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1203 [1203]

K. Hen. 8. The condemnation and degradation of Richard Bayfilde, Martyr.

MarginaliaAn. 1531.the Cathedrall Church of S. Paul before the said Iohn Byshop of Lōdon iudicially sitting, beyng assisted with Iohn Abbot of Westminster, and Robert Abbot of Waltham, Nicholas Prior of Christ Church in London, these honorable Lordes being also present, Henry Earle of Essex, Richard Gray, brother of þe Marques of Somerset, Iohn Lambert, Maior of London, Rich. Gresham and Edward Altam Shriffes (the which Maior and Shriues were required to bee there present by the Bishop of Londons letters here after written, and by vertue of a statute of kyng Henry the fourth kyng of England) 

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The statute referred to is 'De haeretico comburendo', which mandated the punishment for heresy and the process for trying and punishing heretics. It wasenacted under Henry IV in 1401.

MarginaliaOf thys statute, read before pag. 614. also in the presence of diuers Chanons, the Chauncellour, Officiall, and Archdeacon of Lōdon, with the Byshops Chaplains, & a great number both of the Clergy and laity, Mathew Grefton the register beyng also there present: MarginaliaM. Richard Bayfilde agayn brought before the Byshop.M. Richard Bayfild, aliâs Somersam, was brought forth by Thomas Turnor þe Aparator his keper, in whose presence the transumpt of the Apostolike Bull of Pope Leo the. x. vpon the condempnation of Martin Luther and hys adherentes, was brought forth and shewed, sealed with the seale of Tho. Wolsey late Legate de Latere, and subscribed with the signe and name of M. Robert Tūnes, publike Notary, and also the decree vpon the condemnation of certein bokes brought in by him, sealed with the seale of tharchbishop of Canterbury, and subscribed by. iii. Notaries.

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Then the Bishop of London repeted in effect before hym, his abiuration whiche he had before made, and other his demerites committed and done, beside his abiuration: and the sayde Baifeld said, that he was not culpable in the articles that were obiected against him, and desired that the heresies contayned in the bokes which he brought ouer, might be declared in opē audience. Thē the Bishop, after certein talke had with the said Baifeld as touching the deserte of hys cause, asked hym whether he coulde shewe any cause why he should not be deliuered ouer vnto the seculer power, & be pronounced as a relaps, and suffer punishment as a relaps. The said Baifeld declared or propounded no cause, but sayd, þt he brought ouer those bokes for lacke of mony, and not to sowe any heresies. And incōtinent the sayd Baifeld wyth a vehement spirite (as it appeared) sayd vnto þe Byshop of London, MarginaliaThe saying of Rich. Bayfild to the bishop of London.the life of you of the spiritualtye is so euill, that ye be heretickes, and ye do not onely liue euill, but do maintaine euill lyuyng, & also do let that what true liuyng is, may not be knowē, and sayd that their liuyng is agaynst Christes Gospel, and that their belief was neuer taken of Christes Church. Then the sayd Byshop, after long deliberatiō had, for somuch as the sayd Richard Bayfild (he said) could shewe no cause why he should not be declared as relapse, he read the decree and sentence agaynst hym: MarginaliaSentence agaynst Rich. Bayfilde.by the whiche amongest other thinges, he condemned him as an hereticke, and pronounced him to bee punished with the punishment due vnto such as fall agayne into heresie, and by his wordes did disgrade hym, and also declared that he should be actually disgraded, as is more at large contained in the long sentence.

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The foresayd sentence beyng so read by the Bishop of London, hee proceded immediatly to the actuall and solemne disgradyng of the said Richard Bayfild, aliâs Somersam, and there solempnely and actually disgraded hym before the people, the whiche thyng beyng done, he dismissed him by the sentence aforesayd, from the Ecclesiasticall Court. Whereupon the secular power beyng there present, receyued hym vnto their iurisdiction, without any writte in that behalfe obtayned, but onely by vertue of the bishops letters by the statute of kyng Henry the 4. in that behalfe prouided & directed vnto them vnder the Byshops seale. The tenour of whiche letters here after folow.

