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K. Richard. 2. The story of W. Swinderby.

your fathers. And ye shulen wynne he sayd, great ioy, and a name for euermore. Was not Abraham, he sayd, in temptation founden true, and was Marginalia* reckened. * arectet vnto him euermore to righteousnes. Ioseph in tyme of his anguish he kept truly Gods heste, he was made by Gods prouidence Lord of Egipt, for his trouthe. Phinees our fadure louing, he sayth, the zeale of God tooke the testament of euerlastyng Priesthode. Iosue for he fulfillet the word of God was domes mā in Israell. Caleph that witnessed in the Church, he tooke therfore the heritage, he sayth: Dauid in his mercy he gat the siege of the kyngdome in worldes. Hely for that he loued the zeale of Gods law, was taken vp into heauen. Ananie, Azarie, & Mysaell, he sayes, wern deliueret thoore thruogh true belefe out of the hot flame of fire. True Daniell in his simplenes was deliueret from the Lyons mouth. MarginaliaDaniel. 14. Bithinke ye therfore, he sayes, by generatiō and generatiō, and thou shalt neuer finde that he fayled that man that truely trusted in him. And therfore drede you nought, he sayes, of the wordes of a sinfull man: his glory is, he sayes, but wormes and tordes: he is to day, he sayth, y made hye, tomorow he sayes he is not founden for he is turned, he sayes, into his earth agayne, & the mynde of him is perishet. Sonnes therfore, he sayes, be ye comfortet, and dye manly in the law: for when ye han done that that God commaundes you to do, ye shulen be glorious in him. And Dauid the kyng sayes also on this wise in the Psalter booke: blesset be they (Lord) that kepen thy law, in worldes of worldes they shall prayse thee. MarginaliaPsal. 119. And in Leuiticus MarginaliaLeuit. 26.sayes God thus, gif that ye wenden in myne hestes and kepen my commaundementes, and done hem, I shall bryng forth their fruite, and trees shall be fulfilled wt apples. And ye shallen eate your bread in fulnes, ye shouln dwell in your land without drede, I shall geue peace in your costes, ye shall sleepe & no mā shall feare you. Euill beastes I shall done away from you, & sword shall not passe your termes, ye shuln pursue your enemyes, and they shall fall before you, fifty of yours shulne pursue an hundreth of heren, an hundret of yours, a thousand of theirs: your enemies, he sayth, shullen fall through sword, and your sute. I shall he sayes behold you and make you to waxe, and ye shal be multipliet: And I shall strength with you my couenaūt, ye shal eate the aldest, and the new shull come in theron. And ye shuln cast forth the old, I shall dwell in the middest of you. And I shall wende amōges you, and shalbe your God, and ye shulne be my people. If that ye heare me not, ne done nought all my hestes but dispise my law and my domes, and that ye done not tho thynges that of me bene ordenet, and breken my commaundementes and my couenaunt: I shall do these thyngs to you. I shall visite you surely in nede and brennyng, which shall dimme your eghenen, and shall wast your liues about nought: Ye shulne sow your sede for hit shalbe deuouret of enemies, I shall put my face agaynst you, and ye shall fall before your enemies. And ye shulen be vnderlynges to them that han hatet you, ye shall flee, no man pursuyng. And if ye will not be buxome to me, I shall adde therunto thornes and seuen fold blame. And I shall all to brast the hardynes of you, I shall geue the heauen aboue you as yron, and the earth as brasse. About nought shall your labour be, for the earth shall bryng you forthe no fruite, ne tree shall geue none appels to you. If that ye wenden agaynst me, and will not heare me, I shall adde hereto seuen fold woundes for your sinnes, I shall send amongest you beastes of the field that shall deuour you and your beastes, I shall bryng you into a field, and wayes shuln be desart. And if that ye will not receaue lore, but wenden agaynst me, I will also wenden agaynst you, and I shall smite you seuen sithes for your sinnes. I shall leade in vpon you, sword, venger of my couenaunt: and vpon the fleen into Cities, I shall sende pestilence in the myddest of you. So that ten women should bake their bread in one furnace, and yeld them agayne by waight, and ye shall eate, and not be fillet. If that ye heare me not by these thynges, but wenden agaynst me, I shall wende in agaynst you in a contrary woodnesse, and blame you with seuen plagues for your sinnes, so that they shoulen eate the flesh of your sonnes and of your daughters. And in so much my soule shall lothe you, that I shall bryng your Cities into wildernes, and your Sanctuaries I shall make desart, ne I shall not ouer that receiue sweete oder of your mouth. And I shall disperple your land, and enemyes shulen marueil thereon, when they shulen inhabite it, I shall disperpel you among Heathen, and draw my sword after you. These vengeaunces and many moe, God sayd should fall on them that break his biddyng, and despiseth his lawes, and his domes. Than sit he Christ become man, and bought vs with hys hart blood, and has shewed vs so great loue, and geuen vs an easie law, of the best that euer might be made, and to bryng vs to the ioy of heauen, and we despise it and loue it nought: what vengeaunce will be taken here on, so long as he has suffered vs, and so mercifully abidden, when he shall come that righteous iudge in the cloudes to deeme this worlde? Therfore turne we vs to hym, and leaue sinne that he hates and ouer all thing maintayn hys lawe that he confirmed with hys death. For other lawes that men had made, should be demed at that day by the iust lawe of Christ, and the maker that them made, and then we wonne that long lyfe and that ioy that Paule speaketh of, that eye ne saw not, ne eare heard not, ne into mans harte ascended not, the blisse and ioy that God hath ordeyned to them that louen hym and hys lawes.

