Brought Unto Misery For So Godly a Cause

Brian Buxton

‘Thomas Poyntz ..... for faithful service to his prince and ardent profession of the evangelical truth suffered chains and imprisonment in regions across the seas plainly already destined to be killed except he himself trusting in divine providence looked for a miraculous escape from prison...’

This translation of part of the Latin inscription on the memorial to Thomas and Anna Poyntz in North Ockendon Church, Essex, is a reminder of one who could so easily have been numbered amongst the Protestant Martyrs of the sixteenth century. He escaped the fire but, with his wife and children, suffered at least twenty years of personal trauma as a result of his support of William Tyndale.

The various biographers of Tyndale have all described the energetic part played by Thomas Poyntz in the attempts to save him from the flames. David Daniell wrote : ‘The one person who can never be accused of dragging his feet, even at cost to his own liberty and fortune, was Thomas Poyntz’.[1]

It is understandable that a biographer of Tyndale is less interested in the later life of Poyntz. However, as a result, the story of the problems faced by this man and his family after the death of Tyndale is little known.[2]

The earlier efforts of Poyntz to assist Tyndale after his arrest are well documented by Foxe.[3] Foxe may have talked to Poyntz back in London in later years, and also he may have known Thomas’ eldest son, Gabriel, in the English community at Basle in the reign of Queen Mary.[4] However the earlier and later life of Thomas Poyntz has to be pieced together from a range of sources.

He came of an Essex family with considerable land holdings in the south west of the county centred on North Ockendon. His maternal grandfather and uncle both served as Lord Mayor of London, the latter being knighted at Bosworth.[5] He was the second son of the family and developed his career as a merchant, first based in the City of London. He became a Freeman of the Grocers’ Company in 1517/18 and paid his dues until 1525/26.[6] Presumably it was then that he moved his business activities to Antwerp and to the English House, ‘there being married to one of the said town’, Anna van Calva.[7] In time four children were born to them.

Antwerp also seems to have become Tyndale’s base from about the same time[8] and the two men could have become acquainted shortly afterwards. It has been speculated that they had already met in London at an earlier date,[9] although when Thomas later wrote to his brother about Tyndale’s plight there is no suggestion that either of them had known him previously.[10] For whatever reason Tyndale became the particular guest of Poyntz and his family during the last nine months of his freedom.

Tyndale’s defender

Wall tablet memorial to Thomas Poyntz

Thomas Poyntz was away on a business trip to the Easter Fair at Bergen op Zoom in the spring of 1535 when Tyndale was lured by Henry Phillips[11]

from the relative safety of the house of the English merchants. Foxe recounts that Poyntz had been suspicious of the sudden appearance of Phillips in Antwerp but had been re-assured by Tyndale who seemed to accept him as a new friend without any difficulty. Tyndale spent much time in Phillips’ company and spoke openly to him about his work.

This easy manner was Tyndale’s downfall. Not only had he talked freely with Phillips about his work, but when Phillips called one day as he was about to go out to lunch Tyndale immediately invited his new friend to accompany him. Outside the door two men were waiting to arrest him once he was off the property of the English merchants where he was afforded a certain degree of legal protection. The two men performing the arrest are supposed to have told Poyntz how they felt sorry for Tyndale who seemed to have fallen into a trap through his innocence.

In the summer and autumn which followed, whether on grounds of personal friendship, religious belief, or both, Thomas Poyntz became fully involved in Tyndale’s case. He was impatient with what he saw as the lack of decisive action by the English authorities, not least by the head of the English House at Antwerp.

By August he was so frustrated that he wrote a long and impassioned letter to his brother John at North Ockendon asking him to use any influence he could to get some action in London.[12] He must have believed that John had some connections which might be useful in this situation.[13]

The two page letter, dated at Antwerp the 25th August 1535, is long and rather rambling, not always easy to follow. However, it is quite clear that he believed Tyndale was a loyal subject of Henry VIII and should be helped. He wrote of plotting by papists who were trying to cultivate the King’s favour but were actually working against him... they ‘ be as thorns under a godly rose, I might say very traitors in their hearts...’. He added : ‘who they be I name no man’ but went on to speak disparagingly of ‘papists’. Speaking of religious matters he said of Henry that ‘never prince has done so nobly since Christ died in the which I beseech God give him victory’. It may be that Thomas believed Henry to be more desirous of religious change than was perhaps the case, or alternatively that he was simply seeking to secure the king’s favour.

