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1401 [1401]

K. Hen. 8. The death of the L. Cromwell. Edm. Boner. His othe. Bible in Englishe.

ler of thy mercy agaynst all the assaultes of the deuill. I see and knowledge that there is in my selfe no hope of saluation, but all my confidence, hope & trust, is in thy most mercifull goodnes. I haue no merites nor good workes, whiche I may alledge before thee. Of sinnes & euil workes (alas) I see a great heape: but yet thorow they mercy I trust to be in the nūber of thē to whō thou wilt not impute their sinnes: but wilt take & accept me for righteous & iust, & to be the inheritour of euerlasting life. Thou mercifull Lord waste borne for my sake: thou didst suffer both hunger and thirst for my sake: thou diddest teach, praye, and faste for my sake: all thy holy actions and workes thou wroughtest for my sake: thou sufferedst most greuous paines and torments for my sake: finally, thou gauest thy moste precious bodye and thy bloud to bee shed on the crosse for my sake. Now most mercifull Sauiour, let all these thinges profite me, that thou freely hast done for me, which haste geuen thy selfe also for me. Let thy bloude clense and washe away the spottes and foulnes of my sinnes. Let thy righteousnes hide and couer my vnrighteousnes. Let the merites of thy passion and bloudesheding be satisfaction for my sinnes. Geue me Lord thy grace that the fayth of my saluation in thy bloude, wauer not in me, but may euer be firme and constant: that the hope of thy mercye and life euerlasting neuer decaye in me: that loue waxe not colde in me: Finally, that the weaknes of my fleshe bee not ouercome with the feare of death. Graunt me mercifull Sauiour, that when death hath shutte vp the eyes of my bodye, yet the eyes of my soule may still beholde and looke vppon thee: and when death hath taken awaye the vse of my tounge, yet my harte may crye and say vnto thee: Lorde into thy handes I commende my soule: Lord Iesu receaue my spirite. Amen.

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MarginaliaThe death of the Lord Cromwell.And thus his prayer made, after hee had godly and louyngly exhorted them that were about hym on the scaffold, he quietly committed his soule into the handes of God, and so paciently suffered the stroke of the axe, by a ragged and butcherly miser, whiche very vngodly performed the office.

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¶ Of the Bible in Englishe Printed in the large volume, & of Edmund Boner, preferred to the Byshopricke of London, by the meanes of the Lord Cromwell. 
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Great Bible

This lengthy, convoluted, and chronologically-confused passage relates the history of Miles Coverdale's revision of the vernacular "Thomas Matthew Bible" in Paris in 1538; the failure of that foreign printing venture; and the eventual production of a new version - Henry VIII's "Great Bible," licensed and authorized - by Richard Grafton and Edmund Whitchurch in 1539. This is, however, no triumphant tale of the political successes of the Bible in English; it instead forms the unhappy prologue to the government's subsequent decisions, between 1542 and 1546, to withdraw nearly all support for the lay reading of scripture.

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The act of violence against the faith that characterizes this tale is the burning of books, then, not bodies. Here Foxe's sights are most firmly fixed on Bishop Edmund Bonner: his diplomatic work at the French court; his role in promoting and supporting the printing of a revision of the Matthew Bible at Paris; his translation while still in France from the Hereford see to London; and his subsequent defection from the ranks of Cromwell's supporters to an alliance with the Bishop of Winchester, Stephen Gardiner, after the newly-created earl of Essex's execution. Ultimately Foxe rewrites Bonner's championship of the English Bible at Paris (an enterprise that the bishop had in fact partially underwritten with 600 pounds of his own) into an act of cunning provocation aimed at ferreting out and punishing lay readers of scripture in England.

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This account first appeared in 1570 and was reprinted virtually word for word in the edition of 1583. The 1563 edition contains, however, a relevant section entitled "The kyngs brief for the setting up the Byble of the greater volume in Englyshe" (fols 624-5), which consists of two short texts: Henry VIII's 1540 command for "the Bible of the greater volume" to be placed in "every Cathedrall, collegiate, and other parish churches and chappells"; and the text of a 1541 letter by Bonner to the archdeacon of London, Richard Gwent, which gave directives in support of the royal mandate.

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This letter, contrasted with Bonner's far more qualified position by 1542, and indeed his subsequent enthusiasm for presiding over "heretical" book burnings at Paul's Cross (especially if those books issued from the pens of William Tyndale or Miles Coverdale), allows Foxe to take a literary turn in the direction of political paradox, perhaps the only way to deal with the unpredictable twists of later Henrician religious policy. Foxe follows this section in the 1563 edition with the account of Bonner's imprisonment of John Porter for reading the Bible unlawfully in St. Paul's.

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In 1563, Foxe's purpose had been "to show how [he, i.e., Bonner] that…was once a setter forth of…afterward became the chief putter down again of the same, and made the reading of the Bible to be a trap or snare to entangle many good men, and to bring them to ruin and destruction." He enlarges on this intention in the 1570 and 1583 editions with the assistance of anecdotal evidence provided by informants like Ralph Morice, who had been principal secretary to Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and was thus responsible for the politically sensitive communications passing between the archbishop and Cromwell.