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MarginaliaThe faithfull request of William Swinderby. Deare worshipfull sirs in this world I besech you for Christes loue, as ye that I trow louen Gods law & trouth (that in these dayes is greatly borne abacke) that they wollen vouchsafe these thinges that I send you written to gods worship, to let them be shewed in the Parliament as your wittes can best conceiue, to most worship to our God, and to shewyng of the trouth and amending of holy Churche. My conclusiōs and myne appeale and other true matters of gods law (gif any man can find therin errour, falsenes, or defaulte, prouet by the law of Christ, clerely to christen mens knowledge) I shall reuoke my wrong conceit, and by gods law be amendet: euer redy to hold with Gods law openly and priuely with gods grace, and nothing to holde, teache, or maintayne that is contrary to his law.

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Of the proces, answeres, and condemnation of this worthy priest and true seruant of Christ, William Swinderby, you haue heard. What afterward became vpon him, I haue not certeinly to say or affirme, whether he in prison dyed, or whether he escaped their handes, or whether he was burned there is no certaine relation made. This remayneth out of dout that during the tyme of this kyng Richard 2. no great harme was done vnto hym. Which was to the yere. 1401. at what tyme king Richard beyng wronfully deposed 

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The equivalent passage in the 1563 edition is much more neutral; by 1570 Foxe was ready to denounce Henry IV as a usurper.

, Hēry the 4. inuaded the kingdome of England. About the beginnyng of whose reigne we read of a certaine Parliament holden at London, mentioned also of Thomas Walden (as is aboue specified) in which parliament it was decreed: that who so euer shewed themselues to be fauourers of Wickliffe they should be apprehended, who at that tyme were called Lollardes, and if so be they did obstinately perseuere in that doctrine, they should be deliuered ouer vnto the bishop of the dioces, and from hym should be committed to the correction of the seculer magistrate. This law (sayth the story) 
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This 'old storie' was College of Arms Arundel MS 7, a version of Thomas Walsingham's Chronica Majora. See Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, 2 vols., Rolls Series 28 (London, 1863-4), II, p. 247. Foxe's speculation that this unnamed figure, burned at Smithfiels in 1401, was Swinderby was unfounded.

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brought a certen Priest vnto punishment the same yeare, who was burned in Smithfield in the presence of a great nūber. This we haue drawen out of a piece of an old story, and it is moste certen, that there such a priest was burned for the affirmation of the true faith, but it doth not appeare by the story, what this priestes name was. Notwithstandyng, by diuers coniectures it appeareth vnto me that his name was this Swinderby, that was forced to recant before by the Bishop of Lincolne. Wherby what is to be coniectured by the premisses, let other men iudge what they thinke, I haue nothyng hereof expresly to affirme. This is playne for all men to iudge (which haue here sene and reade his story) that if he were burned, then the Bishops, Friers and priestes, which were the causers thereof, haue a great thyng to aunswere to the Lord, when he shall come to iudge the quicke and the dead, & seculum per ignem.

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¶ The story and processe agaynst Walter Brute.

