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130 [1232]

Actes and Monumentes Of the Church

warde you, and other ecclesiasticall persones of this realme of Englande, it is not vnknowne to youre dyscretions, in disposing and geuing away the benefices of the Realme after theyr owne luste, to the intollerable præiudice and greuaunce bothe of you, and all other Englishe men. For where as the collation of benefices should and doe properly belong to you and other your felowbishops and ecclesiasticall persones, they thundryng agaynst you the sentence of excommunication, that you should not bestowe them vpon any person of this Realme, vntyll in euery diocesse and Cathedrall churche within the Realm fiue Romanes such as the Pope shall name be prouided for, to the value of euery man an hundred poundes by yeare. Besides these many other greuaunces the sayde Romanistes do inflicte and inferre both to the Laity and Nobles of the realm for the patronages and almoise bestowed by them and by theyr auncestours for the sustentation of the poore of the realme, and also to the Clergy and ecclesiastycall persones of the Realme, touchyng theyr lyuynges and benefices. And yet the sayde Romanistes not contented with the prœmisses, do also take from the Clergy of this Realme the benefices whiche they haue, to bestowe them vppon men of theyr own countrey &c.

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Wherefore we consideryng the rigorous austeritye of these foresayde Romanistes whiche once commyng in as straungers hyther, now take vpon them not onely to iudge, but also to condēne vs, laying vpon vs vnportable burdens, wherunto they will not put to one of theyr own fingers to more, laying therfore our heads together vpō a generall and full aduise had among our selues concernyng the same, haue thoughte good (although very late) to resist and withstande them, rather, then to be subiect to theyr intollerable oppressyons, and greater slauerye more hereafter to bee looked for. For the whiche cause we straytely charge & commaunde you, as your frendes goyng aboute to delyuer you, the churche, the kyng, and the kyngdom frō that miserable yoke of seruitude, that you doe not intermedle or take any parte, concernynge suche exactions or rentes to be required or geuen to the sayde Romanes, Lettyng you to vnderstande for truthe, that in case you shall (whiche god forbidde) bee founde culpable herein, not onely your goodes and poßessions shalbe in daunger of burnyng, but also in your persones shal incurre the same peryll and punishmēt, as shall the said Romish oppressours themselues.

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Thus fare ye well.

MarginaliaExāple teaching neuer to take part against the kyng with forein power. Thus muche I thought here to insert and notify concernyng this matter, for that not only the gredy & auaritious gredines of the Romish churche might the more euidently vnto al Englishe men appeare, but that they may learne by thys exaumple, howe woorthey they be so to bee serued and plagued with theyr owne rod, which before would take no part with theyr naturall kyng, agaynst forreyn power, of whome nowe they are scourged.

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To make the story more playn. In the reygn of this Henry þe third, who succeding after king Iohn his father, reigned. lvii. yeares, came diuers Legates from Rome to Englande, fyrst Cardinall Otho sent from the Pope wyth letters to the king, lyke as other letters also wer sent to other places for exactions of money.The kyng opening the letters and perceyuing the contentes, aunswered that he alone coulde say nothing in the matter, whiche concerned al the clergy and commons of the whole realme. Not long after a counsell was called at Westminster, where the letters being opened the forme therof was this. Petimus in primis ab omnibus ecclesijs cathedratibus duas nobis præbendas exhiberi, vnā de portione episcopi, et alteram de capitulo. Et similiter de Cænobijs vbi diuersæ sūt portiones Abbatis & conuentus: a conuentibus quantum pertinet ad vnum monachum æquali facta distributione bonorem suor, et ab Abbate tantundem. That is: We requyre to be geuen vnto vs firste of all Cathedrall churches, two Prebendes, one for the Byshoppes parte, the other for the Chapter. And likewise of Monasteries where be diuers portions, one for the Abbot, another for þe couent. Of the couent so muche he required, as appertayned to one Monke, the portion of the goods being proportionly diuided. Of the Abbot he required likewise as muche. MarginaliaNote the cause why the Pope is cōpelled to craue money of other countreys.The cause why he required was this: it hath been sayth he, an old slaunder, and a great complaynte against the church of Rome, to be noted of insatiable couetousnes, whiche as ye knowe, is the roote of all mischiefe: and all by reason that causes be wōt commenly not to be handled nor to proceade in the churche of Rome without great giftes and expense of mony. Whereof seyng the pouertie of the churche is the cause, why it is so slaundered and ill spoken of, it is therfore conuenient that you as naturall chyldren shoulde succure your mother. for vnles we should receiue of you and of other good men as you are, we shoulde then lacke necessaries for our lyfe, which were a great dishonour to our dignitie &c.

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When these petitions and causes of the Legate were propounded in the forsayd assemblie at Westminster, on the Popes behalf, the Byshops & prelates of the Realme beyng present, aunswere was made by the mouthe of maister Iohn Bedford, on this wyse: that the case of the matter ther proponed by the L. Legate in especiall cōcerned the kyng of England, but in generall it toucheth all the Archebyshoppes with their suffraganes, the byshops and all the prelates of the Realme. Wherfore seynge bothe the kyng by reason of his sicknes is absent, and the Archebyshop of Caunterburie with diuers other byshops also not there, therefore in the absence of them they hadde nothynge to saye in the matter, neither could they so dooe without preiudice of them whiche were lackyng. And so the assemble for that tyme brake vp.

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MarginaliaA coūsel at Lōdō calledNot long after, the sayde Otho Cardinall De carcere Tulliano, commyng agayne from Rome cū autentico plenariæ potestatis, indicted an other councell at London, caused all Prelates, Archebyshops, Byshops, Abbots, priors, and other of the Clergy to be warned vnto the same counsel, to be had in the church of saincte

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Paules
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