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663 [645]

K. Henry. 6. Persecution in Northfolke and Southfolke.

affirming that no tithes were to be geuen to the ministers and curates of the churches.

And likewise for matrimony, wherin they are reported to holde and affirme as though it consisted onely in the mutuall consent betwixt the man and woman, nedyng no other solempnizing in the publicke church and MarginaliaThe papistes are but quarell pickers. all because (as it is lyke) they denied it to be a Sacramēt. Other articles were obiected agaynst them as these which hereafter folowe.

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MarginaliaArticles. That auricular confessiō is not to be made vnto a priest but vnto God onely, because no Priest hath any power to absolue a sinner from his sinne.

Item, that no Priest hath power to make the body of Christ in the sacrament of the aultar, but þt after the sacramētal words, there remaineth pure material bread as before.

Item, that euery true Christian man is a priest to God.

Item, that no man is bounde vnder payne of damnatiō vnto Lent or any other dayes prohibited by the Church of Rome.

Item, that the pope is Antichrist, and hys prelates the disciples of Antichrist, and þt the pope hath no power to bynd and loose vpon earth.

Marginalia* In case of necessitie, vrgent they meane. * Item, that it is lawful for euery Christiā to do any bodely worke (sinne onely excepte) vpon the holy days.

Item, that it is lawfull for priestes to haue wiues.

Item, that the excommunications and ecclesiesticall cēsures giuen out by the prelates, are not to be regarded.

Item, it is not lawfull to sweare in priuate cases.

Item, that men ought not to go on pilgrimage.

Item that there is no honor to be geuen to the Images of the Crucifixe, of our Lady, or any other saint.

Item, that the holy water halowed in the church by the priest, is not holier or of more vertue then other running or well water, bycause the Lord blessed all waters in their first creation.

MarginaliaThe death of Thomas Becket. Item, that the death of Thomas Becket, was neither holy neither meritorious.

Item, that reliques as dead mens bones, ought not to be worshypped or digged out of theyr graues, or set vp in Shrynes.

Item, that prayers made in all places are acceptable vnto God.

Item, that men ought not to pray to any saint but onely to God.

Item, that the belles and ringyng in the church was ordeyned for no other purpose then to fill the priests purses.

Item, that it is no sinne to withstand the ecclesiasticall preceptes.

Item that the catholick church is onely the congregation of the elect.

MarginaliaIn thys article is ment that the wicked be in the church but not of the Church. These weare the Articles, which were generally obiected agaynst them all, wherin they did so agre in one vniforme faith, that what soeuer one did holde, all the other did mainteine & hold the same. By þe which their cōsent & doctrine it appeareth þt they all receyued it of some one instructor, who was William White: which being a scholer and follower of I. Wickliffe, resorted afterward into this countrey of Norfolke & there instructed these men in the light of the gospell. And now as we haue declared the names and Articles of these good men, so it remayneth somwhat to speake of their troubles how they were handled, beginning first with William White.

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¶ William White priest.

MarginaliaW. White, Martyr.
Ex VValdeno.
THis William White beyng a follower of Iohn Wickliffe and a priest, not after the common sort of priests, but rather to be reputed amongst the number of them, of whome the wyseman speaketh: Marginalia* Eccle. 50. * He was as the morning starre in the midst of a cloud, &c. This man was a well learned, vpright & well spoken priest. He gaue ouer hys priesthood & benefice, and toke vnto hym a godly yong womā to his wife named Ioane: notwithstādyng he did not therfore cease or leaue from his former office and duety, but continually laboured to the glory and prayse of hys spouse Christ, by reading, writyng & preaching. The principall points of his doctrine were these, which he was forced to recant at Canterbury.

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That men should seke for the forgeuenes of their sinnes onely at the handes of God.

That the wicked liuyng of the Pope and his holinesse, is nothing els but a diuelish estate and heauy yoke of Antichrist, and therfore he is an enemy vnto Christes truth.

