John Penry

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Penry, John (1563–93). Puritan writer. A de facto clergyman though never taking holy orders, and regarded by some as pioneering Welsh nonconformity, Penry's concern about the lack of preaching ministers in his native Wales so displeased Archbishop Whitgift that he was briefly imprisoned and the offending Treatise seized (1587). As his attacks on the established church coincided with appearance of the Marprelate tracts, he was ineluctably drawn into the controversy; friendship with Udall and Job Throckmorton, and close association with Robert Waldegrave's secret printing press, made him a prime suspect for ‘Martin Marprelate’, though he was merely sympathetic collaborator and co-ordinator rather than author. He fled to Edinburgh (1589) but returned to London in 1592, allying himself to Henry Barrow and the separatists, only to be captured the following March and imprisoned. Despite slender evidence when tried at the Queen's Bench, he was indicted, convicted, and hanged.

A. S. Hargreaves