Critical Apparatus for this Page
Commentary on the TextCommentary on the Woodcuts
Names and Places on this Page
Unavailable for this Edition
983 [983]

K. Henry. 8. The burning of William Swetyng, and James Brewster, Martyrs.

being called by the name of father Robert, and was brēt in Buckyngham, 

Commentary  *  Close

This must be Robert Cosin, of Little Missenden, who is recorded on TNA C 85/115/10 as being condemned to death for heresy. Foxe will laterdescribe the execution of Thomas Man, but he says nothing about the executionsof William Scrivener or Nicholas Collins.

pag. 917. Of this Robert Cosine, I finde in the Registers of Lincolne, 
Commentary  *  Close

This is Foxe's most explicit reference to drawing on a court book (now missing) for Lollards persecuted by William Smith, the bishop of Lincoln.

MarginaliaThe teaching and doctrine of Rob. Cosyn.that he with Thomas Man had instructed and persuaded one Ioanne Normā about Amershā, not to go on pilgrymage, nor to worship any images of sainctes. Also when she had bowed a peece of siluer to a saincte for þe health of her childe, they dissuaded her from the same: And that she needed not confesse her to a Priest, but to be sufficient to lift vp her handes to heauen. MarginaliaA perilous heresie.Moreouer they were charged by þe Byshop, for teaching þe sayd Ioanne þt she might as well drinke vpon the Sonday before Masse, as any other day. &c. Ex Regist. Ioan. Longland. And thus you see the doctrine of these good men, for the whiche they were in those dayes abiured, and condemned to death.

[Back to Top]
¶ William Swetyng, aliâs Clerke, Martyr.

MarginaliaW. Swetyng, Martyr.
Ex Regist. Rich. Fitziames. pag. lx.
WIlliam Swetyng, 

Commentary  *  Close

Andrew Hope, 'The lady and the bailiff: Lollardy among the gentry in Yorkist and Tudor England' in Lollardy and the gentry in the later Middle Ages, ed. Margaret Aston and Colin Richmond (Stroud, 1997), pp. 250-277, provides a definitive study of Sweeting and his background.

otherwise called Clerke, 
Commentary  *  Close

William Sweeting acquired the alias of 'Clerk' because he was a water clerk at the parish church at Boxted for seven years.

firste dwelt with the Lady Percy at Dalyngton, in þe coūtie of Northampton for a certeine space, and from thence went to Boxstede in the countie of Essex, where he was þe holy water Clerke þe space of vij. yeares: after that was Bayliffe & Fermer to Maistres Margery Wode þe terme of xiij. yeares. 
Commentary  *  Close

Lady Margery Wood was the wife of Sir John Wood, speaker of of Edward IV's last Parliament and Richard III's first treasurer. Sweeting was bailiff of Lady Margery's manor of Rivers Hall at Boxted. (See Andrew Hope, 'The lady and the bailiff: Lollardy among the gentry in Yorkist and Tudor England' in Lollardy and the gentry in the later Middle Ages, ed. Margaret Aston and Colin Richmond (Stroud, 1997), p. 256.

[Back to Top]
From Boxstede he departed and came to the town of S. Osithe, where he serued the MarginaliaGeorge Laund Prior of S. Osite, abiured.Priour of S. Sythes named George Launde, the space of xvi. yeares and more. Where he had so turned the Priour by his persuasiōs, that the said Priour of S. Osithe was afterward compelled to abiure. Thus William Swetyng commyng vp to London with the foresayd Priour, for suspicion of heresie was committed to the Lollardes tower vnder the custody of Charles Ioseph. 
Commentary  *  Close

Charles Joseph would later become infamous as the gaoler and suspected murderer of Richard Hunne.

And there beyng abiured in the Churche of S. Paule, was enioyned to beare his fagot at Paules Crosse & at Colchester. And afterwarde to weare a fagot vppon his coate all his lyfe. Whiche he did ij. yeares together vpon his left sleue, til at length the person of Colchester required him to helpe in the seruice of the Church, & so pluckt the badge from hys sleue: 
Commentary  *  Close

This was a badge that some people convicted of heresy were compelled to wear identifying them as penitents convicted of heresy; removing it was an offence in itself.

and there he remained ij. yeares being þe holy water Clerke. From thence afterward departed, and traueling abroad came to Rederith 
Commentary  *  Close

This is actually Rotherhithe.

in the dioces of Winchester, where he was holy water clerke the space of a yeare: then went to Chelsith, where he was their neathearde 
Commentary  *  Close

I.e., a cowherd.

