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1044 [1043]

K. Henry. 8. Notes concerning Bayfildes accusation. Crueltie of the Clergie.

death, as ye haue heard, but how and by whom he was detected, hath not bene shewed: which now in searchyng out of Registers, as we haue found, so we thought good here to adioyne the same with the wordes and confession of the same Edmund Peerson, which detected hym in maner as followeth. 

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The account of how Richard Bayfield (the articles charged against Bayfield, his answers to them, the sentence of degradation imposed on him and the letter to the mayor and sheriffs of London, are taken from a now lost court book of Bishop John Stokesley) was arrested almost certainly came from the same courtbooks that were Foxe's source for his main account of Bayfield. The fact that this account of Bayfield was not joined to the main narrative of Bayfield's narrative is an indication that Foxe's search through the diocese of London records was being made while the 1563 edition was being printed.

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¶ The accusation of Edmund Peerson agaynst Bayfilde.

MarginaliaThe accusation of Edmund Peerson, agaynst Rich. Bayfilde. THe xxij. day of September at iiij. of the clocke at after noone, the yeare of our Lord. 1527. Syr Richard Bayfilde sayd that my Lord of Londons Commissary was a playne Pharisey, wherfore he would speake with him, and by his wholesome doctrine he trusted in God, hee should make him a perfect Christen man and me also, for I was a Pharisey, as yet, he sayd.

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Also he sayd, that he cared not and if the Commissary and the Chauncellour heard him both, for the Chauncellour, he sayd, was also a Pharisey, and trusted to make him a Christen man.

Also he sayd, he was entreated by his frendes, and in maner constrayned to abyde in the Citie agaynst his will, to make the Chauncellour and many moe, perfect Christen men, for as yet many were Phariseis, and knew not the perfect declaration of the Scripture.

MarginaliaCommendation of Bilney and Arthur. Also he sayd, that M. Arthur and Bilney were and be more pure and more perfecter in their liuyng to God, then was or is the Commissary, the Chauncellour, my Lord of London, or my Lord Cardinall.

Also he sayd, that if Arthur and Bilney suffer death in the quarels and opinions that they be in, or hold, they shall be Martyrs before God in heauen.

Also he sayd, after Arthur and Bilney were put cruelly to death, yet should there be hūdrethes of mē, that should preach the same that they haue preached.

Also he sayd, that he would fauour Arthur and Bilney, he knew their liuyng to be so good: for they dyd weare no shyrtes of lynnen cloth, but shyrtes of heyre, and euer were fasting, praying, or doyng some other good deedes: & as for one of them, whatsoeuer he haue of money in his purse, he will distribute it for the loue of God, to poore people.

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Also he sayd, that no man should geue laude nor prayse in no maner of wise, to no creature, nor to no Saint in heauen, but onely to God. Soli Deo honor et gloria, MarginaliaTim. 1. that is. To God alone be all honour and glory.

MarginaliaThe godly courage of Rich. Bayfilde. Also he said, ah good Syr Edmund, ye be farre from the knowledge and vnderstandyng of the Scripture, for as yet ye be a Pharisey with many other of your company: but I trust in God I shall make you and many other moe, good and perfect Christen men ere I depart from the Citie, for I purpose to read a common lecture euery day at S. Fosters Church, which lecture shall be to the edifying of your soules that be false Phariseis.

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Also he sayd, that Bilney preached nothyng at Wilsedone, but that was true.

MarginaliaThe peoples offringes bestowed vpon harlots. Also he sayd, that Bilney preached true at Wilsedone, if he sayd that our Ladyes crowne of Wilsedone, her ryngs & beades that were offered to her, were bestowed amongest harlots, by the Ministers of Christes Churche: for that haue I sene my selfe, he sayd, here in London, and that will I abyde by.

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Also he sayd, he dyd not feare to commen and argue in Arthur and Bilneys opinions and Articles, and if it were with my Lord Cardinall.

Also he sayd, that he would hold Arthur and Bilneys opinions and Articles, & abyde by them that they were true opinions, to suffer death therfore: I know them (sayd he) for so noble and excellent men in learnyng.

