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455 [431]

K. Richard. 2. The history of Iohn Wickliffe.

sayd prouince, generally, commōly, and publikely, do preach the same, infecting very many good Christiās, causing them lamentably to wander out of the way, and from the catholicke Church, without which there is no saluation. We therfore considering, that so pernicious a mischief which may creepe amongest many, we ought not to suffer and by dissimulation to passe ouer, which may with deadly contagion slea the soules of men, least their bloud be required at our handes: are willing so much as God will permit vs to do, to extirpate the same. Wherfore, by the counsayle and consent of many of our brethren and Suffraganes, we haue conuented diuers and sundry Doctours of Diuinitie, as also professours and other Clerkes of the Canon and Ciuil lawes, the best learned within the Realme, and of the most soundest opiniō and iudgemēt in the Catholicke fayth, to geue their opinions and iudgementes concerning the foresayd conclusions. MarginaliaHad ye tryed them by the truth, you should haue found them otherwyse. But for as much as the sayd conclusions and assertiōs, beyng in the presence of vs, and our fellow brethren and other conuocates, openly expoūded, and diligently examined and in the end found by common counsaile and consent, as well of thē as of vs, and so declared that some of those conclusions were hereticall, and some of them erroneus and repugnaūt to the determination of the Church, as here vnder are described: We will and commaund your brotherhode, & by vertue of holy obedience strayghtly enioyne, all and singular our brethren and Suffraganes of our body and Church of Canterbury that with all spedy diligence you possible can, you likewise enioyne them (as we haue enioyned you) and euery of them. And that euery of thē in their Churches and other places of their Citie and Dioces, do admonish and warne, and that you in your Church and other Churches of your citie and dioces, do admonish and warne, as we by the tenour of these presentes, do admonishe and warne the first tyme, the second tyme, and the thyrd tyme: and yet more straightly do warne, assignyng for the first admonition one day, for the second admonition an other day, and for the third admonition canonicall and peremptorie, an other day: That no man from hence forth of what estate or condition soeuer, do hold, preach or defend the foresayd heresies and errours or any of them: nor that he admitte to preach any one that is prohibited or not sent to preach, nor that he heare or harkē to the heresies or errours of him or any of them, or that he fauour or leane vnto him other publiquely, or priuely: But that immediatly he shonne him as he would auoyde a Serpent puttyng forth most pestiferous poyson, vnder paine of the greater curse, MarginaliaBruta Fulmina. the which we cōmaunde to be thūdered agaynst all & euery one which shal be disobedient in this behalfe, & not regardyng these our monitiōs, after that those three dayes be past which are assigned for the canonical monitiō, and that their delay, fault or offence, committed require the same: That thē according to the tenour of these writynges, we commaund both by euery one of our felow brethrē and our suffraganes in their Cities and Dioces, and by you in your Citie and Dioces (so much as belūgeth both to you and them) that to the vttermost, both ye and they cause the same excommunications to be pronounced. And furthermore we will and commaunde our foresayd fellow brethren, and all and singular of you a part by your selues, to be admonished, and by the aspersion of the bloud of Iesus Christ we likewise admonishe you: MarginaliaHe that killeth you, shal thinke they doth God good seruice. that accordyng to the institution of the sacred Canons, euery one of them in their Cities and Dioces, be a diligent inquisitour of this hereticall prauitie, and that euery one of you also in your Cities and Dioces, be the like inquisitour of the foresayd heretical prauitie: And that of such like presumptions they and you carefully and diligētly inquire, and that both they and you (accordyng to your duties and office in this behalfe) with effect do procede agaynst the same, to the honour and prayse of his name that was crucified, MarginaliaYea rather for the honor of your pope, and destruction of Christian fayth. and for the preseruation of the Christian fayth and Religion.

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Here it is not to be passed ouer, the great miracle of Gods diuine admonition or warnyng: for when as the Archbyshop and suffraganes, with the other Doctours of Diuinitie, and lawyers with a great company of bablyng Friers, & religious persons were gathered together to cōsult, as touchyng Iohn Wickleffes bookes, and that whole sect: When as they were gathered together at the Gray Friers in Lōdon, to begyn their busines, vpon S. Dunstons day after dinner, about two of the clocke the very houre and instaunt that they should go forward with their busines: MarginaliaAn earthquake what tyme Wicliffe was examined.
Ex chron. mō. Albanensis.
a wonderfull and terrible earthquake fell, through out all England: wherupon, diuers of the suffraganes beyng feared, by the straunge and wonderfull demonstration, doubtyng what it should mean, thought it good to leaue of from their deter minate purpose. But the Archbyshop (as chiefe captayne of that army, more rashe and bolde then wyse) interpreting the chaunce which had happened, cleane contrary to another meaning or purpose, did confirme and strengthen their hartes & mindes, which were almost daunted with feare, stoutly to proceede, and go forward in their attēpted enterprise. Who then discoursing Wickliffes articles, not accordyng vnto the sacred Canons of the holy Scripture, but vnto their owne priuate affections and traditions, pronoūced and gaue sentence, MarginaliaDetermination vpon the articles of Wicliffe. that some of them were simply and playnely hereticall, other some halfe erroneous, others irreligious, some seditious, and not consonant to the Church of Rome.

