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1423 [1423]

K. Henry. 8. A ridiculous pageant that happened in Oxforde.

the preasse marueiling at the vnciuilitie of men, & waxt angry with the vnmanerly multitude that would giue no rowme vnto the Doctours, Bachelers, Maisters & other graduates and regēt masters. But as the terror and feare was common vnto all men, so was there no differēce made of persons or degrees, euery man scamlyng for hym selfe. The violet cap or purple gowne, did there nothyng auayle the Doctour, neither the masters hode, nor the Monkes coule was there respected.

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Yea if þe King or Queene had bene there at that present and in that perplexitie, they had ben no better thē a common man. After they had long striuen & assayed all maner of wayes, and sawe no remedy, neither by force neither authoritie to preuayle: they fell to intreating and offring of rewardes, one offering xx. pound, an other his scarlet gowne, so that any man would pul hym out, though it were by the eares.

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Some stoode close vnto the pyllers, thinkyng them selues safe vnder the vautes of stone for the droppyng of the lead. Other some beyng without money and vnprouided of all shift, knewe not whiche waye to turne them. One beyng a President of a certaine Colledge (whose name I nede not here to vtter) pulling a bourd out from þe pues, couered his head and shoulders therwith agaynst the scaldyng lead, whiche they feared much more then the fall of the Churche. Now what a laughter would this haue ministred vnto Democritus amongest other thynges, to behold there a certain graund paunche, who seyng the doores stopped and euery way closed vp, thought by an other compēdious meanes to get out through a glasse wyndow if it might be by any shift. But here the yron grates letted 

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John White, in another account of the same incident, claims that Claymund cast himself down before the altar and committed himself to the mercy of God, rather than escape through a broken window (John White, Diacosio-Martyrion[Louvain, 1553], STC 25388, fo. 83r).

him: notwithstanding his gredy mynde would nedes attēpt if he could happely bryng his purpose to passe. When hee had broken the glasse, and was come to the space betwene the grates where he should crepe out, first he thrust in his head wt the one shoulder, & it went through well enough. MarginaliaA Monke sticking fast in a glasse windowe.Then he laboured to gette þe other shoulder after, but there was great labour about that, & long he stucke by þe shoulders, but at the last he gat it through with much adoe. For what doth not importune labour ouercome? Thus farreforth he was now gotten. But by what parte of hys bodye hee did sticke fast, I am not certayne, neither may I fayne, for so much as there bee yet witnesses whiche did see these thynges, whiche would correct me if I should so do. Notwithstādyng this is most certaine that hee dyd sticke fast betwene the grates and could neither get out nor in.

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Thus thys good mā, beyng in dede a Monke and hauyng but short hose, by the whiche way he supposed soonest to escape, by the same hee fell into further incōuenience, making of one daūger two. For if the fire or lead had fallen on the outside, those partes whiche did hang out of the window had ben in daunger: and contrarywise, if the flame had raged within the Churche, all his other partes had lyen open to the fire. And as this man did sticke fast in the window, so did the rest sticke as fast in the doores, that sooner they might haue bene burned, then they coulde once styrre or moue one fote. Through þe which preasse at þe last there was away found, that some goyng ouer theyr heades, gat out.

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Here also happened an other pageant in a certeine Monke (if I be not misaduised) of Glocester Colledge, wherat Calphurnius MarginaliaPleno ridet Calphurnius ore Horat.might well laugh with an open mouth. So it happened that there was a younge ladde in this tumulte, who seyng the doores fast stopped with the preasse or multitude, and that hee had no way to get out, climed vp vpō the doore, and there staying vpō the toppe of the doore, was forced to tary still. For to come downe into the Church agayne, he durste not for feare of þe fire, & to leape down toward þe streete he could not without daunger of falling. Whē he had taried there a while, he aduised him self what to do: neither did occasiō want to serue his purpose. For by chaūce, amōgest thē that gat out ouer mens heades, he saw a Monke cō-ming towardes him, which had a great wide coule hāging at his backe. This the boy thought to be a good occasion for him to escape by. MarginaliaA boye gotte into a Monkes coule.When the Monke came neare vnto hym, the boy which was in the toppe of the doore, came downe and pretily cōueyed him self into the Monkes coule, thincking (as it came to passe in deede) that if the Monke dyd escape, hee shoulde also get out with him. To be brief, at the last the Monke gat out ouer mens heades with the boye in his coule, and for a great while felt no waight or burden. At the last when hee was somewhat more come to hym selfe, and did shake his shoulders, feelyng his coule heuyer then it was accustomed to be, & also hearyng the voyce of one speaking behinde in his coule, hee was more afrayde then he was before when he was in þe throng, thinkyng in very dede, that the euill spirite whiche had set the Church on fire, had flyen into his coule. By and by he began to play the Exorcist: In þe name of God, (sayd hee) and all Saints, I commaund thee to declare what thou art that art behynd at my backe. To whom the boy aunswered: I am Bertrames boy sayd hee (for that was his name). But I (said þe Monke) abiure thee in the name of þe vnseparable Trinitie, that thou wicked spirite doe tell me who thou arte, from whence thou cōmest, & that thou get thee hence. I am Bertrams boy (sayd hee) good master let me go: and with that hys coule began with the wayght to cracke vpō his shoulders. The Monke when he perceiued the matter, tooke the boy out and discharged his coule. The boye tooke his legges and ranne away as fast as he could.

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Among other, one wyser then the rest, ranne with the Church doore keye, beatyng vpon the stonewalles, thinckyng therwith to breake an hole through to escape out.

In the meane tyme those that were in the strete lookyng diligently about them and perceiuyng all thyngs to bee without feare, marueyled at this sodaine outrage, & made signes & tokens to them that were in the Church to kepe them selues quiet, crying to them that there was no daunger.

But for somuch as no worde could be heard by reason of the noyse that was within the Church, those signes made them much more afrayde then they were before, interpretyng the matter, as though all had bene on fire without the Churche, & that for the droppyng of the lead & fallyng of other thynges, they should rather tarye still within the Church, and not to venter out. This trouble cōtinued in this maner by the space of certaine houres.

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The next day, and also all the weake folowing there was an incredible nomber of bylles set vp vppon the Churche doores, to enquire for thinges that were lost, in such varietie and nomber, as Democritus myght here agayne haue had iust cause to laugh. If any man haue founde a payer of shoes yesterday in S. Mary Church, or knoweth any mā that hath found them. &c. An other byll was set vp for a gowne that was lost. An other intreateth to haue his cappe restored. One lost his purse and gyrdle with certaine money: an other his sword. One inquireth for a ring, and one for one thing an other for an other. To be short, there was fewe in thys garboyle, but that eyther through negligence lost, or through obliuion left somethyng behinde him.

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Thus haue you hitherto heard a tragicall storye of a terrible fire which dyd no hurte. The description wherof, although it be not so perfectlye expressed accordyng to the worthynes of the matter, yet because it was not to bee passed with silence, we haue superficiallye set forth some shadowe thereof, whereby the wise and discrete may sufficiently consider the reast, if any thyng ells be lackyng in setting forth the full narration therof. As touching the hereticke, because he had not done hys sufficient penance there by occasiō of this hurley burley, therfore the next day following he was

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