Poyntz was quite clear that unless some action was soon taken Tyndale would be executed. From his own knowledge he believed that Tyndale would go to England if Henry ordered him to do so. He wrote : ‘and by the means that this poor man William Tyndale has lain in my house three quarters of a year ... I know that the king has never a truer hearted subject to his grace this day living and for that he does know that he is bound by the law of God to obey his prince ..’.

Poyntz spoke of how he must do what he could to help Tyndale even if he risked death and lived in poverty for the rest of his life ... prophetic words as events turned out!

He concluded : ‘brother this knowledge that I have of this man causes me to write as my conscience binds me, for the king’s grace should have of him at this day as high a treasure as of any one man living ... therefore I desire you that this matter may be solicited to his grace for this man with as good effect as shall lie in you or by your means to be done for in my conscience there be not many perfecter men this day living’.

The letter was addressed to John at North Ockendon. It was received on the 20th September and the next day John wrote a covering letter from Horndon on the Hill and sent both documents on to Thomas Cromwell as Principal Secretary. The covering letter is brief and expresses no opinion. Whether John took any further steps in the matter is unknown.[14]

It would appear that by the time this letter reached Cromwell diplomatic action was underway to resolve the issue. Much of this correspondence is lost which makes it difficult to know exactly what line was being taken in London. What is clear is that letters were travelling back and forth and that by October Poyntz had became involved as a carrier of some of these documents, both around the Low Countries and to England and back.[15] He seems to have given priority to Tyndale over and above his business concerns, although perhaps he was able to use his visit to London for both purposes.

If Foxe is correct, by the autumn there was the possibility of a diplomatically negotiated settlement by which Tyndale might be released into Poyntz’ hands. This caused Henry Phillips to panic as he was determined to see Tyndale die and thus a charge was laid against Poyntz, identifying him with Tyndale, his work and his beliefs. At the beginning of November 1535 he was arrested. Poyntz himself now faced the possibility of trial for heresy.

It appears that he was not placed in prison but in some lesser form of custody. Foxe tells of his interrogations and of how, by various pretexts, he kept putting off the demands of his accusers for answers to questions about both himself and Tyndale. Each time his interrogators arrived, Henry Phillips was listening at the door.

Poyntz tried to arrange to be freed on surety whilst the legal process continued, seemingly expecting friends in Antwerp to help with the costs. He was unable to find this money, but was then told that he must defray the costs of his imprisonment. Anxious to gain more time and not to arouse concern as to his intentions, he assured the authorities that he would find the costs, even though he knew he could not.

After three months it was clear to him that he was in mortal danger and somehow he managed to escape his guards one night, probably in the February following his arrest. According to Foxe he hid until the gate of Brussels was opened at dawn and then slipped away from the city. A search was made for him but he was able to use his knowledge of the area to get away. Presumably at this point he returned to England with all speed, leaving his gaoler to pick up a heavy fine,[16] whilst his wife and four children remained behind in Antwerp.

At the end of his account Foxe commented: ‘But what more trouble followeth to Poyntz after the same, it serveth not for this place to rehearse’. Putting together what evidence does remain to us gives some idea of the twenty years of domestic and financial trouble which did follow his championship of Tyndale’s cause.

A family apart

Poyntz later described himself as having been ‘banished all the emperor’s countries upon pain of his head’.[17] Whatever his exact legal position, it appears that he was unable to continue his business as a merchant. In addition his wife remained behind in Antwerp. The movements of his children are difficult to piece together.

How Poyntz lived and maintained himself after arriving back in England is unclear, but two documents a few years later show his desperate concern to bring the family back together. In 1539 he wrote a plea to Thomas Cromwell. This was one of many letters Cromwell received from would-be beneficiaries as the Religious Houses were dissolved and their assets became available for distribution. Poyntz ‘trusts his trouble your Lordship has in remembrance’. He speaks of his recent years of persecution for ‘the honour of God and the truth of his word’. He asks for Cromwell’s compassion for ‘my poor wife and my infant children the eldest but six years of age’. In particular he broaches the possibility of his ‘having the keeping’ of a suppressed religious house so that he could have ‘some honest free dwelling ..... till I may otherwise provide’. He mentions in particular Holywell.[18] An Augustinian priory of that name in Shoreditch was surrendered in October to Sir William Petre and Thomas Leigh, the former a close neighbour in Essex of the Poyntz family.[19]

There appears to be no evidence that Cromwell responded to this request. Perhaps Anna Poyntz had intimated that she would come to England if her husband could provide a home, or maybe this was just a hope on his part. In his next plea he spoke of the many attempts he had made to bring her to England with their children, attempts to which she had not responded.