& kept þe towne beastes. In the whiche towne vpon S. Annes day 
Commentary  *  Close

I.e., 26 July. Sweeting and Brewster were both arrested when various Lollards, informed on them under questioning; see Andrew Hope, 'The lady and the bailiff: Lollardy among the gentry in Yorkist and Tudor England' in Lollardy and the gentry in the later Middle Ages, ed. Margaret Aston and Colin Richmond (Stroud, 1997), p. 265. Archbishop Ussher's notes of these interrogations, the originals of which no longer survive, are in Trinity College, Dublin, MS 775, fo. 124r.

[Back to Top]
in the mornyng, as hee went forth with his beastes to the fielde the good man was apprehended and brought before the Byshop, and his chaumber searched for bookes. This was. an. 1511.

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaCrimes obiected.The crimes wherupon he was examined were these.

MarginaliaThe Gospell of S. Mathewe.Fyrst for hauing conference with one Williā Man of Boxstede, in a booke, which was called Mathewe. 

Commentary  *  Close

I.e., they discussed the gospel of Matthew.

Item, that he had familiaritie, and frequented much the cōpanie of Iames Brewster, who had bene before abiured.

MarginaliaAgaynst pilgrimage.Item, that when his wife would go on pilgrymage, he asked of her, what good should shee receaue by her goyng on pilgrimage, adding moreouer, that, as he supposed, it was to no purpose, nor profite, but rather it were better for her to kepe at home, and to attende to her busines.

MarginaliaAgaynste transubstātiation.Item, that he had learned, and receaued of William Man, that the Sacrament of the Priestes aultar was not the present verie bodie, but bread, in substaunce, receaued in memoriall of Christ.

Item, that he had propounded, and affyrmed the same doctrine to Iames Brewster.

MarginaliaAgaynst Images.Item, because he had reprehended his wife for worshipping the Jmages in the church, & for setting vp candels before thē.

And thus haue you all the causes and crimes layde agaynst this William Swetyng, wherfore he was condemned. Who then beyng asked what cause he had, why hee should not be iudged for relapse, sayd he had nothyng els, but onely that he committed hym selfe to the mercy of almightie God.

¶ Iames Brewster, Martyr.

MarginaliaIames Brewster of Colchester, Martyr.WIth William Swetyng also the same tyme was examined and condemned Iames Brewster, of the Parish of S. Nicholas in Colchester. This Iames Brewster was a Carpentar, dwellyng x. yeres in the towne of Col-chester, who beyng vnlettered could neither read nor write, and was apprehended vpon the day of S. Iames, 

Commentary  *  Close

I.e., 25 July.

in one Walkers house in S. Clementes Parishe.

[Back to Top]

About vi. yeares before, whiche was. an. 1505. he had bene abiured by William Warrham Archbishop of Canterbury, 

Commentary  *  Close

Sweeting and Brewster had both abjured at Paul's Cross on 15 March 1505 (The Great Chronicle of London, ed. A. H. Thomas and I. D. Thornley [London, 1938], p. 331).

the sea of London beyng then vacant. And after other penaunce done at Colchester, was enioyned to weare a fagot vpon hys vpper garment duryng his life. Which badge hee did beare vpon his left shoulder nere the space of ij. yeares, till the Controller of the Earle of Oxford, plucket it away, because he was labouryng in the woorkes of the Earle.

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaCrimes obiected against Brewster.The crimes wherupon he was examined, and whiche hee confessed were these 

Commentary  *  Close

The original records have not survived, but Archbishop Ussher's notes, taken from them, partially corroborate Foxe's version (Trinity College, Dublin, MS 775, fo. 123v.

: first that hee had bene v. tymes with William Swetyng in þe fieldes kepyng beastes, hearyng hym read many good thyngs out of a certeine booke. At which readyng also were present at one tyme, Wodroffe or Wodbynde, a nette maker, with his wife: also a brother in law of William Swetyng: and an other time Thomas Goodrede, who heard lykewise the sayd Swetyng read.

[Back to Top]

Item, because he vsed the companie and conferēce of Henry Hert 

Commentary  *  Close

This might be the same Henry Hart who was a leader of the 'Freewillers' in the 1550s. This point is discussed in Patrick Collinson, 'Nightschools, conventicles and churches: continuities and discontinuities in early Protestant ecclesiology' in The Beginnings of English Protestantism, ed. Peter Marshall and Alec Ryrie (Cambridge, 2002), p. 227, n.81.

