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ENGLAND - female Christian martyrs

There follows a list of English female martyrs

those names which are underlined (thus) are linked to pages further describing their life and martyrdom



An Account of the Persecutions in Great Britain.

Prior to the Reign of Queen Mary I


Saxon invaders murdered many.

later Danish invaders murdered many


In Ireland also the Danes murdered and burned the priests alive in their own churches; they carried destruction along with them wherever they went, sparing neither age nor sex.


The followers of Wickliffe, then called Lollards, were become extremely numerous, and the clergy were so vexed to see them increase; whatever power or influence they might have to molest them in an underhand manner, they had no authority by law to put them to death. However, the clergy embraced the favorable opportunity, and prevailed upon the king to suffer a bill to be brought into parliament, by which all Lollards who remained obstinate, should be delivered over to the secular power, and burnt as heretics. This act was the first in Britain for the burning of people for their religious sentiments; it passed in the year 1401, and was soon after put into execution.



(There are many male martyrs mentioned as killed or burnt - remember the sufferings of their bereaved families)


1) In 1506, one William Tilfrey, a pious man, was burnt alive at Amersham, in a close called Stoneyprat, and at the same time, his daughter, Joan Clarke, a married women, was obliged to light the fagots that were to burn her father.


2) A pious woman was burnt at Chippen Sudburne, by order of the chancellor, Dr. Whittenham. After she had been consumed in the flames, and the people were returning home, a bull broke loose from a butcher and singling out the chancellor from all the rest of the company, he gored him through the body, and on his horns carried his entrails. This was seen by all the people, and it is remarkable that the animal did not meddle with any other person whatever.


3) Robert Silks, who had been condemned in the bishop's court as a heretic, made his escape out of prison, but was taken two years afterward, and brought back to Coventry, where he was burnt alive. The sheriffs always seized the goods of the martyrs for their own use, so that their wives and children were left to starve.


4) In 1532, Thomas Harding, who with his wife, had been accused of heresy, was brought before the bishop of Lincoln, and condemned for denying the real presence in the Sacrament. He was then chained to a stake, erected for the purpose, at Chesham in the Pell, near Botely; and when they had set fire to the fagots, one of the spectators dashed out his brains with a billet. The priests told the people that whoever brought fagots to burn heretics would have an indulgence to commit sins for forty days.





Persecutions in England During the Reign of Queen Mary



1) LADY JANE GREY(1537–54), great-niece of Henry VIII, queen of England 9–19 July 1553. In 1553, to ensure a Protestant succession, John Dudley, the Duke of Northumberland, forced Jane to marry his son and persuaded the dying Edward VI to name Jane as his successor. She was quickly deposed by forces loyal to Edward's (Catholic) sister Mary, who had popular support, and executed the following year.

2) ANNE ASKEWAnne Askew, an Englishwoman who became actively involved in propagating Protestant beliefs—even being rejected by her husband as a result of her zeal. As in medieval inquisitions, the questions asked to Anne are aimed at clarifying where the error arises; here, she rejects the doctrine of transubstantiation and challenges the authority of “improper” priests. Her answers are logical and coherent as she unwittingly condemns herself. Anne was tortured in the Tower of London and burned at the stake in 1546 at the age of twenty-five.

 Margaret Bulmer - also called  Margaret Cheyne, wife of Sir John Bulmer, 


3) AGNES SNOTH Annes Snoth or Annis Snod (widow) ...... of Smarden, Kent .......

4) ANNE WRIGHT (or Albright) alias Champnes

5) JOAN SOLE (or Jone Soale) (wife) .......... Horton, Kent

6) JOAN CATMER ....... of Hythe, Kent, 'wife (as it should seem) of George Catmer', burnt in 1555


As Robert Samuel, the godly martyr, was going to the fire, there came a certain maid to him, which took him about the neck, and kissed him, who, being marked by them that were present, was sought for the next day after, to be had to prison and burned, as the very party herself informed me: howbeit, as God of His goodness would have it, she escaped their fiery hands, keeping herself secret in the town a good while after.

