Chapter 16: Persecutions in England During the Reign of Queen Mary (8/48)

Thus rendered up this man of God his blessed soul into the hands of his merciful Father, and to his most dear Savior Jesus Christ, whom he most entirely loved, faithfully and earnestly preached, obediently followed in living, and constantly glorified in death.

Martyrdom of William Hunter

William Hunter had been trained to the doctrines of the Reformation from his earliest youth, being descended from religious parents, who carefully instructed him in the principles of true religion.

Hunter, then nineteen years of age, refusing to receive the communion at Mass, was threatened to be brought before the bishop; to whom this valiant young martyr was conducted by a constable.

Bonner caused William to be brought into a chamber, where he began to reason with him, promising him security and pardon if he would recant. Nay, he would have been content if he would have gone only to receive and to confession, but William would not do so for all the world.

Upon this the bishop commanded his men to put William in the stocks in his gate house, where he sat two days and nights, with a crust of brown bread and a cup of water only, which he did not touch.

At the two days’ end, the bishop came to him, and finding him steadfast in the faith, sent him to the convict prison, and commanded the keeper to lay irons upon him as many as he could bear. He continued in prison three quarters of a year, during which time he had been before the bishop five times, besides the time when he was condemned in the consistory in St. Paul’s, February 9, at which time his brother, Robert Hunter, was present.

Then the bishop, calling William, asked him if he would recant, and finding he was unchangeable, pronounced sentence upon him, that he should go from that place to Newgate for a time, and thence to Brentwood, there to be burned.

About a month afterward, William was sent down to Brentwood, where he was to be executed. On coming to the stake, he knelt down and read the Fifty-first Psalm, until he came to these words, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” Steadfast in refusing the queen’s pardon, if he would become an apostate, at length one Richard Ponde, a bailiff, came, and made the chain fast about him.

William now cast his psalter into his brother’s hand, who said, “William, think on the holy passion of Christ, and be not afraid of death.” “Behold,” answered William, “I am not afraid.” Then he lifted up his hands to heaven, and said, “Lord, Lord, Lord, receive my spirit;” and casting down he head again into the smothering smoke, he yielded up his life for the truth, sealing it with his blood to the praise of God.

Dr. Robert Farrar

This worthy and learned prelate, the bishop of St. David’s in Wales, having in the former reign, as well as since the accession of Mary, been remarkably zealous in promoting the reformed doctrines, and exploding the errors of popish idolatry, was summoned, among others, before the persecuting bishop of Winchester, and other commissioners set apart for the abominable work of devastation and massacre.

His principal accusers and persecutors, on a charge of praemunire in the reign of Edward VI were George Constantine Walter, his servant; Thomas Young, chanter of the cathedral, afterward bishop of Bangor, etc. Dr. Farrar ably replied to the copies of information laid against him, consisting of fifty-six articles. The whole process of this trial was long and tedious. Delay succeeded delay, and after that Dr. Farrar had been long unjustly detained in custody under sureties, in the reign of King Edward, because he had been promoted by the duke of Somerset, whence after his fall he found fewer friends to support him against such as wanted his bishopric by the coming in of Queen Mary, he was accused and examined not for any matter of praemunire, but for his faith and doctrine; for which he was called before the bishop of Winchester with Bishop Hooper, Mr. Rogers, Mr. Bradford, Mr. Saunders, and others, February 4, 1555; on which day he would also with them have been condemned, but his condemnation was deferred, and he sent to prison again, where he continued until February 14, and then was sent into Wales to receive sentence. He was six times brought up before Henry Morgan, bishop of St. David’s, who demanded if he would abjure; from which he zealously dissented, and appealed to Cardinal Pole; notwithstanding which, the bishop, proceeding in his rage, pronounced him a heretic excommunicate, and surrendered him to the secular power.

Dr. Farrar, being condemned and degraded, was not long after brought to the place of execution in the town of Carmathen, in the market-place of which, on the south side of the market-cross, March 30, 1555, being Saturday next before Passion Sunday, he most constantly sustained the torments of the fire.

Foxe’s Book of the Martyrs, Chapter 16

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