Compared to the quite urgent and emotional appeal to Cromwell, reminiscent of his plea to John Poyntz to help Tyndale, his letter to Henry VIII, probably written in 1541, was more formal in style and in a hand easier to read, almost certainly written on his behalf by another. This letter concerned two of his children, Fernando and Robert.[20]

According to this letter he had sent his second son Fernando to school in Burton upon Trent. He dated this as ‘some year before his banishment’ which would indicate no later than 1535. If this is correct, and also assuming the accuracy of the information about the age of the eldest child given in the letter to Cromwell, Fernando can hardly have been more than a baby at the time.[21] He was sent in the care of George Constantine. Constantine had fled to Antwerp after being interrogated by Thomas More about the import of forbidden religious literature but he did return to England around 1535.[22] Presumably Anna Poyntz wanted the child back and arranged this with Robert Tempest, ‘draper and citizen of London’. He forged a letter to Constantine as a result of which the child was given to Tempest and taken back ‘into Flanders’. It also appears that Anna had given the third son, Robert, into the keeping of John Chester, another member of the Drapers’ Company.

Poyntz Chapel

Poyntz appealed to Henry VIII for help in requiring the two men to hand over the boys to him. The action of Tempest he called ‘against all nature and the laws of your realm’ and to his ‘great discomfort’. He pointed out to the king that as a result of his banishment he ‘hath left all his goods beyond sea and is a man not able to follow the law’. He asked the King to send pursuivants to require the return of the boys.

Again there seems no evidence that any action resulted. A few months later, in January 1541(1542) the children were naturalised by Act of Parliament but it is very uncertain if all, or any, of them were in England.[23]

Desperation, debt and diplomacy

By now Poyntz must have been considerably agitated, both about his family and about his financial affairs. Now again, as in writing to his brother about Tyndale, he seems to have taken matters into his own hands. By no later than the autumn of 1543 he was back in Antwerp, whether in the hope that the past would be forgotten and he would be allowed back, or whether simply to try and persuade his wife to return with him. From what follows it is clear that he now became the subject of diplomatic activity.

Details of these events are contained in a very long letter written to the Council in London in December 1544 by Nicholas Wotton, then ambassador to Charles V.[24] Wotton was replying to a letter received from the Council, brought to him by friends of Poyntz. Presumably these friends had been agitating in London for some action. The letter sets out how the matter had been dealt with during the previous year or so by Wotton and his predecessor - what were later described as ‘the earnest and often suits of certain special ministers’.[25]

Immediately Poyntz’ s presence was known, past events were remembered. Initially there does not seem to have been any attempt to arrest him. The main concern was to get him to settle his debts, in particular as regards the guard from whose custody he had broken out seven years earlier. The guard no doubt expected Poyntz to reimburse the fine which had been imposed on him, but in addition money was probably owed for his board and lodging during the months of his imprisonment. Foxe records difficulties about payments at the time of his imprisonment.

Wotton’s letter gives the impression of some frustration both with the authorities in Brussels and with Poyntz himself. The authorities seemed to waver over whether the matter could be settled easily or not. At first it appeared that if Poyntz sorted himself with the guard and presented himself at the prison there would be a pardon. However, later one official had ‘forgotten’ all that was agreed. The matter does not seem to have been helped by the fact that Poyntz, far from hurrying to comply with the demands made to settle the matter, was travelling around carrying on business ‘contrary to all his friends counsel ..... openly in sight of the world as well at Antwerp as in other places of this country’. No doubt he was anxious to try and produce some income for himself and his family. Unfortunately the guard was not prepared to wait for ever. He arranged for Poyntz to be arrested in the street and placed in prison in Brussels.

Still Wotton endeavoured to settle things, having further discussions with local officials. However there now seems to have arisen another issue ‘because of this business of the heretics that of late hath been detected in Antwerp, the which hath much exasperated the Emperor and his council’. It appears that the matter of heresy was now brought into the case based upon something Poyntz was supposed to have said or done when in England. Poyntz denied this accusation but Wotton was told that a confession and witness statements existed. Nonetheless even he was not able to gain access to these supposed documents. Also there was argument as to whether something that may have happened in England was any concern of the authorities in Brussels.

