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Robert Packington
 
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Robert Packington

(d. 1536) [Fines]

Mercer of Cheapside, London. Shot on his way to mass

Robert Singleton was accused of murdering Robert Packington and of stirring up sedition, but he was in fact persecuted because he preached the gospel to the people. 1570, p. 1439; 1576, p. 1228; 1583, p. 1257.

Robert Packington was shot dead on his way to mass. John Incent, dean of St Paul's, confessed on his deathbed to having hired an Italian to murder Packington. 1563, p. 526; 1570, p. 1291; 1576, p. 1105; 1583, p. 1131.

1154 [1130]

K. Henry 8. A treatise of the sacrament by Iohn Lambert to the king. Robert Packington.

conuersion: for the very answeare it selfe doth appertayne vnto the celebration of the Sacrament: as the Apostle speaketh of Baptisme. For he sayth, We are buried by Baptisme, into death. He doth not say, we haue signified a burieng, but he playnely saith we are buried. Therefore he named the sacrament of so weightie a matter or thing by no other name, but by the very name of the thing it selfe.

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Nothing can be more playnely spoken, nor more agreeably to the natural vnderstanding of the texts of the Supper, and to the exposition afore shewed, of Tertullian and of himselfe. For seeing that Christ is bodily in heauen, and so absent from the earth, it is needefull to know, howe the holy Sacrament, which he doth call his body and bloud, should be his body and bloud.

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This holy Doctor therefore Augustine, doth this matter manifestly and sincerely declare by other like speaches, and first by common speaches, and secondly by speaches of Scripture. MarginaliaBy Analogy of the scripture, speaches must be expounded, one speach by an other. The common speach is this: We do (sayth he) vse often to say, that when Easter doth approch to drawe nigh, to morrowe or the next daye, is the Lordes Passion, whereas he did suffer afore many yeares past, and that passion was neuer but once done.

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The second common speache is, And of that Sondaye wee saye, that this day the Lorde did rise from deathe, whereas so many yeares be yet past sith the time he arose. Wherefore, to conclude he saith: No man is so foolish, that he will reproue vs for so saieng, or to saye, that we haue lyed, for because we do call these daies after the similitude of those, in which these things were done. So that it is called the same day, not for that it is the selfesame, but by reuolution of time, like vnto it. And the resurrection is sayd to be done in the same day, through the celebrating of the Sacrament of that which is not done that day, but long time afore past.

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The third speache: was not Christ offered vp once for all in his owne person? MarginaliaChrist is offered in the sacrament mistically, that is in remembrance of his oblation.Yet is he neuerthelesse offered in the Sacrament mystically for the people, not onely euery yeare at the feast of Easter, but also euery daye. Neyther doth he lie, which when he is demanded, shal answer, that he is offered vp or sacrificed. For if the Sacramentes had not a certaine similitude of those thinges, of which they be Sacraments, then shoulde they be no Sacraments at all. By reason of which similitude, they do for the most parte receiue the denomination or name of those thinges signified. And therefore after a certaine maner, MarginaliaQuodam modo I. after a certeine maner. the Sacrament of Christes body, is the body of Christ, and the Sacrament of Christes bloud, is the bloud of Christ, and so also be the Sacraments of faith, called faith.

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This doth he yet proue by an other example of speach, which is this: It is none other thing to beleeue, then to haue fayth. And therfore when answeare is made, that the infantes haue fayth, which in deede haue it not in ful working, it is answeared, that suche haue faith for the Sacrament of faith, and that they doo conuert themselues vnto fayth, for the Sacrament of Conuersion. For the very answere it selfe doth pertaine to the celebration of the Sacrament, &c. Thus doth it sufficiently appeare, that as we vse truely to call that good Friday, or the day of Christes passion, which is not in deede the day of Christes Passion, but only a memoriall thereof once done for euer: and as we vse to call the next Easter-day, the daye of Christes resurrection, not because that Christ in the same daye shall arise, but only for a memoriall of his resurrectiō once done for euer, and that of long time passed.

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And Christ beeing offered vp once for all in his owne proper person, is yet sayde to be offered vp, not only euery yeare at Easter, but also euery day in the celebration of the Sacrament, because his oblation once for euer made, is thereby represented. MarginaliaThe celebration of the sacrament representeth the oblation of Christes body. Euen so (saith Augustine) is the Sacramēt of Christes body, the body of Christ, and the sacrament of Christes bloud, the bloud of Christ, in a certayne wise or fashion. Not that the Sacrament is his naturall body or bloud in deede, but that it is a memoriall or representation thereof, MarginaliaThe sacramēt of Chrrists body is not his body in deede, but in memoriall or representation. as the dayes before shewed, be of his verye and naturall body crucified for vs, and of his precious bloud shed for the remission of our sinnes. And thus be the holy signes or Sacramentes truely called by the names of the very thinges in them signified. But why so? For they (saith Augustine) haue a certaine similitude of those things wherof they be signes or Sacraments, for else they should be no Sacraments at all: And therefore do they commonly,and for the most part receiue the denomination of the things whereof they be Sacraments.

