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547 [523]

K. Henry. 4. The statute ex officio. Lawes against good Christians.

rage, and power of the whole world. For the manifestation of which torment, wee haue here set forth the picture of his burning, in such maner as it was done.

This godly Martyr Iohn Badby hauing thus consummate his testimony and martyrdome in fire, the persecuting Bishops yet not herewith contented, and thinking themselues as yet eyther not strong inough, or els not sharpe enough agaynst tht poore innocent flock of Christ: to make all thinges sure and substantiall on theyr side, MarginaliaAll the power of man set against the Gospel. in such sorte, as this doctrine of the Gospell nowe springing should be suppressed for euer: layd theyr conspiring heads together, & hauing now a king for theyr own purpose, ready to serue theyr turn in all poynts (during the time of the same Parliamēt aboue recited yet cōtinuing) the foresayd bishops and clergy of the realme, exhibited a Bul vnto the kings maiestie: 

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Ex officio statute

Although Foxe identifies the statute he is printing as 'Ex Officio', it is actually 'De heretico comburendo', the 1401 statute which defined heresy as a capital offence to be punished by burning at the stake (anno 2. Hen IV., cap xv). Foxe compared this statute with the laws decreed by the Roman emperors against the early Christians. Foxe believed and stated that these persecutions were to be exactly equated and that Satan was the direct instigator of both persecutions. Foxe introduced this statute in the 1570 edition and it was reprinted without change in all subsequent editions.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

subtily declaring, what quietnes hath ben mayntayned within this realme by his most noble progenitours, who alwayes defended the auncient rites and customes of the Church, and enriched the same with large gifts, to the honor of God and the realme: and contrariwise, what trouble and disquietnes was now risen by diuers (as they termed them) wicked and peruerse men teachinge and preachinge openlye and priuilye, a certayne new, wicked and hereticall kinde of doctrine, MarginaliaThe Gospel of Christ counted as wicked and hereticall. contrary to the Catholicke fayth and determination of holye Church: whervpon þe king alwayes oppressed with blynd ignoraunce by the crafty meanes and subtile pretences of the clergie, graunted in the sayd Parliament (by consent of the nobilitie assembled) a statute to be obserued called Ex officio as followeth.

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The Statute Ex officio.

MarginaliaThe cruell statute, ex officio.That is to say, that no man within this Realme or other the kinges maiesties dominions, presume or take vpon him to preach priuily or apertly, without speciall licence first obteyned of the ordinary of the same place (Curates in theyr owne parishe Churches, and persons heretofore priuiledged, and others admitted by the Canon law, onely excepted) Nor that any hereafter do preach mayntayne, teach, informe openly or in secret, or make or write any booke contrary to the catholique fayth, and determination of the holy Church: Nor that any hereafter, make anye conuenticles or assemblies, or keepe and exercise anye maner of schooles touching this sect, wicked doctrin and opinion. And further that no man hereafter shall be any meanes, fauour anye such preacher, any such maker of vnlawfull assemblies, or any such booke maker or writer, and finally any such teacher, informer, or stirrer vp of the people. And that all and singuler persons hauing anye the sayd bookes, writinges, or schedules 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 singuler the sayd bookes and writinges, vnto the ordinary of the same place. And if it shall happen anye person or persons of what kinde, state, or condition soeuer he or they be, to doe or attempt anye manner of thing contrarye to this present proclamation & statute, or not to deliuer the same books in forme aforesayd: That then the ordinary of the same place in his owne diocesse by authoritie of the sayd proclamation and statute shall cause to be arested and deteined vnder safe custody, the sayd person or persōs in this case diffamed, and euidently suspected or any of them, vntill he or they so offending haue by order of lawe purged him or themselues as touching the articles layd to hys or theyr charge in this behalfe: MarginaliaA bloudie law of king Henry. 4. or vntill he or they haue denyed and recanted (according to the lawes ecclesiasticall) the sayd wicked sect, preachinges, teachinges: and hereticall and erroneous opinions And that the sayd ordinary by himselfe or his Comissaries proceede openly and iudicially to all the effect of law agaynst the sayd persons so arested and remayning vnder safe custody, & that he end and determine the matter within three monethes after the sayd arest, (all delayes and excuses set apart) according to the order and custom of the Canon law. And if any person, in any cause aboue mentioned, shalbe lawfully conuicted before the ordinary of the diocesse or hys Comissaries: that then the sayd Ordinary, may lawfully cause the sayd person so conuicted (according to the maner and quallitie of hys fact) to be layd in any of his 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 offending ought to be deliuered to the seculer power) shall charge the sayd person wyth such a fine of mony to be payd vnto the kinges maiestye, as he shall thinke competent for the maner and quallitie of his offence, And the sayd diocesan shalbe bound to geue notice of the sayd fine, into the kinges maiesties Eschequer, by hys letters patent vnder his seale: to the intent that the sayd fine may be leuied to the kinges maiesties vse of the goodes of the person so conuict.

