JOHN UDALL (1560?-1592/3), minister and controversialist, graduated M.A. from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1584 and was presented to the living of Kingston-upon-Thames (ODNB). He quickly proved a popular preacher and successful writer, publishing five collections of sermons
between 1584 and 1588. In 1586, Udall appeared before the Court of High Commission to
answer for his efforts on behalf of Presbyterian reform. On this occasion, he was restored to the
ministry through the influence of the countess and earl of Warwick, whom he thanked in the
dedication of his The true remedie against famine and warres (1588). Despite aristocratic
protection, however, Udall was deprived of his lectureship in Kingston in June 1588 by James
Cottington (d. 1609), archdeacon of Surrey, apparently at the instigation of Cottington’s local
official, Dr John Hone. Martin discusses the local politics of the actions against Udall in the first
Marprelate tract, the Epistle (Black, ed., Marprelate Tracts, 31-32 and 228n159). Udall was
summoned to Lambeth that July and the deprivation was confirmed. During the investigation of
the tracts, Stephen Chatfield, Kingston’s absentee vicar, deposed that Udall had claimed in a
conversation with him that in revenge for this treatment he would “sett himself to writing, and
geve the Bishoppes suche a blowe as they never had the lyke in their lyves” (document 8; Udall
was examined on this point in document 12).

The Marprelate project offered Udall his opportunity to respond: a contemporary of John
Penry’s at Cambridge, Udall admitted that Penry was often at his Kingston house, and Udall had
likely known of the project from its inception. His Presbyterian manifesto A demonstration of the
trueth of that discipline
(East Molesey, 1588) was printed on the Marprelate press while it was in
hiding, with Udall present during the printing. But Udall’s involvement with the Marprelate
project ended soon after the publication of the second tract, the Epitome: near the end of 1588,
Henry Hastings, earl of Huntingdon, invited him to resume his ministry, this time in Newcastleupon-Tyne. Udall remained a suspect, however, and in December 1589 he was summoned to London to be examined by the Privy Council (document 12). He denied authorship of the Marprelate tracts, but was eventually sentenced to death for writing the Demonstration. Pressure from many influential people, including James VI, Walter Ralegh, and the earl of Essex,
eventually won Udall a pardon, but in 1593 he died in prison before he could take advantage of
the reprieve. A later publication, A new discovery of old pontificall practises for the maintenance
of the prelates authority and hierarchy
(London, 1643) prints Udall’s own account of the
examination represented by document 12: that rather lengthy account is not included on this
website because it focuses primarily on his attempts to clear himself of the charge that he had
written the Demonstration or that doing so was treasonous. New discovery also prints Udall’s
letters to the Queen and Ralegh, the letter from James VI, and the various submissions Udall was
asked to sign. For other material relating to Udall’s imprisonment and pardon, see Carlson,
Martin Marprelate, 83-85.