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Lori Anne FerrellClaremont Graduate University

ABout the tyme and yeare, when Edmund Boner Byshop of Hereford, and Ambassadour resident in Fraunce, began first to be nominate and preferred by the meanes of the Lord Cromwell, to the Byshopricke of London: which was, an. 1540. 

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The date here is incorrect; work in Paris began in May 1538.

it happened that þe said Thomas Lord Cromwell & Earle of Essex, 
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Cromwell was created earl of Essex in 1540: the sixth creation of that title, which went forfeit at his death later that year.

procured of the kyng of England his gracious letters to the Frenche kyng, MarginaliaThe Bibles of the great volume Printed in Paris.to permit and licence a subiect of his to imprint the Bible in Englishe, within the Vniuersitie of Paris because paper was there more mete and apt to be had for the doyng therof, then in the Realme of England, and also that there were more store of good workemen for the ready dispatche of the same. 
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At this time the presses of Francois Regnault in Paris excelled any in England in quality and efficiency of book production: his press had been solely responsible for the printing of the Church of England's services since 1519.

And in like maner at the same tyme þe sayd kyng wrote vnto his Ambassadour, who then was Edmūd Boner Byshop of Herford lying in Paris, that hee should ayde and assiste þe doers therof MarginaliaThe doers hereof were Rich. Graftō and Whytchurche. in all their reasonable sutes. The which Bishop outwardly shewed great frendshyp to the marchaūtes that were the imprinters of þe same, 
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I.e., Richard Grafton and Edmund Whitchurch.

and moreouer dyd diuers and sundry tymes call and cōmaund the sayd persons to bee in maner dayly at his table both dynner and supper, MarginaliaEdm. Boner a great furtherer in printing the Bibles in Englishe.& so much reioysed in þe workemanship of þe sayd Bible, that he him selfe would visite þe imprinters house where þe same Bibles were printed, & also would take parte of such dynners as the Englishemen there had, and that to his cost, whiche, as it semed, he litle wayed. MarginaliaThe new Testamnet in Englishe and Latin put in print by Boner.And farther the sayd Boner was so feruent that he caused the sayd Englishemen to put in print a new Testament in Englishe and Latine 
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I.e., a revision of the "Thomas Matthew" Bible of 1537.

and him selfe tooke a great many of them and payd for them and gaue them to his frendes. And it chaunced the meane tyme, while the sayd Bible was in printyng, MarginaliaEdm. Boner made Byshop of London.that kyng Henry the viij. preferred the sayd Boner from the Bishopricke of Herford, to be Byshop of London, 
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Bonner had been elected bishop of Hereford in November 1538 while at the French court (where he had succeeded the religious conservative Stephen Gardiner as ambassador). Being non-resident, he had neither been consecrated, nor taken possession of the see, when in November 1539 he was translated to the bishopric of London. He returned to London and was consecrated on 4 April 1540. One of the bishop of London's duties was the oversight of London presses and, in conjunction with the archbishop of Canterbury, the suppression of unlawful writings.

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at whiche tyme the sayd Boner accordyng to the statute law of Englād, tooke his othe to the king 
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I.e., the Oath of Allegiance required of all bishops at consecration, as mandated by statute 26 Henry VIII, c.1 (1534).

knowledgyng his supremacie, and called one of the aforesayd Englishemen that printed the Bible, whom he then loued, although afterward vppon the chaunge

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of the worlde hee did hate him asmuch, whose name was Richard Grafton: to whom the sayd Boner sayd when hee tooke his othe, MarginaliaBoners wordes to Grafton, when hee tooke hys othe to the kyng.M. Grafton, so it is, that the kynges moste excellent maiestie hath by his gracious gift presented me to the Byshopricke of London, for the whiche I am sory, for if it would haue pleased hys grace, I could haue bene well cōtent to haue kept mine old Bishopricke of Herford. Then said Grafton, I am right glad to heare of it, and so I am sure wil be a great nomber of the Citie of London: for thoughe they yet know you not, yet they haue heard so much goodnes of you from hence, as no doubt they will hartely reioyce of your placyng. Then sayd Boner, I pray God I may do that may content them, and to tell you M. Grafton, MarginaliaBoner reproueth Stokesley for his persecutyng.Before God (for that was cōmonly his othe) the greatest fault that I euer found in Stokesly, 

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Stokesley was consecrated bishop of London in November 1530.

was for vexing and troublyng of poore men, as Lobley 
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Michael Lobley had already attracted unwelcome official notice: in 1531 he was indicted for purchasing heretical books in Antwerp. He escaped severe punishment, however, and went on to become the Warden of the Stationers' Company in 1560.

