Critical Apparatus for this Page
Commentary on the Text
Names and Places on this Page
Unavailable for this Edition
969 [969]

K. Henry. 8. VV. Sweting, Ioh. Brewster. Rich. Hunne, Martyrs.

badges, duryng theyr lyues, or so long as it should please theyr ordinary to appoynt, and not to leaue them of vpon payne of relaps, vntill they were dispensed withall for the same. The breache of this iniunction was estemed to bee of no small weight, and yet the matter well and throughly considered, it seemeth by theyr confessions, they were both therunto by necessitie enforced. MarginaliaThe cruel rigour of the catholique clergy against the true professors of the Gospel.For the one, named Swetyng, beyng for feare of the Bishops cruelty constrayned to wander the countreys to get his poore liuing, came at length vnto Colchester, where by the parson of the Parishe of Mary Magdelene, hee was prouoked to be the holy water clarke, and in that consideration had that infamous badge first taken away frō hym. The other (which was Brewster) left of hys, at the commaundement of the comptroller of the Earle of Oxfordes house: who hyring the poore man to labour in the Earles houshold busines, would not suffer hym, workyng there, to weare that coūterfayte cognisaunce any longer: so that (as I sayd) necessitie of liuing seemeth to compell both of them at þe first, to breake that iniunction: and therefore, if charitie had borne as great swaye in the hartes of the Popes clergie, as did crueltye, this trifle would not haue bene so heynously taken, as to be brought against them for an Article and cause of condempnation to death. But where tyranny once taketh place, aswell all godlye loue, as also all humaine reason and duetyes, are quyte forgotten. Well to be short, what for the causes before recyted: as also for that they had once already abiured, & yet (as they terme it) fell agayne into relapse, they were both (as you haue heard) in the ende burned together in Smithfield: although the same partyes (as the register recordeth) dyd agayne before theyr death, fearefullye forsake theyr former reuiued constancy, and submittyng them selues vnto the discipline of the Romishe Churche, craued absolution from theyr excommunication. MarginaliaSubmission would not be taken of the charitable catholiques.Howbeit, because many of the Registers notes and recordes in such cases may rightly be doubted of, and so called into questiō, I referre the certeine knowledge hereof vnto the Lord (who is the tryer of all truthes) and the externall iudgement vnto þe godly and discrete reader: Not forgettyng yet by the way (if that the report should be true) vpon so iust an occasiō, to charge that catholicke clergy and theyr wicked lawes, with a more shameles tyranny and vncharitable crueltye then before. For if they nothyng stay theyr bloudy malice towardes such as so willyngly submyt them selues vnto theyr mercyes: what fauour may the faythfull and constante professours of Christ looke for at theyr handes? 

Commentary  *  Close

Note Foxe's strenuous (and inaccurate) efforts to deny that Sweetingand Brewster had recanted despite archival records showing that they had. Noticealso how Foxe's argument has it both ways: it was probably a lie that Sweeting and Brewster had recanted, but if they had they had recanted and were burned neverthe-less, it demonstrated how cruel the Catholic prelates were.

[Back to Top]
I myght here also aske of them how they follow the pityful and louyng admonition, (or rather precept) of our Sauiour Christ (whose true and onely Churche they so stoutly bragge to bee) who in the 17. chapter of S. Luke saith: 
Commentary  *  Close

Luke 17:3-4.

Thoughe thy brother sinne agaynst thee seuen tymes in a day, and seuen tymes in a day turne to thee, saying, it repenteth me: thou shalt forgeue him. MarginaliaNo mercy in the popes churche.But what go I about to allure thē vnto the folowyng of the rule and counsaile of hym, vnto whose woord and Gospell they seme most open and vtter enemies? Wherfore not purposing to stay any lōger ther vpon, I will leaue them vnto the ryghteous reuengement of the Lord.

[Back to Top]

As it is the property of Satan euer to malice the prosperous estate of the Saintes of God, and true professors of Christe: so ceasseth he not continually to sturre vp hys wicked members to the effectuall accomplishyng of that, whiche his enuious nature so gredely desireth: if not alwayes openlye by colour of tyrannycall lawes, yet (at the leastwise) by some subtill practise of secrete murther. Whiche thing doth most playnly appeare, not onely in a greate nomber of the blessed Martyrs of Christes Churche mencioned in this booke, but also, & especiallye in the discourse of this lamentable hystory þt now I haue in hand, concernyng the secret and cruell murderyng of Richard Hunne, whose story here consequētly insueth, decerped and collected partly out of the Registers of Lōdon, partly out of a Bill exhibited and denounced in the Parlament house.

