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Robin Tremayne A Story of the Marian Persecution   By: (1836-1893)

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Robin Tremayne, by Emily Sarah Holt.

Emily Holt was a historian of no mean calibre. Many of her books are set in the Middle Ages or a little later. This one is set in the 1550s, and a little before and after. This was the time when the Catholic Mary was on the throne, and Catholicism was enforced as the official religion. It was also the time when Protestantism, which had been on the rise, was checked, and many Protestants burnt at the stake. When Elizabeth came to the throne this was reversed, and Protestantism was once more the official religion.

This book, which is quite largely based on well researched fact, tells of the family life of a few people who were Protestants, and who preached the Gospel unerringly throughout, despite in the end some of them being imprisoned, including Robin Tremayne himself. His account of the prison in which he was held is quite amazing how wickedly unkind people can be to one another. At one stage in the story people were being burnt at the stake quite wholesale. When Elizabeth came to the throne all the Bishops were Catholic, and at first none could be persuaded to officiate at the Coronation. Eventually the Bishop of Carlisle agreed to do it, but as he hadn't any suitable vestments he had to borrow some from Bonner, the Bishop of London, who wouldn't do the Coronation himself.

Full of anecdotes like this, based on fact, the book is fascinating. There is a watered down version of Elizabethan speech, a few decades before Shakespearean English, and so reasonably understandable. The footnotes are there to explain the more unusual words and phrases. ROBIN TREMAYNE, BY EMILY SARAH HOLT.


More than three hundred years have rolled away since the events narrated in the following pages stirred the souls of men; since John Bradford sat down to his "merry supper with the Lord;" since Lawrence Saunders slept peacefully at the stake, lifted over the dark river in the arms of God; since Ridley and Latimer, on that autumn morning at Oxford, lighted that candle in England which they trusted by God's grace should never be put out.

And how stands it with England now? For forty three years, like a bird fascinated by the serpent, she has been creeping gradually closer to the outstretched arms of the great enchantress. Is she blind and deaf? Has she utterly forgotten all her history, all the traditions of her greatness? It is not quite too late to halt in her path of destruction; but how soon may it become so? How soon may the dying scream of the bird be hushed in the jaws of the serpent?

The candle which was lighted on that autumn morning is burning dim. It burns dimmer every year, as England yields more and more to Rome. And every living soul of us all is responsible to God for the preservation of its blessed light. O sons and daughters of England, shall it be put out?



"And then she fell asleep; but God Knew that His Heaven was better far, Where little children angels are; And so, for paths she should have trod Through thorns and flowers, gave her this sod.

"He gave her rest for troublousness, And a calm sleep for fitful dreams Of what is, and of more that seems For tossings upon earth and seas Gave her to see Him where He is."

W.M. Rossetti.

"Arbel, look forth and see if thy father and Robin be at hand. I fear the pie shall be overbaken."

The speaker was a woman of about forty years of age, of that quiet and placid demeanour which indicates that great provocation would be needed to evoke any disturbance of temper. Gathering up the garment on which she was at work, Arbel [Note 1] crossed the long, low room to a wide casement, on the outer mullions of which sundry leafless boughs were tapping as if to ask shelter from the cold; and after standing there for two or three minutes, announced that the missing members of the family were approaching... Continue reading book >>

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