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626 [570]

Actes and Monumentes of the Churche.
¶ The Story of one Collins burned at London.

IN this yeare also there was one Collins a gentleman burned at London. 

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The evidence would point to Collins being burned in July 1540 (A chronicle of England during the reigns of the Tudors, ed. W. D. Hamilton. Camden Society, new series 11 and 20 [2 vols., London, 1875 and 1877], I, p. 119).

The cause of his death was this. This gentleman 
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There are several conflicting accounts of why William Collins was executed. Writing in 1529, Thomas More claimed that 'mad Collins…lasheth out Scripture in bedlam' (Dialogue Concerning Heresies, ed. Thomas Lawler, Germain Marc'hadour and Richard Marius, CWTM, 6 [2 vols., New Haven, CT, 1981], I, p. 433). This suggests at the very least that Collins's mental instability and engagement with evangelicalism were of longer duration than Foxe implies. Collins, however, was almost certainly in prison when More wrote. Later William Collins wrote to Sir Nicholas Hare and declared that he had been in prison for thirteen years, although he had never been convicted or charged with a crime. He denied that he was insane, thanked Hare for trying to free him and begged him to show the letter to the king (TNA SP 1/242, fo. 229r). Probably around the same time, Collins wrote to Cromwell, begging that he be released from the Marshalsea (TNA SP 1/144, fos. 154r-155r). These petitions must have been successful, because William Collins was a free man in 1536, when he was hauled before the Common Council and charged with shooting an arrow at the rood in St Margaret Pattens and for despising and railing against the sacraments (Corporation of London Record Office, Journal 13, fo. 476r). Richard Hilles, a London merchant and evangelical, reported to Heinrich Bullinger that sometime after 16 May (Whitsuntide) 1540 a 'crazed man' named Collins was burned and that his offence was purportedly shooting an arrow at a crucifix, declaring that the cross should be able to defend itself. (Hilles did not doubt that Collins committed this action, but his suspicion was that Hilles's real crime was denouncing certain nobles for exploiting their dependents). Hilles also reported that Collins seemed perfectly rational when he was imprisoned with the sacramentarian John Lambert and that he supplied Lambert with texts to use in his defence (Original Letters Relative to the English Reformation, ed. Hastings Robinson, Parker Society [2 vols., Cambridge, 1846-7], I, pp. 200-201). Finally Charles Wriothesley noted Collins, a 'sacramentary', was burned at Southwark on 7 July 1540 (A chronicle of England during the reigns of the Tudors, ed. W. D. Hamilton. Camden Society, new series 11 and 20 [2 vols., London, 1875 and 1877], I, p. 119).

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had a wife of exceading beautye and comelinesse, but notwithstanding of so lyghte behauior and vnchast manners not correspondent to the grace of her beauty.

This vnchast woman forsaking her husbād which loued her entirely, betoke her selfe vnto another peramoure. Whiche thinge when he vnderstode, he tooke it verye greuouslye and heauilye, more then reason woulde. At the last beinge ouercome with extreame doloure and heauinesse, he fell madde being at that tyme a studient of the law in London. When he was thus rauished of his wittes, by chaunce he came into a church where a priest was sayinge masse, and was come to that place where they vse to holde vp and shewe the Sacrament. Collins beynge beside his wyttes seynge the priest hold vp the host ouer his head, and shew it to the people, he in like manner counterfaytinge the priest, taking vp a litle dogge by the legges, holdinge him ouer his heade, shewed him vnto the people. For the which matter he was by & by brought vnto examination, and condempned to the fire and was burned & the Dogge with him in this yeare of oure Lorde 1538. 

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The evidence would point to Collins being burned in July 1540 (A chronicle of England during the reigns of the Tudors, ed. W. D. Hamilton. Camden Society, new series 11 and 20 [2 vols., London, 1875 and 1877], I, p. 119).

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¶ The storye of Leyton and Puttedwe.

THe great 

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and almooste infynite nombre of moost holy martirs, the varietye of matter, and the great celerity vsed in wrytinge of this story is such, that we can not vse such exact diligence in perusinge them all, or haue so perfecte memorye in keping the order of yeres, but that somtime we shal some what the more swarue or go a stray: where by it hath happened that this man William Leyton, as it were lying hidden amongst þe greate multitude of others had almost eskaped oure hands, whom notwithstanding that we haue somewhat passed his time, yet do we not think mete to omit or leaue out of this Cataloge or historye.

