Navigate the 1563 Edition
PrefaceBook 1Book 2Book 3Book 4Book 5
Critical Apparatus for this Page
Commentary on the TextCommentary on the Woodcuts
Names and Places on this Page
Unavailable for this Edition
442 [442]

Actes and Monumentes of the Churche.

Their purpose was to remoue him out of hys seat, the which he had procured thorow bribes and ambition, Iulius hearing this, geueth out contrary commaundement vnder great pain, no man to obey them, and calleth him selfe an other councel against the next yeare, to be begun the xix. day of April. The french king vnderstanding pope Iulius to ioyn with the Venitians, and so take their part against him, cōuented a councel at Thurin in the monthe of September, in the which councel these questions were proposed.

[Back to Top]
VVhether it was lawful for the pope to moue warre against any prince without cause? whether any prince in defending him self, might inuade his aduersary, and to deny his obediēs.

VNto the whiche questions it was answeared that neither þe bishop ought to inuade, and that it was lawfull for the king to defend him self. Moreouer þt the pragmatical sanction was to be obserued thorow þe realm of Frāce.Neither that anye vniuste excommunications ought to be feared, if they were found to be vniust. After this the king sent vnto Iulius, the answer of his councel, requiring him either to agre to peace, or to appoynt a general councel some other where, wher this matter might be more fully dissysed. Iulius would neyther of both these, but forthwith accursed Ludouik þe french king with all his kingdome, and so the next yere after, the warlye Pope died. At the length at Rauenna in a greate war, he was ouercome by the french kinge, and at laste after much slaughter and great bloudshed, and mortall warre, this Pope died in the yeare of our Lord 1513. the xxi. day of February.

[Back to Top]

Thus now in prosecuting the order and discourse of yeres, we approch verye neare to the yeare and time, when as Richard Hun was martired in England, which was the yere of our Lord 1515, which story here followeth cōsequently to be expressed.

¶ A full declaration and historyof the whole discourse and lamentable handling of Richard Hun, within lollardes tower in London. 
Commentary  *  Close
Richard Hun

The case of Richard Hunne was notorious long before Foxe set pen to paper. It was a controversey that rocked both London and the English Church and an enormous amount of ink has been spilled over it, from the sixteenth century to the present. In the process, scholars have unearthed a great deal of information about the case and its background that was unknown to Foxe.

[Back to Top]

In March 1511, Richard Hunne's five-week-old son Stephen died at the house of hisnurse in Whitechapel. The child was buried in St. Mary Matfelon, the local church.Afterwards, the rector, Thomas Dryffeld demanded, as was his customary right, thechristening gown in which the boy's body was wrapped, as the mortuary fee. (A mortuary fee was a clerical tax which entitled the clergy to claim the most valuableitem among the deceased's possessions in return for conducting his or her funeral. Usually a monetary fee, negotiated by both sides, was paid in lieu of the item). Although the the fee Dryffeld demanded was customary, and Hunne who was wealthy, could easily afford it, Hunne refused to pay it. We know now - but Foxe had only an inkling of this - that this was only one of a number of conflicts thatHunne had had with the London clergy (see Brigden, London, pp. 98-99 for details).

[Back to Top]

Hunne's wife was born Anne Vincent and it is possible - although there is no proof ofthis - that she was a daughter or other relative of Thomas Vincent, a leading LondonLollard (Brigden, Lollard, p. 103). Whatever the truth of this, Hunne had, at a minimum, Lollard sympathies. One of the articles charged against him at his posthumous heresy trial was that he had declared that Joan Baker - who was forced todo public pennance for her outspokenly heretical beliefs in 1511 - held correct viewsand that the bishop of London was more worthy of punishment than Baker. Witnesses would later testify that Hunne owned forbidden Lollard works (John Fines,'The Post-Mortem Condemnation of Richard Hunne', JEH 78 [1963], pp. 528-31).

