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466 [442]

K. Richard. 2. The history of Iohn Wickliffe and his fellowes.

IT was demaunded, whether the kingdome of England, may lawfully in case of necessitie, for his owne defence, deteyne and keepe backe the treasure of the kyngdome, that it be not caryed away to foreine and straūge nations, the pope hymselfe demaundyng and requiryng the same vnder payne of censure, and by vertue of obedience.

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Wickleffe setting a part the myndes of learned mē, what might be sayd in the matter, either by the canon law, or by the law of Englād or the ciuill law, it resteth (sayth he) now onely to perswade and proue, the affirmatiue part of this doubt, by the principles of Christes law. And first I proue it thus, Euery naturall body hath power geuen of God to resiste agaynst his contrarye, and to preserue it selfe in due estate, as the Philosophers knew very well.

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In somuch, that bodyes without lyfe, are endued with such kynde of power (as it is euident) vnto whom hardnes is geuen to resiste those thynges that would breake it, and coldnes to withstād the heate that dissolueth it. For somuch then, as the kyngdome of England (after the maner and phrase of the Scriptures) ought to be one body: & the Clergy with the commonaltie, the members therof, it semeth that the same kyngdome hath such power geuē him of God, and somuch the more apparaunt: by how much the same body is more precious vnto God, adorned with vertue and knowledge. For somuch then as there is no power geuen of God vnto any creature: for any end or purpose, but that he may lawfully vse the same to that end and purpose: It followeth, that our kyngdome may lawfully keepe backe and deteyne their treasure, for the defence of it selfe, in what case so euer necessitie do require the same.

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MarginaliaThe Popes riches is but the almes of good men. Secondarely, the same is proued by the law of the Gospell. For the pope cānot chalenge the treasure of this kingdome, but vnder the title of almes, and consequently vnder the pretence of the workes of mercy, accordyng to the rule of charitie.

But in case aforesayd, the title of almes ought vtterly to cease, Ergo, the right and title of chalengyng the treasure of our Realme, shall cease also in the presupposed necessitie. MarginaliaNecessitie taketh away the popes almes. For somuch as all charitie hath his begynnyng of himselfe, it were no worke of charitie, but of meere madnes, to send away the treasures of the realme vnto forreine natiōs, wherby the Realme it self may fall into ruine, vnder the pretēce of such charitie.

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It appeareth also by this, that Christ the head of the Church, whom all Christen Priests ought to follow: liued by the almes of deuoute women. Luke. vij. viij. He hungred and thyrsted, he was a straunger, and many other miseries he sustained, not onely in his members, but also in his owne body, as the Aspostle witnesseth. Cor. viij. He was made poore for your sakes, that through his pouertie, you might be rich: wherby, in the first endowyng of the Church, what soeuer he were of the Clergy that had any temporall possessions, he had the same by forme of a perpetuall almes, as both writynges and Chronocles do witnesse.

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Wherupon S. Bernard 

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I.e., St. Bernard of Clairvaux in his De consideratione, which was written to Pope Eugenius III.

, declaryng in his ij. booke to Eugenius, that he could not chalenge any secular dominion by right of successiō, as beyng the vicare of S. Peter, writeth thus: MarginaliaNote well the saying here of Bernard. that if S. Iohn should speake vnto the pope him selfe, as Bernard doth vnto Eugenius, were it to be thought that he would take it paciently? But let it be so, that you do chalenge it vnto you, by some other wayes or meanes: but truely by any right or title Apostolicall, you cā not so do. For how coulde he geue vnto you that, which he had not himselfe? That which he had he gaue you, that is to say, care ouer the church, but did he geue you any lordships or rule? Harke what he saith: Not bearing rule (saith he) as Lordes in the Clergy, but behauyng your selues as examples to the flocke. And because thou shalt not thinke it to be spoken onely in humilitie, and not in veritie, marke the word of the Lord himselfe in the Gospell. MarginaliaThe pope must leaue his lordship or els Apostleship, let hym chuse whether. The kynges of the people do rule ouer them, but you shall not do so.