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This brief description of the examinations of Rygge and Brightwell is taken from Archbishop Courtenay's register (Lambeth Palace Library, Courtenay Register, fo. 26v).

Item, the xij. day of Iune, in the yeare aforesayd, in the chaumber of the Friers preachers: the foresayd M. Robet Rigges Chauncelor of the vniuersitie of Oxford, & Thomas Brightwell professours of diuinitie, beyng appoynted the same day and place, by the foresayd reuerend father in God Archbyshop of Canterbury: appeared before hym, in the presence of the reuerend father in God, Lord William by the grace of God Byshop of Winchester, and diuers others doctours and Bachelers of Diuinitie and of the Canon and ciuill law, whose names are before recited. And first the sayd Chauncelor by the said Lord Archb. of Cant. beyng examined what hys opinion was touching the foresayd articles: Publiquely affirmed and declared, that certayne of those conclusions were hereticall, and certayne erronious, as the other doctours and clerkes afore mentioned haue declared: And then immediatly next after him, þe foresayd Thomas Brightwel was examined, which vpō some of the conclusions at first somewhat staggered, but in þe ende beyng by the sayd Lord Archbyshop, diligently examined vpon þe same, did affirme and repute the same to be hereticall and erronious, as the foresayd Chauncelour had done. An other Bacheler of Diuinitie also there was named N. stāmering also at some of those cōclusions, in the end affirmed that hys opinion therein was, as was the iudgemēt of the foresayd Chauncelour and Thomas as is aboue declared. Wherupon, the sayd Lord Archb. of Cant. wylling to let and hinder the perill of such heresies and errours: Deliuered vnto the foresayd Chauncelour there beyng publiquely read hys letters pattents, to be executed, the tenour whereof in these wordes doth folow.

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MarginaliaA letter of the Archb. of Cant.to the Chauncelor of Oxford WIlliam by the grace of God Archb. of Cant. 

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This letter is taken from Archbishop Courtenay's register (Lambeth Palace Library, Courtenay Register, fos. 26v-27r).

primate of all England, and Legate of the Apostolicall see: To our welbeloued sonne in Christ the Chauncelor of the vniuersitie of Oxford, within the dioces of Lincolne, greetyng, grace, and benediction. The prelates of the Church, about the Lordes flocke committed to their chardge, ought so much to be more vigilant as that they see the Wolfe clothed in shepes attire fraudulently go about to worow and scatter the sheepe. Doubtles, the common fame and brute is come vnto our eares. &c. Vt in mandato præcedenti. We wyll therfore and commaund, straightly enioyning you, that in the Church of our blessed Lady in Oxforde, vpon those dayes the which accustomably the sermon is made, as also in the schooles of the sayde vniuersitie vpon those dayes the Lectures be read, ye publish & cause by others to be published to the clergie and people, as wel in their vulgare tounge, as in the Latine toung, manifestly and plainly without any curious implicatiō the same heretical & erronious cōclusions, so repugnaunt to the determinatiō of holy Church, as is aforesayd: to haue bene and be condemned, and which conclusions also we declare by these our letters to be vtterly condemned: And that farthermore you forbyd, and canonically admonishe, and cause to be admonished, as we by the tenour of these presentes do forbyd and admonishe you, once, twise, and thrise, and that peremptorily: that none hereafter holde, teach, preach, or defend the heresies and errours abouesayde, or any of them either in schoole or out of schoole by any sophisticall cauillation or therwise: or that any admit to preach, heare, or harken vnto Iohn Wickliffe, Nicholas Hereford, Philip Reppindon chanon reguler, or Iohn Ashton or Laurence Readman, 
Commentary  *  Close

The man's name was Lawrence Bedeman; 'Readman' is a typographical error.

which he vehemently and notoriously suspected of heresie, or els any other whatsoeuer, so suspected or defamed: or that eyther priuely or publiquely, they eyther ayde or fauour them or any of them, but that incontinently they shun and auoyde the same as a serpent which putteth forth most pestiferous poyson. And farthermore, we suspend the sayd suspected persons from all scholasticall act till such tyme as they shall purge themselues before vs in that behalf, and that you denouce the same publiquely by vs to haue bene & be suspended, & that ye diligently and faythfully inquire,

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