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This manne was a monke 

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This account simply repeats what Foxe said about Leiton in the Rerum (p. 165). Foxe apparently learned nothing new about this obscure individual.

of Aye in the county of Suffolke, and was burned at Norwich, for speakinge againste a certaine Idoll, which was accustomed to be caried aboute in the processions at Aye, and also for affyrming bothe kindes in the Sacramente. Thys was done in the yeare of our Lord 1537 
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In the 1570 edition, Foxe removed the date of 1537 that he had given for the execution and grouped this execution with others in 1538.

. Here alsowe may annexe a certaine man named Puttedwe, which comming into a church, and merily taunting a priest, that after he had dronke vp al the wine alone, he blessed the hongry people with the emptye chalice, he was therfore condempned and burned.

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¶ The history of one Cowbridge burned at Oxeforde in the yeare of our Lord. 1539 
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In the Rerum, Foxe gave the date of Cowbridge's burning as 1536 (Rerum, p. 129); in 1563, he gave it as 1539. Harpsfield criticised Foxe for giving the incorrect dates and accurately observed that Cowbridge was burned in 1538 (Dialogi sex, p. 855). It appears from a letter that Bishop John Longland wrote to Thomas Cromwell that William Cowbridge was burned at Oxford after - probably shortly after - 22 July 1538 (L&P 13 (1), pp. 529-30).

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.

Marginalia1539.THe frutefull sede of the gospell at this time hadde taken suche rote in England, that nowe it begā manifestly to spring and shew it self in all places and al sorts of people, as it may apere in this good man Cowbridge, who comminge of a good stocke and familye, whose ancestors euen from Wickleffes time hetherto had ben alwaies fauorers of the Gospell, and addict to the setting forth therof in the Englishe tonge, was borne at Colchester, his fathers name being William Cowbridge a welthy man & hed baily of Colchester, and of great estimation 

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William Cowbridge's father was named Robert, not William, but he had indeed been twice elected bailiff of Colchester (this was the city's highest municipal office) and he died in 1510 (Andrew Hope, 'Lollardy: the stone the builders rejected?' in Protestantism and the National Church in the Sixteenth-Century England, ed.Peter Lake and Maria Dowling. (Beckenham, Kent, 1987), pp. 5-6). Margaret Cowbridge, William's mother, was charged with heresy on 15 July 1528 and purged herself on 17 July (BL, Harley MS 421, fo. 30v. Purging oneself was a means of gaining acquittal by having people of good status and reputation swear on oath to one's innocence of the charges). The fact that Margaret Cowbridge could provide such witnesses so quickly is an indication of her own status.

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. This man at his decease lefte vnto his sonne great substaunce and possessions, which he afterward abandoning and distributynge vnto his sisters and kindred, he him self went about the countries, sometime sekinge after learned men, and sometimes according to his hability, instructing the ignoraunt. Thus he continued a certain space vntil such time as he came to a towne in barkeshire named Wantage, wheras after he had by a longe season exercised the office of a priest in teaching and ministring of the sacramentes, but being no preist in deede 
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There is a letter written in 1536, from a man named Cowbridge, complaining that a cathedral chapter was applying money he had donated for the celebration of masses for other purposes (L&P 10, pp. 522-23). The editors of the L&P ascribed this letter to William Cowbridge, but this doubtful. Given Cowbridge's theological views, it is highly unlikely that he would have purchased masses.

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, and had conuerted manye vnto the truthe, he was at the last apprehended and taken as suspecte of heresye, and caried to a place besides Wickam to the bishop of Lincolne to be examined, by whome he was sent to Oxenforde, and there cast in the prison called Bocardo. At that time doctor Smith and doctor Cotes gouerned the deuinitye scholes, who together with other deuines and doctors seemed not in this poynt to shew the duety whiche the mooste meke Apostle requireth in deuines towarde suche as are fallen into anye error or lacke instruction or learning. For admit, that he dyd not vnderstand or see so much in the doctryne and controuersies of deuinitye as the learned deuines did. Yet Paule wryting vnto the Romains MarginaliaRom. 14. and in other places also saithe, that the weake are to be receiued into the faithe, and not to the determinations of disputations, but thimbecillity of the weake is to be born of thē that are stronger &c. MarginaliaRom. 15. Galla. 6.And in an other place, we vnderstand the spirte of lenity and gentlenes to be requisite in such as are spirituall whyche shal haue to do with the weake flock of Christ.

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