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1388 [1388]

K. Henry. 8. Lorde Cromwell. Abbayes suppreßed.

for my part, I neuer yet saw in this Realme any such Cromwell since Cromwels tyme, whose hart and courage might not sooner haue bene subuerted with the money and brybes of Abbotes, then he to haue subuerted any Abbay in all England.

MarginaliaThe defence of the Lorde Cromwell for ouerthrowing the Abbayes.But here I must of necessitie aunswere the complaynt of certeine of our countreymē. For so I heare of many, the subuersion of these Monasteries to be reprehēded, as euill & wicked. The building (say they) might haue bene conuerted vnto scholes, and houses of learnyng. The goodes and possessions might haue bene bestowed to much better and more godly vse of the poore, & mainteynyng of hospitalitie. Neither do I deny, but that these thinges are well and godly spoken of them, and could willyngly embrase their opinion with my whole harte, if I did not consider herein a more secret and deeper meanyng of Gods holy prouidence, then at first blushe perauenture to all mē doth appeare.

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MarginaliaThe abominable life in Monasteries, bewrayed by their owne confession.And first to omitte the wicked and execrable lyfe of these religious orders, full of all feditie, and found out by the kynges visitors and in theyr Registers also recorded, so horrible to be heard, so incredible to be beleued, so stinkyng before the face of God and mā, that no maruell it is if Gods vengeaunce frō heauē prouoked, would not suffer any stone or monument of these abominable houses to be vnplucked vp. But (as I said) lettyng these thynges passe vnder chast silence, whiche for very shame will abhorre any story to disclose: let vs nowe come to the first institution of these orders and houses of Munkerye, and consider how and to what ende they were first instituted and erected here among the Saxons, at the first foundation of them, about the tyme. 666.

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In the former parte of this historye, MarginaliaRead afore pag. 177. 178.
The first beginning of religious houses in the tyme of the Saxons.
declaratiō was made before, pag. 177. 178. first by whō and at what tyme these Monkishe houses here in England among the Saxons (flowyng no doubt, out of the order of S. Benet, & brought in by Austine) began first to be foūded 

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See 1570, pp. 177-8; 1576, pp. 134-5 and 1583, pp. 132-4.

, as by Austine the Monke, Furseus, Medulphus, Aidanus, Ceadda, kyng Vlferus, Oswius, Elfreda K. Oswys daughter, Kineburga, Hilda, Botulphus, Edeldreda, kyng Oswald, Edgar, Erkenewaldus Byshop Æthelwoldus Bishop of Winchester, Osketellus Archbyshop of Yorke, Oswaldus Byshop of Worcester, Leswinus Bish. of Dorcest. Dunstane, and diuers other.

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MarginaliaThe ende and cause of buildyng religious houses.The ende and finall cause why they were buylded, appeareth in stories to be, pro remissione & redemptione peccatorum: pro remedio & liberatione animæ: pro amore cœlestis patriæ: in eleemosinam animæ: in remissionē criminū: pro salute regnorū: pro salute & requie animarum patrum & matrum, fratrū & sororum nostrarū, parentum, & omnium benefactorum: in honorem gloriosæ virginis. &c. As may appeare in auncient histories, in old Charters & Donations vnto religious houses, & in the Chronicle of Ingulphus, as also all other stories be full of þe same. So K. Ethelstane for killing his brother Edwyne, builded ij. Monasteries, Midleton and Michelneye, for his soule 

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See 1570, p. 197; 1576, p. 150 and 1583, pp. 148-9.

, pag. 197. MarginaliaThe damnable doctrine & institution of religious Sectes and orders.Which doctrine & institution, forsomuch as it tendeth and soundeth directly agaynst the foundation of Christian Religion, agaynst the Testament of God, the Gospell of Iesus Christ, the freedome of our redemption, and free iustification by faith, it is therfore to be condemned as execrable and horrible, as euill or worse then the lyfe of the persons, and not onely worthy to bee suppressed to the foundation, but to be marueiled rather that God would suffer it to stand so longe. Albeit Gods mightie vengeaunce and scourge hath not ceased from tyme to tyme, to worke against such impious foundations frō the time of theyr first setting vp.  
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Foxe's list of the destruction of the abbeys in basically accurate, except where noted, but it is a little counter-intuitive. Foxe is listing some of the wealthiest abbeys in England, and even if they did sustain damage over the course of the centuries (in many cases, the result of the Danish invasions), they flourished.

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MarginaliaGods cōtinuall plage agaynst Monasteryes.For besides þe inuasions of the Danes (which may seeme to be styrred vp of God, especially for the subuersion of Abbayes) let olde historyes bee searched, what Monasterie almost in all thys Realme, was eyther left by the Danes, or redified agayne after the Danes, but by some notorious casualtie of fire sent by Gods hand, it hath bene burnt vp.

