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569 [569]

K. Richard. 2. The history of John Wickliffe. Actes and Mon. of the church.

Wherupon S. Bernard 

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I.e., St. Bernard of Clairvaux in his De consideratione, which was written to Pope Eugenius III.

, declaring in hys ij. booke to Eugenius, that he could not chalenge any secular dominion by ryght of succession, as being the vicar of S. Peter, writeth thus: MarginaliaNote well the saying here, of Bernard.that if S. Iohn should speake vnto the pope himself, as Bernard doth vnto Eugenius, wer it to be thought that he would take it paciently? But let it be so, that you do chalenge it vnto you, by some other wayes or meanes: but truely by any ryght or title Apostolical, you cannot so do. For how could he geue vnto you that, which he had not himselfe? That which he had he gaue you, that is to say, care ouer the church, but did he geue you any lordships or rule? Harke what he saith: Not bearing rule (saith he) as Lordes in the clergie, but behauing your selues as examples to the flocke. And because thou shalt not thinke it to be spoken onelye in humilitie, and not in veritie, marke the word of the Lorde himself in the Gospell. MarginaliaThe pope must leaue his lordship or els Apostleship, let him chuse whether.The kinges of the people do rule ouer them, but you shall not do so.

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Here lordship and dominion, is plainly forbidden to to the Apostles: and darest thou then vsurpe the same? If thou wilt be a Lord, thou shalt lose thine Apostleship, or if thou wilt be an Apostle, thou shalt lose thy lordship. For truely thou shalt departe from the one of them. If thou wilt haue both, thou shalt lose both, or els thinke thy self to be of that nūber, of whō God doth so greatly cōplain, saying: Thei haue raigned, but not thorow me. They are become princes, and I haue not knowen it. Now if it do suffice thee to rule with the lord, thou hast thy glory, but not with God. MarginaliaThe maner of the Apostles.But if we will keepe that which is forbidden vs, let vs heare what is sayd: he that is þe greatest amongst you (sayth Christ) shalbe made as the least, and he which is the highest, shalbe as the minister: and for example, set a childe in the midst of them. So thys then is the true forme and institution of the Apostles trade. MarginaliaHow the pope ought to occupy the church goodes.Lordship and rule is forbidden, ministration and seruice commaunded. By these wordes of thys blessed mā whom the whole church doth reuerence and worship, it doth appeare that the pope hath not power to occupie the church goods as Lorde therof, but as minister, and seruant, and proctour for the poore. And would to God that the same proude and gredie desire of rule and Lordship, which this seate doth chalenge vnto it, be not a preamble to prepare a way vnto Antichrist. MarginaliaThe way to obtaine the kingdom of Christ.For it is euident by the Gospell, that Christ thorow his pouertie, humilitie, and suffering of iniurie, got vnto hym the children of hys kyngdome.

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And moreouer, so farre as I remember, þe same blessed man Bernard in his iij. booke writeth also thus vnto Eugenius: I feare no other greater poyson to happen vnto thee, then gredie desire of rule and dominion.

Thys Wickleffe albeit in hys life tyme, had many greuous enemies, yet was there none so cruel vnto him, as the cleargie it self. Yet notwithstāding, he had many good frendes, men not onely of the base & meanest sorte, but also of nobilitie 

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Wiclif's supporters

In the Commentarii, Foxe related that Wiclif had a number of supporters among the upper classes. These included six knights: John Clanvow, Lewis Clifford, Richard Stury, Thomas Latimer and William Neville, as well as John Montague, later the earl of Salisbury. Wiclif was also supported by the mayor of London, John Northampton, who was zealous in his prosecution of offenders against public morals. (See Commentarii, fos. 37v-38r). This material was reprinted without change in the Rerum (p. 18) and it was translated faithfully in the first edition of the Acts and Monuments. Foxe's source for these passages was the version of Thomas Walsingham's Chronica Maiora found in College of Arms MS Arundel 7. In the 1570 edition, Foxe added to this narrative by drawing on another version of Walsingham's Chronica Majora, this time in BL MS Harley 3634, for an account of the earl of Salisbury doing penance and for further details of Northampton's crack-down on vice. In the Rerum, Foxe also printed two documents, both drawn from the 1558 edition of Hus' writings which Matthias Flacius edited. These were a testimony putatively from Oxford University, attesting to Wiclif's learning and good character (Rerum, p. 24) and Hus's defence of Wiclif (Rerum, pp. 24-25). These documents were translated and reprinted in each edition of the Acts and Monuments.