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And further if any person within this realme and other the the kinges maiesties dominion, shalbe conuicted before the Ordinary of the place, or hys Comissaryes, of the sayd wicked preachinges, doctrines, opinions schooles, and hereticall and erroneous informations or any of them: and will refuse to abiure and recant the sayd wicked sect, preachings teachings, opinions, schols and informations: Or if after hys abiuration once made, the relapse be pronounced agaynst him by the diocesan of the place, or hys Commissaryes (for so by the Canon law he ought to be lefte to the secular power, vpon credite geuen to the ordinary or hys Commissaries) That then, the Sheriffe of the same Countie, the Mayor, Sheriffes, or Sheriffe, or the Mayor or Bailiffes of the same Cittie, village or Borough of the same County, and neerest inhabiting to the sayd Ordinary or hys sayd Commissaryes: shall personally be present, as oft as they shalbe required, to conferre with the sayd Ordinary or his commissaries in geuing sentence against the sayd persons offending or any of them. MarginaliaA bloudy statute. And after the sayd sentence so pronounced, shall take vnto them the sayd persons so offending, and any of them, and cause them openly to be burned in the sight of all the people: To the intent that this kinde of punishment may be a terror vnto others, that the like wicked doctrines and heretical opinions, or the authours and fauourers thereof be no more mayntayned within this Realme and dominions, to the great hurt (which God forbid) of Christian religion, and decrees of holy Church. In which all and singuler the premisses, concerning the statute aforesayd: Let the Sheriffes, Mayors, and Bayliffes of the sayd Counties, Cities: Villages, and Boroughes, be attendant, ayding, and fauoring, the sayd Ordinaryes and theyr Commissaries.

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By this bloudy statute so seuerely and sharply 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, howe it hath bene set and bent euer from the beginning, by all might, counsayle, and wayes possible, to striue agaynst the wayes of God, and to ouerthrow that which he[illegible text] will haue set vp. And althogh the world may see by infinite storyes and examples, that it is but in vaine to striue against him: yet such is the nature of this world (all set in malignitie) that it will not cease still to be like it selfe.

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MarginaliaThe lawe of Maximinus and the statute ex officio compared.The like law and statute in the time of Dioclesian and Maximinus was attempted, as before appeareth, pag. 83. & for the more strength were writtē 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 lawe remayned not three yeres. The which law writtē thē in brasse, although it differ in maner & form, from this our statute Ex officio, yet to the same ende & cruelty, to spill the bloud of saintes, there is no difference betweene the one and the other. Neither is there anye diuersitie touching the first originall doer and worker of thē both. For the same Sathan, which then wrought his vttermost agaynst Christ, before he was bound vp: the same also now after his loosing out, doth what he can, though not after the same way, yet to the same intent. For then wt outward violence as an open enemy, he did 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 pretēsed titles: but no lesse pernicious in the end, whereto he shouteth, as well appeareth by this bloudy statute Ex officio, the sequell wherof cost afterward many a Christen mans life. As in processe of story remayneth more hereafter (Christ willing) to be declared.

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Furthermore for the more fortification of this statute of the king aforesayd, concurreth also another 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 industrye nor pollicy of man here did lack to set the matter foward, but specially on the bishops partes, who left no meanes vnattempted, how to subuert the right wayes of the Lord.

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First, in most dilligent and exquisite execution of the kinges statute set foorth: the execution whereof they did so exactly apply, that maruell it is to consider, all other laws of kinges (commonly,) be they neuer so good) to be so coldly kept, and this onely among all the rest so neerely followed. But herein is to be seene the dilligence of the romishe Prelates, which neuer let any thing to fal, that maketh for the dignity of their estate.

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Secondly, beside theyr vigilant care, in seeing þe kinges statute to be executed: No less industrious also were they in adding thereunto moe constitutions of theyr owne, as from time to time appeareth as wel by other Archbishops hereafter, and by Pope Martine, as also by this constitution here present made by Thomas Arundell the Archb.

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But before we enter to the relation of these foresayd

consti-
Yy.iiij.
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