The trueth of the most wicked and secret murthering of Iohn Brewen, Goldsmith of London, committed by his owne wife, through the prouocation of one Iohn Parker whom she loued: for which fact she was burned, and he hanged in Smithfield, on wednes­day, the 28 of Iune, 1592. two yeares af­ter the murther was committed.


Imprinted at London for Iohn Kid, and are to be sold by Edward White, dwelling at the little North doore of Paules, at the signe of the Gun. 1592. ⟨Thō Kyde⟩

❧ The murder of Iohn Brewen Gold­smith of London, who through the entise­ment of Iohn Parker, was poysoned of his owne wife in eating a measse of Sugersops.

HOw hatefull a thing the sinne of murder hath béene before the sight of the eternall God, the holy Scriptures doe manifest, yet from the beginning we may euidently see how busie the diuell hath beene to pro­uoke men thereunto, in so much that when there was but two brethren liuing in the world, the onelye sonnes of the first man Adam; hée prouoked the one most vnnatu­rally to murther the other. And albeit there was none in the world to accuse Caine for so fowle a fact, so that in his owne con­ceit hee might haue walked securely and without blame, yet the blood of the iust Abel cried most shrill in the eares of the righteous God for vengeance & reuenge on the murderer. The Lord there­fore ordayned a Lawe that the cruel & vniust blood-sheader should haue his blood iustly shed again: of which law, although no man is ignorant, and that we sée it put in execution daylie before our eyes, yet doth the Diuell so worke in the hearts of a number, that with­out respect either of the feare of God, or extreame punishment in this world they doe notwithstanding committe most haynous and grieuous offences to the great hazard of their soules, and the de­structions of their bodies on earth, onely through Sathans sug­gestions, as by this example following may euidently be proued.

There was of late dwelling in London a proper yong woman named Anne Welles, which for her fauour and comely personage, as also in regard of her good behauiour and other commendable qualities, was beloued of diuers young men, especially of two Goldsmithes, which were Batchelers, of good friends, and well estéemed for fine workmanship in their trade: The one of them was called Iohn Brewen, and the other Iohn Parker, who although hee was better beloued, yet least deserued it (▪as the sequell hereafter will shewe) But as the truest louers are commonly least regarded, and the plaine meaning man most scorned of vn­discréet [Page 2] maidens, so came it to passe by Brewen, who notwithstan­ding his long and earnest suite, the gifts and fauours which she re­ceiued was still disdained and cast off, albeit he had the good will & fauour of al her friends & kinsfolk: but no man was so high in her books as Parker: he had her fauours whosoeuer had her frowns: he sate and smiled, when others sobbed, and tryumphant in the teares of the dispossessed. It came to passe that this nice maiden had vpon a promise betweene them, receaued of Brewen both golde and iew­els, which he willingly bestowed vpon her, estéeming her the mi­stris and commaundres of his life, but when he saw his suite despi­sed, and his good will nothing regarded, and séeing no hope of her good will and fauour, he determined, that séeing his suite tooke no effect, to demaund his golde and iewels againe. And vpon a time comming vnto her, requested that he might haue his gifts againe, to whom disdainfully she made answere that he should stay for it: and the young man hauing béen thus driuen off longer than hee thought good of, made no more adoe but arested her for the iewels.

The stout damsel that had neuer before béen in the like daun­ger, was so astonished & dismayed, that she concluded on condition he would let his Action fal, & not to think euer the worse of her af­terward, to marrie him by a certain day, & to make him her hushād: And this before good witnes she vowed to performe. Brewen was hereof very ioyfull and released his prisoner on his owne perill be­ing not a little glad of his good successe. And thereupon so soone as might be, made preparation for their mariage, albeit it proued the worst bargain that euer he made in his life. Now when Parker vn­derstoode of this thing, he was most grieuously vexed, and as one hauing déepe intrest to the possession of her person, stormed most outragiously, and with bitter spéeches so taunted and checkt her, that she repented the promised she made to Brewen, although she could not any way amend it, neuerthelesse it kindled such a hatred in her heart against her new made choyce, that at length it turned to Brewens death & destruction. And this accursed Parker although he was not as then in estate to marrie (notwithstanding he ere then had lien with her and gotten her with child) & would neuer let her rest, but continually vrged her to make him away by one meanes or other. Diuers and sundry times had they talke together of that matter, and although she often refused to work his death, yet at [Page 3] length the grace of GOD being taken from her, she consented by his direction to poyson Brewen: after which deede done Parker, promised to marrie her so soone as possibly he could.

