Agnes Prest, a Cornish woman, was taken by her husband and neighbours to the local priest and she was imprisoned in Launceston, before being transferred to Exeter. She was charged with the crime of “Heresy chiefly against the Sacrament of the Altar and for speaking against Idols” and ordered to give up her beliefs. She refused to recant and on 15th August 1557 she was taken to Southernhay and burnt at the stake.
A monument to her, and Thomas Bennet martyred in 1531, was designed by Harry Hems of Longbrook Street and erected on the corner of Barnfield Road and Denmark Road in 1909 as the result of a public subscription. Two bronze panels on the sides of the obelisk show Benet banging on the door of the Cathedral and Prest at the stake in Southernhay. Another two plaques on the monument state:
“IN GRATEFUL REMEMBRANCE OF THOMAS BENET, M.A. WHO SUFFERED AT LIVERY DOLE, A.D. 1531, FOR DENYING THE SUPREMACY OF THE POPE, AND OF AGNES PREST WHO SUFFERED ON SOUTHERNHAY A.D. 1557, FOR REFUSING TO ACCEPT THE DOCTRINE OF TRANSUBSTANTIATION. ‘FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH.’ ”