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980 [979]

K. Henry. 8. Dauid Straton, Norman Gurlay in Scotland. Tho. Hardyng, Martyrs.

Persecutors. Martyrs. The causes.

M. Iohn
Spens
Lawyer.

To whom the kyng
gaue counsaile to de-
part, & not to appeare:
for in case he appeared
he could not help him,
because the Byshops
had persuaded him, þt the cause of heresie did
in no wise appertayne
vnto him, & so Iames
fled and was condem-
ned as an heretike, and
all his goods & landes
confiscat, and disposed
vnto others.

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Catherine Hamelton hys Sister, appeared vppon the schaffold, and beyng accused of an horrible heresie, to witte, that her owne workes could not saue her, she graunted the same, and after longe reasoning betwene her and M. Iohn Spens the Lawyer, she cōcluded in this maner: worke here, worke there: what kinde of workyng MarginaliaA great heresie in the Popes Church that no workes cā saue vs but the workes of Christ. is al this? I know perfectly that no kynde of workes can saue mee, but onely the workes of Christ my Lord and Sauiour. The kyng hearing these wordes, turned hym about and laught, and called her vnto hym and caused her to recant, because she was hys aunt, and she escaped.

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The woman of Leith was detected hereof, that when the mydwife in tyme of her labour, bad her MarginaliaA great heresie to say Christ helpe, and not our Ladye. say our Ladye helpe mee: She cryed, Christe helpe me, Christ helpe me, in whose helpe I trust. Shee also was caused to recant, and so escaped, without confiscation of her goodes, because she was maryed.

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Maister Norman Gurlay, for that he sayd there was no such thyng as Purgatory, and that þe Pope was not a byshop, but Antichrist, and had no Iurisdiction in Scotland.

MarginaliaAgaynst Purgatory. Also Dauid Straton, for that he sayd, there was no Purgatorie, but the Passion of Christ, and the tribulations of this world, and because that, when M. Robert Lowson Vicare of Eglesgrig asked his tieth fishe of hym, he dyd cast them to him out of the boate, so that some of them fell into the Sea: therefore he accused him, as one that shoulde haue sayd, þt no tithes should be payed. These two, because after great sollicitation made by the kyng, they refused to abiure and recant, were therfore condemned by thee Byshop of Rose as heretickes, and were burned vpon the grene side, betwene Leith and Edenburgh, to the entent that the inhabitaūunts of Fiffe, seyng þe fyre, might be stricken with terrour and feare, not to fall into the lyke. Ex eodem Scripto.

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¶ And thus much touchyng those Martyrs of Scotland, whiche suffered vnder Iames Beton, Archbishop of S. Andrewes. After whom succeded Dauid Beton in the same Archbyshopprike, vnder whom diuers other were also martyred as hereafter (God willyng) in their order shall appeare.


Iohn Long-
land B. of
Lincolne.

Thomas
Harding an
aged father,
dwellyng at
Chesham,
in Bucking-
hamshire.
Thomas Hardyng
dwelling at Chesham
in the countie of Buc-
kingham, with Alice
his wife, was first ab
iured by Wil. Smith,
bishop of Lincoln, an.
1506. with diuers o-
ther moe, which the
same tyme, for spea-
king against idolatry
and superstition, were
taken and compelled,
some to beare fagots,
some were burned in
the cheke with hote i-
rons, some condemned
MarginaliaVid. sup. pag. 794.to perpetuall prison,
some thrust into mo-
nasteries spoyled
clean of all their goods
some cōpelled to make
pilgrimage to þe great
blocke, otherwise cal-
led, our Lady of Lin-
colne, some to Walsin-
gam, some to S. Ro-
muld of Buckinghā,
some to the roode of
Wendouer, some to s.

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Persecuters. Martyrs. The Causes.

Rouland
Vicare of
great Wickā
the bishops
Chaplen.

At Cheshā
in in Bucking-
ham.
An. 1532. 
Commentary  *  Close
Lincolnshire martyrs

This section is a somewhat miscellaneous collection of the persecution of various Lollards and evangelicals in the years 1520-32 in the dioceses of Lincoln and London. One of these cases, that of Thomas Harding, a veteran Lollard with local influence (listed among those who had abjured in 1511), resulted in an execution for heresy. Alice Doyly or Cottismere was apparently neither forced to abjure nor punished despite being previously investigated for heresy in the previous decade; undoubtedly she was protected by her wealth and family connections. She had married three times; first to a John Wilmot, the second time to William Cottesmere, a member of an important gentry family and the third time to Thomas Doyly, the head of one of Oxfordshire's most ancient gentry families. By the time of her third marriage her moveable goods alone were estimated at £1000 (Andrew Hope, 'Lollardy: The Stone the Builders Rejected?' in Protestantism and the National Church in Sixteenth Century England, ed., Peter Lake and Maria Dowling [Beckenham, 1987], pp. 8-10).

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Many of the other cases described in this section concern a conventicle held in the house of John Taylor in Speen, Hertfordshire, in 1530. This conventicle was led by evangelicals who had travelled to Germany and met with Luther. Foxe's objectives in printing this material are rather different than those when he printed earlier descriptions of the persecution of heretics. Then he was trying to show that there was a True Church before Luther. Now his concern was to emphasize the innocuous, if not godly, nature of the offences for which people were persecuted, in particular, the reading of the Bible, or religious books, in English.

