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1582 [1582]

K. Edward. 6. The Martyrdome of William Gardiner in Portugale,

MarginaliaAn. 1552.hand, kissed. MarginaliaThe left hand of W. Gardiner cut of in the market place.Then he was brought into the market place, whereas his other hand also was cut of: which he kneelyng downe vpon the ground, also kissed. These thynges thus done after the manner and fashion of MarginaliaWilliam Gardiner caryed to the place of execution.Spayne, his armes beyng bounde behynd hym, and his feete vnder the horse belly, he was caryed to the place of execution.

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The order and maner of the cruell handlyng of William Gardiner, an Englishe Marchaunt, tormented and burned in Portugall in the cause of God and of hys truth.

MarginaliaThe Martyrdome of William Gardiner.

The order and maner of the cruell handlyng of William Gardiner, an Englishe Marchaunt, tormented and burned in Portugall in the cause of God and of hys truth.
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It may have been an accepted patristic commonplace that the cause, not the punishment, makes the martyr, but it proved difficult (if not impossible) not to see a relationship between the two. Foxe's image of William Gardiner is among his most shocking. But the shock could not be seen as other than appropriate for the significance of the condemned's stand. His offence, that of trampling on the consecrated host and overturning the communion chalice, in no less a place than the Portuguese royal chapel, was to be seen as a heroic gesture in the noblest of causes: refusing to accept papal maintenance of the most egregious of all spiritual trespasses --- the idolatry of the host. The horror of this execution, the condemned man's hands having been cut off before the burning, and his body then suspended on a pulley enabling him to be raised and lowered in and out of the fire, prompted readers to make their own contribution by inserting words into the empty bandarole, such as 'Pitty, pitty', and 'I suffer for the Truth'. The substantial accuracy of Foxe's account of this event can be verified in Portuguese records, and it is clear that his informant was in Lisbon at the time and quite probably an eye-witness of the event. CUL copy: note that additional detail is provided; for example, the blood gushing from his wrists. He is wearing a purple-pink top and blue hose. WREN copy: the same details are provided in this copy also.

MarginaliaThe wretched crueltie of the Portugales in burning a Christian Martyr.There was in that place a certaine engyne, frō the which a great rope cōming down by a pully, was fastned about the myddle of thys Christian Martyr, which first pulled hym vp. Thē was ther a great pile of woode set on fire vnderneath him, into the which hee was by little and little let downe, not with the whole body, but so that his feete onely felt the fire. Then he was hoysed vp, and so let downe agayne into the fyre, and thus oftentymes pulled vppe and downe. In which great torment for all that, he continued with a constant spirite: and the more terribly hee burned, the more vehemently he prayed. MarginaliaW. Gardiner at hys burning willed agayne to repent.

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At the laste when hys feete were consumed, the tormētors asked him whether he did not yet repent him of his dede, and exhorted hym to call vppon our lady & the saintes. Wherunto he aunswered, that as hee had done nothyng wherof he dyd repēt him, so he had the lesse neede of the helpe of our Lady or any other Sainct: and what externall tormentes soeuer they vsed, the truth (hee sayd) remayneth alwayes one and lyke vnto it selfe: the which as hee had before confessed in his lyfe, so would he not now denye it in hys death, desiring them to leaue of such vanities and follye. MarginaliaW. Gardiner would not pray to our Lady, so long as he had Christ to be hys aduocate.For when as Christ did ceasse any more to bee our Aduocate, then he would pray to our Lady to be his Aduocate, and sayd: MarginaliaThe prayer of W. Gardiner out of the xiiij. Psalme.O eternall God, father of all mercies, I besech thee looke downe vppon thy seruaunt. &c. And whē as they sought by al meanes possible to stoppe his praying and praysing God in this sorte, he cryed out with a loud voyce, rehearsing the xliij. Psalm: Iudica me deus & discerne causam meā, de gente non sancta. Iudge me O God, and defend my cause agaynst the vnmercifull people.

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Hee was not come vnto the latter endyng of the Psalme, when as they pullyng hym vp and downe in the fire for the more torment, the rope beyng burnt a sonder, hee fell downe in the middest therof: wheras geuyng his body for a sacrifice, he chaunged his temporall paynes for perpetuall rest and quyetnes.

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Thus it semed good in the sight of God, by this messenger to prouoke the Portugales to the sincere knowledge of hym: and therefore they ought the more to haue acknowledged the great loue and kyndnesof God offred vnto them, and also the more to bee myndefull of their owne duety and thankefulnes towardes hym. MarginaliaA lesson for the Portugales.And if it be so great an offense to violate the ordinaunces of mans law, and to contemne the Ambassadours of Kynges and Princes, let the Portugalls and all other looke well vnto it, what it is so cruelly to handle the heauenly messenger of the hygh God. 

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Once again, Foxe is anxious to describe providential punishments befalling persecutors and here the reason why is obvious: the actions of Providence 'prove' that Gardiner was indeed a martyr of God.

MarginaliaThe iust hand of God vpon persecuters.Neither was this their cruelty altogether vnreuenged by the mighty hand of God, when as not onely the very same night, amongest diuers of the Kynges shyppes which were in the nexte hauen ready to sayle, one was burned, beyng set on fire by a sparcle of Gardiners fire driuen thether with the wynde, MarginaliaIt is reported that that sparcle lighted amongest gunpouder.but also the Kyngs sonne which was then maryed, dyed within halfe a yeare, and the next yeare after the Kyng hym selfe also dyed, and so both within one yeare after the tormentyng of this blessed Martyr. 
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In the Rerum (p. 208) and 1563 (p. 878), Foxe stated that João III died three or four months after Gardiner's execution. In later editions, Foxe modified that statement to the one year given here. In actual fact, the Infante died in January 1554 and João III in June 1557.

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Thus the body of the sayd Gardiner beyng consumed, yet the rage and furye of the common people so ceassed not, but they were as cruell agaynst him being dead, as they were when he was alyue, and with theyr

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