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So that we may manifestly perceiue that he calleth not the Sacrament of Christes body and bloud, the very body and bloud of Christ, but as he sayd before. But yet he sayth in a certaine maner or wise: Not that the Sacramente absolutely and plainely, is his naturall body or bloud. Forthis is a false argument of Sophistrie, which they call, Secundum quid ad simpliciter, MarginaliaA Fallax in Logike, a secundum quid, ad simpliciter. that is to say, that the Sacramēt of Christes body, is in a certaine wise, the body of Christe, Ergo, it is also playnely and expressely the naturall body of Christ. Marginalia

The Popes argument: The Sacrament of Christes body is Christs body.

Ergo, the sacrament is Christes body really & substātially.

For such an other reason might this be also: Christ is after a certayne maner, a Lion, a Lambe, and a doore: Ergo, Christe is a naturall Lion and Lambe, or materiall doore. But the Sacrament of Christes body and bloud, is therefore called his body and bloud, because it is thereof a memoriall, signe, sacrament, token, & representation, spent once for our redemption. Which thing is further expounded by an other speach, that he doth heere consequently allege of baptisme: Sicut de ipso baptismo apostolus dicit, &c.

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The Apostle (quoth Augustine) sayeth not, we haue signified buryeng, but he sayeth vtterly, we be buried with Christ, For else should all false Christians be buried wyth Christ from sinne, which yet do liue in all sinne. And therfore saith Augustine immediately therupon, he called therfore the sacrament of so great a thing, by none other name, then of the thing it selfe. Thus (O moste gracious and godly prince) do I confesse and knowledge, that the bread of þe sacrament is truely Christes body, and the wyne to be truely his bloud, according to the wordes of the institution of the same Sacrament: but in a certaine wise, that is to wit, figuratiuely, sacramētally, or significatiuely, according to the exposition of the Doctours before recited, & heereafter folowing. And to this exposition of the old Doctours, am I enforced, both by the articles of my Creede, and also by the circumstances of the sayde Scripture, as after shall more largely appeare. But by the same can I not finde the natural body of our Sauiour to be there naturally, but rather absent, both from the sacrament, & from all the world, collocate and remaining in heauen, where he by promise must abide corporally, vnto the end of the world.

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The same holy Doctor writing agaynst one Faustus, sayth in like maner: MarginaliaAug. contra Faustum.Si Machabæos cum ingenti admiratione præferimus, quia escas quibus nunc Christiani licitè vtuntur, attingere noluerunt (quia pro tempore tunc Prophetico non licebat) quanto nunc magis pro Baptismo Christi, pro Eucharistia Christi, pro signo Christi, &c. If we doo preferre wyth greate admiration the Machabees, because they would not once touche the meates which Christian men now lawfully vse to eate of, for that it was not lawfull for that tyme then beyng propheticall, that is, in the tyme of the olde Testament: how muche rather now ought a Christian to be more ready to suffer all things for the Baptisme of Christ, and for the Sacrament of thankesgiuing, and for the signe of Christe, seeyng that those of the old Testamente were the promises of the things to be complete and fulfilled, and these Sacramentes in the newe Testamente are the tokens of things complete and finished? In this do I note, that according to the expositions before shewed, he calleth the Sacrament of Baptisme, and the Sacrament of Christes body & bloud, otherwise properly named Eucharistia, signum Christi, and that in the singular number, for as much as they both do signifie welnigh one thing. In both them is testified the death of our Saueour. And moreouer, he calleth them Indicia rerum completarum: that is to wyt, The tokens or benefits that we shall receiue by the beliefe of Christe for vs crucified. And them doth he call vsually both the sacraments, signum Christi, MarginaliaThe signe of Christ. in the singular number. And as the same Saint Augustine in his fiftie treatise vpon the Gospel of Saint Iohn teacheth, where he sayeth thus: MarginaliaAugust. in Ioan tract. 50.Si bonus es, si ad corpus Christi pertines, (quod significat Petrus) habes Christum, & in præsenti, & in futuro. In præsenti per fidem, &c. If thou be good, if thou pertayne to the body of Christ (which this word, Petrus, doth signifie) then hast thou Christ both heere presente, and in time to come: Heere presente through fayth: heere presente by the signe and figure of Christe: heere presente by the Sacrament of Baptisme: heere presente by the meate and drinke of the altar, &c.

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More there was that Iohn Lambert wrote to the king, but thus much onely came to our hands. 

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It appears that from this comment that Foxe is working from a manuscript, but actually he is simply paraphrasing what Bale said in A treatyse by Johan Lambert…, ed. John Bale (Wesel, 1548?), fo. 32v.

The death of Robert Packington.