To make matters worse the guard, seeing that Poyntz was now in prison and would surely be anxious to be out, was demanding more money, and interest also. He became even more adamant about sticking to his demands after Poyntz used strong words in argument with him. In addition Anna Poyntz and friends, who had apparently offered financial help, were now less willing to provide as much money as previously.[26]

Having outlined all these matters to the Council, Wotton concluded his letter by summarising a discussion with the lawyer working for Poyntz. The lawyer felt that things should be left for a while until the clamour about heresy died down, and in the hope that after a time the guard would be anxious for some money and so tone down his demands. He suggested that Wotton could then approach the authorities again and re-open negotiations.

There is much happening here, and hinted at. However the only further information seems to be in a letter to the Council of April 1545 in which Wotton briefly mentioned Poyntz and seemed to imply that a resolution was at hand. ‘For Poyntz he hath promised to do the best he can to help to agree the matter with his adversary.’[27] Later evidence suggests that the issue was concluded whilst Henry VIII still reigned.[28] This all implies that Poyntz left the Low Countries at some time between the late spring of 1545 and the end of 1546. Once more he returned to England alone, leaving his wife behind in Antwerp. However, it may be that her situation was rather better than his. A glimpse of her life when she had been on her own for about fifteen years is given in the lengthy will of Robert Tempest written at various times in 1550 and 1551. There are a number of references to Anna Poyntz, in addition to bequests to her and three of the children. The will suggests that she was still closely involved with the life of the merchant community in Antwerp. She even seems to have been able to loan money to Tempest for investment.[29]

His creditors and his king

As for Thomas, the accession of Edward VI in 1547, with its move to Protestantism, may have seemed to create a more favourable atmosphere to put his case for help than in the uncertain religious climate of the old king. Nonetheless significant aid does not seem to have been forthcoming until 1551. Whether on his own pleading, or on that of somebody in high places concerned for his interests,[30] Letters Patent were then issued regarding his situation.[31]

The Letters Patent speak of his suffering ‘upon occasion of certain things by him .. attested and done of a good zeal to the advancement of God’s true religion and glory and the relief of the true ministers thereof ’. He was being chased by creditors for debts said to be of one thousand pounds for ‘which he is daily troubled and imprisoned here’. This suggests that he served time in one of the London prisons which held debtors, such as the Fleet. Hardly desirable places to be, they were even less so for those who were unable to afford to pay for extra privileges. Presumably the creditors chasing him were demanding money loaned to resolve the issues in the Low Countries, but there may also have been debts built up in England.

There is an implication that Edward VI had himself in some way helped Poyntz : ‘pitying the case of this man brought unto misery for so godly a cause we have thought good to prosecute him with our own grace and favour’. The Letters then request his creditors to be patient and appeal to ‘all such our most loving subjects .. as may be induced to contribute towards the relief of the said Poyntz’. A browse through the Calendar of Patent Rolls of this period show this to be a most unusual document. Letters Patent were generally dealing with matters such as appointments, gifts for services rendered, resolving disputes, and granting pardons. Poyntz approached his own Grocers’ Company for help which they gave but on condition that he never asked again, perhaps recalling that he had not paid his dues for twenty five years.[32]

‘Thomas Poynes of North Ockendon ... gentleman’

It has often been said that the desperate position of Thomas Poyntz as described in the Letters Patent is puzzling as he had inherited the family manor and lands at North Ockendon, and other parts of south Essex, on the death of his brother John in 1547. It has sometimes been assumed that his situation was such that he was unable to live there and to benefit from the estate. In fact he had not inherited the estate and did not do so until 1554. Under the provisions of his brother’s will the estate went to John’s wife Anne and then to Thomas and his sons.[33] The only immediate benefit to Thomas was a length of black cloth for a gown and hood![34]