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Here Lordshyp & dominion, is playnly forbidden to to the Apostles: and darest thou then vsurpe the same? If thou wilt be a Lord, thou shalt lose thyne Apostleshyp, or if thou wilt be an Apostle, thou shalt lose thy Lordshyp. For truely thou shalt depart from the one of them. If thou wilt haue both, thou shalt lose both, or els thinke thy selfe to be of that number, of whom God doth so greatly complayne, saying: They haue raigned, but not thtough me. They are become Princes, & I haue not knowen it. Now if it do suffice thee to rule with the Lord, thou hast thy glory, but not with God. MarginaliaThe maner of the Apostles. But if we will keepe that which is forbidden vs, let vs heare what is sayd: he that is the greatest amongest you (sayth Christ) shalbe made as the least, and he which is the highest, shalbe as the minister: and for example, set a child in the middest of them. So this then is the true forme and in stitution of the Apostles trade. MarginaliaHow the pope ought to occupy the Church goods. Lordshyp and rule is forbidden, ministration and seruice cōmaunded. By these wordes of this blessed man whō the whole Church doth reuerence and worshyp, it doth appeare that the Pope hath not power to occupy the Church goodes as Lord therof, but as minister, and seruaunt, and proctour for the poore. And would to God that the same proude and gredy desire of rule & Lordship, which this seate doth chalenge vnto it, be not a preamble to prepare a way vnto Antichrist. MarginaliaThe way to obtayne the kyngdome of Christ. For it is euident by þe Gospel, that Christ through his pouertie, humilitie, & suffering of iniury, got vnto hym the children of his kyngdome.

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And moreouer, so farre as I remember, the same blessed man Bernard in his iij. booke writeth also thus vnto Eugenius: I feare no other greater poyson to happen vnto thee, then gredy desire of rule and dominion.

This Wickleffe albeit in his lyfe tyme, had many greuous enemyes, yet was there none so cruel vnto him, as the Clergy it selfe. Yet notwithstandyng, he had many good frendes, men not onely of the base and meanest sorte, but also of nobilitie 

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Wiclif's supporters

In the Commentarii, Foxe related that Wiclif had a number of supporters among the upper classes. These included six knights: John Clanvow, Lewis Clifford, Richard Stury, Thomas Latimer and William Neville, as well as John Montague, later the earl of Salisbury. Wiclif was also supported by the mayor of London, John Northampton, who was zealous in his prosecution of offenders against public morals. (See Commentarii, fos. 37v-38r). This material was reprinted without change in the Rerum (p. 18) and it was translated faithfully in the first edition of the Acts and Monuments. Foxe's source for these passages was the version of Thomas Walsingham's Chronica Maiora found in College of Arms MS Arundel 7. In the 1570 edition, Foxe added to this narrative by drawing on another version of Walsingham's Chronica Majora, this time in BL MS Harley 3634, for an account of the earl of Salisbury doing penance and for further details of Northampton's crack-down on vice. In the Rerum, Foxe also printed two documents, both drawn from the 1558 edition of Hus' writings which Matthias Flacius edited. These were a testimony putatively from Oxford University, attesting to Wiclif's learning and good character (Rerum, p. 24) and Hus's defence of Wiclif (Rerum, pp. 24-25). These documents were translated and reprinted in each edition of the Acts and Monuments.

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Foxe's purpose in printing this material was twofold. The first was to demonstrate that Wiclif's followers were drawn from the elite and were not seditious rabble as Catholic polemicists charged. The second was to burnish Wiclif's reputation by demonstrating that his contemporaries and even the great (in Protestant eyes) Jan Hus admired and supported him.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

, amōgest whom these mē are to be numbred 
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Foxe drew the names of these influential supporters of Lollardy from College of Arms MS Arundel 7, which was a version of Thomas of Walsingham's Chronica Majora. (See Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, Rolls Series 28, 2 vols [London, 1863-4], II, pp. 65, 216 and 244). These figures were - with the exception of Montagu - knights, not nobles, but they were all figures of importance at the court of Richard II. They were also a remarkably cohesive group, appearing in the records as co-feoffees, fellow executors and in other associations. As for their Lollardy, it appears to have covered a spectrum of belief. Beyond his association with the others, there is no evidence supporting Walsingham's accusations against Stury. The evidence about Montagu's religious beliefs is contradictory, but contrary to Walsingham, he travelled with a portable altar and attended Mass daily. Lollard sentiments have been read into a religious treatise written by John Clanvow. Lewis Clifford was a close associate of John of Gaunt, so Clifford's unquestioned interventions on behalf of Wiclif may have been politically motivated. But Lewis was an executor of Thomas Latimer's outspokenly heretical will and Clifford chose as his executors Sir John Oldcastle and two other suspected Lollards. William Neville intervened on behalf of Wiclif's follower Nicholas Hereford when he was arrested. Thomas Latimer was a known protector of several Lollards and owned religiously suspect books.