[Back to Top]
¶ The story of Richard Hunne. 
Commentary  *  Close
Richard Hun

The case of Richard Hunne was notorious long before Foxe set pen to paper. It was a controversey that rocked both London and the English Church and an enormous amount of ink has been spilled over it, from the sixteenth century to the present. In the process, scholars have unearthed a great deal of information about the case and its background that was unknown to Foxe.

[Back to Top]

In March 1511, Richard Hunne's five-week-old son Stephen died at the house of hisnurse in Whitechapel. The child was buried in St. Mary Matfelon, the local church.Afterwards, the rector, Thomas Dryffeld demanded, as was his customary right, thechristening gown in which the boy's body was wrapped, as the mortuary fee. (A mortuary fee was a clerical tax which entitled the clergy to claim the most valuableitem among the deceased's possessions in return for conducting his or her funeral. Usually a monetary fee, negotiated by both sides, was paid in lieu of the item). Although the the fee Dryffeld demanded was customary, and Hunne who was wealthy, could easily afford it, Hunne refused to pay it. We know now - but Foxe had only an inkling of this - that this was only one of a number of conflicts thatHunne had had with the London clergy (see Brigden, London, pp. 98-99 for details).

[Back to Top]

Hunne's wife was born Anne Vincent and it is possible - although there is no proof ofthis - that she was a daughter or other relative of Thomas Vincent, a leading LondonLollard (Brigden, Lollard, p. 103). Whatever the truth of this, Hunne had, at a minimum, Lollard sympathies. One of the articles charged against him at his posthumous heresy trial was that he had declared that Joan Baker - who was forced todo public pennance for her outspokenly heretical beliefs in 1511 - held correct viewsand that the bishop of London was more worthy of punishment than Baker. Witnesses would later testify that Hunne owned forbidden Lollard works (John Fines,'The Post-Mortem Condemnation of Richard Hunne', JEH 78 [1963], pp. 528-31).

[Back to Top]

Thomas Dryffeld took Hunne to the Archbishop of Canterbury's court for the mortuary fee and the court ruled in his favour on 12 May 1512. On 27 December1512, Hunne left his own parish of Bridge Street, and attended vespers at St MaryMatfelon. Henry Marshall, Dryffeld's chaplain, denounced Hunne as accursed andstopped the service. Hunne sued Marshall for slander on 25 January 1513. Then, in Hilary term 1513, Hunne (who had still not paid the mortuary fee) brought a praemunire action brought against Dryffeld, Archbishop Warham and other clergyinvolved his case (S.C. F. Milsom, 'Richard Hunne's Praemunire', EHR 76 [1961],pp. 80-82. The Statute of Praemunire, among other things, made it treasonable totry a case in a church court which should have been tried in a royal court). In October1514, while the slander and praemunire cases were pending in King's Bench, Hunne was charged with heresy and taken to Lollard's Tower. On 2 December Hunne was examined by Bishop Fitzjames on charges of heresy. On 4 December his body wasdiscovered hanging from a beam in his cell. The church maintained that Hunne committed suicide. Yet there was widespread suspicion that Hunne had been murder-ed, particularly because one of Hunne's gaolers, Charles Joseph, fled and went into hiding on 10 December. A day later - very possibly in reaction to Joseph's flight - a posthumous heresy trial of Hunne began. Hunne was found guilty on 16 December and his body was burned at Smithfield four days later.

[Back to Top]

Meanwhile, in February 1515, the coroner's jury determined that Hunne had been murdered, and named William Horsey, Fitzjames's chancellor as well as Charles Joseph and Charles Spalding, Hunne's gaolers (and summoners for Bishop Fitzjames)as suspects. By early January, Joseph, who had taken sanctuary in Essex, was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower, along with Spalding. In April, Fitzjames ignited a political firestorm by writing a letter to the London civic authorities, accusing them of being maliciously determined to condemn his chancellor out of hand and defending Horsey's innocence. Fitzjames also pleaded with Wolsey to persuade the king to intervene and save Horsey. In November 1517, Henry VIII issued orderedthe Crown attorney to find Hunne not guilty (W. R. Cooper, 'Richard Hunne', Reformation 1 [1996], pp. 221-51). According to Thomas More, the indictments against Joseph and Spalding were also quashed by royal command (More, DialogueConcerning Heresies, CWTM, VI, 1, p. 326).

