Penry (or Penri or Ap Henry), John
Penry (Or Penri Or Ap Henry), John a Puritan divine, better known under the names of Martin MarPrelate and Martin Priest, was a native of Wales, and was born in 1559. He was educated at Peter House, Cambridge, whence he removed to Oxford, where he took his degree of master, and then entered into holy orders. In the controversy between the Puritans and the hierarchy he waged a fierce war against the Establishment, and was accused and condemned for holding seditious opinions and libelling the queen (Elizabeth). He was executed like a felon in 1593, leaving a widow with four young children to bemoan their loss. He was charged with the authorship of the Mar-Prelate Tracts, but he disapproved of the project, and their spirit and their style are so unlike his that his apologists deny his having had anything to do with them. During his trial he advocated the principles which he believed necessary for adoption by the English Church, viz. (1) that the Church as an institution of Christianity should be governed only by the laws of its divine founder; (2) that the offices derived from the Romish hierarchy were unscriptural and antichristian. There is little doubt that Penry's conscientious hostility to prelacy and Church authority made him obnoxious to the ruling party, and brought him to a premature and violent death. He seems to have had less of that spirit of rancor and insubordination than the majority of his co-thinkers. Especially in his last moments did the spirit of the man rise to the solemn circumstances of his fate, and he died, if not precisely for the cause, yet with much of the devoted spirit of a martyr. See Waddington, John Penry, the Pilgrim Martyr (Lond. 1854, 8vo); Stoughton, Spiritual Heroes, p. 52 sq.; Coleman, The English Confessors after the Ref. p. 117 sq., 297 sq.; Price, Hist. of Nonconformity, vol. i; Soames, Elizabethan Religious Iistory, p. 427 sq.; Collier, Eccles. Hist.; Neal, Hist. of the Puritans; (Lond.) Gentleman's Magazine, 1854, 1:511; Bacon, Genesis of the New England Churches; and the article as well as the references in Allibone, Dict, of Brit. and Amer. Auth. ii, s.v.