that you were the Author of the said bookes, or of one of them?
14. Was there not a Cattaloge sett downe of suche bookes as you had made, and extant amonge many in Kingston, and specially in the howse of Chelsam the butcher and in your owne howse [see document 9].

Being asked whether he had not talke with John Chelsam of Kingston touchinge the said two books saith that he knowethe not what talke he hath had with him in that point. And more he answereth not.

And now [July 13, 1590] addeth he thinkes him [Chelsam] not fyt to be made acquaynted therwith yf he had delt in the said bokes.

15. Were not the Demonstracion and Diotrephes sett downe therein.
16. What other booke was there printed besides those at that time.
17. Was the first Martin printed there?
18. yf it were not printed there, where was it printed and by whom?

[Interrogatory] 10. Beinge asked bookes he knoweth to be printed at Mistress Cranes and whether those two bookes were not there printed. He denieth to aunswere.

Beinge asked what bookes were printed at Mistres Cranes howse desireth to be pardoned to aunswere that question, and other aunswere will not make.

Being asked what Wallgrave and Penrie did at Mistress Cranes howse at such times, as this examinate was with them at Mistress Cranes house. He desireth pardon not to aunswere.

19. Did not certen thinges conteyned in the first Martin proceede from your owne collection and reporte, namelie touching Dr Hone, Dr Cottington and Mr Harvey.

Beinge asked whether he made any collection of thinges that are nowe contayned in Martin Marprelat. Saith that he thincketh the matter did proceede from his report of some thinges conteyned in Martin Marprelate, but knoweth not howe it came in writinge.

He adde the now [July 13, 1590] savinge that he had the same in his studie, in wryting but how it came forthe to the printing he cannot tell

20. To whom did you imparte or deliver that your reporte and collection, and to what end.
21. Had you not certen writinges in your studie touchinge your owne actions and some others that are mentioned in that first Martin.
22. Did not you shewe Chatfeild the vicar of Kingston those writinges before the first Martin was printed or at the least did not he reade the same in your studie in your presence.

Beinge asked whether he did not shewe those his collections or parte of them to Mr Field, and Master Chatfield vicar of Kingeston, or eyther of them. Saith that he did.

23. Did not you about Michelmas in the yere 1588 or at any other tyme tell Chatfeild, that if you should be removed by the Byshopps from your place in Kingeston, they should give you occasion to employ your self in spekinge or writing, against them.

He confesseth that he said to Mr Chatfield, if the Bisshopps restrained him, and others from prechinge that then the Bishopps should give them occasion to employe them selves in writinge the more against their government.

24. Did not you then plainelie say to Chatfield, that yf the Byshopps did stopp your mouth, you wold set your self to writinge, and give them suche a blowe as they never had the like [see document 8].

He saith that if divers prechers had not bin put to silence, the matter had not come to that extremitie to which nowe it is, towchinge the question of Ecclesiasticall Discipline.

25. Who did deliver you the first Martin, and to whom did you reade or deliver the same.
26. What other bookes of Martin have you had, reade, or delivered to any other.

John Udall

This xiiith of Julie 1590 confessed as his examynacion and confessyon formerlye made before certen commissyoners in that behalf.

Before us

John Puckering
Matthew Carew


Examination 2

The examination of Mr Udall

To the first [interrogatory] sayeth that hee hath bene at Richemond three or fower tymes synce June last [evidently an error for June 1588] and hath bene at the house of one Mr Horton there, who requested his company [see document 7].

To the second, respondet negative.

To the third, negative.

To the fourth, negative.

To the vth, negative.

To the vith, he sayth that the general historie of the thinges conteyned in the booke [Martin’s Epistle] he thinketh to have proceeded from his owne reports touching Mr Hone, Mr Cottington and Mr Harvey: but the particularities of them hee hath not uttered, as the revylinge of them &c.
To the viith sayth, that hee useth ordinarily every fortnight to resort to the house of [the bookseller] Thomas Man [in Paternoster Row in London] to buy books and to pay for such as hee hath had because hee is his Stationer [see document 6].

To the viith, he sayth he had certen papers in his studie touching the actions of himself and some others, which he shewed to Mr Chatfield: and further sayth: that he delivered a reporte of his owne actions and of others to Mr [John] Field in writing, and to one Ellham a merchant at London touching the conference between himself and [Thomas Cooper] the Lord Bishop of Winton [Winchester] about the subscription.

To the ixth, he sayth that Mr Chatfield and hee having some conference together Mr Chatfield having signified to him that hee was commanded to retourne and remayne at Kingston especially for the removing of this examinate from thence, by authoritie from the Bishoppes, hee aunswered if it were so then they should give him occasion to employ himself furder in speaking or writing against them or words to that effect [see document 8].

[Signed] John Udall
Verified this his confession this xiiith of Julye 1590

Before us

John Puckering
Matthew Carew

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