Margaret Pierrone, a martyr of the sixteenth century, resided in the village of Cambray…
She was accused by a wicked female servant, to the Jesuits, because she had not been for many years at the mass, and had kept in her house a Bible, the reading of which was her whole delight. The magistrates being informed of it, caused her to be apprehended.
Being in prison the judges called her before them, and said, “Margaret, are you not willing to return home to your house, and there live with your husband and children?” “Yes,” said she, “if it may stand with the good will of God.” They added further, that they had so wrought with the Jesuits that in doing a small matter she might be set at liberty. “A scaffold shall be erected in the chief place of the city, upon which you are to present yourself, and there to crave pardon for offending the law. Then, a fire being kindled, you must cast your Bible therein to be consumed, without speaking any word at all.” “I pray you, my masters, tell me,” said Margaret, “is my Bible a good book or not?” “Yes, we confess it is good,” said they. “Well, If you allow it to be good,” replied the woman, “why would you have me cast it into the fire?”
“Only,” said they, “to keep the Jesuits content. Imagine it to be but paper that you burn, and then all is well enough. Do so much for saving your life, and we will meddle no more with you. You may obtain another whenever you will.” They spent about two hours in endeavoring to persuade her. “By the help of God,” answered Margaret, “I will never consent to do it. I will burn my body before I will burn my Bible.”
Unable to weaken her resolution, her enemies committed her a close prisoner, to be fed only with bread and water, and none to be permitted so much as to speak to her, thinking by this hard usage to overcome her: but all was to no purpose. A doctor of divinity was frequently sent to her to turn her from her resolution; but he found it too hard a task for him to effect, and often confessed to those who sent him, that he found in her no cause why they should put her to death.
On January 22, 1593, however, she was condemned to be brought upon a stage, erected in the market-place before the town-house, first to see her books burned, then herself to be strangled at a post, and her body dragged to the dunghill without the city. Coming to the place, she ascended the scaffold, and distinctly pronounced the Lord’s Prayer.
Then, seeing her books burned in her presence, she uttered these words, with an audible voice: “You burn there the word of God, which yourselves have acknowledged to be good and holy.” Having again repeated the Lord’s Prayer, she was immediately strangled.
Written by, J. Thornton