It would be interesting to know more about the relationship of John and his wife with Thomas. It might have been expected that they would have helped Thomas in his need but John appears to have done his duty and no more. In 1535 he did forward his brother’s letter about Tyndale to Thomas Cromwell, but the accompanying short and carefully worded note expressed no personal opinion on the matter.[35] He willed his estates in due course to Thomas and his sons but with a strongly worded threat that the inheritance would become void if they interfered with Anne’s rights. None of Thomas’ children benefited at the time from John’s will, although he made bequests to the daughters of his brother Edmund and sister Margaret. Anne’s will of 1554 was largely a list of bequests of jewellery but none went to the Poyntz family. Even a gold chain which had belonged to John Poyntz was bequeathed to a grandchild by her first marriage.[36]

It may be that John and Anne wanted to be careful not to risk possible identification with somebody who might be accused of heresy. John was a leading local figure. At various times he was a Commissioner of the Peace and a Commissioner for the Six Articles. Anne seems to have had links with the household of Princess Mary. In her Will of 1554 she describes three items of jewellery as ‘given me by the Queen’s Highness’, in one case ‘at her coronation’. In Mary’s coronation procession from the Tower to Westminster on 30th September 1553 Anne rode in the procession and is described as holding the position of ‘mother of the maids’.[37]

Anne died in May 1554 and Thomas inherited the family estates. An improved situation is suggested by the fact that in the same year he paid his Brotherhood Money to the Grocers’ Company for the first time since 1525 and in August two of his three sons (Gabriel and Robert) were made Freemen on the basis of his being a Freeman.[38] Later in the year Gabriel appears to have matriculated at Basle University.[39]

Confirmation that Thomas did then live at North Ockendon is given by a certificate of residence issued to the collectors of tax in London after parliament granted Philip and Mary a subsidy in October 1555. Dated the following February it reads : ‘Know ye that Thomas Poyins of North Ockendon in the said county (Essex) esquire is assessed within the said Hundred of Chafford wherein he doth dwell..’.[40] Evidence for his residing in North Ockendon and actively managing the estates is also found in a surviving document from an action brought against him by one Jane Warren, concerning her tenancy of lands in Upminster and North Ockendon.[41]

In 1556 and 1559 Thomas exercised his right as holder of the advowson of North Ockendon to present a priest to the living.[42]

What effect the inheritance had on his life, whether his financial problems were ever fully resolved, and what happened to his wife in later years can only be matters of speculation unless more evidence comes to light. His children all arrived in England at some point in time and despite their uncertain upbringing seem to have succeeded in life. Gabriel inherited the family estates, to which he added a house at Bevis Marks in London. Later he was knighted and served as Sheriff of Essex. Fernando followed a career in engineering, including work on Dover harbour. Susannah married Richard Saltonstall, Lord Mayor of London in 1597. Sir Richard and Lady Susannah are commemorated by a monument in South Ockendon Church.

Thomas died in London in May 1562, possibly suddenly whilst on a visit there. He was buried at Saint Dunstan’s in the West, Fleet Street.[43]

The memorial in North Ockendon Church is one of a series of tablets erected by Sir Gabriel Poyntz shortly before his death in 1607 in which he commemorated various members of his family. It is a reminder of the peril in which his father found himself through his support of Tyndale, but gives no hint of the troubles to follow. Thomas escaped burning as a heretic but his suffering was prolonged. By his determination to help Tyndale in 1535 he was caught up in religious and political currents beyond his control.[44]

References and Notes
Abbreviations :

Modern spelling is used in quotations from contemporary documents except for variant spellings of Poyntz.


