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531 [507]

K. Henry. 4. The statute ex officio. Conclusions against Christes seruauntes.

MarginaliaThe cruell statute, or officio. That is to say, that no man within this Realm or other the kinges maiesties dominions, presume or take vpon hym to preach priuily or apertly, without speciall licence first obteyned of the ordinary of the same place (Curates in theyr owne parish churches, and persons heretofore priuileged, and others admitted by the Canon law, onely excepted) Nor that any hereafter do preach, maintayne, teach, informe openly or in secret, or make or write any booke contrary to the catholike fayth, and determinacion of the holy Church. Nor that any hereafter, make any conuenticles or assemblies, or kepe and exercise any maner of scholes touchyng this secte, wicked doctrine, and opinion. And further that no mā hereafter shall by any meanes, fauour any such Preacher, any such maker of vnlawfull assemblies, any such booke maker or writer, and finally any such teacher, informer, or stirrer vp of the people. And that all and singuler persons hauyng any the sayd bookes, writinges, or cedules contayning the sayd wicked doctrines and opinions, shall within forty dayes after this present proclamation and Statute, really and effectually deliuer or cause to be deliuered all and singular the said bookes and writinges, vnto the ordinary of the same place. And if it shall happen any person or persons of what kynd, state, or cōdition soeuer he or they be, to do or attēpt any maner of thing cōtrary to this present proclamatiō & statute, or not to deliuer the same bookes in forme aforesayd: That then the Ordinary of the same place in hys owne diocesse by authoritie of the sayd proclamation and statute, shall cause to be arrested and deteyned vnder safe custody, the sayd person or persons in this case diffamed, and euidently suspected or any of them, vntill he or they so offendyng haue by order of law purged hym or themselues as touchyng the articles layd to hys or their charge in this behalfe: MarginaliaA bloudy law of K. Henry. 4. or vntill he or they haue denied and recanted (accordyng to the lawes Ecclesiasticall) the sayd wicked sect, preachings, teachinges, and hereticall and erroneous opinions. And that the sayd Ordinary by himselfe or hys Commissaryes procede openly and iudicially to all the effecte of lawe agaynst the sayde persons so arested and remaining vnder safe custody, and that he end and determine þe matter within 3. monethes after the sayd arest (all delayes and excuses set a part) accordyng to the order and custome of the Canon law. And if any person, in any cause aboue mentioned, shal be lawfully conuicted before the Ordinary of the diocesse or his Commissaries: that then the sayd Ordinary, may lawfully cause the sayd person so conuicted (accordyng to the maner and qualitie of hys fact) to be layd in any of hys owne prisons, and there to be kept so long as to hys discretion shall be thought expedient.

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And further the sayd Ordinary (except in cases by the which according to the Canon law, the party offēding ought to be deliuered to the seculer power) shall charge the sayd person with such a fine of money to be payd vnto the kinges maiesty, as he shal thinke competent for the maner and quality of the offence. And þe sayd diocesan shalbe bound to geue notice of the sayd fine, into the kyngs maiesties Eschequer, by his letters patent vnder hys seale: to the entent that the sayd fine may be leuied to þe kings maiesties vse, of the goods of the person so conuict.

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And further, if any person within this realme and other the kinges maiesties dominions, shall be conuicted before the Ordinary of the place, or his Commissaries, of the said wicked preachyngs, doctrines, opinions, scholes, and hereticall and erroneous informations or any of them: and wyll refuse to abiure and recant the sayd wicked sect, preachyngs, teachings, opinions, scholes and informations: Or if, after hys abiuration once made, the relapse be pronounced against hym by the diocesan of the place, or hys Commissaries (for so by the Canon law he ought to be left to the secular power, vpon credite geuen to the Ordinary or hys Commissaries) That then, the Shirife of the same Countie, the Mayor, Shiriffes, or Shirife, or the Mayor or Bayliffes of þe same Citie, village or borough of the same Countie, and nerest inhabiting to the sayd Ordinary or hys sayd Commissaries: shall personally be present, as oft as they shall be required, to conferre with the sayd Ordinary or hys Commissaries in geuyng sentence agaynst the sayd persons offendyng or any of them. MarginaliaA bloudy statute. And after the sayd sentence so pronounced, shall take vnto them, the sayde persones so offendyng, and any of them, and cause them openly to be burned in the sight of all the people: To the intent that this kynde of punishment may be a terrour vnto others, that the like wicked doctrines, and hereticall opinions, or the authors and fauourers therof be no more maintayned within this Realme and dominions, to the great hurt (which God forbidee) of Christian religion, and decrees of holy Church. In which all and singular the premisses, concernyng the statute aforesayd: Let the Shiriffes, Mayors, and Bayliffes of the sayd Counties, Cities, Villages, and Boroughes, be attendaunt, aydyng, and fauouryng, the sayd Ordinaries and their Commissaries.

