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Wolston Priory, where the last of the Marprelate tracts were printed.

The Marprelate tracts are among the most interesting anonymous works of the Elizabethan period. The identity of their author has always been a mystery. However, internal evidence in the tracts (including a slip in the Protestation in which Martin speaks of himself "and other great men") renders it almost certain that he was Edward De Vere (1550-1604), 17th Earl of Oxford.

Click here for an introduction setting out the reasons for attributing authorship to Oxford, genealogical charts showing Oxford's relationship to persons connected with the tracts, a note on the secret press, a chronology of the printing of the tracts, photographs of locations connected with the tracts, a list of clerics Oxford may have known personally, and a bibliography.

Click here for modern spelling editions of the Marprelate tracts and other documents related to the Marprelate tracts.

 

MARPRELATE TRACTS

1588

Epistle

Epitome

1589

Certain Mineral And Metaphysical School-Points

Hay Any Work For Cooper

Theses Martinianae

Just Censure And Reproof Of Martin Junior

Protestation

 

ANTI-MARPRELATE TRACTS (written by Martin Marprelate to throw his pursuers off the trail)

1589

Mar-Martin

Countercuff Given To Martin Junior

Rhythms Against Martin Marprelate

Return Of Pasquil

1590

First Part Of Pasquil's Apology

Pap With A Hatchet

Almond For A Parrot

 

OTHER TRACTS which Leland H. Carlson has suggested were written by Martin Marprelate

1572

Answer To Certain Pieces Of A Sermon

Exhortation To The Bishops To Deal Brotherly With Their Brethren

Exhortation To The Bishops And Their Clergy

Second Admonition To The Parliament

Certain Articles Collected

1573

Friendly Caveat To Bishop Sands

1588

State Of The Church Of England Laid Open (Diotrephes' Dialogue)

1589

Dialogue Wherein Is Plainly Laid Open

Master Some Laid Open In His Colours [Excerpt]

 

OTHER DOCUMENTS RELATED TO THE MARPRELATE TRACTS

1503

TNA PROB 11/14/415

Last will and testament, dated 6 August 1503, of Elizabeth Hussey, grandmother of 'Mistress Crane' at whose manor of East Molesey the first of the Marprelate tracts was printed by Robert Waldegrave on a secret press in October 1588

1518

TNA PROB 11/20/25

Last will and testament, dated 1 May 1518, of Sir Robert Throckmorton, whose great-grandson, Job Throckmorton, assisted with the printing of the Marprelate tracts

1526

TNA PROB 11/23, ff. 227-9

Last will and testament, dated 4 May 1526, of William, Lord Willoughby, uncle of 'Mistress Crane' at whose manor of East Molesey the first of the Marprelate tracts was printed by Robert Waldegrave on a secret press in October 1588

1529

TNA PROB 11/25/292

Last will and testament, dated 22 January 1529, of Sir Richard Knightley, at the home of whose grandson, Sir Richard Knightley, Martin Marprelate's Epitome was printed on the secret press in November 1588

1532

TNA PROB 11/24/12

Last will and testament, dated 17 June 1532, of Sir William Spencer, whose wife's nephew was Sir Richard Knightley, at whose home at Fawsley, Northamptonshire, Martin Marprelate's Epitome was printed in November 1588

1537

TNA PROB 11/28/156

Last will and testament, dated 29 March 1537, of Richard Knightley, at the home of whose nephew, Sir Richard Knightley, Martin Marprelate's Epitome was printed on the secret press in November 1588

1542

TNA PROB 11/29/275

Last will and testament, dated 4 November 1542, of Roger Wigston, grandfather of Roger Wigston at whose home, Wolston Priory, the last two Marprelate tracts were printed on a secret press in July 1589, and whose daughters married into the family of Henry Higford or Hugford, town clerk of Stratford upon Avon who sued John Shakespeare

1543

TNA PROB 11/30, ff. 25-8

Last will and testament, dated 31 August 1543, of Elizabeth (nee Throckmorton) Englefield, great-aunt of Job Throckmorton, who assisted with the printing of the Marprelate tracts in 1589

