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446 [422]

K. Edward. 3. The history of Iohn Wickliffe.

MarginaliaWickliffe depriued of hys benefice at Oxford by S. Sudbery. his benefice, which then he had in Oxford. 

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In 1376 Wiclif received the prebend of Caistor in Lincoln, but he was displaced by Philip Thornbury, the papal provisor in 1377. Wiclif's loss of this benefice appears to have been due to Thornbury having more influential supporters, not to Wiclif's religious beliefs. Foxe also fails to mention that Wiclif held the rectory of Lutterworth, Leicestershire, from 1374 until his death.

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Notwithstāding he beyng somewhat friended and supported by the kyng, as appeareth, MarginaliaEx Chro. D. Albani. continued and bare out the malice of the Friers, and of the Archb. all this while of his first beginnyng, till about the yeare of our Lord. 1377. MarginaliaDuke of Lancaster, & Lord H. Percy, great maintayners of I. Wickliffe. After which tyme now to prosecute likewyse of his troubles and conflict, first I must fetch about a little compasse, as requisite is, to inferre some mention of Iohn of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster the kinges sonne, and Lord Henry Percy, which were his special maiteyners.

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As yeares and tyme grew on, 

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The account of of the twelve lords and knights appointed to oversee Edward III's heir - the future Richard II - during his minority comes from the Chronicon Angliae, pp. 69-70.

kyng Edward the third, which had reigned now about 51. yeares, after the decease of prince Edward his sonne, who departed the yere before: was stroken in great age, 
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I.e., an ague or fever.

and in such feblenes withall, that he was vnweldy through lacke of strength to gouerne the affaires of the realme. Wherfore, a parliament beyng called the yere before hys death, it was there put vp by þe knyghts and other the burgesses of the Parliament (because of the misgouernment of the realme by certaine gredy persons about the kyng, rakyng all to themselues, without seyng any iustice done) that 12. sage and discrete Lordes and Pieres, such as were free frō note of all auarice, should be placed as tutors about the kyng, to haue the doyng & disposing vnder him (vj. at one tyme, & in their absēce vj. at an other) of matters pertinent to the publique regimēt. MarginaliaAlice Perris, the kings concubine 
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Foxe's account of Alice Perrers, Edward III's mistress, is taken from the Chronicon Angliae, pp. 98-99 and 143.

. The K. bewitched by a womā thorough the helpe of a Frier.
Here by the way I omit to speake of Alice Perrys the wicked harlotte, which (as the story geueth) had bewitched the kinges hart, & gouerned all & sate vpon causes her selfe thorough the diuelish helpe of a Frier Dominicke: who by the Duke of Lancaster was caused to be take, and was conuicted, and should haue suffred for the same, had not the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Friers (more regardyng the liberty of their Church, then the punishyng of vice) reclaymed hym for theyr owne prisoner. This Alyce Perrys, notwithstādyng she was banished by this Parliament from the kyng, yet afterward she came agayne, & left him not: MarginaliaThe propertie of an whore. till at his death she tooke all his ringes vpon his fingers and other iewels from him, and so fled away like an harlot. But this of her by the way.

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These 12. gouernours 

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The passage describing John of Gaunt dismissing the council of twelve is taken from the Chronicon Angliae, p. 103.

by the parliament aforesayd beyng appointed to haue the tuition of the kyng, and to Marginalia12. Gouernours assigned about the kyng. attēd to the publike affaires of the realme: remained for a certaine space about hym, till afterward it so fell out, that they beyng agayne remoued, all the regiment of the realme next vnder the kyng, was committed to the Duke of Lancaster the kings sonne. For as yet Richard the sonne of prince Edward lately departd, was very yong and vnder age.

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MarginaliaEx Chron. Monasterij Albani. This Duke of Lancaster had in his hart of long tyme conceyued a certayne displeasure agaynst the popish clergy: whether for corrupt and impure doctrine ioyned with like abhominable excesse of lyfe, or for what some other cause, it is not precisely expressed. Onely by story þe cause therof may be gessed to rise by William Wickham bishop of Winchester. 

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The account of William Wykeham's clash with John of Gaunt is taken from the Chronicon Angliae, pp. 106-7 and 114. Wykeham, who was the Lord Chancellor, was one of those seeking to dislodge John of Gaunt from power in the closing years of Edward III's reign.

The matter is this.

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The Bishop of Winchester (as the saying went then) was reported to affirme, that the foresayd Iohn of Gaunt duke of Lancaster, was not the sonne of king Edward nor of the Quene. MarginaliaA practise of the prelates agaynst the Duke of Lancaster. Who being in trauail at Gaunt, had no sonne (as he sayd) but a daughter: which the same tyme by lying vpon of the mother in the bed, was there smothered. Wherupon, the Quene fearyng the kinges displeasure, caused a certayne manchild of a woman of Flaunders (borne the very same tyme) to be conueyd and brought vnto her in stead of her daughter aforesayd. And so brought vp the child whō she bare not, who nowe is called Duke of Lancaster. And this (sayd the Bishop) did the Queene tell hym, lying in extremes on her deathbed vnder seale of confession: chargyng him if the said duke should euer aspire to get þe crown, or if the kingdome by any meanes should fall vnto hym, he then should manifest the same, and declare it to the world, that the said Duke of Lancaster was no part of the kinges bloud, but a false heyre of the kyng. This slaunderous report of the wicked bishop, 

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The story that Wykeham told tales that John of Gaunt was not really the son of Edward IIII is from Walsingham's Chronicon Angliae (p. 107), but the claim that Wykeham slandered Gaunt because of the duke's support for Wiclif is Foxe's invention and insertion.

as it sauoreth of a contumelious lie, so semeth it to procede of a subtile zeale toward the popes religion, meanyng falsehood. For that the foresayd duke by fauouring of Wickliffe, declared himselfe to be a professed enemy against the Popes profession. Which thing was then not vnknowen, neyther vnmarked of the Prelates and bishops then in England. But the sequele of the story thus followed.