8) ANNE POTTEN (wife of brewer Robert Potten) ....... Ipswich, Suffolk......... burnt 19 February 1556, Ipswich, Cornhill

9) JOAN TRUNCHFIELD (wife of Michael Trunchfield a shoemaker) ...... Ipswich, Suffolk....... burnt 19 February 1556, Ipswich, Cornhill/


(and the vision of 3 ladders of martyr Robert Samuel)

This poor, honest woman, blind from her birth, and unmarried, aged twenty-two, was of the parish of Allhallows, Derby. Her father was a barber, and also made ropes for a living: in which she assisted him, and also learned to knit several articles of apparel. Refusing to communicate with those who maintained doctrines contrary to those she had learned in the days of the pious Edward, she was called before Dr. Draicot, the chancellor of Bishop Blaine, and Peter Finch, official of Derby.

With sophisitcal arguments and threats they endeavored to confound the poor girl; but she proffered to yield to the bishop's doctrine, if he would answer for her at the Day of Judgment, (as pious Dr. Taylor had done in his sermons) that his belief of the real presence of the Sacrament was true. The bishop at first answered that he would; but Dr. Draicot reminding him that he might not in any way answer for a heretic, he withdrew his confirmation of his own tenets; and she replied that if their consciences would not permit them to answer at God's bar for that truth they wished her to subscribe to, she would answer no more questions. Sentence was then adjudged, and Dr. Draicot appointed to preach her condemned sermon, which took place August 1, 1556, the day of her martyrdom. His fulminating discourse being finished, the poor, sightless object was taken to a place called Windmill Pit, near the town, where she for a time held her brother by the hand, and then prepared herself for the fire, calling upon the pitying multitude to pray with her, and upon Christ to have mercy upon her, until the glorious light of the everlasting Sun of righteousness beamed upon her departed spirit.




In November, fifteen martyrs were imprisoned in Canterbury castle, of whom all were either burnt or famished. Among the latter were J. Clark, D. Chittenden, W. Foster of Stonc, Alice Potkins, and J. Archer, of Cranbrooke, weaver. The two first of these had not received condemnation, but the others were sentenced to the fire. Foster, at his examination, observed upon the utility of carrying lighted candles about on Candlemas-day, that he might as well carry a pitchfork; and that a gibbet would have as good an effect as the cross.


13) JOAN WINSELEY (of Horsley Magnam, spinster)

14) MARG. FIELD, (of Ramsey, spinster)


16) C. PEPPER (widow)

17) ALICE WALLEY (who recanted)

18) C. WARREN (of Cocksall, spinster)

19) AGNES WHITLOCK (of Dover-court, spinster)

20) ROSE ALLEN (spinster)


Persecutions in the Diocese of Canterbury

In the month of February, These persons were brought before Bonner, who would have immediately sent them to execution, but Cardinal Pole was for more merciful measures, and Bonner, in a letter of his to the cardinal, seems to be sensible that he had displeased him, for he has this expression: "I thought to have them all hither to Fulham, and to have given sentence against them; nevertheless, perceiving by my last doing that your grace was offended, I thought it my duty, before I proceeded further, to inform your grace." This circumstance verifies the account that the cardinal was a humane man; and though a zealous Catholic, we, as Protestants, are willing to render him that honor which his merciful character deserves. Some of the bitter persecutors denounced him to the pope as a favorer of heretics, and he was summoned to Rome, but Queen Mary, by particular entreaty, procured his stay. However, before his latter end, and a little before his last journey from Rome to England, he was strongly suspected of favoring the doctrine of Luther.



21) BARBARY FINAL (widow)

22) Bardbridge's widow,

23) Wilson's wife,

24) ALICE BENDEN (wife of Edward Benden)

The whole of these seven martyrs undressed themselves with alacrity, and, being prepared, knelt down, and prayed with an earnestness and Christian spirit that even the enemies of the cross were affected. After invocation made together, they were secured to the stake, and, being encompassed with the unsparing flames, they yielded their souls into the hands of the living Lord.



audibly proclaimed that she revoked her former recantation, and cautioned the people to avoid her unworthy example. At the stake, the poor sufferer, feeling the fire, uttered the cry of "Oh!" upon which Mr. Miller, putting his hand behind him towards her, desired her to be of a good courage, "for (said he) good sister, we shall have a joyful and a sweet supper." Encouraged by this example and exhortation, she stood the fiery ordeal without flinching, and, with him, proved the power of faith over the flesh.