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Foxe's purpose in printing this material was twofold. The first was to demonstrate that Wiclif's followers were drawn from the elite and were not seditious rabble as Catholic polemicists charged. The second was to burnish Wiclif's reputation by demonstrating that his contemporaries and even the great (in Protestant eyes) Jan Hus admired and supported him.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

, amongst whom these men are to be numbred 
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Foxe drew the names of these influential supporters of Lollardy from College of Arms MS Arundel 7, which was a version of Thomas of Walsingham's Chronica Majora. (See Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, Rolls Series 28, 2 vols [London, 1863-4], II, pp. 65, 216 and 244). These figures were - with the exception of Montagu - knights, not nobles, but they were all figures of importance at the court of Richard II. They were also a remarkably cohesive group, appearing in the records as co-feoffees, fellow executors and in other associations. As for their Lollardy, it appears to have covered a spectrum of belief. Beyond his association with the others, there is no evidence supporting Walsingham's accusations against Stury. The evidence about Montagu's religious beliefs is contradictory, but contrary to Walsingham, he travelled with a portable altar and attended Mass daily. Lollard sentiments have been read into a religious treatise written by John Clanvow. Lewis Clifford was a close associate of John of Gaunt, so Clifford's unquestioned interventions on behalf of Wiclif may have been politically motivated. But Lewis was an executor of Thomas Latimer's outspokenly heretical will and Clifford chose as his executors Sir John Oldcastle and two other suspected Lollards. William Neville intervened on behalf of Wiclif's follower Nicholas Hereford when he was arrested. Thomas Latimer was a known protector of several Lollards and owned religiously suspect books.

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: MarginaliaIohn Clenbon, Lewes Clifford Rich. Sturius. Tho Latimer. Williā Nouell. I. Mountegue. The earle of Salisbury.Iohn Clenbon, Lewes Clifford, Richard Sturius, Thomas Latimer, William Neuell, Iohn Mountegew, who plucked downe all the images in hys church 
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Foxe is confused here. Sir John Montagu was the earl of Salisbury in question; he inherited the title in 1397. Foxe added the account of Montagu's contempt for the sacrament to the 1570 edition; he obtained it from another version of Thomas Walsingham's Chronica Majora, BL Harley MS 3634. (See Chronicon Angliae, ed. E. M. Thompson, Rolls Series 64 [London, 1874], p. 283).

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. Besides all these, there was þe Earle of Sawlesbury, who for contēpt in him noted towards the sacrament, in carying it home to his house: MarginaliaThe penance of the earle of Salisbury.was enioyned by Radulfe Ergom B. of Salisburye, to make in Salisbury a crosse of stone, in which all þe storie of the matter should be written, and he euery fryday during his life to come to the crosse barefoote & barehead in hys shyrte, & there knelyng vppon hys knees: to doe pennaunce for hys facte. Ex Chron. Mon. D. Albani in vita. Ric. 2.

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The Londiners at this tyme somwhat boldly trusting to the Maiors authoritie, who for that yere was Ihon of Northampton: Tooke vpon them the office of the Byshops, in punishyng the vices (belongyng to Ciuile lawe) of suche persons as they had founde and apprehended in committyng both fornication and adultery 

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Foxe added the details of Northampton's activities as mayor to the 1570 edition, he drew them from BL Harley MS 3634, see Chronicon Angliae, ed. E. M. Thompson, Rolls Series 64 [London, 1874], pp. 349-52 and 377.