[Back to Top]

As a suicide and a condemned heretic, Hunne's property was forfeit. Attempts weremade to remedy for this. In 1515, two bills were introduced in Parliament: one torestore the propert Hunne forfeited as a heretic to his children and the other to have his death declared a murder. Both bills were defeated by the Lords. In May, 1523,however, Parliament did pass a bill restoring Hunne's property to his children. HenryVIII commanded Horsey to pay for the compensation to Hunne's family. As Hunne'sestate had been substantial (Foxe estimates it at around £1500, not counting jewelery and plate), this imposed a crippling financial burden on Horsey;.

[Back to Top]

The best accounts of the Hunne affair are Brigden, London, pp. 98-103, Cooper, 'Richard Hunne', pp. 221-51 and Peter Gwyn, The King's Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of Thomas Wolsey (London, 2002), pp. 34-41. Cooper believes that Hunne was murdered and Gwyn argues that he was a suicide. Richard Marius has also forcefullyargued that Hunne was murdered, although his discussion contains some significant factual errors (Richard Marius, Thomas More [London, 1984], pp. 123-41).

[Back to Top]

Foxe's first account of the Hunne affair is in the Rerum. This is drawn from Hall's chronicle, although Foxe paraphrased and summarized it (cf. Rerum, pp. 119-21 withEdward Hall, The unyon of the twoo noble and illustre families of Lancastre and York[London, 1550], STC 12723a, fos. Lr-LVv). On the other hand, the account of Hunne in 1563 is a virtually word-for-word reprinting from Hall. (Hall's account, in turn, was a reprinting of a pro-evangelical tract, The enquirie and verdite of the quest paneld at at the death of R. Hune [Antwerp?, 1539?], STC 13970 There is no evidence, however, that Foxe even knew of this tract. Significantly, when pressed by Harpsfield on a factual detail, Foxe responded by citing Hall as his source [1570, p. 939]).

[Back to Top]

In 1566, Nicholas Harpsfield attacked Foxe's account of Hunne (Dialogi sex, pp. 847-849). Harpsfield's attacks and Foxe's defence will be discussed below but,for now, suffice it to say that Harpsfield's criticisms drove Foxe to investigate theaffair in more detail. In 1570, Foxe added more information, notably background onHunne's praemunire suit, Hunne's examination for heresy and his post-humous trial for heresy as well as mention of parliamentary and royalsecure compensation for Hunne's family. It is very likely that all of thisinformation came from Dunstan Whaplod, Hunne's grandson. Foxe declared thatthe material on the efforts to secure restitution for the Hunne family and 'all the braunches and particular evidences' of the Hunne case were 'taken out as well of thepublique actes, as of the Byshopes registers and speciall recordes, remainyng in thecustody of Dunstan Whapplot the sonne of the daughter of the sayd Richard Hunne'(1570, p. 936). From what Foxe declares, Whaplod had secured not only the materialregarding the compensation to his family, he also acquired some of the episcopalrecords regarding the Hunne case. These do not survive in Bishop Fitzjames's register and they were probably kept in a separate courtbook. Since Foxe states thatthey remained in Whaplod's hands, the martyrologist probably did not keep them. And in this edition Foxe also added a rebuttal to Harpsfield's attacks on his accountof Hunne.

[Back to Top]

But Foxe not only added to his original account of Hunne, he also subtracted from it.All of the depositions from the coroner's inquest, except that of Julian Littell, wasomitted from the 1570 edition, almost undoubtedly as part of the ongoing effort tosave on paper. Two of the depositions, those of Allen Cresswell and RichardHorsenail, were, however, restored in the 1583 edition.

[Back to Top]

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

MarginaliaRich. Hūne martyr.
1514.
THere was in the yeare of our Lorde. 1514. one Richard Hunne Marchaunt Tailor, dwellyng within the Citie of London, and freeman of the same, who was estemed duryng his lyfe, and worthely reputed and takē, not onely for a man of true dealyng and good substaunce, but also for a good catholicke man. This Richard Hune had a child at nourse in Midlesex in the Parish of S. Mary Matsilon, which died: by the occasiō wherof, one Thomas Drifielde clerke, beyng person of the sayd Parish, sued the sayd Richard Hunne in the spirituall Court for a bearyng sheete, whiche the sayd Thomas Drifield claymed vniustly to haue of the sayd Hunne for a mortuarye for Steuen Hunne, sonne of the sayd Richard Hunne: whiche Steuen beyng at nourse in the sayd Parish, dyed beyng of the age of v. weekes and not aboue. 

Commentary  *  Close

The details and background to Hunne's praemunire suit were unknown to other sixteenth-century writers, yet they have been corroborated in the twentieth century by the discovery of the record of Hunne's suit (S. C. F. Milsom, 'Richard Hunne's Praemunire', EHR 86 [1961], pp. 80-2). Foxe probably learned the background to the praemunire suit from Dunstan Whaplod, Hunne's grandson.