Executions at Colchester


27) ROSE ALLIN (Alice Munt's daughter)


It was before mentioned that twenty-two persons had been sent up from Colchester, who upon a slight submission, were afterward released. Of these, William Munt, of Much Bentley, husbandman, with Alice, his wife, and Rose Allin, her daughter, upon their return home, abstained from church, which induced the bigoted priest secretly to write to Bonner. For a short time they absconded, but returning again, March 7, one Edmund Tyrrel, (a relation of the Tyrrel who murdered King Edward V and his brother) with the officers, entered the house while Munt and his wife were in bed, and informed them that they must go to Colchester Castle. Mrs. Munt at that time being very ill, requested her daughter to get her some drink; leave being permitted, Rose took a candle and a mug; and in returning through the house was met by Tyrrel, who cautioned her to advise her parents to become good Catholics. Rose briefly informed him that they had the Holy Ghost for their adviser; and that she was ready to lay down her own life for the same cause. Turning to his company, he remarked that she was willing to burn; and one of them told him to prove her, and see what she would do by and by. The unfeeling wretch immediately executed this project; and, seizing the young woman by the wrist, he held the lighted candle under her hand, burning it crosswise on the back, until the tendons divided from the flesh, during which he loaded her with many opprobrious epithets. She endured his rage unmoved, and then, when he had ceased the torture, she asked him to begin at her feet or head, for he need not fear that his employer would one day repay him. After this she took the drink to her mother.




Mrs. Joyce Lewes. This lady was the wife of Mr. T. Lewes, of Manchester.

When she had prayed, she took the cup, (which had been filled with water to refresh her,) and said, "I drink to all them that unfeignedly love the Gospel of Christ, and wish for the abolition of popery." Her friends, and a great many women of the place, drank with her, for which most of them afterward were enjoined penance.


When chained to the stake, her countenance was cheerful, and the roses of her cheeks were not abated. Her hands were extended towards heaven until the fire rendered them powerless, when her soul was received into the arms of the Creator.


29) MRS CICELY ORMES:  (wife of Edmund Ormes, worsted-weaver) ....... St Edmund's Parish, Norwich, Norfolk ....... burnt 23 September 1557,

Norwich, Norfolk

This young martyr, aged twenty-two, was the wife of Mr. Edmund Ormes, worsted weaver of St. Lawrence, After declaring her faith to the people, she laid her hand on the stake, and said, "Welcome, thou cross of Christ."


A woman who stood firmly and bravely against idols, and was burnt alive for it. All those who use idols should follow the link and study her life and death, Her example is one of stunning bravery and purity.

Being delivered to the sheriff, she was led by the officer to the place of execution, without the walls of Exeter, called Sothenhey, where again the superstitious priests assaulted her. While they were tying her to the stake, she continued earnestly to exclaim "God be merciful to me, a sinner!" Patiently enduring the devouring conflagration, she was consumed to ashes, and thus ended a life which in unshaken fidelity to the cause of Christ, was not surpassed by that of any preceding martyr.



32) CATHERINE FINLAY   [alias Catherine Knight] (an Aged Woman)


[not sure if there is a connection between 3) AGNES SNOTH & 4) ANNE WRIGHT - the names are remarkably similar]


J. Corneford, of Wortham; C. Browne, of Maidstone; J. Herst,of Ashford; Alice Snoth, and Catharine Knight,


With pleasure we have to record that these five martyrs were the last who suffered in the reign of Mary for the sake of the Protestant cause; but the malice of the papists was conspicuous in hastening their martyrdom, which might have been delayed until the event of the queen's illness was decided.