[1]Daniell, D. William Tyndale : A Biography (New Haven and London : Yale University Press 1994) p.369 .
[2]There seems to have been only one substantial account written of his life, that by John Abernathy Kingdon, in 1895 : Incidents in the lives of Thomas Poyntz and Richard Grafton, two citizens and grocers of London, who suffered loss and incurred danger in common with Tyndale, Coverdale, and Rogers, in bringing out the Bible in the vulgar tongue (London Privately Printed by Rixon & Arnold 1895). Kingdon was a member of the Grocers’ Company, as were Poyntz and Grafton. He brought the two men together in this book on the basis of a theory that when Poyntz returned to England in 1536 he had with him manuscripts of Tyndale for printing by Grafton. Kingdon later produced a companion volume on Richard Grafton alone. In the copy of this book at the Guildhall Library there is an extract from a 1967 sale catalogue. According to this document only fifty copies were printed. That at the Guildhall Library is one of two in which the illustrations were hand coloured. It is a lavish production and a worthy tribute to Thomas Poyntz.
[3]Cattley, S.R. ed. The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe (London 1838). All references to Foxe are based on Volume 5 of this edition.
[4]Garrett, C.H. The Marian Exiles : A Study in the Origins of Elizabethan Puritanism (Cambridge University Press 1938 : Reprinted 1966) pp.260 and 358.
[5]Maclean, Sir J. Historical and Genealogical Memoirs of the Family of Poyntz (1886 New Edition Baltimore 1983).
[6]Grocers’ Company List of Freemen GL MS 11592A ; Wardens’ Accounts GL MS 11571 Volumes 3 and 4 .
[7]See Note 20
[8]Daniell p.155.
[9]This theory derives from Kingdon p.6 and partly depends upon there having been a relationship between the Poyntz family in Essex and that in Gloucestershire, and partly upon surmised meetings between various parties at Saint Dunstan’s in the West, Fleet Street, where Tyndale preached for a short time before leaving England. Maclean saw no evidence for a recent link between the two families. Mozley, J.F. William Tyndale (Connecticut : Greenwood Press 1937) p. 45 saw problems in reconciling the theory with Foxe’s account of the meeting of Tyndale with Henry Monmouth. Both Poyntz and Thomas Green, then Rector of Saint Dunstan’s, were member of the Grocers’ Company.
[10]See Note 12.
[11]For information on Henry Phillips see Daniell Chapter 14. It seems clear that he had been paid by somebody in England to bring about Tyndale’s arrest. The arrest has traditionally been given as being in May but for an argument that it was actually on 24th April see Paul Arblaster in Arblaster, P. et al eds. Tyndale’s Testament (Turnhout, Belgium : Brepols 2002) pp.176/177.
[12]Letter from Thomas Poyntz to John Poyntz August 1535 British Library Cott. Galba, B. x. 60. Facsimile and transcription in Kingdon between pp. 14 and 17.
[13]Whether these connections were direct to the Council and Court, or whether indirect, is uncertain. There are difficulties here because of the confusion which has arisen between this John Poyntz and another of the same name from Alderley in Gloucestershire whose family were very close to the Court. Contrary to what is sometimes stated, there does not appear to be any evidence that John of Ockendon ever served at Court.
[14]Letter from John Poyntz to Thomas Cromwell PRO SP1/196/208. Facsimile and transcription in Kingdon between pages 14 and 17.
[15]In so far as they are known the details of these diplomatic negotiations, based on Foxe and some surviving correspondence, are outlined in the various biographies of Tyndale, for example Mozley p. 311ff.
[16]Demaus, R. William Tyndale : A Biography (1871). Demaus has a transcription of the relevant document. Letter from General State Archives, Brussels, of 18.09.2002 confirmed the above and dated it as no later than 30.09.1536. Poyntz is described as ‘a prisoner accused of Lutheranism’.
[17]See note 20.
[18]Thomas Poyntz to Thomas Cromwell PRO SP1/156/105. The letter is undated but in PRO and L&P it is placed at the end of December amongst other undated papers.
[19]L&P XIV (Part 2) 308.
[20]Letter from Thomas Poyntz to Henry VIII 1541 PRO SP1/101/231. There is a facsimile in Kingdon facing p.22. The letter is undated but the content suggests a date in 1541, although in PRO and L&P it is placed amongst papers of 1536.
[21]Neither the English House nor the parishes of Antwerp kept baptism registers at this period by which the ages of the four children could be verified.