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Fyrst, the Monastery of Canterbury called þe house
of S. Gregory 
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The reference is to St. Gregory's Priory in Canterbury. This was burned in 1145 and 1241, not 1174.

,
was burnt an. 1145. and after-
ward againe burnt, an. 1174. Ex hist. Geruasij. MarginaliaEx Chronicis. Geruasij.
The Abbay of Croyland also was twise burnt. Ex
hist. Ingulphi. MarginaliaIngulphi.
The Abbay of Peterborowe twise sette on fire, an.
1070. Ex Chron. Peterb. MarginaliaPeterborou.
The Abbay of S. Maryes in Yorke burnt, with the
hospitall also. MarginaliaWalteri Wekes.
The Abbay of Norwich burnt. MarginaliaHouedeni.
The Abbay of S. Edmundes bury burnt & destroy-
ed. Ex Chron. S. Edmund.Gaulteri Couentr.
The Abbay of Worcester burnt. MarginaliaFabiani.
The Abbay of Glocester was also burnt. MarginaliaWilliel. Malmesb.
The Abbay of Chichester burnt.
The Abbay of Glastenbury burnt.
The Abbay of S. Mary in Southwarke burnt.
The Church of the Abbay of Beuerlay burnt.
The Steple of the Abbay of Euesham burnt.

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MarginaliaAbbayes burnt and plaged with fire.These, with many other Monasteries moe, God brought downe to the ground, so that fewe or none of all the Monasticall foundations in all England, either before the Conquest escaped the handes of the Danes and Scottes, or els after the Conquest escaped destruction of fire: MarginaliaThe doctrine of the Monkes worsse then theyr liues.And that not without iust cause deserued: for as the trade of their liues was too too wretched and bestiall, so the profession of their doctrine was intollerable, fraught with all superstition, full of much idolatrie, and vtterly contrarye to the grace of the Gospell, and doctrine of Christ.

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Furthermore, the more these Abbayes multiplyed, and the longer they continued in time, the more corruption still they drewe vnto them. And albeit we read the name of Monkes to haue continued frō olde auncient tyme, yet notwithstandyng the Monkes of those dayes were not lyke to the Monkes of our tyme, nor their houses then, lyke to our Abbayes now. So we read of the Monkes of Bangor before the comming of Austine: but those Monkes gotte their liuing with toyle and labour of their handes, & had no other landes nor Lordships to liue vpon. Agayne, neyther were they as Ministers then, but as laye men: accordyng as Hierome describeth the Monkes of hys tyme, saying: Monachus non docentis, sed plangentis habet officiū. Marginalia16. q. 1. Monachus.And agayn he sayth: Alia causa est Monachi, alia Clerici. Clerici oues pascunt. Ego pascor. Marginalia16. q. 1. Alia causa. Glosa.That is: A Monkes office is not to preach, but to mourne. The state of a Monke is one thyng, and the state of a Priest is an other. Priestes feede the flocke of Christ. I am fedde. &c. Also in the storye of Ingulphus Abbat of Croyland, thus I finde: An. 1075. In Croylandiam primum installatus inueni tunc in isto Monasterio Croylandensi Monachos numero 62. Quorum quatuor laici fratres erant, præter aliorum Monasteriorum Monachos nostri capituli conprefessos, &c. MarginaliaEx Chron. Ingulphi Abbat. Croylandens.That is: Being installed in the Abbay of Croyland, I found there to the number of lxij. Monkes. MarginaliaLaye men receaued for Monkes into Monasteries.Of which Monkes, iiij. of them were laye brethren, besides the Monkes of other Monasteryes, which were also profeßed to our Chapter. &c.

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MarginaliaMonkes forbidden to intermedle in ecclesiasticall matters.The lyke matter also appeareth, in the iiij. Canon of the Coūcell of Chalcedon, where it is prouided, ne monachi se Ecclesiasticis negotijs immisceant. &c. Et Leo Epist. 62. vetat Monachos & laicos etsi sciētiæ nomine glorientur, admitti ad officium docēdi & concionanci. Wherof read more  

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See 1570, p. 1202, 1576, p. 155 and 1583, p. 153.

pag. 202. col. 2.

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Thus it appeareth about or before the time of Hierome, that Monkes in the first persecutions of the primitiue Church, were lay men, and companies of Christians associating them selues together, either for feare of persecution, or for eschewing the companye of Heathen Gentles. Afterward in continuaunce of tyme, when the Gentles beganne to be called to Christiani-

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tie,
OOO.iiij.
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