[Back to Top]
Hunne aunswered hym agayne, that for asmuch as the child had no proprietie in the sheete, he therfore neither would pay it, nor the other ought to haue it. Wherupon the priest moued with a couetous desire, 
Commentary  *  Close

It is far more likely that Dryffeld was forced, as a matter of principle, not to overlook Hunne's challenge to the custom of collecting mortuary fees.

and loth to lose his pretended ryght, ascited hym to appeare in the spiritual court, there to aunswere the matter. Whereupon the sayd Richard Hunne beyng troubled in the spirituall Court, was forced to seeke counsaile of the learned of the law of this lād, & pursued a write of premunire against the said Thomas Drifielde, and other his ayders, counsellours, proctours, and adherentes, as by the processe thereof is yet to be sene. Which, when the rest of the priestly order heard of, greatly disdaynyng that any lay man should so boldly enterprise such a matter agaynst any of them, and fearyng also, that if they should now suffer this priest to be condēpned at the sute of Hunne, there would be therby euer after, a libertie opened vnto all others of the laytie to do the lyke with the rest of the clergye, in such lyke cases: MarginaliaThe despitefull demeanor of the pope holy catholikes to be notedthey straightwayes, both to stop this matter, and also to bee reuenged of him, for that hee had already done, sought all meanes they possibly coulde, howe to entrap and bryng hym within the daunger of theyr owne cruell lawes: and therupon makyng secret and diligent inquisityon, and sekyng all corners they could agaynst hym, at length they found a meanes how to accuse him of heresie vnto Richarde Fitziames then Byshop of London, & so did: 
Commentary  *  Close

This statement assumes that the clergy only charged Hunne with heresy because of the praemunire suit. The opposite could also be true: that Hunne initiated the suit, as pre-emptive strike, because he suspected that heresy charges might be brought against him.

MarginaliaRichard Hunne committed to Lollards Tower.Who (desirous to satisfie the reuengyng and bloudy affectiō of his Chaplaines) caused therupō, hym to be apprehended & cōmitted vnto prison within the Lolards tower at Pauls, so that none of his frends might be suffred to come to hym. Thus Richarde Hunne beyng clapt in the Lolardes tower, shortly after, at the earnest instigatiō of one Doctour Horsey the Byshops Chauncelor, (a mā more ready to preferre the clergyes cruell tyranny then the truth of Christes Gospell) was brought before the Byshop at hys manour of Fulham, the second day of December, in the yeare before mēcioned: where within his chappell he examined hym vpō these Articles folowyng, collected against him by the said Horsey & hys complices.

[Back to Top]

Marginalia1.
The Articles obiected agaynst Richard Hun.
First, that he had red, taught, preached, published, and obstinately defended, agaynst the lawes of almightie God: that tythes, or paying of tythes was neuer ordeined to be due, sauing onely by the couetousnes of Priestes.

Marginalia2Item, that he had red, taught, preached, published, and obstinatly defended: that Byshops and Priestes be the Scribes & Pharisaies that did crucifie Christ, and dāpned hym to death.

Marginalia3.Item, that he had red, taught, preached, &c: that Bishops and Priestes be teachers and preachers, but no doers, neither fulfillers of the lawe of God. But catching, rauening, and all thinges taking, and nothing ministring neither geuing.

Marginalia4.Item, where and when one Ioanne Baker was detected and abiured of many great heresies (as it appeareth by her abiuracion) the said Richard Hunne said, published, taught, preached, and obstinatly tooke vpon him, saying that he would defend her and her opinions, if it cost him v. hundred markes.

Marginalia5.Item, afterwardes (where and when the said Ioanne Baker after her abiuration, was enioyned open penaunce accordyng to her demerites) the sayd Richarde Hunne said, published,

taught,
Go To Modern Page No:  
Click on this link to switch between the Modern pagination for this edition and Foxe's original pagination when searching for a page number. Note that the pagination displayed in the transcription is the modern pagination with Foxe's original pagination in square brackets.
Find:
Type a keyword and then restrict it to a particular edition using the dropdown menu. You can search for single words or phrases. When searching for single words, the search engine automatically imposes a wildcard at the end of the keyword in order to retrieve both whole and part words. For example, a search for "queen" will retrieve "queen", "queene" and "queenes" etc.
in:  
Humanities Research Institute  *  HRI Online  *  Feedback
Version 2.0 © 2011 The University of Sheffield