[22]Radford, G.A. Deus Nobiscum: A History of Burton Upon Trent Grammar School (1973) p.10 discusses the reason for the boy being sent to Burton and suggests that there could have been a friendship between Poyntz and somebody from Burton in the drapery trade. There is also a discussion pp.11-13 regarding the influence of Erasmus and the ‘New Learning’ on the founders of the school and a reference p.22 to the first recorded Schoolmaster having been imprisoned for religious views (although this identification does not seem certain). Perhaps the link between Poyntz and Burton had a religious basis. A possibility is that George Constantine was the link. It seems likely that Constantine’s family roots were in the Shropshire / Staffordshire border area. From a case recorded in the Register of the Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield in 1528 it is clear that he had been in that Diocese (Staffordshire Archives Lichfield B/A/1/14i Folios 51 & 52), possibly as Vicar of Sedgley (PRO E36/171 p.52). See Brown, A.J. Robert Ferrar: Yorkshire Monk, Reformation Bishop, and Martyr in Wales (London : Inscriptor Imprints 1997) Appendix 4 p.260 for a useful review of Constantine’s earlier years. Unfortunately there are no archives of the school from this period.
[23]Luders, A. et al Ed. Statutes of the Realm (London 1810-1828) Vol. 3 Ch. 25 Henry VIII 1541.
[24]Nicholas Wotton and Edward Carne to the Council December 1544 PRO SP1/ 195/197. That autumn 1543 was the latest date for the return of Poyntz to Antwerp is suggested by a reference in Wotton’s letter to efforts of Sir Francis Bryan to resolve the issue. Bryan ceased to be ambassador in December 1543.
[25]See Note 31.
[26]That some money may have been loaned to help Thomas at this time is suggested in the will of Robert Tempest written in 1550/51 in which he instructed that a bequest to Anna Poyntz was to be paid without any deduction of the money he had loaned her for her husband. Although no date is given for this loan it seems likely that Robert had given assistance towards extricating Thomas Poyntz from his dilemma despite the earlier problems between them over the removal of Fernando from school at Burton. PROB 11/34 Quire 30 pp.228-229.
[27]Nicholas Wotton to the Council April 1545 PRO SP1/200/30.
[28]See Note 31.
[29]See Note 26. It is interesting to note that the eldest son, Gabriel, is not mentioned in this will, neither was he mentioned in the letter of Thomas Poyntz to Henry VIII in 1541. This may indicate either that he was with his father in England or that he had been put into the care of somebody other than his parents.
[30]For example, Sir William Petre was Secretary of the Council and Nicholas Wotton was now back in England and a member of the Council. The Letters Patent were issued in the weeks between the trial and execution of the Duke of Somerset.
[31]Letters Patent of Edward VI Calendar Patent Rolls IV p.49.There is a full transcription in Kingdon p. 23 (PRO C66/835-841).
[32]Grocers’ Company Wardens’ Accounts GL MS 11571 Volume 5.
[33]This misunderstanding can be traced back to Demaus p.451. It was developed by Kingdon pp.22-24 and then followed by Mozley p.319 and other more recent biographers.
[34]Will of John Poyntz dated 30.05.1547 Prerogative Court of Canterbury PROB 11 / 31 (1546/7) 39 p.309.
[35]See Note 14.
[36]Will of Anne Poyntz dated 16/05/54 Prerogative Court of Canterbury PROB 11 / 37 (1554-6) 2.
[37]Knighton, C.S. Ed. Calendar of State Papers Domestic (London 1998) Item 20 (PRO SP11/1/15).
[38]Grocers’ Company Wardens’ Accounts GL MS 11571 Volume 5.
[39]See Note 4.
[40]PRO E115/305/65.
[41]PRO C1/1391/20. Jane Warren claimed that Thomas Poyntz had illegally entered into land of which she was the lawful tenant, had dispossessed her of her dwelling, and had taken deeds belonging to her. The one surviving document is that in which she put her case.
[42]Bishop of London’s Registers GL MS 09531 Vol. 12 Pt. 2 and Vol. 13 Pt. 1.
[43]Register of Saint Dunstan in the West GL MS 10342-5 records 5 May 1562 Thomas Poynes gent buried’; Churchwardens’ Accounts GL MS2968/1 records receipt of the burial fee and states that he died at the house of ‘Mr Sponge’; there was no will and administration was granted to Gabriel Poyntz in the Consistory Court of London 06/06/1562 (Metropolitan Archives).
Saint Dunstan’s was the church in which Tyndale is said to have preached in 1524 (see note 9). It may also have been the burial place of Anne Poyntz, Thomas’ sister in law (see Kingdon p.8; and Churchwardens’ accounts for 1554). This church was pulled down and replaced by the present building in 1830 as part of the scheme to widen Fleet Street.
It is strange that the memorial at North Ockendon states that Thomas Poyntz ‘sleeps ... in this chapel’. It may be that the memorial was not complete when Gabriel died and that the inscription was written or finalised by somebody else who made an assumption about the burial. The memorial was erected over forty years after Thomas’ death.
[44]Although the troubles of Thomas Poyntz clearly date from his support of Tyndale n 1535 there also seem to be hints in several of the documents quoted above that he may have been involved in wider activity of a religious nature but this can only be speculative unless further evidence is found.

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