Now she had not béen maried to Brewen aboue thrée dayes whē she put in practise to poyson him. And although the honest young man loued hir tenderly, yet had she conceiued such deadly hatred a­gainst him, that she lay not with him after the first night of her ma­riage, neither could she abide to be called after his name but still to be termed Anne Welles as she was before: And to excuse her from his bed, she sayd she had vowed neuer to lie by him more till he had gotten her a better house. And the more to shadow her trecherie & to shew the discontent she had of his dwelling she lodged neuer a night but the first in his house, but prouided her a lodging neere to the place where this graceles Parker dwelt. By this meanes the villaine had frée accesse to practise with her about the murther, who was so importunate and hastie to haue it done that the wednesday after she was married she wickedly went to effect it, euen accor­ding as Parker had before giuen direction: which was in this sorte. The varlet had bought a strong deadly poyson, whose working was to make spéedy haste to the heart without any swelling of the body or other signe of outward confection. This poyson the wic­ked woman secretly caried with her to her husbands house, with a mery pleasaunt countenance, and very kindly shee asked her hus­band how he did, giuing him the good morrow in most courteous manner, and asked if he would haue that colde morning, a measse of suger soppes, (for it was the wéeke before shrouetide) I mary with a good will wife (quoth he) and I take it verie kindly that you will doe so much for me, alas husband (quoth she) if I could not find in my heart to doe so small a matter for you (especially being so lately married) you might iustly iudge me vnkinde, And therwith­all went to make ready his last meat, the thing being done, shée powred out a measse for him, and strewed secretly therein part of the poyson, and hauing set the porringer downe beside her while she put the posnet on the fire againe, with her rising vp from the fire, her coat cast downe that measse which for her husband she had prepared, out alas quoth she, I haue spilt a measse of as good su­gar sops as euer I made in my life. Why, quoth her husband, is there no more? Yes, quoth she, that there is, two, as good as they [Page 4] or I will make them as good, but it gréenes me that any good thing should so vnluckily be cast away. What woman quoth he? vex not at the matter, your ill lucke goe with them: mary Amen, quoth she, speaking God knowes with a wicked thought, though the well meaning man thought on no euill.

But I pray you Iohn (said she) shall I intreate you to fetch mee a penny worth of red herrings, for I haue an earnest desire to eate some, that I will quoth he with a good will. This siy shift she de­uised to haue his absence, that she might the better performe hir wicked intent, and by the time he came againe she had made ready a messe of suger sops for him, one for her selfe, and another for a lit­tle boye which she brought with her, but her husbands she had poy­soned as before: when he was come, she gaue her husband his messe, and she and the childe fell also to eating of theirs. Within a pretty while after hee had eaten his, hee began to waxe very ill about the stomack, feeling also a grieuous griping of his inward partes, wherupon he tould his wife he felt himselfe not well, how so quoth she you were well before you went forth, were you not? yes indéed was I said he, then he demaunded if she were well, she answered I: so likewise said the childe. Ah quoth her husband, now I feele my selfe sicke at the very heart: and immediatlie after he began to vo­met exceedingly, with such straines as if his lungs would burst in péeces, then he requested her to haue him to bed, neuer mystrusting the trecherie wrought against him. Now when it drew somewhat late, she tould her husband she must néeds goe home to her lodging, and when he requested her to stay with him, she said she could not nor would not: And so vnnaturally left the poysoned man all alone that whole night longe, without either comfort or companie. All that night was he extreame sicke, worse and worse, neuer ceasing vomiting til his intrailes were all shrunke and broken within him (as is since supposed.) The next morning she came to him againe, hauing béen once or twice sent for, but made little semblance of for­row, and when he quibd her with vnkindnes, for not staying with him one night, she asked him if he would haue her forsworne, did I not quoth she sweare I would not stay in the house one night, till you had gotten another: well Anne quoth hee, stay with mee now, for I am not long to continue in this world, now God forbid quoth she) and with that she made a shewe of great heauines and sorrow, [Page 5] and then made him a caudle with suger and other spices, and so on the thursday, immediatly after he had eaten it he dyed, & on the Fri­day he was buried. No person as then suspecting any manner of e­uil done to him by his wife, but esteemed her a very honest woman, although through her youth, she knew not as then how to behaue herselfe to her husband so kindely as she ought, which they imputed to her ignorance, rather then to any mallice conceaued against her husband. Now you shall vnderstand that within a small space after her husband was dead, she was knowne with child, and safely deliuered: euery neighbour thinking it had béen her husbands, al­though she since confessed it was not, but that child liued not long but dyed.