1545

TNA PROB 11/31/56

Last will and testament, dated 1 March 1545, of Lady Anne Hussey, aunt of 'Mistress Crane' at whose manor of East Molesey the first of the Marprelate tracts was printed by Robert Waldegrave on a secret press in October 1588

TNA PROB 11/31/244

Last will and testament, dated 19 November 1545, of Sir Robert Hussey, father of 'Mistress Crane' at whose manor of East Molesey the first of the Marprelate tracts was printed by Robert Waldegrave on a secret press in October 1588

1551

TNA PROB 11/34/459

Last will and testament, dated 10 July 1551, of Nicholas Hussey, brother of 'Mistress Crane' at whose manor of East Molesey the first of the Marprelate tracts was printed by Robert Waldegrave on a secret press in October 1588

1552

TNA PROB 11/36/298

Last will and testament, dated 20 July 1552, of Sir George Throckmorton, grandfather of both Oxford's friend, Arthur Throckmorton, and of Job Throckmorton, who assisted with the printing of the Marprelate tracts in 1589

1559

TNA PROB 11/42B/359

Last will and testament, dated 2 April 1559, of Francis Clopton, whose wife, Bridget Crane, was the niece of Anthony Crane, first husband of ‘Mistress Crane’, at whose manor of East Molesey the first of the Marprelate tracts was printed by Robert Waldegrave on a secret press in October 1588

1564

TNA PROB 11/48/595

Last will and testament, dated 26 December 1564, of Sir Valentine Knightley, father of Sir Richard Knightley at whose home at Fawsley Martin Marprelate's Epitome was printed in November 1588

1571

TNA PROB 11/54/109

Last will and testament, dated 8 February 1571, of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, father of Oxford's friend, Arthur Throckmorton, and uncle of Job Throckmorton, who assisted with the printing of the Marprelate tracts in 1589

1575

TNA PROB 11/58/192

Last will and testament, dated 18 December 1575, of Anthony Carleton, whose younger brother, George Carleton, married Elizabeth Hussey, the 'Mistress Crane' at whose manor of East Molesey the first of the Marprelate tracts was printed on a secret press in October 1588

1581

TNA PROB 11/63/176

Last will and testament, dated 6 February 1581, of Sir Robert Throckmorton, uncle of Oxford's friend, Arthur Throckmorton, and uncle of Job Throckmorton, who assisted with the printing of the Marprelate tracts in 1589

1583

TNA PROB 11/70, f. 52

Last will and testament, dated 3 September 1586, of Mary Throckmorton, whose uncle, George Puttenham, in The Arte of English Poesie, named Oxford among court poets who have written 'excellently well', and whose first cousin, Job Throckmorton, assisted with the printing of the Marprelate tracts in 1589

TNA PROB 11/65/507

Nuncupative will, dated 16 August 1583, of Anthony Crane, whose wife, Elizabeth, was the 'Mistress Crane' at whose manor of East Molesey the first of the Marprelate tracts was printed by Robert Waldegrave on a secret press in October 1588

1586

TNA PROB 11/70/89

Last will and testament, dated 6 September 1586, of Charles Hussey 'the younger', whose sister, Elizabeth, was the 'Mistress Crane' at whose manor of East Molesey the first of the Marprelate tracts was printed by Robert Waldegrave on a secret press in October 1588

1590

TNA PROB 11/75/14

Last will and testament, dated 1 January 1590, of George Carleton, whose third wife, Elizabeth, was the 'Mistress Crane' at whose manor of East Molesey the first of the Marprelate tracts was printed by Robert Waldegrave on a secret press in October 1588

1602

TNA PROB 11/119, ff. 3-4

Last will and testament, dated 22 September 1602 and 7 July 1604, of Sir William Browne, whose stepsister, Dorothy Vernon, married Job Throckmorton, who assisted with the printing of the Marprelate tracts in 1589

1614

TNA PROB 11/125/121

Last will and testament, dated 30 July 1614, of Lord Burghley's long-time servant, Sir Walter Cope, whose stepfather, George Carleton (see above) married 'Mistress Crane' at whose manor of East Molesey the first of the Marprelate tracts was printed in October 1588