Many of the documents presented here were published in Edward Arber’s Introductory Sketch to
the Martin Marprelate Controversy (1879). But Arber’s is not a reader-friendly edition: it lacks
useful apparatus, occasionally omits to indicate its manuscript sources, and prints some
documents from 18th-century transcriptions rather than from their 16th-century originals. All of
his texts are inaccurate, to some degree. More importantly, Arber does not include a number of
subsequently discovered manuscripts, including two comprehensive contemporary summaries of
evidence (documents 15 and 17; documents 2 and 13 are also published here for the first time).
Arber also omits one of the surviving trial records, which are full of fascinating details about the
Marprelate campaign. These were printed (inaccurately) in State Trials, vol. 1 (1809), but
because they do not appear in Arber are often ignored in discussions of the Marprelate
controversy. They are edited here from the original manuscript (document 19). Two documents
(11, 20) were first printed in William Pierce, An Historical Introduction to the Marprelate Tracts
(1908); they too have been re-edited here from the original manuscripts.
This edition preserves original spelling and (when present) punctuation, regularizing
some features of early modern scribal practice for legibility. The transcriptions regularize u/v, i/j,
long ‘s’, and fossil thorn (the ‘y’ in ‘ye’). Scribal abbreviations are expanded silently: most
common are the ornamented ‘p’ (for per, par, pro, etc.), the terminal ‘us’ and ‘es’ graphs, and the
tilde for omitted letters. Superscript letters are lowered, unless attached to numbers. Contractions
are expanded unless familiar or self-evident (e.g., ‘Mr” or “Dr”). Truncated words are not
expanded unless the suspension is signaled by a regularly employed abbreviation. Occasional
underlinings, line-fillers, and slashes marking section breaks are omitted. In documents lacking
most punctuation, full stops are silently added for clarity; in document 2, slashes (the
predominant form of punctuation used) are replaced by periods or other forms of punctuation as
appropriate. Occasionally, paragraphs are added in documents that lack them for ease of reading.