the booke bynder and other, for hauing the Scripture in English, and God willyng hee did not so much hynder it, MarginaliaBoners promise to set forth the Scripture in English.but I will asmuch further it, and I wil haue of your Bibles set vp in the Churche of Paules 
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The order to place a Bible in English, "of the largest volume," in every parish and cathedral by All Saints' Day (30 November) had been issued in Cromwell's Second Injunctions of 1538.

at the least in sondry places vi. of them, and I will pay you honestly for them & geue you hartie thākes. Which wordes he then spake in the hearyng of diuers credible persons, as Edmund Stile Grocer, and other. But now M. Grafton at this tyme I haue specially called you to be a witnes with me that vpō this translation of bishops Sees, MarginaliaBoner sweareth hartely to the kynges supremacie.I must accordyng to the statute take an oth vnto þe kyngs maiestie knowledging his supremacy, which before God I take with my harte and so thinke him to be, and besech almighty God to saue hym, and long to prosper his grace: holde the booke syrah, and read you the othe (said he) to one of his Chappleines, and he layd his hand on the booke and so tooke his othe. And after this hee shewed great frendshyp to the sayd Grafton and to his partener Edward Whitchurche, MarginaliaMyles Couerdall corrector in printyng the Bible of the large volume.but specially to Myles Couerdall, who was the corrector of the great Bible. 
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Miles Coverdale, a superb Latinist with no Greek or Hebrew, had been given the task of revising the Matthew Bible and removing its marginal and other notes.

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Now, after that the aforesaid letters were deliuered, the Frenche kyng gaue very good wordes, 

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Francis I's licence, issued in response to a letter of Henry's, procured through Cromwell, of 23 June 1538, contained the proviso that the translation should contain no "private or erroneous opinions" (privatus aut illegittimus opiniones), a phrase that made Francis I's permission more qualified than might be immediately apparent.

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& was well content to permit the doyng thereof. And so the printer went forwarde and printed forth the booke euen to the last part, & then was there a quarell picked to the printer, and he was sent for to the Inquisitors of the fayth, 
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The inquisitors had been ordered to their task in December 1538, in response to a directive of Pope Paul III that Bibles "corruptly" translated into English be made liable to confiscation and burning.

and there charged with certeine Articles of heresie. MarginaliaThe printyng of the Bible stayd at Paris, throughe the practise of English Byshops.Then were sent for þe Englishmen that were at þe cost and charge therof, and also such as had the correctiō of the same, whiche was Myles Couerdall: but hauyng some warnyng what would folowe, the sayd Englishemen posted away as fast as they could to saue them selues, leauyng behynde them all their Bibles, whiche were to the number of xxv.C. called the Bibles of the great Volume, and neuer recouered any of thē, MarginaliaEnglishe Bibles burnt at Paris.sauyng that the Lieutenaunt criminall hauyng them deliuered vnto him to burne in a place of Paris (like Smithfield) called Maulbert place, was somewhat moued with couetousnes, and sold iiij. great dry fattes 
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I.e., vats or barrels.

of thē to a Haberdasher to lappe in cappes 
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I.e., to line hats.

, and those were bought agayn, but the rest were burned, to the great and importunate losse of those that bare the charge of them. But notwithstandyng the sayd losse, after they had recouered some part of the aforesayd bookes, and were well comforted and encouraged by the Lord Cromwell, MarginaliaHow Grafton and Whytechurche became Printers.the sayd Englishemen went agayne to Paris, and there gotte the presses, letters, and seruauntes of the aforesayd Printer, 
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The French constable eventually dropped the charge of heresy, and allowed the type, printers, and unused paper to be returned to England. As only bound copies had been burned, Grafton and Whitchurch were able to bring back with them salvaged, unbound copies of about half of the already-printed Old Testament and most of the New.

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and brought them to London, and there they became Printers them selues 
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Grafton and Whitchurch set up their London operation in what, before their dissolution, had been the buildings housing the Grey Friars, just north of St. Paul's.

(whiche before they neuer entended) and Printed out the said Bible 
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On 25 April, 1541, the privy council licensed Anthony Marler, haberdasher, and, later, the first person to be appointed royal printer, to secure a four years' fixed-price monopoly to sell "the Bibles of the Great Volume" unbound at 10 shillings and bound at 12 shillings. On 1 May of the same year the council also granted Marler's petition again to issue proclamations enjoining every parish church to purchase the Bible in English, for otherwise (as he declared in his supplication) he would be financially ruined, burdened as he was with an "importune sum of the said books now lying in [his] hand."

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in Lōdon, and after that Printed sundry impressions of thē: but yet not without great trouble and losse, for the hatred of the Bishops namely Steuen Gardiner, and his felowes, who mightly did stomacke and maligne the Printyng therof.

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Here by the way, for the more direction to the story 

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Here Foxe turns to a retrospective account of the Thomas Matthew Bible.

, thou hast louing reader, to note and vnderstand that in those dayes there were ij. sundry Bibles in Englishe, 
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I.e., Coverdale's Bible of 1535 and the Matthew Bible of 1537.

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