The murder lying thus vnespyed, who was so lusty as Parker with the Widdow, being a continuall resorter to her house, whose welcome was answerable to his desier. And so bould in the end he grew with her, that she durst not denie him any thing he requested, and became so ielious, that had shée lookt but merely vpon a man, she should haue knowne the price thereof, and haue bought her me­rement déerely. And yet was he not married vnto her, yea to such slauerie and subiection did he bring her, that she must runne or goe wheresoeuer he pleased to appoint her, held hee vp but his finger at any time, if she denied him either money or whatsoeuer else he lifted to request, he would so haule and pull her, as was pittie to behold, yea and threaten to stabbe and thrust her through with his dagger, did she not as he would haue her in all things, so that he had her at commandement whensoeuer hée would, and yet could shée scant please him with her diligence. In this miserable case hée kept her vnmarried for the space of two yeares after her husband was dead, at length he got her with child againe, which when the woman knew, she was carefull for the sauing of her credit to kéepe it vn­spied so long as she could, in so much that she would not goe forth of her doores for feare her neighbours should perceaue her great bellie. In the meane space Parker comming vnto her, she was vp­on one day aboue the rest most earnest with him to marrie her. You sée (quoth shée) in what case I am, and if you wil not for your owne credit, yet for my credits sake marrie me, and suffer mée not to be a poynting marke for others, and a shame among my neigh­bours. The varlet hearing the great mone shee made vnto him [Page 6] was nothing moued therewith, but churlishly answered, shee should not appoint him when to marrie, but if I were so minded (quoth he) I would be twice aduised how I did wed with such a strumpet as thy selfe, and then reuiled her most shamefully: where­unto shée answered shée had neuer béen strumpet but for him, and wo worth thée (quoth she) that euer I knewe thée, it is thou and no man else that can triumph in my spoyle, and yet now thou resu­sest to make amends for thy fault: my loue to thée thou hast suffici­ently tried, although I neuer found any by thée. Out arrant queane (quoth he) thou wouldst marry me to the end thou mightest poyson me as thou didst thy husband, but for that cause I meane to kéepe me as long out of thy fingers as I can, and accurst be I if I trust thée or hazard my life in thy hands: why thou arrant beast (quoth shee) what did I then, which thou didst not prouoke me to doo, if my husband were poysoned, thou knowest (shameles as thou art) it had neuer béen done but for thée, thou gauest me the poyson, and after thy direction I did minister it vnto him, and woe is mée, it was for thy sake I did so cursed a déede. These spéeches thus spoken bet wéene them in vehemencie of spirite, was ouer heard of some that reuealed it to the maiestrates, whereupon the woman was carried before Alderman Haward to be examined, & the man before Iustice Younge, who stoode in the denial therof very stout­ly, neither would the woman confesse any thing, till in the ende shée was made to beléeue that Parker had bewrayed the matter, whereupon she cōfessed the fact in order, as I haue declared. Then was she carried into the countrey to be deliuered of her childe, and after brought back to prison. And then shée and Parker were both araigned and condemned for the murder at the sessions hall nere newgate, and the woman had iudgement to be burned in Smyth­field, and the man to bée hanged in the same place before her eyes. This was accordingly performed, and they were executed on we­densday last, being the 28. of Iune 1592. two yeares and a halfe after the murder was committed. The Lord giue all men grace by their example to shunne the hatefull sinne of murder, for be it kept neuer so close and done neuer so secret, yet at length the Lorde will bring it out, for bloud is an vnceassant crier in the eares of the Lord and he will not leaue so vilde a thing vnpunished.

⟨Tho. Kydde.⟩

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