World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Marprelate Controversy

Article Id: WHEBN0000739245
Reproduction Date:

Title: Marprelate Controversy  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Martin Marprelate, John Charlewood, Pierce Penniless, List of satirists and satires, Tract (literature)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Marprelate Controversy

The title page of the Cavaliero Pasquill's "Countercuffe to Martin Junior," 1589, one of the anti-Martinist tracts.

The Marprelate Controversy was a war of pamphlets waged in England and Wales in 1588 and 1589, between a puritan writer who employed the pseudonym Martin Marprelate, and defenders of the Established Church.

Martin's tracts are characterised by violent and personal invective against the Anglican dignitaries, by the assumption that the writer had numerous and powerful adherents and was able to enforce his demands for reform, and by a plain and homely style combined with pungent wit. While he maintained the puritan doctrines as a whole, the special point of his attack was the Episcopacy. The pamphlets were printed at a secret press established by John Penry, a Welsh puritan, with the help of the printer Robert Waldegrave, about midsummer 1588, for the issue of puritan literature forbidden by the authorities.

The first tract by "Martin Marprelate," known as the Epistle, was printed at the home of Mistress Crane at East Molesey in October 1588.[1] Born Elizabeth Hussey, Mistress Crane was the widow of Anthony Crane (d. 16 August 1583), Master of the Queen's Household, and daughter of Sir Robert Hussey (d.1546), younger brother of John Hussey, 1st Baron Hussey of Sleaford[2][3][4] The Epistle is an answer to A Defence of the Government established in the Church of Englande, by Dr John Bridges, Dean of Salisbury, itself a reply to earlier puritan works, and besides attacking the episcopal office in general assails certain prelates with much personal abuse. The Epistle attracted considerable notice and a reply was written by Thomas Cooper, Bishop of Winchester, under the title An Admonition to the People of England, but this was too long and too dull to appeal to the same class of readers as the Marprelate pamphlets, and produced little effect.

Penry's press, removed in November to the home of Sir Richard Knightley at Fawsley,[5] near Northampton, then produced a second tract by Martin, the Epitome, which contains more serious argument than the Epistle but is otherwise similar.

Shortly afterward the press was moved to the Whitefriars, Coventry, the home of Knightley's great-nephew,[6] John Hales (d. 1 January 1607/8), and his wife, Frideswide, the daughter of William Faunt.[7] In late January 1589 Martin's Certain Mineral and Metaphysical School-points was printed at the Whitefriars, followed in March by John Penry's View of Some Part of Such Public Wants, and Martin's Hay Any Work For Cooper, a reply to the Admonition. Hales, the son of Christopher Hales and Mary Lucy, daughter of William Lucy, esquire, of Charlecote,[8][9][10] was the nephew and heir of John Hales (d.1572).

It now appeared to some of the ecclesiastical authorities that the only way to silence Martin was to have him attacked in his own railing style, and accordingly certain writers of ready wit, among them John Lyly, Thomas Nashe and Robert Greene, were secretly commissioned to answer the pamphlets. Among the productions of this group were Pappe with an Hatchet (Sept. 1589), probably by Lyly, and An Almond for a Parrat (1590), which, with certain tracts under the pseudonym of "the renowned Cavaliero Pasquill", has been attributed to Nashe. Some anti-Martinist plays or shows (now lost) performed in 1589 were perhaps also their work.

Meanwhile, in July 1589, Penry's press, now at Patrick Collinson;[12][13][14][15] and to the Warwickshire squire and Member of Parliament Job Throckmorton, whom most Marprelate scholars now believe was the primary author with the assistance of Penry.[16]


  • Notes 1
  • References 2
  • External links 3
  • See also 4


  1. ^ Pierce 1908, pp. 155–60.
  2. ^ McCorkle 1931, pp. 276–83.
  3. ^ Appleton 1868, p. 60.
  4. ^ For her role in the printing of the Marprelate tracts Elizabeth Crane was heavily fined and imprisoned; Collinson 1967, p. 410.
  5. ^ Pierce 1908, p. 157.
  6. ^ John Hales' grandmother was Anne Fermor, and Sir Richard Knightley's first wife was Anne's sister, Mary Fermor; at his subsequent trial Hales protested that 'He had great reason, as he thought, to gratify Sir Richard Knightley in anything, to whom he owed much reverence, as he that had married his aunt'; Pierce 1908, pp. 180, 206, 320.
  7. ^ Reader 1846, p. 126.
  8. ^ Thomas 1730, p. 506.
  9. ^ Garrett 1938, p. 171.
  10. ^ Metcalfe 1887, pp. 19, 32.
  11. ^ Rowse, Alfred Leslie. The England of Elizabeth (1953), 531.
  12. ^ Black 2008, p. xxxv.
  13. ^ Carlson 1981, p. 24.
  14. ^ Collinson 2004.
  15. ^ Collinson 2013, p. 64.
  16. ^ Auchter, Dorothy. Dictionary of Literary and Dramatic Censorship in Tudor and Stuart England (2001), 231.


  • Appleton, William S. (1868). Memorials of the Cranes of Chilton. Cambridge: John Wilson and Son. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  • Black, Joseph L., ed. (2008). The Martin Marprelate Tracts; A Modernized and Annotated Edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. l–li. 
  • Carlson, Leland H. (1981). Martin Marprelate, Gentleman: Master Job Throckmorton Laid Open in His Colors. San Marino, California: The Henry E. Huntington Library. 
  • Collinson, Patrick (2004). "Carleton, George (1529–1590)". (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)  
  • Collinson, Patrick (2013). Richard Bancroft and Elizabethan Anti-Puritanism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  • Collinson, Patrick (1967). The Elizabethan Puritan Movement. Bristol: J.W. Arrowsmith Ltd. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  • Garrett, Christina Hallowell (1938). The Marian Exiles; A Study in the Origins of Elizabethan Puritanism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 171–4. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  • McCorkle, Julia Norton (1931). "A Note concerning 'Mistress Crane' and the Martin Marprelate Controversy". The Library. 4th XII (3): 276–83.  
  • Metcalfe, Walter C. (1887). The Visitations of Northamptonshire. London: Harleian Society. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  • Pierce, William (1908). A Historical Introduction to the Marprelate Tracts. New York: Burt Franklin. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  • Reader, W. (1846).  
  • Thomas, William (1730). The Antiquities of Warwickshire . . . by Sir William Dugdale (2nd rev. ed.). London: John Osborn and Thomas Longman. 

External links

  • For the full texts of the tracts, see
  • For a long, if dated, discussion in the Cambridge history of English Literature, see
  • Will of Anthony Crane, Master Of the Queens Household, proved 3 September 1583, National Archives Retrieved 27 April 2013

See also

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.