[Back to Top]

Thomas Dryffeld took Hunne to the Archbishop of Canterbury's court for the mortuary fee and the court ruled in his favour on 12 May 1512. On 27 December1512, Hunne left his own parish of Bridge Street, and attended vespers at St MaryMatfelon. Henry Marshall, Dryffeld's chaplain, denounced Hunne as accursed andstopped the service. Hunne sued Marshall for slander on 25 January 1513. Then, in Hilary term 1513, Hunne (who had still not paid the mortuary fee) brought a praemunire action brought against Dryffeld, Archbishop Warham and other clergyinvolved his case (S.C. F. Milsom, 'Richard Hunne's Praemunire', EHR 76 [1961],pp. 80-82. The Statute of Praemunire, among other things, made it treasonable totry a case in a church court which should have been tried in a royal court). In October1514, while the slander and praemunire cases were pending in King's Bench, Hunne was charged with heresy and taken to Lollard's Tower. On 2 December Hunne was examined by Bishop Fitzjames on charges of heresy. On 4 December his body wasdiscovered hanging from a beam in his cell. The church maintained that Hunne committed suicide. Yet there was widespread suspicion that Hunne had been murder-ed, particularly because one of Hunne's gaolers, Charles Joseph, fled and went into hiding on 10 December. A day later - very possibly in reaction to Joseph's flight - a posthumous heresy trial of Hunne began. Hunne was found guilty on 16 December and his body was burned at Smithfield four days later.

[Back to Top]

Meanwhile, in February 1515, the coroner's jury determined that Hunne had been murdered, and named William Horsey, Fitzjames's chancellor as well as Charles Joseph and Charles Spalding, Hunne's gaolers (and summoners for Bishop Fitzjames)as suspects. By early January, Joseph, who had taken sanctuary in Essex, was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower, along with Spalding. In April, Fitzjames ignited a political firestorm by writing a letter to the London civic authorities, accusing them of being maliciously determined to condemn his chancellor out of hand and defending Horsey's innocence. Fitzjames also pleaded with Wolsey to persuade the king to intervene and save Horsey. In November 1517, Henry VIII issued orderedthe Crown attorney to find Hunne not guilty (W. R. Cooper, 'Richard Hunne', Reformation 1 [1996], pp. 221-51). According to Thomas More, the indictments against Joseph and Spalding were also quashed by royal command (More, DialogueConcerning Heresies, CWTM, VI, 1, p. 326).

[Back to Top]

As a suicide and a condemned heretic, Hunne's property was forfeit. Attempts weremade to remedy for this. In 1515, two bills were introduced in Parliament: one torestore the propert Hunne forfeited as a heretic to his children and the other to have his death declared a murder. Both bills were defeated by the Lords. In May, 1523,however, Parliament did pass a bill restoring Hunne's property to his children. HenryVIII commanded Horsey to pay for the compensation to Hunne's family. As Hunne'sestate had been substantial (Foxe estimates it at around £1500, not counting jewelery and plate), this imposed a crippling financial burden on Horsey;.

[Back to Top]

The best accounts of the Hunne affair are Brigden, London, pp. 98-103, Cooper, 'Richard Hunne', pp. 221-51 and Peter Gwyn, The King's Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of Thomas Wolsey (London, 2002), pp. 34-41. Cooper believes that Hunne was murdered and Gwyn argues that he was a suicide. Richard Marius has also forcefullyargued that Hunne was murdered, although his discussion contains some significant factual errors (Richard Marius, Thomas More [London, 1984], pp. 123-41).

[Back to Top]

Foxe's first account of the Hunne affair is in the Rerum. This is drawn from Hall's chronicle, although Foxe paraphrased and summarized it (cf. Rerum, pp. 119-21 withEdward Hall, The unyon of the twoo noble and illustre families of Lancastre and York[London, 1550], STC 12723a, fos. Lr-LVv). On the other hand, the account of Hunne in 1563 is a virtually word-for-word reprinting from Hall. (Hall's account, in turn, was a reprinting of a pro-evangelical tract, The enquirie and verdite of the quest paneld at at the death of R. Hune [Antwerp?, 1539?], STC 13970 There is no evidence, however, that Foxe even knew of this tract. Significantly, when pressed by Harpsfield on a factual detail, Foxe responded by citing Hall as his source [1570, p. 939]).

