Brice, Thomas (DNB00)

BRICE, THOMAS (d. 1570), martyrologist, was engaged early in Queen Mary's reign in bringing protestant books 'from Wesel into Kent and London. He was watched and dogged [by the government], but escaped several times' (Strype, Cranmer, 511). On 25 April 1560 he was ordained deacon, and on 4 June following priest, by Edmund Grindal, then bishop of London (Strype, Grindal, 58, 59). He was the author of 'A Compendious Register in Metre conteinyng the names and pacient suffrynges of the membres of Jesus Christ, afflicted, tormented, and cruelly burned here in Englande since the death of our late famous kyng of immortall memorie Edwarde the sixte, to the entrance and beginnyngn of the reigne of our soveraigne and derest Lady Elizabeth of England, France, and Ireland, quene defender of the Faithe, to whose highnes truly and properly apperteineth, next and immediately vnder God, the supreme power and authoritie of the Churches of Englande and Ireland. So be it. Anno 1559.' The dedication is addressed to the Marquis of Northampton. The 'Register of Martyrs' extends from 4 Feb. 1555 to 17 Nov. 1558, and consists of seventy-seven six-line doggerel stanzas. Foxe clearly found the 'Register' of use to him in the compilation of his 'Acts and Monuments.' A fine religious poem entitled 'The Wishes of the Wise,' in twenty verses of four lines each, concludes the work. The original edition was printed by Richard Adams, and he was fined by the Stationers' Company for producing it without license. Another surreptitious edition appears to have been issued about the same time, but of that no copy has survived. A second edition was 'newly imprinted at the earnest request of divers godly and well-disposed citizens' in 1597. Several extracts from the book appear in the Parker Society's 'Devotional Poetry of the Reign of Elizabeth' (161, 175), and the whole is reprinted in Arber's 'Garner,' iv. 143 et seq. Two other books are assigned to Brice in the Stationers' Registers, but nothing is now known of either of them. The first is 'The Courte of Venus moralized,' which Hugh Singleton received license to print about July 1567; the second is 'Songs and Sonnettes,' licensed to Henry Bynnemon in 1568. In 1570 John Allde had license to print 'An Epitaphe on Mr. Brice,' who may very probably be identified with the author of the 'Register.'

[Corser's Collectanea Anglo-Poetica (Chetham Soc.); Arber's Transcripts of the Stationers' Registers, i. 101, 343, 359.]

S. L. L.