These five martyrs, when at the stake, earnestly prayed that their blood might be the last shed, nor did they pray in vain. They died gloriously, and perfected the number God had selected to bear witness of the truth in this dreadful reign, whose names are recorded in the Book of Life; though last, not least among the saints made meet for immortality through the redeeming blood of the Lamb!


Queen Mary's Treatment of Her Sister, the Princess Elizabeth




The mistreatment by Bloody Mary of Princess Elizabeth (later Elizabeth R, Queen Elizabeth 1st) is not recorded here. I believe that Elizabeth 1st in her reign was very violent, falling little short of that of Queen Mary before her. In this sense I do not consider Elizabeth a martyr, as I do not consider her, or Mary, Christians, as those who kill torture and torment others in either fashion, whether called Catholic or Protestant, are not really Christian. Though it can be argued that the persecutions and torments Elizabeth endured were at a younger stage in her life, when she did not herself practice such cruelty, and perhaps then was little capable of it, until tormented herself. A link is provided to read the article about Elizabeth.

33) The wife of Valentine Freese....... burnt 1540........York, Yorkshire


34) Joan Bocher:  ......... Kent – perhaps Romney Marsh .......... (executed 2 May 1550, Smithfield, London)


35) Margaret Polley (or Margery) widow: .......... Pepeling, Calais .......... (burnt 17 July 1555, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent) The Canterbury Martyrs of July 1555


36) Elizabeth Warne (or Warren) widow of John Warne, upholsterer: .......(from Walbrook), London........ (burnt 23 August 1555, Stratford-atte-Bow, London) The Canterbury Martyrs of August 1555


37) Isobella Forster (or Annis Foster): .......... St Bride's parish, Fleet Street, London – Born in Greystoke, Cumberland, wife of John Foster, cutler....... (burnt 27 January 1556, Smithfield, London)


38) Joan Lushford (or Jone Lashforde) (or Warne):  ......... Little Allhallows parish, Thames Street, London ....... maid .......

burnt 27 January 1556, Smithfield, London


39) Joan Beach (widow):  ....... of Tunbridge Wells, Kent ........ burnt 1 April 1556, Rochester, Kent


40) Katherine Hut: (widow) ........... of Bocking, Essex ....... burnt 16 May 1556, Smithfield, London

41) Elizabeth Thackvel: (maid) ....... Great Burstead, Essex ....... burnt 16 May 1556, Smithfield, London.

42) Joan (or Jone) Horns (maid): ....... Billericay, Essex ....... burnt 16 May 1556, Smithfield, London.

42) Joan Deny or Jone (or Denny) (possibly a male, John): ....... Beccles, Suffolk ....... burnt 21 May 1556, Beccles, Suffolk.

43) Elizabeth Pepper (wife of Thomas Pepper, weaver): ....... St James's parish, Colchester ........ burnt about 27 June 1556, Stratford-Atte-Bow.

44) Agnes George (wife of Richard George, husbandman): ....... West Barefold, Essex ....... burnt about 27 June 1556, Stratford-Atte-Bow.


45) Anne Tree (or Try): ....... of East Grinstead, Sussex ....... burnt 18 July 1556, Grinstead, Sussex.

46) Rose Pencell: ....... burnt 17 October 1555, Bristol.

47) Margaret Hyde: ....... burnt 12 April 1557, Smithfield, London.

48) Agnes Stanley or Stanlye: ....... burnt 12 April 1557, Smithfield, London.

49) Joan/Jone Bradbridge: ....... Staplehurst, Kent ....... burnt 18 June 1557, Maidstone, Kent, (Presumably a relative of Widow Bradbridge, burnt 19 June 1557).

