Page:The parochial history of Cornwall.djvu/150

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At Northcott, in this parish, temp. Queen Mary, lived Agnes Prest, but where born, or what her maiden name was, is to me unknown, whose merit challengeth to be recorded in this place, as being the only martyr that suffered death for the Protestant religion in the diocese of Exon during the said Queen's reign. She is described by Holinshed, Howell, alias Hooker, and by Fuller from them, to be a contemptible woman in respect of her person, (as St. Paul was for a man,) little, and short of stature, and of a brownish complexion. She was indicted, as Mr. Vowell says, at Launceston, in this county, upon Monday the fourth week in Lent, the 2d and 3d of Philip and Mary, before the Grand Jury there assembled. The matter suggested in the Bill was: "For that she denied the Real Presence in the sacrament of the altar; and for saying the same was but a sign and figure of Christ's body; and that no Christian doth eat the body of Christ carnally, but spiritually." The evidence against her were her own husband and children; from whom she fled, for that they would compel her, by force, to be present at the celebration of mass. Notwithstanding, upon their testimonies the bill was found, and indorsed, "Billa vera." Whereupon she came to her trial before William Starford, then Justice of Assize, (probably he that wrote the Pleas of the Crown,) where, upon a full hearing of the case, the Petty Jury also found her guilty on the testimony aforesaid; after which she was presented to James Turbervill, Bishop of Exeter, for further examination on the premises, but she persisting in her former opinion, was by him condemned as a heretic.

After her condemnation, she refused to receive any money from well-disposed people, that formerly relieved her, saying, she was going to that City where money had no mastery. Soon after she was delivered over to the secular power to be burnt, to Robert Gary, of Cockington, Esq. then Sheriff of Devonshire, or to his Under Sheriff, who saw her executed at Southernhay, without the walls of Exon, in the 54th year of her age, and in