Alice Driver (1528-1558)
The memorial in Christchurch Park to the nine Ipswich martyrs, unveiled in 1903, was erected by public subscription in response to a series of local newspaper articles by Nina Layard. (also featured in the trail).
The martyrs died during Queen Mary Tudor's purge of Protestants. 3 of these were women. Agnes Potten and Joan Trunchfield, two young mothers, were burned at the stake on Ipswich Cornhill accused of bringing food to the jailed Presbyterian rector Robert Samuel. Apprehended they spent 51/2 months in prison and were reported to meet their deaths with peace and fortitude. The husband of JoanTrunchfield, a shoemaker, was also condemned.
The third female martyr Alice Driver of Grundisburgh was arrested for helping the fugitive Alexander Gooch, a weaver from Woodbridge. Her ears were cut off when she likened Queen Mary to Jezebel. Alice is reported to have shown more spirit and wit than weakness during her trial and displayed great wisdom in challenging her accusers. Aged only thirty, Alice was chained by the neck on the pyre before burning. Her last recorded words were 'here is a goodly neckerchief, blessed be God for it'.
Alice Driver was executed just 10 days before the death of Queen Mary and the ensuing changes in religious tolerance.