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1220 [1220]

K. Henry. 8. The storye of Thomas Benet, Martyr. The Popes cursing.

MarginaliaBenet almost taken in the church.two men, whiche were the busiest in all the Citie in sekyng and searchyng for this hereticke, and they beholdyng this Benet sayd the one to the other: surely this felow by all likelyhode, is the hereticke that hath set vp the Billes, and it is good to examine hym. Neuertheles when they had well beheld him, and saw the quyet and sober behauiour of the man, hys attentiuenes to the preacher, hys godlynes in the Church, beyng alwayes occupied in his boke, which was a Testament in þe Latine tounge, were astonyed & had no power to speake vnto hym, but departed and left hym readyng in hys booke. MarginaliaThe storyes a alytle vary, touching the taking of Benet.As touching thys poynt of Benetes behauiour in the Church, I finde the reportes of some other a litle to varye, and yet not much contrarye one to the other. For in receauing the letters and writinges of a certayne Minister, which at the same tyme was present at the doing hereof in Exeter, thus I finde moreouer added concerning the behauiour of thys Thomas Benet in the Church. 

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Vowell apparently sent Foxe documents and testimonies along with his own account of Dusgate.

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MarginaliaDoctors & fryers in Exeter.At that time (saith he) as I remember, Doct. Moreman, Crispin, Caseley with such other, bare þe swynge there. Beside these there were also preachers there, one Doct. Bascauild an vnlearned doctor, God knoweth, and one D. Dauid, as well learned as he, both Graye Friers, and Doct. I know not who, a Blacke Frier, not much inferiour vnto them. MarginaliaGregory Bassed frier of Exeter.Moreouer there was one Bacheler of Diuinitie a Gray Frier, named Gregory Bassed, in dede learned more then they all, but as blinde and superstitious as hee whiche was most. Which Gregory, 

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At this time, Bassett was a member of the Oxford Franciscan convent. He would become warden of the Exeter Franciscan convent. This account of Bassett's imprisonment, in his younger days, for reading works of Luther is confirmed by Exeter City Muniments, Book 51, fo. 350r.

not long before, was reuolted frõ þe way of righteousnes, to the way of Beliall: for in Bristowe (sayth the author) hee lay in prison long, and almost famished for hauyng a booke of Martin Luther, called hys questions, whiche hee a long tyme priuely had studied, and for teaching of youth a certain Cathechisme. To bee short, the brayne of the Cannons and Priestes, the Officers and commons of that Citie, were very earnestly busied, how or by what meanes such an enormious hereticke, whiche had pricked vp those Bylles, might be espyed and knowen, but it was long first. At last the Priestes founde out a toye to curse hym what soeuer hee were, with booke, bell and candle, whiche curse at that day seemed most fearefull and terrible. The maner of the curse was after this sorte.

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One of þe Priestes apparelled all in white, ascended vp into the pulpit. MarginaliaThe priests curse they cannot tell whom.The other rablement, with certaine of the two order of Friers and certaine superstitious Monkes of S. Nicholas house 

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I.e., St. Nicholas's Priory, a Benedictine house in Exeter.

stãding round about, & the Crosse (as the custome was) beyng holden vp, with holy candels of waxe fixed to þe same, he began his Sermon with this theame of Iosue: Est blasphemia in Castris: there is blasphemie in the army, 
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A reference to Joshua 6-7. The story of these chapters (and undoubtedly the theme of the sermon) was of Aachan, whose covert defiance of God's laws, brought destruction upon the Israelites until his sin was discovered and he was slain.

and so made a long protestatiõ, but not so long, as tedious and superstitious, and so concluded that that fowle and abhominable hereticke, whiche had put vp such blasphemous billes, was for that his blasphemy, damnably accursed, and besought God, our Lady, S. Peter patrone of that Churche, with all the holy company of Martyrs, Confessours & Virgines, that it might be knowen what hereticke had put vp such blasphemous Billes, that Gods people might auoyde the vengeance.