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: MarginaliaI. Clenbon, Lewes Clifford, Rich. Sturius. Tho Latimer. W. Nouell, I. Moūtegue. The earle of Salisbury. Iohn Clēbon, Lewes Clifford, Richard Sturius, Thomas Latimer, William Neuell, Iohn Mountegew, who plucked downe all the images in his Church 
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Foxe is confused here. Sir John Montagu was the earl of Salisbury in question; he inherited the title in 1397. Foxe added the account of Montagu's contempt for the sacrament to the 1570 edition; he obtained it from another version of Thomas Walsingham's Chronica Majora, BL Harley MS 3634. (See Chronicon Angliae, ed. E. M. Thompson, Rolls Series 64 [London, 1874], p. 283).

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. Besides all these, there was the Earle of Salisbury, who for cōtempt in him noted towardes the Sacrament, in carying it home to his house: MarginaliaThe penance of the earle of Salisbury. was enioyned by Radulph Ergom Byshop of Salisbury, to make in Salisbury a crosse of stone, in which all the story of the matter should be written, and he euery Friday during his life to come to the crosse barefoote and barehead in his shyrt, & there knelyng vpon his knees: to do pennaunce for his fact. Ex Chron. Mon. D. Albani in vita. Ric. 2.

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The Londiners at this tyme somewhat boldly trustyng to the Maiors authoritie, who for that yeare was Iohn of Northampton: Tooke vpō them the office of the Bishops, in punishyng the vices (belongyng to Ciuill law) of such persons as they had found and apprehended in committyng both fornication and adultery 

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Foxe added the details of Northampton's activities as mayor to the 1570 edition, he drew them from BL Harley MS 3634, see Chronicon Angliae, ed. E. M. Thompson, Rolls Series 64 [London, 1874], pp. 349-52 and 377.

. For first they put the womē in the prison which amongest them then was named Doliū. And lastly bringing them into the market place, where euery mā might behold them, & cuttyng of their golden lockes from their heades: they caused them to be caryed about the streetes, with bagpypes and trumpets blowen before them, to the intent they should be the better knowne and their cōpanyes auoyded: accordyng to the maner then of certaine theeues that were named Appellatores, (accusers or pechers of others þt were giltles) which were so serued. And with other such lyke opprobrious and reprochfull contumelies did they serue the men also that were taken with them in committyng the forenamed wickednes and vices. MarginaliaThe fruites of good and true doctrine. Here the story recordeth how the sayd Londiners were incouraged hereunto by Iohn Wickleffe and others that folowed his doctrine to perpetrat this act, in the reproch of the Prelates beyng of the Clergy. For they sayd, that they dyd not somuch abhorre to see the great negligēce of those to whom that charge belonged, but also their filthy auarice they dyd asmuch detest: which for gredynes of money were choked with bribes and winkyng at the penalties due to such persons by the lawes appointed, suffered such fornicatours and incestuous persons fouorably to continue in their wickednes. They sayd furthermore, that they greatly feared, least for such wickednes perpetrated within the Citie and so apparantly dissimuled: that God would take vengeaunce vpō them and destroy their Citie. Wherfore they sayd, that they could do no lesse then to purge the same: least by the sufferaunce therof, God would bryng a plague vpon them 
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Foxe means a literal plague; when this passage was written, London was suffering from an epidemic.

, or destroy them with the sword, or cause the earth to swallow vp both them and theyr sayd Citie. Hæc ex Chron. Mon. D. Albani. MarginaliaEx chron Monast. D. Albani. ¶ This story (gentle Reader) albeit the author therof whom I folow, do geue it out in reprochfull wise, to the great discōmendation of the Londiners for so doyng. Yet I thought not to omitte, but to commit the same to memory, which seemeth to me rather to tend vnto þe worthy commēdation both of the Lōdiners that so did: and to the necessary example of all other Cities to folow the same. After these thynges thus declared, let vs now adioyne the testimoniall of the Vniuersitie of Oxford, of Iohn Wickleffe.

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¶ The publike testimonie geuen out by the Vniuersitie of Oxford, touchyng the commendation of the great learnyng and good life of Iohn Wickleffe 
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This document, dated in 1406, is not from Oxford University and it was written by followers of Wiclif. The interesting question is whether it was composed by English or Bohemian admirers of Wiclif. Although the document's Oxford provenance is spurious, Foxe printed it in good faith. He copied the document from Johannis Hus et Hieronymi Pragensis confesorum Christi historia et monumenta, 2 vols. (Nuremburg, 1558), II, fo. 367v. Foxe first printed this document in Rerum, p. 24.

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MarginaliaEx tomo operum Ioā Husse fol. vit. VNto all and singular the childrē of our holy mother the Church, to whō this present letter shall come: the Vicechauncelour of the Vniuersitie of Oxford, with the whole

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