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By this bloudy statute so seuerely and sharpely enacted agaynst these simple men, here hast thou (gentle Reader) a little to stay with thy selfe: and to consider the nature and condition of this present world, how it hath be set & bent euer from the beginnyng, by all might, counsayle, and wayes possible, to striue agaynst the wayes of God, and to ouerthrow that which he will haue set vp. And although the world may see by infinite stories and examples, that it is but in vayne to striue agaynst him: yet such is the nature of this world (all set in malignitie) that it wyll not cease still to be like it selfe. MarginaliaThe law of Maximinus & the statute ex officio compared The lyke law and statute in the tyme of Dioclesian and Maximinus was attempted, as before appeareth, pag. 84. & for the more strength were written also in tables of brasse to the entent that the name of Christ should vtterly be extincted for euer. And yet, the name of Christ remayneth, where that brasen law remayned not thre yeares. The which law written then in brasse, although it differ in manner and forme, from this our statute Ex officio, yet to the ende and cruelty, to spill the bloud of saintes, there is no difference betwene the one and the other. Neither is there any diuersitie touchyng the first originall doer and worker of them both. For the same Sathan which then wrought hys vttermost agaynst Christ, before he was bound vp: the same als nowe after hys losing out, doth what he can, though not after the same way, yet to the same intent. For then, with outward violence as an open enemy, he dyd what he could: Now by a more couert way, vnder the title of the Church, he impugneth the Church of Christ, vsing a more subtile way to deceaue, vnder gay pretensed titles: but no les pernicious in the end, wheras he shouteth, as well appeareth by this bloudy statute Ex officio, the sequell wherof cost afterward, many a Christen mans lyfe. As in processe of story remayneth more hereafter (Christ willyng) to be declared.

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Furthermore, for the more fortification of this statute of the kyng aforesayd, concurreth also an other constitution made much about the same tyme by the Archb. of Canterb. Thomas Arundell 

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Arundel's Constitutions

Although Archbishop Courtney's actions had largely driven the first generation of Wiclif's followers at Oxford either out of the university or back into conformity, by Henry IV's reign it was a presence, although an underground one, at the university. (Ultimately Arundel would impose his authority over the university in 1411, but that need not concern us here). In 1407 Archbishop Thomas Arundel summoned a convocation to Oxford in 1407, which drafted a series of 'constitutions', designed to prevent the spread of heresy. (Although the 'constitutions' were drafted in 1407, they were not issued until 1409). These 'consitutions' were essentially a two-pronged attack on heresy at both the popular level and within the universities. At the popular level, the constitutions displayed an alarm against the dissemination of heretical teachings in the vernacular. The translation of any scriptural text into English was banned, as was the ownership of a such a translation without the express approval of the diocesan. Preaching was confined to those who had obtained an episcopal licence and banned on clerical vices before the laity. No preacher was to cast doubt on the teachings of the Church regarding the sacraments. A number of provisions concerned the universities; the most important of these mandated enquiries about the views of every student in an Oxford hall on a monthly basis. The enforcement of these provisions was irregular, but there can be no doubt that it was decisive in driving heresy out of the universities. The 'constitutions' also widened the scope of heresy investigations by making the possession of vernacular translations of Scripture heretical. Foxe was interested in these 'constutions' as proof of the repression and cruelty of the Catholic church. He first printed them in the 1570 edition, having obtained them from Thomas Arundel's register. (See Arundel Register, Lambeth Palace Library, II, fos. 10r-12v).

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Thomas S. Freeman,
University of Sheffield

. So that no industry nor policy of man here did lack to set the matter forward, but especially on the bishops partes, who left no meanes vnattempted, how to subuert the right wayes of the Lord.

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First, in moste diligent and exquisite executiō of the kings statute set forth: the execution wherof they did so exactly apply, that meruell it is to consider, all other lawes of kinges (commonly, be they neuer so good) to be so coldly kept, and this onely among all the rest so nerely followed. But herein is to be seene the diligence of the Romish Prelates, which neuer let any thyng to fall, that maketh for the dignity of their estate.

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Secondly, beside their vigilant care, in seyng the kynges statute to be executed: No lesse industrious also were they, in adding therunto mo constitutions of theyr owne, as from tyme to tyme appeareth as well by other Archbishops hereafter, and by Pope Martine, as also by this constitutiō here present made by Thomas Arundell the Archb. The style and tenour wherof, to the entent the rigour of the same may appeare to all men, I thought here vnder to adioyne, in wordes as followeth.

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¶ The constitution of Thomas Arundell, against the followers of gods truth

MarginaliaA cruell constitutiō by the Archb. against the Gospellers wyth 13. articles. THomas by the permission of God, Archbishop of Caunterbury, primate of all England, and Legate of the see Apostolicke: To all and singular our reuerend brethren, fellow Bishops, and our Suffragans. And to Abbots, Priours, Deanes of Cathedrall Churches, Archdeacōs, Prouostes and Canons: also to all persons, vicars, chaplains, & clerkes in parish churches, and to all lay men whom & where so euer, dwelling within our prouince of Caunterbury, gretyng: and grace to stand firmely in the doctrine of the holy mother church. It is a manifest and plaine case, that he doth wrong and iniury to the most reuerend councell, who so reuolteth from the thyngs, beyng in the i councell once discussed & decided. And whosoeuer dare presume to dispute of the supreme or principall iudgement here in earth, in so doing incurreth the payne of sacrilege, according to the authority of ciuil wisdom and manifest tradition of human law. Much more then they who trustyng to theyr own wittes, are so bold to violate and with contrary doctrine to resist, and in

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word
Xx.ij.
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