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The maner of þe cursing of þe said Benet was maruelous to beholde, for as much as at that tyme there was fewe or none, vnles a Sherman or two (whose houses I wel remember were searched for Billes at that time and for bookes) that knew any thing of Gods matters, or howe God doth blesse their curses in such cases. MarginaliaThe maner of the Popes blacke curse, with booke, bell, and candle.Then sayd the Prelate: by the authoritie of God the father almightye, and of the blessed Virgine Mary, of S. Peter and Paule, & of the holy Saintes, we excõmunicate, we vtterly curse and banne, committe and deliuer to the deuill of hell, hym or her, what so euer hee or she bee that haue, in spite of God and of S. Peter, whose Churche thys is, in spyte of all holy Saintes, & in spyte of our most holy father the Pope Gods Vicare here in earth, and in spyte of the reuerent father Iohn our diocesane, and the worshipfull Cannons, masters, and priestes, and clarkes, whiche serue God dayly in this Cathedrall Churche, fixed vp with waxe such cursed and hereticall Billes full of blasphemy, vppon the doores of this and other holy Churches within this Citie. Excommunicate playnly bee he or she plenally, or they, and deliuered ouer to the deuil, as perpetuall malefectours and scismatickes. Accused might they be and geuē body and soule to the deuill. Marginaliahere is colde charitie.Cursed be they, he, or she, in Cities & townes, in fieldes, in wayes, in pathes, in houses, out of houses, and in all other places, standyng, lying, or rysing, walkyng, runnyng, wakyng, slepyng, eatyng, drinkyng, and what so euer thyng they do besides. MarginaliaBlesse, and curse not, sayth the Lord. Curse, and blesse not, sayth the Pope.We separate thē, hym, or her, from the thresholde, and from all the good prayers of the Church, frõ the participation of the holy Masse, from all Sacramentes, Chapels, and Aultars, from holy bread, and holy water, from all the merites of Gods Priests, and religious men, & from all their cloysters, from all their pardons, priuiledges, graūtes, and immunities, which all the holy fathers Popes of Rome haue graunted to them: and we geue them ouer vtterly to the power of the feende, & let vs quench their soules, if they be dead, this night in þe paynes of hell fire, as this candle is now quenched & put out (and with that he put out one of the candels) MarginaliaMarke the apishe pageants of these popelings.and let vs pray to God (if they be alyue) that their eyes may be put out as this candle light is (so he put out the other candle) & let vs praye to God & to our Ladye, and to S. Peter & Paule, and all holy Saints, that all the senses of their bodies may faile them, & that they may haue no feelyng, as now the lyght of this candle is gone (& so he put out the thyrd cãdle) except they, he, or she, come openly now and confesse their blasphemy, and by repentaunce (as much as in them shall lye) make satisfaction to God, our Lady, S. Peter and the worshypfull company of this Cathedrall Church, MarginaliaThe falling of the Crosse staffe.and as thys holy Crosse staffe nowe falleth down, so might they, except they repente & shew them selues: and one first takyng away the Crosse, the staffe fell down. But Lord what a shoute and noise was there, what terrible feare, what holding vp of handes to heauen: that curse was so terrible.

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Now this fond foolishe phansie and mockery beyng done and played, whiche was to a Christian harte a thyng ridiculous, MarginaliaTho. Benet laugheth at their cursing.Benet coulde no longer forbeare, but fell to great laughter, but within hym selfe, and for a great space could not cease: by the whiche thyng the poore man was espied. 

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This was one of several conflicting accounts of how Dusgate was discovered.

For those that were next to him, wondring at that great curse, & beleuing that it could not but lyght on one or other, asked good Benet for what cause he should so laugh. My frendes (said he) who cã forbeare, seing such merye conceites and enterludes playde of þe Priestes? Strayght way a noyse was made: here is the hereticke, here is the hereticke, hold him fast, hold hym fast. With that was there a great cõfusion of voyces and much clapping of handes, and yet they were vncerteine whether he were the hereticke or no. Some saye, that vppon the same he was taken and apprehended. Other reporte, that his enemyes beyng vncertaine of hym, departed, and so hee went home to hys house. MarginaliaTho. Benet setteth vp newe billes.Where he beyng not able to digeste the lyes there preached, renewed his former Byls and caused hys boy earely in the mornyng folowyng to set the said Bylles vppon the gates of the Churchyarde. 
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Morice would seem to corroborate this version; he states that Dusgate was spotted fixing his messages on the door of the cathedral and that his house was searched, whereupon incriminating documents were found (BL, Harley NS 419, fo. 125r-v).

And as the boy was settyng one of the sayd Byls vpon a gate called the litle style, it chaunced that one W. S. goyng to the Cathedrall Churche to heare a Masse called Bartons Masse, whiche was then dayly sayd about v. of the clocke in the mornyng, found þe boy at the gate and askyng hym whose boy hee was, did charge hym to be the hereticke, whiche had set vp the Bylles vpon the gates, MarginaliaTho Benet taken by meanes of hys boy setting vp hys billes.wherfore pullyng down the Bill, he brought the same together with the boy before the Maior of the Citie, and therupon Benet being knowen and takē, was

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