. For firstthey put the women in the prison which amongest them then was named Dolium. And lastly bringyng them into the market place, where euery man might beholde them, and cutting of their goldē lockes frō their heades: they caused them to be caried about the streates, with bagpypes and trumpets blowen before them, to the intent they should be the better knowne and their companies auoyded: accordyng to the maner then of certeine theeues that were named Appellatores, (accusers or pechers of others þt were giltles) which were so serued. And with other such lyke opprobrious and reprochfull contumelies did they serue þe mē also that were taken with thē in cōmittyng the forenamed wickednes & vices. MarginaliaThe fruites of good and true doctrine.Here þe story recordeth how þe sayd Lōdiners were incouraged hereunto by I. Wickleff & others þt folowed his doctrine to perpetrat this acte, in the reproche of þe prelates being of the clergie. For they sayd, that they did not so much abhorre to see the great negligēce of those to whom that chardge belonged, but also their filthye auarice they did asmuch detest: whiche for gredynes of money were choked with bribes and winking at þe penalties due to such persons by the lawes appoynted, suffered such fornicatours and incestuous persons fauorably to continue in their wickednes. They sayd furthermore, þt they greatly feared, least for such wickednes perpetrated within the Citie and so apparātly dissimuled: that God would take vengeance vpon them and destroy theyr citie. Wherfore they sayd, that they could do no lesse then to purge the same: least by the sufferaunce therof, God would bryng a plague vpon them 
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Foxe means a literal plague; when this passage was written, London was suffering from an epidemic.

, or destroy them with the sworde, or cause the earth to swallow vp both them and theyr sayd Citie. Hæc ex Chron. mon. D. Albani. MarginaliaEx Chron mon. D. Albani. ¶ This story (gentle reader) albeit the author therof whom I folow, do geue it out in reprochfull wise, to the great discommendation of the Londiners for so doing. Yet I thought not to omitte, but to commit the same to memory, which semeth to me rather to tende vnto worthy commendation both of the Londiners that so did: and to the necessary exāple of all other cities to folow the same. After these things thus declared, let vs now adioyne the testimonial of the vniuersitie of Oxford, of I. Wickliffe.

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¶ The publike testimonie geuen out by the vniuersitie of Oxford, touchyng the commendation of the great learnyng and good lyfe of Ihon Wickleffe 
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This document, dated in 1406, is not from Oxford University and it was written by followers of Wiclif. The interesting question is whether it was composed by English or Bohemian admirers of Wiclif. Although the document's Oxford provenance is spurious, Foxe printed it in good faith. He copied the document from Johannis Hus et Hieronymi Pragensis confesorum Christi historia et monumenta, 2 vols. (Nuremburg, 1558), II, fo. 367v. Foxe first printed this document in Rerum, p. 24.

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MarginaliaEx tomo operum Ioā Husse fol. vit.VNto all and singular the children of our holy mother the church, to whom this present letter shal come: the Vicechauncelour of the vniuersitie of Oxforde, with the whole congregation of the maisters, wishe perpetuall health in the Lord. For so much, as it is not commonly seen that the actes and monumentes of valiant men, nor the praise and merites of good men should be passed ouer and hidden with perpetuall silence, but that true reporte and fame should continually spread abroad the same in straunge and farre distant places, both for the witnesse of the same, and example of others: For so much also as the prouident discrecion of mans nature being recompensed with cruelty, hath deuised and ordayned this buckler of defēce, agaynst such as do blaspheme & slaūder other mēs doynges, that whensoeuer witnesse by woorde of mouth cānot be presēt, the pen by writing may supply the same:

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Hereupon it foloweth, that the speciall good will and care which we bare vnto Ihon Wickleffe, somtyme child of this our vniuersitie, & professour of diuinitie: mouyng and stirryng our mindes (as his maners and condicions required no lesse) with one mynde, voyce and testimony, we do witnesse all his conditions and doynges thorowout his whole life, to haue been most sincere and commēdable: MarginaliaGreat learning ioined with good lyfe and godlines.whose honest maners and conditions, profoundnesse of learnyng, and most redolent renowm and fame, we desire the more earnestly to be notifyed and knowen vnto all faythfull, for that we vnderstande the maturitie and rypenesse of his conuersation, his diligent laboures and trauailes to tend to the prayse of God, the helpe and sauegarde of others, and the Prophet of the church.

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Wherfore we signifie vnto you by these presentes, that his conuersation (euen frō his youth vpwards, vnto the tyme of his death) was so prayse worthy and honest, that

neuer
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