[Back to Top]
Carpentar of Westmynster, and wrought with him in his science at Westminster.

Item, for hauing a certaine litle booke of Scripture in Englishe of an old writyng almost worne for age, whose name is not there expressed.

Item, because he hearing vpon a time, one Maister Bardfield 

Commentary  *  Close

John Bardfield was elected as one of the two bailiffs of Colchester (the highest municipal office in the city) in 1505. (See Andrew Hope, 'The lady and the bailiff: Lollardy among the gentry in Yorkist and Tudor England' in Lollardy and the gentry in the later Middle Ages, ed. Margaret Aston and Colin Richmond [Stroud, 1997], pp. 261-64).

[Back to Top]
of Colchester thus say: that hee that will not worship the Maozim 
Commentary  *  Close

Maozim, or 'the god of fortresses' appears in Daniel 11:38. The term is being used here to designate an idol.

in heart and thought, shall dye in sight, hee asked afterward of William Man, what that word Maozim should meane: MarginaliaMaozim in the xj. chapter of Daniell is an iddle: & signifieth as much as fortes or munitions.who tolde him that it signified as much, as the masing God, to wytte, the Sacrament of the aultar.

[Back to Top]

Itē, that he had much cōference with Henry Hert 

Commentary  *  Close

This might be the same Henry Hart who was a leader of the 'Freewillers' in the 1550s. This point is discussed in Patrick Collinson, 'Nightschools, conventicles and churches: continuities and discontinuities in early Protestant ecclesiology' in The Beginnings of English Protestantism, ed. Peter Marshall and Alec Ryrie (Cambridge, 2002), p. 227, n.81.

[Back to Top]
against oblations and Jmages, and that it was better bestowed money, which was geuen to the poore, then that was offered in pilgrimage.

Item, for that he had communication and conference with Roger Heliar, & one Walker a thicker of S. Clementes, concerning diuers suche matters of pilgrimage, offering to Jmages, worshipping of Sainctes, and the Sacrament of the aultar.

Item, when Thomas Goodrede, William Swetyng, and he in the fieldes keping beastes were talking together of the Sacrament of the Lordes bodie, and like matters, this Iames Brewster should thus say: Now the sonne of the lyuing God helpe vs. Vnto whom William Swetyng agayne should aunswere: Now almightie God so do.

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaA perilous heresie.
Ex Regist. Lond.

¶ Iames Brewster, Martyr.
woodcut [View a larger version]
Commentary on the Woodcuts  *  Close
William Sweeting (alias Clerke) was brought to London to be examined with George Laund, prior of St Osyth's near Colchester. He abjured and did penance in Colchester. In 1511 he came again to the attention of the authorities, was brought before the bishop and his belongings searched for heretical literature. He was eventually condemned. Brewster was a carpenter in the parish of St Nicholas in Colchester. He could neither read nor write but he had already come to the attention of the authorities previously, in 1505. When rearrested it emerged that Brewster had been listening to readings given by Sweeting in the fields and that he shared his doctrinal views. The two men were executed together. Andrew Hope has shown the long association of the two men and the ways in which they were able to instruct and convert their social superiors and employers, including Geoge Laund, the Forge family, and Lady Jane Young: a revealing demonstration of how Lollard opinions could move up the social scale. CUL copy and WREN copy: they are dressed in white.

And thus haue you the causes lykewyse & crymes layd agaynste Iames Brewster, vppon whiche he with Williā Swetyng was together examined & condemned.

Then beyng asked, as the Romishe maner is, whe-

ther
Go To Modern Page No:  
Click on this link to switch between the Modern pagination for this edition and Foxe's original pagination when searching for a page number. Note that the pagination displayed in the transcription is the modern pagination with Foxe's original pagination in square brackets.
Find:
Type a keyword and then restrict it to a particular edition using the dropdown menu. You can search for single words or phrases. When searching for single words, the search engine automatically imposes a wildcard at the end of the keyword in order to retrieve both whole and part words. For example, a search for "queen" will retrieve "queen", "queene" and "queenes" etc.
in:  
Humanities Research Institute  *  HRI Online  *  Feedback
Version 2.0 © 2011 The University of Sheffield