Martyrdom in Piedmont and Provence in the sixteenth

In the
English and Scottish Reformations the Inquisition never gained a foothold,
and although hundreds suffered by hanging and burning at the stake ( in
Scotland the occasional drowning) the methodology of ecclesiastical murder was
far greater in Europe, and quite extraordinarily inventive, cruel
and sadistic. The methods are such that they can only have been conceived
by very sick minds.

The following extract from The History of Protestantism by
Rev J A Wylie, (1889) vol ii p 452-3, quotes the historians Leger and

These are only a few
of the many martyrs by whom, even during this period of comparative peace
and prosperity, the Church of the Valleys was called to testify against
Rome. Many of these martyrs perished by cruel, barbarous, and most
horrible methods.

 ‘To recite all
these cases would be beyond our purpose, and to depict the revolting and
infamous details would be to narrate what no reader could peruse. We shall
only quote part of the brief summary of Huston.

” There is no town in
Piedmont,” says he, “under a Vaudois pastor, where some of our brethren
have not been put to death . . , . Hugo Chiamps of Finestrelle had his
entrails torn from his living body, at Turin. Peter Geymarali of Bobbio,
in like manner, had his entrails taken out at Luzerna, and a fierce
cat thrust in their place to torture him further; Maria Romano was buried
alive at Roccopatia; Magdalen Foul also underwent the same fate at San
Giovanni; Susan Michelini was bound hand and foot, and left to perish of
cold and hunger at Saracena. Bartholomew Fache, gashed with sabres, had
the wounds filled up with quicklime, and perished thus in agony at Fenile;
Daniel Michelini had his tongue torn out at Bobbio for having praised God.
James Baridari perished covered with sulphurous matches, which had been
forced into his flesh under the nails, between the fingers, in the
nostrils, in the lips, and over all his body, and then lighted. Daniel
Revelli had his mouth filled with gun­powder, which, being lighted, blew
his head to pieces. Maria Monnen, taken at Liousa, had the flesh cut from
her cheek and chin bones, so that her jaw was left bare, and she was thus
left to perish. Paul Gamier was slowly sliced to pieces at Rora. Thomas
Margueti was mutilated in an indescribable manner at Miraboco, and Susan
Jaquin cut in bits at La Torre. Sara Rostagnol was slit open from the legs
to the bosom, and so left to perish on the road between Eyral and Luzerna.
Anne Charbonnier was impaled and carried thus on a pike, as a standard,
from San Giovanni to La Torre. Daniel Rambaud, at Paesano, had his nails
torn off, then his fingers chopped off, then his feet and his hands, then
his arms and his legs, with each successive refusal on his part to abjure
the Gospel.

“‘ Thus the roll of
martyrs runs on, and with each new sufferer comes a new, a more
excruciating and more horrible mode of torture and death.”