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1518 [1518]

K. Henry. 8. Appendix. A detestable facte of the Fryers of Orleance.

vnder the hipocriticall visour of pretensed Religion, haue so long seduced and deceiued the world. Although the deceatfull partes and practises of these phantastical orders be so many, and in all places so notorious, that they are not able to bee expressed, yet amongest many, one you shal heare that chaunced in this kings dayes in the Citie of Orleance in Fraunce by the Gray friers, about the yeare of our Lord. 1534. The story is thys. 

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This is a word-for-word reprinting of A famouse cronicle of our time, called Sleidanes Commentaries, trans. John Daus (London, 1560), STC 19848, fos. 114v-115v.

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¶ A tragicall story of certaine Friers in Fraunce in the Citie of Orleance. An. 1534.

MarginaliaEx Commentarijs Ioā. Sleid. Lib. 9.
A story of certayne Fryers in Orleance.
THe Maiors wyfe of þe Citie of Orleance prouided in her will, to be buried without any pompe or solemnitie. For when any departeth there, in some places the Belmen are hyred to go about the Citie, and in places most frequented to assemble the people with the sound of the Bell, and there to declare the names and the titles of those parties deceased: also where & when they shall be buryed, exhorting the people to praye for them. And when the Coarse is caryed foorth, the most part of the begging Friers goe withall to the Church, with many torches and tapers caried before them: and the more pompe and solemnitie is vsed, the more is the concourse of people. But thys woman (as I sayd) would haue none of all this geare done for her. Wherfore her husband which loued her well, followed her mynde herein, and gaue vnto these greedy cormorants the Friers, which wayting for their pray (in whose Church she was buried besides her father & her graūdfather) sixe crownes for a reward, where as they gaped for a great deale more. And afterwarde when he cut downe a wood and solde it, the Friers crauyng to haue part therof freely and without money, he denied them. This tooke they wonderfull greuously, and where as they loued him not before, they deuised now a way to be reuenged, saying that hys wyfe was damned euerlastingly.

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The workers of this Tragedie were Coliman and Steuen of Arras, both Doctors of Diuinitie: and the first in deede was a Coniurer, and had all his trinkets and furniture concerning such matters, in a readines: and they vsed the matter thus. They set a young man which was a Nouice, aboue ouer the vault of þe church, & when they came to mumble vp their Mattins at midnight after their accustomed maner, he made a woonderfull noyse and shriking aloft. Then went this Coliman to crossing and coniuring, but the other aboue would not speake. Being charged to make a signe, to declare if he were a dumme spirite, he russeled & made a noyse agayne, and that was the signe and token.

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Whē they had layd this foūdation, they went to certaine of the chiefest in all the Citie, & such as fauoured them most, & told them what an heauy case was chaunced: yet did they not vtter what it was, but entreated thē to take the paines to come to their seruice at night. When they were come, and the seruice was begon, hee that was aloft made a great noyse. Being demaunded what he would, and what he was, he signified that hee might not speake. Then was he commaunded to aunswere to theyr interrogatories by signes and tokens. Now, there was a hole made for the purpose, whereby laying to hys care, he might heare and vnderstande what the Coniurer said vnto him. There was also a table at hand, & when any question was asked, he stroke and beat vpon the table, so that he might bee heard beneath. MarginaliaThe cōiurer what he demaūdeth of the spirite.Then first the Coniurer demaūded whether he were any of them that had bene buried there. After that, rekening vp many of their names in order, whose bodyes had there bene buried, at the last he named the Maiors wife. Here he made a signe that he was the spirite of that woman. Then he asked whether he were damned, and for what desert or offence? Whether it were for couetousnes, pride or lechery, or not doing the woorkes of charity, or els for this new sprong vp heresie and Lutheranisme? Moreouer, what was the cause that he made such a noyse, & was so vnquiet? Whetherit were that the body being buried wythin holy groūd should be digged vp agayne, and caryed to some other place? To all these thinges he aunswered by signes in like case as he was cōmaunded: wherby he affirmed or denyed euery thing, striking twise or thrise vpō þe table.

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MarginaliaLuthers heresie a great bugge among the Fryers.When hee had thus signified that Luthers heresie was the cause of her damnation, & that her body must be taken vp, the Friers desired the Citizens that were present to beare witnes of such thinges as they had seene and heard, and set their handes to it in writing. But they taking aduisement, lest they shoulde both offend the Maior, and bring them selues in trouble, refused to subscribe. Notwithstanding, the Friers toke the pixe wyth the host, and the Lordes body (as they call it) and all their Saintes Reliques, and caryed them to an other place, & there they sayd theyr Masses: which they are wont to do by the Popes lawe, when a Church is suspended and must be hallowed againe. And when the Bishops Officiall heard of this, he came thether to vnderstand the matter better, and associating to hym certayne honest men, hee commaunded the Frier to coniure in hys presence, and woulde haue appoynted certayn to go vp to the vault to see if any spirite did there appeare. But Steuen of Arras was sore against it, and exhorted them earnestly that they should not so do, saying that the spirite ought not to be molested. And albeit the Officiall did earenstly vrge thē to coniure before hym, yet could they not bring them to it.

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MarginaliaThe Maior complayneth to the kyng of the Fryers.In the meane time, the Maior making his frendes priuy what he would doe, went to the kyng, and informed him of the whole matter. And because the Friers trusting to their immunities and priuileges, refused to come in iudgement, the Kyng chose certaine out of the court of Parliament at Paris, to examine the matter, and gaue them ful authority so to do. Wherupon they were caried to Paris, and constrayned to make aunswere, but they would confesse nothing. Then they were sent againe to prison, and kept aparte one from an other, and the Nouice was kept in Fumæus MarginaliaThis Fumæus was afterward in prison for religion with Anne Bourg, whose story followeth afterward.house a Senatour, and being oftentimes examined, he would confesse nothing, fearing lest he should after bee murthered of them for sclaundering their order. But when þe Iudges promised him that he should haue no harme, and should come no more in the Friers handes, he declared to them the whole matter in order, and being brought before the others, he aduouched the same. But they, albeit they were conuicted, and in maner taken with the deede, yet refused they their Iudges, and bragged of their priuileges: but it was altogether in vaine, for they were condemned in open iudgement, MarginaliaThe Fryers condemned to prison and to punishment.that they should be caryed agayne to Orleance, and committed to prison, and afterwardes brought openly to the Cathedrall Church, and so to the place of punishment where malefactours are executed, & there should make open confession of their wickednes.

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But euen at the same time chaunced a persecution agaynst the Lutherans, whych was the cause that thys sentence, albeit it was to gentle for so great an offence, was not put in execution. For, because the name of the Lutherans was most odious, they feared lest the punishment of these men shoulde not haue bene so much thought to be due for their offence, as done in reproch of þe order: MarginaliaThe Fryers escaped, and the Lutherans punished.and many thought that what soeuer should be done to thē, it would be to the Lutherans a pleasant spectacle, and cause them much to reioyce. This order of the Franciscanes was esteemed of the common people very holy: so that what tyme they were caryed out of Paris, certaine women moued with pitye, followed them vnto the gate of the vniuersity with many teares and sighes. After they came to Orleance, and were bestowed in seuerall prisons, they began to boast agayne of their liberties and priuileges, & at length after longe imprisonmēt, they wer discharged & set at liberty without any further punishment. Had not these persecutiōs before mencioned letted the matter, the king had deter

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