MarginaliaThe story of Walter Brute a Briton. AFter the story of William Swinderby, I thoughte good and conuenient, next to adioyne the actes and doynges of Gualter Brute hys ioynte fellowe and companion, beyng a lay man, and learned: brought vp as it seemeth in the Vniuersitie of Oxford, beyng there also graduate. 

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Walter Brute

The background of Walter Brut, or Brit, remains obscure. From 1391-3, he was tried for heresy by John Trefnant, the bishop of Hereford, and most of our information about him comes from the records of that trial, which were preseved in Trefnant's register. Brut described himself as 'laycus' (layman) and 'agricola' (farmer) and as 'a Britonibus ex utraque parente originem habens' (having a Welsh origin from both parents); see Registrum Johannis Trefnant, Episcopi Herefordensis, ed. W. W. Capes, Canterbury and York Society (London, 1916), p. 285. But he was clearly well-educated, fluent in Latin, and with a ready knowledge of scripture, canon law and history. (The best discussion of Brut's background and education is Anne Hudson, '"Laicus litteratus": the paradox of Lollardy' in Heresy and Literacy, 1000-1530, ed. Peter Biller and Anne Hudson (Cambridge, 1994), pp. 222-6). Brut had also been previously cited for heresy by Archbishop William Courtenay and by Trefnant's predecessor, John Gilbert (see Registrum Trefnant, p. 279). Trefnant's heretic may have been the same person as Walter Bryt or Brit, an astronomer, who was a fellow of Merton College in 1379 (see ODNB sub 'Bryt, Walter'). Both the astronomer and the heretic were Welsh, both possessed the same not common Christian name and surname, and if the astronomer left Oxford to return to Hereford - perhaps because of unorthodox religious beliefs - it would explain his relative obscurity and his apparently truncated university career. Against this, astrology is completely absent from Bryt's astronomical writings but figures prominently in Brut's apocalyptic predictions.

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If Brut was the former fellow of Merton, it would help explain the elaborate preparations Trefnant made for his trial. The bishop summoned two masters and three bachelors of theology, two doctors and of civil and canon law, drawn from the dioceses of Hereford, Worcester and Exter and the two universities. But Brut's eventual fate is unknown and despite its local significance, his trial faded from memory. Neither Bale nor any other Henrician or Edwardian Protestant had heard of Brut and Foxe did not mention him in either of his Latin martyrologies or in his 1563 edition. It was only when he gained access to the Trefnant register that Foxe learned of Brut and his trial. When he read this material, Foxe must have realized that God was indeed on his side. Here was a figure, from the dark period before Luther, who identified the Papacy with Antichrist and who believed that the Eucharist was primarily a memorial. But even the garden of Eden had serpents and there were aspects of Brut's thought that troubled Foxe, most notably, but not exclusively Welshman's insistence that the just laywoman, as well as layman, was a priest, that a woman had a duty to preach publicly and could even legitimately consecrate the Host. When it came to these passages, Foxe, displaying a sudden concern for the reader's patience - after reproducing page after page of Brut's arguments - and 'summarized' (i.e., omitted) Brut's more radical opinions on the subject. Foxe also registered caveats against Brute's denial that tithing was obligatory and that sworn oaths were not binding. Brut's writings presented Foxe with an unusually severe case of a frequent dilemma: how to present the views of an individual who possessed many beliefs Foxe admired along with some Foxe deplored. Simple misrepresentation was dangerous, because what Foxe wrote could always be compared to the original at some point. So Foxe (apart from the woman preachers, which was a bridge too far) usually presented what Brut said and than devoted considerable effort to interpreting it for the reader. The clash between the views of Brut, a remarkably independent, if not idiosyncratic, thinker and the much more conventional views of Foxe is compelling.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

The tractation of whose discourse as it is somethyng long, so therein may appeare dyuers thynges woorthy to be red and considered.

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First, the mighty operation of gods spirit in him, his ripe knowledge, modest simplicity, his valiant cōstācy, his learned tractations and manifold conflicts susteined agaynst Gods enemies. MarginaliaEx Registro Episc. Herford. On the contrary part in his aduersaries may appeare, might against right, mans authoritie against playne veritie: against which they hauyng nothyng directly to answer, procede in condemnation against whom they are able to bring forth no confutation. The chiefest occasion that semed to stirre vp the harte and zeale of this Walter agaynst the Pope: was the impudent pardons and indulgences of pope Vrban, graunted to Henry Spenser Bishop of Norwich,

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