RICHARD WOODMAN Â— A SUSSEX MARTYR
‘In the town of Lewes’ writes John Foxe the martyrologist, ‘were ten faithful servants of God put in one fire, the 22nd day of June, (anno 1557), whose names follow: Richard Woodman, George Stevens, W. Mainard, Alexander Hosman, his servant; Thomasin a Wood, Mainard’s maid; Margery Moris; James Moris, her son; Dennis Burgis, Ashdon’s wife. Grove’s wife.
‘Of the which number Richard Woodman was the first; concerning whose apprehension, first by his enemies, and of his deliverence out of Bishop Bonner’s hands; then of his second taking again by the procurement of his father, brother,kinsfolk, and friends;
also of his sundry examinations and courageous answers before the bishops; and lastly of his condemnation, and of his letters sent to his faithful friends, here followeth to be declared by his own words and relation reported. Which Richard Woodman, by his occupation was an iron-maker dwelling in the parish of Warbleton, in the county of
Sussex, and diocese of Chichester, of the age of thirty years and somewhat more.’
After six separate examinations before bishops and other ecclesiastics extending over a period of almost two years. Woodman was finally condemned and excommunicated. The Bishop of Winchester passed sentance, and when Woodman endeavoured to reply, he says, “they cried, ‘Away! away, with him!’ So I was carried to the Marshalsea again, where I am, and shall be as long as it shall please God. And I praise God most heartily, that ever He hath elected and predestinated me to come to so high dignity as to bear rebuke for His
name’s sake; His name be praised there-for, for ever and ever, Amen.”
The spirit of this faithful martyr of Christ may be seen in the
following letter, written by him to a Christian woman, ‘Mistress Roberts of Hawkhurst’.