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Foxe's sources for this material vary. For Thomas Harding, Foxe apparently drew on material sent to him by an informant. For Robert West, Foxe relied on a now lost courtbook of Bishop Cuthbert Tunstal. There is, however, independent corroboration for these episodes (Lincolnshire Archives Office, Register 26, fos. 180v and 205v for Harding and London Metropolitan Archive, DL/C/330, fo. 175v for West). For other cases, Foxe was apparently drawing on a now lost courtbook of Bishop John Longland of Lincoln. As will be seen from various references it is fairly clear that Foxe did not consult Bishop Longaland's register.

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Thomas S. Freeman


MarginaliaTho. Harding, martyr.
Iohn Shorne, &c. of
whō mention is made
in the table before, be-
ginning. pag. 794.

Of this Tho. Har-
ding much rehearsall
hath ben made before,
as in the pag. 794. col.
2. pag. 795. col. 2.
lin. 31. pag. 796. col. 2.
lin. 47. pag. 797. col. 2.
lin. 18. &c.

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First this Tho. Harding with Alice hys wyfe, beyng abiured, and enioyned penance, with diuers other mo 

Commentary  *  Close

A Thomas Harding and his wife were listed among those who had abjured in 1511. In 1532, Thomas Harding will be burned for heresy

, by William Smith B. of Lincolne, afterward by the sayd bishop was released agayne in the yere of our Lord. 1515. of all such penaunce as was enioyned him and his wyfe at their abiuration, except these 3. Articles followyng, and were discharged of their badges or signs of theyr fagots. &c. Only this penaunce folowyng the bishop continued, Sub pœna relapsus.

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First, that neither of thē during their life should dwell out of the parish of Amersham.

Item, that either of them during their life, should fast bread and ale euery Corpus Christi euen.

MarginaliaIt was happy that they were not put to faste bread and water. Item, that either of thē should, during their liues vpon Corpus Christi day, euery yeare, go in pilgrimage to Asherige, and there make their offerynges, as other people did, but not to doe open penaunce. Also they were licenced by the sayd Bishop to doe their pilgrimage at Asherige, vpon Corpus Christi euen, or Corpus Christi day, or some other, vpon any cause reasonable.

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This penance beyng to them enioyned an. 1515. they obserued to the yeare. 1522. saue onely in the last yere, the foresayd Alice hys wyfe omitted her pilgrimage goyng to Asherige vpon Corpus Christi day. Also the sayd Tho. Hardyng, beyng put to his othe, to detect other, because he contrary to hys othe dissembled, and did not disclose them, was therfore enioyned in penaunce, for his periury, to beare vpō hys right sleue, both before and behynd, a badge or patch of grene cloth or silke embrodered lyke a fagot, during hys whole lyfe, vnlesse he should otherwyse be dispensed withall. And thus continued he from the yeare. 1522. till the yeare. 1532.

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At last the sayd Harding in the yere abouesaid 1532. about Easter holydayes, when the other people wēt to the church, to commit theyr wonted idolatry, toke his way into the woodes, there solitarily to worship the true liuyng God, in spirit and truth. MarginaliaThe taking of Thomas Harding. Where, as he was occupied in a booke of English prayers, leaning or sittyng vppon a style by the woodes side, it chanced that one dyd espye hym where he was, and came in great haste to the officers of the towne, declaring that he had sene Hardyng in the woodes 

Commentary  *  Close

The following account of Harding's arrest is too detailed and too discursive to have come from official records. It was probably sent to Foxe by an informant, probably by the same informant or informants who supplied with informa-tion on other heretics from the Chilterns (Robert Cosin, William Scrivener, Nicholas Collins, Thomas Man, William Tilesworth and Thomas Chase). Bishop Longland's register confirms that Thomas Harding was excommunicated and turned over to the secular authorities as a relapsed heretic (Lincolnshire Archives Office, Register 26, fos. 180v and 205v).

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lookyng on a booke. Whereupon immediatlie a rude rable of them, lyke madde men, ranne desperatly to his house, to search for bookes, and in searchyng went so nighe, þt vnder the bordes of hys store, they found certeine Englishe bookes of holy Scripture. 
Commentary  *  Close

Foxe's account should be treated with caution at this point, particularly since there is no corroboration of the charges against Harding or of the circumstances that led to his arrest. Possession of the Bible in English was not a crime, although under certain circumstances it could arouse or confirm suspicion. It is possible that Harding's activities and/or books were less innocuous than his narrative describes.

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Wherupō this godly father with hys bokes, was brought before Iohn Longland, Byshop of Lincoln, then lying at Wooborne. Who with his Chaplens, calling father Hardyng to examination, began to reason wt hym, procedyng rather with checkes and rebukes, then with any sound argumentes. Thomas Hardyng seyng their folly, and rude behauiour, gaue thē but few wordes, but fixyng his trust and care in the Lord, did let them say MarginaliaTho. Harding put in litle ease the Byshops prison. what they would. Thus at last they sent hym to the Byshops prison called litle ease, where he dyd lye with hūger & payne enough, for a certen space: til at lēgth MarginaliaTho. Harding condemned. the B. sitting in his tribunall seat like a potestate, cōdemned him for relapse, to be burned to ashes, cūmittyng þe charge and ouersight of his martirdom to Rouland Messēger, vicar of great Wickhā. Which Roulād, at þe day appointed, wt a rable of other like to himself, brought father Harding to Cheshā again. Where the next day after his returne, þe sayd Rouland made a sermon in Cheshā church, causing Tho. Harding to stand before him al þe preaching time: Which sermō was nothing els but þe mainteining of þe iurisdictiū of þe B. of Rome, & and the state of his apostolical sea, wt the idolatry, fantasies & traditions belonging to the same. When the sermon was ended, Rouland toke him vp to þe high aultar, &

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