Also he sayd, if he were before my Lord Cardinall, he would not let to speake to hym, and to tell hym that he hath done nought in prisonyng of Arthur and Bilney, whiche were better disposed in their liuynges to GOD, then my Lord Cardinall, or my Lord of London, as holy as they make themselues.

Also he sayd, my Lord Cardinall is no perfect nor good man to God, for he keepeth not the Commaundementes of God: MarginaliaThe Cardinals shooes. for Christ (he sayd) neuer taught him to folow riches, nor to seeke for promotions nor dignities of this world, nor Christ neuer taught him to weare shoes of siluer and gilt set with pearle and precious stones, nor Christ had neuer ij. crosses of siluer, ij. axes, nor piller of siluer and gilt.

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Also he sayd, that euery Priest might preach the Gospell without licence of the Pope, my Lord Cardinall, my Lord of London, or any other man. And that would he abyde by, and thus he verified it as it is written. Marke. 16. Euntes in mundum vniuersum prædicate Euangelium omni creaturæ 

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Mark 16: 15.

Christ commaunded euery Priest to goe forth throughout all the world and preache the word of God, by the authoritie of this Gospell, and not to runne to the pope, nor to no other man for licence, and that would hee abyde by, he sayd.

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Also he sayd: Well Syr Edmūd, say you what you will, and euery man, & my Lord Cardinall also, and yet will I say and abyde by it, my Lord Cardinall doth punishe Arthur and Bilney vniustly, for there be no truer Christen mē in all the world liuyng, then they two be, and that punishment that my Lord Cardinall doth to them, he doth it by might and power, as who say, this may I do, and this will I do, who shall say nay, but he doth it of no iustice.

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Also about the xiiij, day of October last past at iij. of the clocke at after noone, Syr Richard Bayfilde came to S. Edmundes in Lumbardstreete, where he found me Syr Edmund Peerson, Syr Iames Smyth, and Syr Myles Garnet, standyng at the vttermost gate of the personage, & Syr Edmund sayd to Syr Richard Bayfilde: how many Christen men haue ye made since ye came to the Citie? Quoth Syr Richard Bayfilde, I am come euen now to make thee a Christen man, and these two other Gentlemen with thee, for well I know ye be all iij. Phariseis, as yet.

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Also he sayd to Syr Edmund, that Arthur and Bilney were better Christen men then he was, or any of them that did punish Arthur and Bilney.

Per me Edmundum Peerson.

And thus we haue, as in a grosse summe, compiled together the names & causes, though not of all, yet of a great, and to great a number of good men and good women, which in those sorowfull dayes (from the yeare of our Lord 1527. to this present yeare. 1533. that is, till the commyng in of Queene Anne (were manifold wayes vexed and persecuted vnder the tyranny of the Byshop of Rome. Where agayne we haue to note, that from this present yeare of our Lord. 1533. duryng the tyme of the sayd Queene Anne, we read of no great persecution, nor any abiuration to haue bene in the Churche of England, MarginaliaTen Dutchmen Anabaptistes put to death,
Segor,
Deryeke.
Symon,
Runa,
Derycke,
Dominicke,
Dauid,
Cornelius,
Elken,
Milo.
saue onely that the Registers of London make mention of certaine Dutchmen counted for Anabaptistes, of whom x. were put to death in sondry places of the realme an. 1535. other x. repented and were saued. Where note agayne that two also of þe sayd cōpany albeit the difinitiue sentence was read, yet notwithstandyng were pardoned by the kyng, which was contrary to the Popes lawe. 

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See Susan Brigden, London and the Reformation [Oxford,1989], pp. 270-71 for the background to these execiutions.