50) Petronil Appleby (wife of Walter Appleby): ........ Maidstone, Kent ....... burnt 18 June 1557, Maidstone, Kent,

51) Katherine Allin/Allen (Wife of Edmund Allin/Allen, miller):........ Maplehurst Mill, Frittenden, Kent ....... burnt 18 June 1557, Maidstone, Kent,

52) Joan/Jone Manning:....... Maidstone, Kent ....... burnt 18 June 1557, Maidstone, Kent,

53) Elizabeth (surname possibly 'Lewis'): (blind Maid) ........ burnt 18 June 1557, Maidstone, Kent,


The Canterbury martyrs of June 1557:


54) Barbara Final: ....... burnt 19 June 1557, Canterbury, Kent

55) Bradbridge's Widow (Bradbridge's Wife): ....... Probably the widow of Martin Bradbridge: burnt 16 January 1557 ....... burnt 19 June 1557, Canterbury, Kent

56) Mistress Wilson (also referred to as 'Wilson's Wife'): ....... burnt 19 June 1557, Canterbury, Kent:

57) Alice Benden: possibly also referred to as 'Benson's Wife' ....... Staplehurst (or possibly Cranbrook), Kent ....... burnt 19 June 1557, Canterbury, Kent


The Lewes Martyrs:


58) Margery Morris (or Marcery/Margaret) (or Morice): ....... Heathfield, Sussex ....... burnt 22 June 1557, Lewes, Sussex

59) Ann Ashdon (or Ashdown) (also referred to as 'Ashdon's Wife'): ....... Rotherfield, Sussex ....... burnt 22 June 1557, Lewes, Sussex

60) Mary Groves (or Gloue's)(also referred to as 'Gloue's Wife'): ....... Lewes, Sussex ....... burnt 22 June 1557, Lewes, Sussex



61) Elizabeth Cooper (wife of a pewterer): ....... St Andrew's Parish, Norwich, Norfolk .......burnt 13 July 1557,

Norwich, Norfolk




62) Agnes Silverside (or Smith) (widow): ....... Colchester, Essex ....... burnt 2 August 1557, Colchester, Essex

63) Helen Ewring (or Ellen Ewring) (wife of John Ewring, miller): ....... Colchester, Essex ....... burnt 2 August 1557, Colchester, Essex

64) Elizabeth Folk ('young maiden' and servant): ....... Colchester, Essex ....... burnt 2 August 1557, Colchester, Essex

65) Alice Munt (or Mount) wife of William Munt (or Mount): ....... Much Bentley, Essex ....... burnt 2 August 1557, Colchester, Essex

66) Rose Allen (spinster, daughter of Alice Mount): ....... Much Bentley, Essex ....... burnt 2 August 1557, Colchester, Essex



67) Sister of George Eagles: ....... burnt August 1557, Rochester, Kent


68) Unknown Woman:....... burnt August 1557, Rochester, Kent

69) Joyce Lewis (gentlewoman): ....... Mancetter, Warwickshire ....... burnt September 1557, Lichfield, Staffordshire (– may be the same as Joyce Bowes, August 1557 (the Regester)



70) Margery Austoo/Auscoo: ....... burnt 17 September 1557, Islington

71) Agnes Bongeor/An Banger (also known as Bowmer's Wife), wife of Richard Bongeor: -(similar name but different ....... burnt 17 September (or unknown date July) ....... Colchester, Essex

72) Margaret Thurston/Widow Thurston-similar name but different .....burnt 17 September (or unknown date July) ....... Colchester, Essex

74) Margaret Maring/Mering: ....... burnt 22 December 1557 ....... Smithfield, London

75) Alice Driver (wife of a husbandman): ....... Grundisburgh, Suffolk ....... burnt 4 November 1558, Ipswich Cornhill



***) Catherine, wife of Peter Martyr Vermigli: exhumed 1556, Cambridge


***) Margaret Eliot (or Ellis): (maid) ....... from Billericay, Essex ....... died in Newgate Prison, London May 1556


*** ) William Dangerfield, his wife Joan and their infant child: ....... sickened in prison


***) Three people: ..... died in prison ....... October 1556 ....... Chichester Castle, Sussex (or Canterbury Castle, Kent, according to Knox)


***) Alice Potkins: ....... sickened and died in prison ....... in or after November 1556 ....... Canterbury Castle, Kent


***) Elizabeth Warne (or Warren) (widow of John Warne, upholsterer): ....... Walbrook, London ....... burnt 23 August 1555, Stratford-atte-Bow, London

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