Marginalia

Robert Packington.

Anno 1538.

AMong other actes and matters 
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Murders and martyrdoms

The following accounts all have one common theme: they deal with the (alleged) murders or executions of evangelicals or evangelical sympathisers by senior Henrician clerics. Thus what appear to be random, isolated cases are really - as Foxe presents them - part of the violent persecution inflicted by the False Church on the members of the True Church. In assigning all of these incidents to the year 1538, Foxe blatantly disregarded the dates given by his sources and even by himself in his earlier editions (Packington was murdered on 13 November 1536. Foxe gives the correct year for Packington's death in the Rerum (p. 146), but misdates it to 1537 in his first edition and to 1538 in subsequent editions. Similarly, the evidence would point to Collins being burned in July 1540 but Foxe dates it differently). This, one may readily deduce, was not the result of careless chronology, but stemmed from Foxe's desire to group these stories together in order to maximise their emotional impact.

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Foxe rewrote these stories considerably in his first two editions. In the case of the story of Cowbridge, this was due to Nicholas Harpsfield's effective criticisms. In most cases, however, it was because Foxe started with very limited information and enhanced it through the contributions of individual informants. All of the stories appear in the Rerum. The killing of Robert Packington (Rerum, p. 146) was possibly inspired by John Bale's brief, but polemically laden, description of the crime in The image of both churches (Antwerp?, 1545), STC 1269.5, pp. 440-41; but its details are taken from Edward Hall, The unyon of the twoo noble andillustre families of Lancastre and York (London, 1550), STC 12723a, fo. 211v). William Collins (Rerum, pp. 180-81) was listed as a martyr by John Bale (The Epistle exhoratorye of an Englishe Christiane [Antwerp, 1544?], STC 1291, fo.13v), while More caustically dismissed him as a madman. Foxe probably obtained his gossipy and possibly inaccurate account of Collins from conversation with Bale. Foxe states (only in the Rerum (p. 139)) that he was an eye-witness to the execution of William Cowbridge; he is almost certainly his own source for the event, particularly since Bale and other evangelical writes never mentioned Cowbridge. Foxe's brief account account of Leyton closely follows that of Bale in the Epistle exhortatorye (fo. 13v). Bale didn't mention Puttedew but he still may have informed Foxe about him. Peke was merely listed as a martyr - 'peke of yppsewich' - in the Epistle exhortatorye (fo. 13r), but Bale may also have supplied Foxe with the only other fact that Foxe mentions about Peke in the Rerum: that Peke was executed for feeding communion wafers to a dog; see Rerum, pp. 117-118).

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Although these accounts are full of corroborative detail (and the account of Peke's execution certainly looks accurate), the nature of Foxe's sources make them less than completely reliable. Foxe's allegations regarding the causes and people involved in Packington's murder are, to put it mildly, unsubstantiated (In the Rerum (p. 146), Foxe claimed that John Stokesley, the bishop of London, ordered the murder of Packington whilst in 1563, Foxe amended this to claim that John Incent, the dean of St. Paul's, ordered the murder. Foxe was almost certainly relating hot gossip about the murder yet the fact that there were rumours implicating Stokesley and Incent in Packington's murder does not, of course, make them true). Foxe provides one of several not completely compatible versions of the sufferings ofWilliam Collins. And his account of Cowbridge had to be abridged due to Nicholas Harpsfield's substantive criticisms.

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Thomas S. Freeman

passed and done thys present yeare 
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Packington was murdered on 13 November 1536. Foxe gives the correct year for Packington's death in the Rerum (p. 146), but misdates it to 1537 in his first edition and to 1538 in subsequent editions.

, which is of the Lorde 1538. heere is not to be silenced the vnworthy and lamentable death of Robert Packington, Mercer of London, wrought and caused by the enemies of Gods worde, and of all good proceedings. The story is this: The said Robert Packington, being a man of substance 
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The details of Packington's murder was reported, mostly verbatim, from Hall's chronicle (Edward Hall, The unyon of twoo noble and illustre families of Lancastre and York [London, 1550], STC 12723a, fo. 231v). Foxe went further than Hall, however, in identifying the mastermind behind the murder. Where Hall simply blamed the clergy, Foxe accused first Bishop John Stokesley and subsequently Dean Incent of responsibility for the crime.

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, and dwelling in Chepeside, vsed euery day at fiue of the clocke, Winter and Sommer, to goe to prayer 
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Hall stated that Packington went daily to Mass (Edward Hall, The unyon of twoo noble and illustre families of Lancastre and York [London, 1550], STC 12723a, fo. 231v); Foxe here rewrites this inconvenient passage.

at a Churche then called S. Thomas of Acres, but now named Mercers Chapell. And one morning amongst all other, being a great mistie morning, such as hath seldōe bin seene, euen as he was crossing þe streate from his house to the Churche, he was sodenly murthered

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