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The slaunderous vilany of the Byshops reporte being blased abroad, and comming to the Dukes eare: hee therewith being not a litle discōtēted (as no maruel was) sought agayne by what meanes he could, to be reuenged of thys forenamed Byshop. In conclusion, the Duke hauing now all the gouernment of the realme vnder the king his father, in his owne hand: MarginaliaW. Wikham B. of Wint. depriued. so pursued the bishop of Winchester, that by acte of parlyament he was condemned and depryued of al his temporall goods, which goods were assigned to prince Richard of Burdeux, the next inheritour of the crown after the king, and furthermore, inhibyted the sayd byshop not to approch nere the court by xx. myles. Further as touching this byshop, the story thus proceedeth. Not long after in þe yeare of our Lord. 1377. a Parliament was called by the meanes of the Duke of Lancaster, vpon certayne causes & respectes: in which parliament great request, and sute was made by the clergy, for the deliuerance of the bishop of Winchester. At length when a subsidie was asked in the kings name of the clergy, & request also made in the kings behalfe for spedy expedition to be made for þe dissoluyng of the Parliamēt: The Archb. therfore accordingly, conuented þe Bishops for þe tractatiō therof. To whō the B. with great lamentation cōplained for lack of their felow & brother B. of Wint. Whose iniury said they, did derogate to the liberties of the whole church: MarginaliaByshops holde together.
Liberties of the Church a great matter.
And therfore denied to ioyne thēselues in tractation of any such matters, before all the members together were vnited with the head: And (seyng the matter touched them altogether in commō, as wel him as thē) would not otherwise do. And semed moreouer to be moued against þe archb. for that he was not more stout in the cause, but suffered hym so to be cited of the Duke.

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MarginaliaB. of Wint. sent for to the conuocation. The Archb. although hauyng sufficient cause to excuse himselfe, wherfore not to send for hym (as also he dyd) because of the perils which might ensue therof: yet beyng enforced and persuaded therunto, by the importunitie of the bishops, directed downe his letters to the foresayd Bishop of Winchester, willyng hym to resort vnto the conuocation of the Clergy. Who beyng glad to obey the same, was receiued with great ioy of þe other bishops. And at lēgth by þe means of Alice Perris, the kings paramour, aboue mētioned (geuyng to her a good quantitie of money) the sayd Winchester was restored to his temporalities agayne.

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MarginaliaI. Wickliffe sent for by the Duke of Lancaster. As the Bishops had 

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This summary of Wiclif's opinions is taken from the Chronicon Angliae, pp. 115-16.

thus sent for Winchester, þe duke in the meane tyme had sent for Iohn Wickliffe: who as is sayd, was then the diuinitie reader in Oxford, and had commenced in sondry actes and disputations, contrary to the forme and teachyng of the Popes church in many thinges: who also for the same had bene depriued of his benefice, as hath bene afore touched. The opinions which he began in Oxford, first in his lectures, and sermons to entreat of, and wherfore he was depriued were these. That the Pope had no more power, to excommunicate any man, then hath an other. That if it be geuen by any person to the Pope to excōmunicate, yet to absolue the same is as much in the power of an other priest, as in his. He affirmed moreouer, that neither the king nor any temporall Lord could geue any perpetuitie to the church, or to any ecclesiasticall person: for that when such ecclesiasticall do sinne, habitualiter, continuyng in the same still, the tēemporall powers ought and may meritoriously, take away from them, that before hath bene bestowed vpon them. MarginaliaExample of W. Rufus And that he proued, to haue bene practised before here in Englād by William Rufus. Which thing (sayd he) if he did lawfully, why may not the same also be practised now? if he did it vnlawfully, then doth the church erre (saith he) and doth vnlawfully in praying for him. But of his assertions more shall follow (Christ willyng) hereafter. The story which ascribeth to hym these assertions beyng taken out (as I take it) of the monastery of S. Albās, addeth withall: MarginaliaEx histo. Monasterij D. Albani. that in his teachyng and preaching he was very eloquent, but a dissembler (sayth he) and an hyprocrite. Why he surmiseth hym to be an hypocrite, the cause was this:

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First, because he resorted much to the orders of the beggyng Friers, frequentyng and extolling the perfection of their pouertie.

Secondly, because he and his fellowes vsually accustomed in their preaching to go barefoote, and in simple russet gownes.

By this I suppose, may sufficiently appeare to the indifferent, the nature and condition of Wickliffe, how farre it was from þt ambition & pride, MarginaliaThe slaunderous penne of Polydore. which in slaūderous pen of Polidore Vergil, reporting in his xix. booke of him, þt because he was not preferred to higher honours and dignities of the Church (conceauing therfore indignation against the clergie) became their mortall enemie. MarginaliaWickliffe falsly charged with ambition by Polydore. How true thys was, he onely knoweth best, and rightly shall iudge both the one and the other.

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In the meane time, by other circumstaūcies & partes of hys life, we may also partly cōiecture what is to be thought of þt mā. But how soeuer it was in him either true or false: yet it had bene Polidors part, either not so intemperately to haue abused his pen, or at least to haue shewed some grea-

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