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515 [515]

Whiche aunsweres thus made & acknoweledged, the sayde Maister Arture did reuoke & condempne the sayde articles against hym ministred, and submitted hym selfe to the punishment and iudgement of the Churche.

The thyrde daye of December, the Byshop of London with the other byshoppes 

Commentary  *  Close

Among the other examiners whom Foxe did not name was the bishop of Carlisle. They met in the octagonal chapter house of Westminster Abbey, which has remained relatively unchanged in the intervening centuries. It is reached from the Cloister and it retains its original tile floor and wall paintings.

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, assemblyng in the place aforesayde. After that Bylney had denied vtterly to returne to the churche, the byshop of London in discharge of hys conscience (as he sayde) least he shoulde hyde any thynge that hadd come to his handes, he did really exhibite vnto the Notaries in þe presence of the sayde Maister Bilney certayne letters, that is to wytte, fyue letters or Epistles, with one cedule in one of the Epistles, cōteyninge his articles and aunsweres folded therein, and an other Epistle 
Commentary  *  Close

The actual number of letters that passed between Thomas Bilney and Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall is confused here. What is clear is that Tunstall carefully saved Bilney's letters, and used them here in examining him in 1527.

folded in maner of a booke with syxe leaues, whiche all and euery one he commaunded to be wrytten out and registred, and the originals to be delyuered to hym agayne. This was done in the presence of Maister Bilney, desyryng a copye of them, and he bounde vs the Notaries with an othe for the safe kepyng of the copies, and the true registryng of the same. Whiche articles and annsweres with three of the same epistles with certayne depositions deposed by the forsayde wytnes, here followe truely drawen out, partly of his owne hande wrytinge, and partly out of the register.

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¶ Interrogatories wherupon Mai. Thomas Arture and Maister Bylney, were accused, and, examined. 
Commentary  *  Close

The records of Bilney's and Arthur's examinations are preserved in the Register of Cuthbert Tunstall, bishop of London, in Guildhall Library, MS 9531/10, fols. 130B-136A. The bishop of Rochester was John Fisher, chancellor of Cambridge University, who was among the most implacable of Luther's adversaries, and he enjoyed an international reputation for learning and orthodoxy. Luther's 1520 book De Captivitate Babylonica Ecclesiae created a sensation because he attacked the doctrine of the seven sacraments and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church by calling into question the theology of the Mass. Fisher responded against him in Defensio Regie assertionis contra Babylonicam captiuitatem and Sacri sacerdotij defensiones contra Lutherum, (Cologne: Peter Quentell, June 1525).

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Marginalia1.WHether they dyd beleue with theyr hartes, that the assertions of Luther, which are impugned by the Byshop of Rochester, were iustly and Godly condempned, and that Luther with his adherentes was a wycked and detestable heretike.

Marginalia2.Whether thei did beleue, that þe general coūcels and ecclesiasticall constitutions once receaued and not abrogate agayne, ought to be obserued of all menne, euen for cōscience sake and not only for feare.

Marginalia3.Whether they did beleue that the Popes lawes were proffitable and necessarie to the preferment of godlynes, not repugnant to the holy scriptures, neyther by any meanes to be abrogate, but to be reuerenced of all men.

Marginalia4.Whether they beleue that þe catholike church may erre in the faith or no, and whether they thinke that catholike church to be a sensible church, which may be demonstrat and pointed out, as it were with a finger, or that it is only a spirituall church, intelligible, and knowen only vnto god.

Marginalia5.Whether they thinke that the Images of saintes are christienly set in the churches, and ought to be worshipped of all trew christiens.

Marginalia6.Whether that a man may beleue with out hurt to his faith or not of heresie, that þe soules of Peter and Paule, and of our lady either to be or not to be in heauen, neither that ther is yet any iudgment geuen vpon the soules departed.

Marginalia7.Whether that a man may beleue without spott of heresy that our Lady remained not alwaies a virgine.

Marginalia8.Whether holy dayes and fasting dayes ordeyned and receiued by the church, may be broken by any priuat man at his wil and pleasur without sinne or obstinacy.