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¶ The Letters of requirye 
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I.e. a letter of requirement or command.

directed to the Maior and Shriues of the City of London, that they should be present that daye, when the sentence should be geuen, to receiue the heretick (as they called him) that was condempned.

MarginaliaThe letters of requiry to the Maior & Shriffes of London.IHon by the permission of God, bishop of Lōdon, vnto our dearlye beloued in Christ, the ryght honourable Lord Maior of the City of London, and the Shriffes of the same, health, grace, & benediction. Where as we haue already by our Vicar general proceded in a certein cause of heresye & relaps into the same, against one Richard Baifelde, aliâs Somersam, and intend vpon mondaye next being the. xx. day of this present moneth of Nouember, to geue a sentence definitiue against the said Richard Baifeld, aliâs Somersam, and to leaue and deliuer hym ouer vnto the secular power: We require you the Lorde Mayor & Shriues aforsaid, the Kinges Maiesties Vicegerentes, euen in the bowels of Iesu Christ, that according to the forme and effecte of the statute of our moste noble and famous Prince in Christ our Lord, the Lorde Henry the. iiij. by the grace of God, late Kinge of England, that you will be personally present in the Queere of the Cathedral Church of S. Paul, with your fauourable aide & assistaunce in this behalfe, the day that the sentence shall be geuen, & to receiue the saide Richard Baifeld, aliâs Somersam, after his sentence so geuen, to discharge vs and our offycers, and to do further according to the tenor and effecte of the said statute, as farre as shall be required of you according to þe Canonical Sanctions, and the laudable customes of the famous kingdom of England, in this behalf accustomed.

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In witnes wherof we haue set our seale vnto this present, Dated the. 19. day of Nouembre, Anno. 1531. and in the fyrste yere of our consecration.

On Monday the. xx. day of Nouemb. in þe yere aforesaid, in the Queere of þe Cathedral church of S. Paule, the Bishop of London callinge vnto him Ihon Abbot of Westminster, Robert Abbot of Waltame, Nycholas Prior of Christes Churche of the Citie of London, M. Ihon Coxe Auditor and Vicar General to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Peter Ligham Officiall of the Court of Cāterbury, Thomas Baghe Chaūcelour of the Church of S. Paules, William Clief, Archdeacon of London, Ihon Incent Chanon residentary of the same, William Brytton, Robert Birche, & Hugh Aprice, Doctours of both lawes, in the presence of vs Mathew Grefton Register, Antony Hussy, Richard Martin and Thomas Shadwall publike Notaries and Scribes appoynted in this behalfe, brieflye rehearsed the aunswers of the same Bayfeld in effect, and his abiuration, and other his demerites by him done besyde his abiuratiō. The which religious persones and other Ecclesiastical men aboue said, thought it good & agreed that the said Bishop should procede against him in this case of relaps, and should pronounce and geue forth the sentence againste him, in case aforesayd, MarginaliaRichard. Bayfild geuen to the secular power.and so he was deliuered to the Shriues to cary to Newgate, being commaunded to bring him agayne vpon mondaye folowing, into Paules vpper Queere, there to geue attendance vpon the Bishoppe of London with the residue, till they had done with hym, and by and by the Shriffes were commaunded to haue hym into the Vestrye, and then to bring him forth again in Antichristes apparell to be dysgraded afore them. MarginaliaRichard Bayfild disgraded.When hee had dysgraded hym kneeling vppon the highest steppe of the aultar, MarginaliaBayfilde throwen down with the bishops staffe.he tooke his Crosier staffe, and smote hym on the breast, that he threwe him downe backewardes, and brake his heade that he sounded 

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This was part of the ceremony of degradation and not simply gratuitous violence.

, & when he came to him selfe againe, he thancked God that he was delyuered from the malignaunte Churche of Antichrist, and that he was come into the true sincere Churche of Iesus Christ militant here in earth, and I trust anone (said he) to be in heauen with Iesus Christ, & the Church triumphant for euer, and so was he lead forth thorowe the Queere to Newgate, and there rested about an houre in prayer, and so went to the fyre in his apparell manfully and ioyfully, and there for lacke of

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