On this day in Tudor history, 1st September 1599, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, translator, bookseller and Puritan Dorcas Martin (née Eccleston), Lady Martin, died. She was buried at All Hallows, Tottenham.
Dorcas was married to Sir Richard Martin, Master of the Mint and Lord Mayor of London, and is known for her translations of prayers, psalms and catechisms.
Here are some facts about Lady Dorcas Martin:
- Dorcas was born in 1536/7 and is thought to have been the daughter of grocer John Eccleston of Cheapside and Tottenham, who was originally from Lancaster, and his wife, Margery.
- With her husband, Sir Richard Martin, Dorcas had six children, five of them sons.
- Her husband, Sir Richard Martin, was Lord Mayor of London in 1589 and 1594, and was knighted in 1589.
- In 1573, Dorcas was the bookseller for "A replye to An answere made of M. doctor Whitgifte", during the pulpit 'war' between Cartwright and John Whitgift.
- Dorcas translated a French text, "An Instruction for Christians", which was published in 1582 in "The Second Lampe" of Thomas Bentley's "Monument of Matrones", an anthology of women writers. Her translation included prayers, psalms and a catechism.
- In 1590, James Rowbotham dedicated his "The Perfect Pathway to Salavation" to Dorcas.
- In his book "A collection of curious and interesting epitaphs,copied from the existing monuments of distinguished and noted characters in the churches and churchyards of Hornsey, Tottenham, Edmonton, Enfield, Friern Barnet and Hadley, Middlesex", Frederick teague Cansick quotes her epitaph:
"Here lyeth interred the body of Dame DORCAS MARTIN The late Wife of Sir Richard Martin, Knight twise Lord Mayor of the Cittie of London The Davghter of Iohn Ecclestone of the Covntie of Lancastar gent who had Issve by the said Sir Rich Martin V sones, & one davght: and deceased Ovt of this mortall life the first day of Septemb : 1599".
- You can see a silver medal by sculptor Steven van Herwijckat showing a bust of Dorcas on one side and her husband on the other at https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/C_M-6869. It dates to 1562 and her age was given as 25.
Also on this day in Tudor history...
Notes and Sources
- Beilin, E. (2004, September 23). Martin [née Eccleston], Dorcas, Lady Martin (1536/7–1599), translator and bookseller. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 30 Aug. 2023, from https://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-46911.
- Cansick, F. T. (1875) Here lyeth Interred the body of Dame DORCAS Martin The late Wife of Sr Richard Martin, Knight twise Lord Mayor of the Cittie of London The Davghter of Iohn Ecclestone of ye Covntie of Lancastar gent who had Issve by the said Sr Rich Martin V sones, & one davght: and deceased Ovt of this mortall life ye first day of Septemb : 1599, p. 52, https://archive.org/details/collectionofcuri00lond/page/52/mode/2up
- "Dorcas Martin", Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorcas_Martin.