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John BrusyerdCanterburyWalsinghamWillesden
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John Brusyerd

Dominican friar of Ipswich in 1531

Thomas Bilney and John Brusyerd entered into a dialogue on images in Ipswich around the time of Bilney's examination. 1563, pp. 474-79; 1570, pp. 1138-40; 1576, pp. 975-76; 1583, pp. 1001-03.

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Cant., Canterb., Canterbury, Caunterbury, Caunterburye,
NGR: TR 150 580

An ancient city and county of itself, having separate jurisdiction. Locally in the hundred of Bridge and Petham, lathe of St. Augustine, eastern division of the county of Kent. 26 miles south-east by east from Rochester. The city comprises the parishes of All Saints, St. Alphege, St. Andrew, St. George, The Holy Cross, St. Margaret, St. Martin, St. Mary Bredman, St. Mary Bredin, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Mary Northgate, St. Mildred, St. Peter and St. Paul, all in the Diocese of Canterbury, and with the exception of St. Alphege and St. Martin within the Archdeaconry of Canterbury. The living of All Saints is a rectory with St. Mary in the Castle and St. Mildred attached; St. Alphege is a rectory exempt, united with the vicarage of St. Mary Northgate; St. Andrew is a rectory with St. Mary Bredman annexed; St. George is a rectory with St. Mary Magdalene annexed; St. Martin's is a rectory exempt with St. Paul's annexed; St. Peter's is a rectory with Holy Cross annexed; St. Mary Bredin is a vicarage; and St. Margaret's is a donative in the patronage of the Archdeacon

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English information from Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of England (S. Lewis & Co: London, 1831)

Scottish information from Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (S. Lewis & Co: London, 1846)

Welsh information taken from Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales(Lewis & Co: London, 1840)

The reason for the use of these works of reference is that they present the jurisdictional and ecclesiastical position as it was before the major Victorian changes. The descriptions therefore approximate to those applying in the sixteenth century, after the major changes of 1535-42. Except for the physical locations, which have not changed, the reader should not therefore take these references as being accurate in the twenty-first century.

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OS grid ref: TF 935 367

Major pilgrimage site

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[Wilsdone; Wilsedon]

Middlesex, London

OS grid ref: TQ 225 845

1025 [1001]

K. Henry. 8. Articles obiected against Thomas Bilney Martyr.

we neede them to seeke any Saynt for remedy? 

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To write that Christ is our only mediator, as Foxe does here, is meant to dismiss the role that any of the saints had in salvation, and most particularly was a criticism of the cult of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

MarginaliaHeresie in the Popes church to confesse Christ onely to be our mediatour. Wherefore it is great iniury to the bloud of Christ, to make such petitions, and blasphemeth out Sauiour.

That man is so vnperfect of himselfe, that he can in no wise merite by his owne deedes.

Also that the cōming of Christ was long prophesied be fore, & desired by the Prophetes: But Iohn Baptist being more thē a prophet, did not only prophecy, but with his fin ger shewed him saying: MarginaliaIohn 9. Ecce agnus Dei qui tollit peccata mūdi. Then if this were the very Lambe which Iohn did demonstrate, that taketh away the sinnes of the world, what iniury is it to our Sauiour Christ, that to be buryed in S. Frances cowle 

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For the practice of burying the dead in the cowls of Franciscan friars, see Susan Wabuda, Preaching during the English Reformation (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 108, 122-139.

should remit four partes of penance, MarginaliaS. Frances cowle remitteth 4. parts of penance. What remayneth then for Christ to remit. what is then left to our Sauiour Christ, which taketh away thesinnes of the world? This I will iustify to be a great blasphemy to the bloud of Christ.

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MarginaliaAgainst pilgrimage.Also that it was a great folly to go on pilgrimage, and that preachers in times past haue bene Antichristes, and now it hath pleased God somwhat to shew forth their falshood and errors.

MarginaliaAgainst blinde miracles.Also that the myracles done at Walsingham, 

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The famous pilgrimage shrines to the Blessed Virgin Mary at Walsingham in Norfolk (which was established soon after the Norman Conquest in the eleventh century); St. Thomas Becket in Canterbury (Becket was murdered in the Cathedral in 1170), and the shrine to Our Lady of Grace in Ipswich (dating from the 1100s). Willesden also had an important pilgrimage site in its shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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at Caunterbury, & there in Ipswich were done by the deuill, thorow the sufferaunce of God, to blinde the poore people: and that the Pope hath not the keyes that Peter had, except he folow Peter in his liuing.

Moreouer, it was deposed agaynst him, that hee was notoriously suspected as an hereticke, and twise pulled out of the pulpit in the dioces of Norwich. 