That men ought not to worship Images or other Idolatrous paintyngs.

That mē ought not to worship þe holy mē which are dead.

That the Romish church is the fig tree which the lord Christ hath accursed, because it hath brought forth no fruite of the true beliefe. MarginaliaThe Romishe church aptly resembled to the cursed figge tree.

That such as weare coules, or be annointed and shorne are the lanceknightes and souldiors of Lucifer: & that they all, because theyr lampes are not burnyng, shall be shut out, when as the Lord Christ shall come.

Vpon which articles he beyng attached at Cant. vnder the Archb. Henry Chichesley in the yeare of our lord. 1424. there for a certayne space stoutely and manly witnessed the truth which he had preached: but like as there he loste hys courage and strength, so afterward he became agayne much more stouter and stronger in Iesu Christ and confessed hys own error & offence. For after this he goyng into Norfolke with his sayd wife Ioane, & there occupying himselfe busily in teaching and conuertyng the people vnto the true doctrine of Christ, at the last by meanes of þe kings letters sent down for that intent and purpose, he was apprehēded and taken & brought before Wil. bishop of Norwich, by whō he was cōuict & condemned of 30. articles & there was burned in Norwich, in the month of September, an. 1424.

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The burning of William White.

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Commentary on the Woodcuts  *  Close
William White was a Wycliffite priest whose influence has largely to be deduced from the evidence of his followers, chiefly those whose trials in the diocese of Norwich are recorded for 1428-31. He is known to have been active also in Kent, and both he and his 'wife' Joan seem to have been effective proselytisers, and to have left groups of supporters in the Tenterden area of Kent as well as East Anglia. The surviving record of White's trial in provides evidence of the views he taught and for which he was condemned in 1428 and burned at Norwich. At least one of his disciples, Margery Baxter, was present at his burning and reported his final attempt to preach being stopped by a blow on his lips. It appears from Foxe's account that he had access not only to the Norwich heresy trial records, which we still have, but also to evidence that no longer survives, which somewhat fleshes out the account of White and his companion preacher, Hugh Pye. Foxe stated that White's wife had 'suffred much trouble & punishment' that year for sharing her husband's beliefs. Her fate remains unrecorded. The woodcut used to illustrate White in the first edition was a repetition of that used for Sir Roger Acton, with the text in the bandarole changed to 'O Lord receive my soul'. This was one of the misfitting set of blocks that were replaced in 1570, when White was represented by one of the new set of small single-column cuts.

This William White and his wife had hys most abode with one Tho. Moone of Lodney. This man was of so deuout and holy lyfe, that all the people had hym in great reuerence, and desired hym to pray for them: in so much that one Margaret Wright confessed, that if any saintes were to be prayed to, she would rather pray to hym then to any other. MarginaliaThe byshops man smiteth hym on the mouth, exhorting the people. When he was come vnto the stake thinking to open hys mouth to speake vnto the people, to exhort and confirm thē in the verity, one of the bishops seruantes stroke hym on the mouth, therby to force hym to kepe silence. And thus thys good man receiuyng the crowne of martyrdome, ended this mortal lyfe to the great dolour & griefe of all the good mē of Norfolke. Whose sayd wyfe Ieane, folowyng her husbāds footesteps according to her power, teaching & sowing abroad the same doctrine, confirmed many mē in Gods truth: wherfore she suffred much trouble and punishmēt the same yeare at the handes of the sayd bishop.

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MarginaliaFather Abrahā. Iohn Wadden priest martyrs and burned. About the same tyme also was burned father Abrahā of Colchester, and Ioh. Waddon priest, for the lyke articles.

Concerning them, which abiured, how and by whome they were examined, what depositions came in agaynst thē, and what was the order and maner of the penance enioyned them, here it might be set out at large: but for auoydyng of prolixitie, it shall be sufficient briefly to touch certayne of the principals, wherby the better vnderstandyng maye be geuen to the Reader, after what maner and order all the other wer intreated.

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