[Back to Top]

In 1566, Nicholas Harpsfield attacked Foxe's account of Hunne (Dialogi sex, pp. 847-849). Harpsfield's attacks and Foxe's defence will be discussed below but,for now, suffice it to say that Harpsfield's criticisms drove Foxe to investigate theaffair in more detail. In 1570, Foxe added more information, notably background onHunne's praemunire suit, Hunne's examination for heresy and his post-humous trial for heresy as well as mention of parliamentary and royalsecure compensation for Hunne's family. It is very likely that all of thisinformation came from Dunstan Whaplod, Hunne's grandson. Foxe declared thatthe material on the efforts to secure restitution for the Hunne family and 'all the braunches and particular evidences' of the Hunne case were 'taken out as well of thepublique actes, as of the Byshopes registers and speciall recordes, remainyng in thecustody of Dunstan Whapplot the sonne of the daughter of the sayd Richard Hunne'(1570, p. 936). From what Foxe declares, Whaplod had secured not only the materialregarding the compensation to his family, he also acquired some of the episcopalrecords regarding the Hunne case. These do not survive in Bishop Fitzjames's register and they were probably kept in a separate courtbook. Since Foxe states thatthey remained in Whaplod's hands, the martyrologist probably did not keep them. And in this edition Foxe also added a rebuttal to Harpsfield's attacks on his accountof Hunne.

[Back to Top]

But Foxe not only added to his original account of Hunne, he also subtracted from it.All of the depositions from the coroner's inquest, except that of Julian Littell, wasomitted from the 1570 edition, almost undoubtedly as part of the ongoing effort tosave on paper. Two of the depositions, those of Allen Cresswell and RichardHorsenail, were, however, restored in the 1583 edition.

[Back to Top]

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

¶ A description of the lollardes tower, where in master Richard Hun was priuely murthered, and after by the said parties hanged.

A description of the Lolards tower, where in M. Rich Hunne was first murthered
woodcut [View a larger version]
Commentary on the Woodcuts  *  Close
This woodcut shows the body of Hunne hanging to the left of the cell, while his killers exit: one of them is depicted blowing out a candle, placed on the stocks, as he leaves. This scene illustrates the belief of many (including Foxe) that Hunne was murdered. The coroner's inquest into Hunne's death (reprinted by Foxe) reported that 'an ende of a wax candel ... we found sticking upon the stockes fayre put out, about seven or eight foote from the place where Hunne was hanged, which candle after our opinion was never put out by him.' (1563, p.391.) CUL copy: this image contains some detail added in ink. The man blowing out the candle wears a blue tunic with yellowy-orange hose. The next man is in black with pink sleeves; the other is in purple. Note that there is considerable bleed through on the right of this image. WREN copy: the outfits are more muted in this copy: Hunne is in blue, with purple hose, but the perpetrators are in dark, charcoal colours, almost blending into the background, making the image appear altogether much more sinister.

MarginaliaRichard Hun committed to the lollards tower and murthered.IN the moneth of Decembre, in the yere of our Lord. 1515. there was one Richarde Hun a marchaunt tailer of London in Lollers towre by the commaundement of the bishop of London, called RichardFytziames and doctor Horsey his Chaūceler, whiche was a man more of wit to prefer the bishops iurisdiction and the cleargye, then the truthe of the Gospell: but so it was that the said Hun was found deade hanginge by the neck in a girdle of silke, within the said towr.

[Back to Top]
Go To Modern Page No:  
Click on this link to switch between the Modern pagination for this edition and Foxe's original pagination when searching for a page number. Note that the pagination displayed in the transcription is the modern pagination with Foxe's original pagination in square brackets.
Find:
Type a keyword and then restrict it to a particular edition using the dropdown menu. You can search for single words or phrases. When searching for single words, the search engine automatically imposes a wildcard at the end of the keyword in order to retrieve both whole and part words. For example, a search for "queen" will retrieve "queen", "queene" and "queenes" etc.
in:  
Humanities Research Institute  *  HRI Online  *  Feedback
Version 2.0 © 2011 The University of Sheffield