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The interesting details of these episodes remain obscure.

woodcut [View a larger version]
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The woodcut shows Thomas Bilney being manhandled by two ugly visaged friars who pull him out of the pulpit (a portable wooden one) outside the church of St George in Ipswich. (Bilney is known to have preached at Christchurch in Ipswich). The words in the banderoles in 1563 and 1570 respectively caption the scene as 'p[f]riers pulling Bilney out of the pulpit' and 'M. Bilney twice plucked from the pulpit'. He was accused of having preached in 1527 against false belief in the spiritual value of being buried in a Franciscan habit. This illustration is related both in style and content to a woodcut of Envy that appeared in 1569 in Stephen Bateman's A christall glasse, also published by John Day. CUL copy: detail is added to this illustration in black ink. The additional detail in one figure, dressed in blue (second from the right), has, however, made him cross-eyed. WREN copy: the trees to the right are coloured in a very bright green. The figure in blue (same figure as that in blue in the CUL copy) is not cross-eyed in this copy.

Also it was deposed agaynst him, that he should in the parish church of Willesdon 

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Bilney was accused of preaching at Willesden in the week of Pentecost in 1527.

, exhort the people to put away theyr Gods of siluer & gold, and leaue their offerings vnto thē, for that such things as they offred, haue bene knowne oftentimes afterward to haue bene geuē to whores of the stewes. MarginaliaThe Idolatry of the papistes is a lette to the Iewes and Turkes, why they are not conuerted.Also that Iewes and Sarasens would haue become christē men long ago, had it not bene for the idolatry of Christen men in offring of candles, waxe, and money to stockes and stones.

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Ouer and besides these cauelling matters, articuled & deposed agaynst him, here follow certeine other Articles, whereupon he was detected, gathered out of his sermon, which he preached in the parish Church of S. Magnus, in Whitson weeke, in the yeare of our Lord. 1527.

Certayne other Articles producted agaynst maister Thomas Bilney.

MarginaliaArticles.FIrst he sayd, pray you only to God, and to no saints rehearsing the Letany, and when he came to Sancta Maria ora pro nobis, he sayd, stay there.

He sayd that Christen men ought to worship God only and no Sayntes.

He sayd that Christian people should set vp no lightes before the Images of saynts, for sayntes in heauen need no light, and the Images haue no eyes to see.

He sayd, as Ezechias destroyd the brasen Serpent that Moses made by the cōmaundemēt of God, euen so should kinges and princes now a dayes destroy and burne the Images of Sayntes set vp in Churches.

MarginaliaOne fiftie ood popes nce Christ

These fiue hundred yeares there hath bene no good Pope, nor in all the time past, we can finde but fiftye, for they haue neither preached, ne liued well, or conformablye to theyr dignity: Wherefore till now they haue borne the keyes of Symony. Agaynst whom, good people, we mustpreache and teache vnto you. For we canne not come to them, it is great pitty, they haue sore sclaundered the bloud of Christ.

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The people hath vsed foolishly of late, Pilgrimages, which for them had bene better to haue bene at home.

Many haue made certayne vowes, which be not possible for them to fulfill, and those nothing meritorious.

The preachers before this haue bene Antichristes and now it hath pleased our Sauiour Christ, to shew their false errours, and to teach an other way and maner of the holy Gospell of Christ, to the comfort of your soules.

MarginaliaThe prophesie of Bilney.I trust that there shall and will come others besides me, which shall shew and preach to you the same fayth and maner of liuing, that I do shew and preach to you, whych is the very true Gospell of our Sauiour Christ, and the mind of the holy fathers, wherby you shalbe brought from theyr errours, wherein you haue bene long seduced: for before this, there haue bene many that haue sclaundered you, and the Gospell of our Sauior Christ, of whom spake our Sauiour. Math. xviij. Qui scandalizauerit vnum pusillis istis, qui in me credit. &c.

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These & many other such like despositions were deposed agaynste him by the deponentes and witnesses before sworne, which wholy to recite, would be too long and tedious: wherfore these shall suffice at this time, being the principall matters, and in maner the effect of all the rest. But now, before we will returne agayne to the order of hys examination, we thinke it good here to inferre a certaine Dialogue MarginaliaA Dialogue. conteyning a communication betweene a Fryer named Iohn Brusierd, 

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Details concerning the identity and career of Friar John Brusierd continue to be sparse. Craig W. D'Alton, 'The Suppression of Lutheran Heretics in England, 1526-1529', Journal of Ecclesiastical History, vol. 54 (2003), pp. 228-53.

and Mayster Thomas Bilney, which we haue thought meet for this place, because it was done in Ipswich, and also about the time of these examinations: the Copy whereof we haue, written with the friers owne hand in Latine, the Copy whereof in English here ensueth.

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