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The Tudor Society

Coventry Martyrs Robert Glover and Cornelius Bungey

The Coventry Martyrs' Monument

On 19th September 1555, the Protestant martyrs, Robert Glover and Cornelius Bungey (Bongey), who are two of the twelve Coventry Martyrs, were burned at the stake at a site in Little Park Street, Coventry.

Martyrologist John Foxe gives the date of their burnings as "about the 20th day" in his 1563 Acts and Monuments, but fellow martyrologist the Reverend Thomas Brice gives the date as the 19th in his A Compendious Regester of 1559 and Foxe actually used Brice's Regester as a source. Brice's work, which can be found in Volume IV of Edward Arber's An English Garner is a register of those martyred between 4th February 1555 and 17th November 1558. The names and locations of those martyred are recorded in six-line doggerel stanzas with the date in the margin. Of Glover and Bungey, Brice simply writes:

"September 19 When GLOVER and CORNELIUS
Were fiercely brent at Coventry;"

Robert Glover was born in Mancetter, Warwickshire, and was the son of John Glover of Baxterley, Warwickshire. He is recorded as having attended Eton College in E.S. Creasy's 19th-century book Memoirs of Eminent Etonians: With Notices of the Early History of Eton College and he was admitted to King's College, Cambridge, in 1533. According to the Cambridge Alumni Database, he earned his BA in 1537/8, his Masters in 1541 and was a fellow until 1543. He married a niece of Hugh Latimer, Bishop of Worcester. His life was cut short on 19th September 1555 when he was burned at the stake in Coventry for heresy.

You can read Robert Glover's story in John Foxe's THE ACTS AND MONUMENTS OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH which can be read online at http://www.exclassics.com/foxe/foxe314.htm but here is Foxe's account of Glover's martyrdom

"The next day, when the time came of his martyrdom, as he was going to the place, and was now come to the sight of the stake, although all the night before praying for strength and courage he could feel none, suddenly he was so mightily replenished with God's holy comfort and heavenly joys, that he cried out, clapping his hands to Austen [a minister and friend], and saying in these words, "Austen, he is come, he is come," &c., and that with such joy and alacrity, as one seeming rather to be risen from some deadly danger to liberty of life, than as one passing out of the world by any pains of death. Such was the change of the marvellous working of the Lord's hand upon that good man."

And here is the inscription from a monument in Mancetter Church to Robert Glover's memory, which is quoted by Foxe:

"TO THE SACRED MEMORY
OF
ROBERT GLOVER.
Martyr:

A Gentleman whose Family, for more than a CENTURY, resided in the manor-house of MANCETTER, and possessed extensive property in this Parish. But, above all, this pious Family were rich in Grace, and in the Knowledge and Love of CHRIST; and were well known for their devotedness to the PROTESTANT FAITH, when nothing awaited the profession of it but bonds, imprisonment, and death. What Persecutions befell his Brothers John and William, cannot be here recorded, ROBERT alone was called to endure the Sufferings and to receive the Crown of MARTYRDOM; and was burnt at COVENTRY A. D. 1555. For some days before his execution, this faithful witness for CHRIST was in great heaviness, fearing that the LORD had forsaken him; but the Promise, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee," was so fulfilled to him, that, as he drew near to the stake, he was on a sudden so mightily replenished with holy comfort and heavenly joy, that, clapping his hands, he exclaimed to a Christian Friend, "HE IS COME -- HE IS COME," whose coming gave him "the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness."

"THE NOBLE ARMY OF MARTYRS PRAISE THEE.
THOU ART THE KING OF GLORY, O CHRIST."

Glover's fellow Coventry Martyr was Cornelius Bungey, who Foxe described as "a capper [hatmaker] of Coventry". Like Glover, he was condemned by the Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, of heresy. Foxe wrote of Bungey's martyrdom, gving details of the "articles" that he'd objected to when questioned by the bishop. Foxe then recorded:

" Upon these articles and his answers to the same, the said Radulph the bishop read the sentence, and so committed him also, after condemnation of Master Robert Glover, to the secular power.

Thus this foresaid Cornelius, falsely condemned by the bishop before mentioned, suffered at the same stake with the Christian martyr Master Robert Glover at Coventry, about the twentieth day of September."

You can read about the articles that Bungey objected to in Foxe's book at http://www.exclassics.com/foxe/foxe315.htm.

Glover, Bungey and the ten other Coventry Martyrs are remembered by a granite monument in the form of a Celtic wheelhead cross which can be found on the island above the Coventry Ring Road, at the junction of New Union Street and Quinton Road.

Notes and Sources

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Coventry Martyrs Robert Glover and Cornelius Bungey