Marginalia9.Whether we are bound to be obedient vnto prelates, bishopes, & kinges by godes commaūdement, as we are vnto our parentes.

Marginalia10.Whether we beleue that the churche dooth well and godly in praying to the sainctes.

Marginalia11,Whether they thynke that Christe onely should be prayed vnto, and that it is no heresy, if any man affirme that saintes should not be prayed vnto.

Marginalia12,Whether they do thynke all true christians to be by lyke right priestes, and all those to haue receiued the keyes of byndyng and loosyng, at the handes of Christ, whiche haue obteyned the spirite of God, and only suche, whether they be lay men or pristes.

Marginalia13.Whether they beleue with their hart, that fayth may be without workes and charitie. 

Commentary  *  Close

The target of the bishops' inquiry here was the Lutheran tenet of justification by faith alone, without the necessity of good works (including pilgrimages, the invocation of the saints, or almsdeeds).

Marginalia14.Whether they beleue that it is more agreable to the fayth, that the people should pray in their owne tongue, then in a learned vnknowen tongue, and whether they commend the prayer in a straunge tongue or no.

Marginalia15.Whether they would haue the masses and gospelles openly to be read in churches in the vulgar tōgue rather then in þe Lattin tongue. 

Commentary  *  Close

The reading of the Bible in the vernacular by the laity had been illegal in England ever since the medieval heresy laws against Lollardy had been passed by Parliament in 5 Ric. II, st. 2, c. 5 (1382); 2 Hen. IV, c. 15 (1401); 2 Hen. V., st. 1, c. 7 (1414), and also in the 1408 Constitutions of Archbishop Thomas Arundel, printed in William Lyndwood, Provinciale, (seu Constitvtiones Angliae) (Oxford, 1679; rpt. 1968), p. 286. Vernacular prayers and lessons were at issue once more since 1516 when Erasmus first issued his powerful call for everyone to read scripture in the Paraclesis.

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Marginalia16.Whether they cōmend that chyldren shuld only be taught the Lordes prayer, and not the salutation of the vyrgin, or Crede.

Marginalia17.Whether they do think the wodden beades which the common people doth vse, worthy to be denied or not. 

Commentary  *  Close

The reference here to wooden `beades' may not be simply to rosary beads, but to the `pardon beads' that were offered by some religious houses to reassure worried lay people. See J. T. Rhodes, `Syon Abbey and its Religious Publications in the Sixteenth Century', Journal of Ecclesiastical History, vol. 44 (1993), pp. 11-25.

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Marginalia18.Whether they do thinke the whole scriptur ought to be translated into English, that it shuld be more profitable for the people then as it is now redde. 

Commentary  *  Close

Translations of the Bible into English had been illegal ever since the Wycliffite heresies of the late fourteenth century. See 5 Ric. II, st. 2, c. 5 (1382); 2 Hen. IV, c. 15 (1401); 2 Hen. V., st. 1, c. 7 (1414), and also the 1408 Constitutions of Archbishop Thomas Arundel, printed in William Lyndwood, Provinciale, (seu Constitvtiones Angliae) (Oxford, 1679; rpt. 1968), p. 286. The call of the humanists, including Erasmus, to return ad fontes, and to understand sacred scripture as it had been written, was highly controversial in the late 1520s. Susan Wabuda, 'The Woman with the Rock: the Controversy on Women and Bible Reading', in Belief and Practice in Reformation England: A Tribute to Patrick Collinson from His Students, eds. Susan Wabuda and Caroline Litzenberger (Aldershot, 1998), pp. 40-59.

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Marginalia19.Whether they would haue the orgaines & all maner of songs to be put out of the church of God.

Marginalia20.Whether they do thynke that it perteyned to the byshoppes, to punishe any manne with bondes or imprysonment, or that they haue any temporall power and autoritie.

Marginalia21.Whether they thinke that constitution to be godly, that no man should preache in another mans dioces, without letters of commendacion and lycence obteyned of the Byshop.

Marginalia22.Whether they thynke that the vowes of religious menne and priuate Religion, to be

fyrst
Tt. iiii.
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