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Marginalia1533.
Complaynt of the Commons agaynst the Clergie.
Ex Edw. Hallo.
Now to proceede forth in our matter, after that the Byshops and heades of the Clergy had thus a long tyme takē their pleasure, exercising their cruell authoritie agaynst the poore wasted flocke of the Lord, and began furthermore to stretch forth their rigour and austeritie, to attach and molest also other greater persons of the temporaltie: 

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Henry VIII's divorce

Foxe's treatment of Henry VIII's divorce from Queen Catherine of Aragon was clearly central to how he explained the coming of the protestant reformation to England. In the 1563 edition, his explanatory structure was clear and unadorned. He sought to provide 'the whole summe and matter' and to prove that it was a 'maruelous and moost gracious worke', a direct intervention of the 'holy prouidence of God', an event which would have been unthinkable for 'anye Prince within this realme' on his own, let alone any subject of it. That providence worked through the conscience of the king, by which God 'did kepe al princes and kinges so vnder him'. The problem for Foxe was that, if he were to provide the comprehensive account of the affair that he promised, it necessarily involved a complex narrative that concentrated more upon the secret and public affairs of men (and women) rather than the inner workings of divine providence. At all events, by 1570, this explicit explanatory structure, with its ringing introductory claims, was abandoned by Foxe in favour of a denser, but more circumstantiated account of the divorce, in which the point about God's providence became buried in the narrative. By concentrating on the events post-1529, Foxe conveniently ignores, of course, the longer history of the early fourteenth-century praemunire and provisor acts of the English parliament which were essential background to the parliamentary intervention in the 'King's Great Matter' in due course.

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In the 1563 edition, Foxe quickly asserts his view that the marriage of King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon in 1509 had been unlawful ab initio. His view was shared by many contemporaries, who thought that it contravened both divine law and human legal custom (so-called 'impediments'). It contravened divine law in that Catherine had been married to Henry's elder brother Arthur. When he died, it was considered imperative by all parties (Henry VII, Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile) that the marriage tie between England and Spain continue, but a papal dispensation was necessary as the subsequent marriage contravened divine law as spelled out in Leviticus (18.16 and 20.21). In other words, there was both an impediment of affinity and of a consanguinity relationship (within forbidden degrees) between Catherine and Henry. Affinity was understood in one of two ways, however, in either 'biblical' or 'canonical' forms. The former (as outlined in Leviticus) arose out of the 'sponsalia' only, that is the 'matrimonium ratum', for which consummation was irrelevant (unlike in the case of the latter and out of which consanguinity or the blood relationship developed). There was a contemporary opinion (e.g. that of William Warham) that even with a papal dispensation the subsequent marriage would be unlawful (see BL, Cott. MSS, Vit. B, xii, fol.123v; L&P, iv:iii, 5774) and certain complications over the dispensation itself, when it was granted by Pope Julius II, were raised. In the event, while the full dispensation was being considered, Queen Isabella of Castile, near death, demanded action and was sent a rather hastily written papal brief (subsequently known as the 'Spanish Brief') dated 26 December 1503 (actually despatched in the autumn of 1504). This was known in England [see, L&P, i, p.243] and the brief was believed to be an inexact version of the bull. Later legal difficulties arose over the Latin word 'forsan' ('perhaps') which appears in the bull but not in the brief with regard to the consummation of the earlier marriage. (For a view of the bull and the brief that reflects some of these contemporary perceptions, see Edward Lord Herbert of Cherbury, The Life and Raigne of King Henry the Eighth (London, 1649), pp. 264ff.) While the brief acknowledged consummation, the bull merely stated that it was probable. This question mark over the consummation, despite the definition of affinity, was a matter for heated opinions for which no definitive theological evidence existed, and over which opinion (among the divines, ancient Fathers and canonists) was divided well into the sixteenth-century (see Andrew A Chibi, Henry VIII's Conservative Scholar (Bern, 1997), pp.23ff; J. J. Scarisbrick, Henry VIII [Berkeley, 1968], pp.163ff). In 1504 there were also certain financial matters to be faced. King Henry VII had been slow in making treaty-related payments to King Ferdinand of Aragon as he and Queen Isabella had not completed their 'dowry' obligations. Henry VIII stalled the new marriage to put pressure on his ally, which raised rumours that Catherine was actually pregnant, rumours exacerbated by the delay in created prince Henry as 'Prince of Wales'. The king also had the prince record a formal protest against the marriage (he was fourteen, considered of age, while the marriage had been negotiated without his prior consent). When Henry became king in 1509, he married Catherine nine weeks after his accession, despite theological opinion. These other legalities and political tactics would be brought up again in due course. Human legal custom (not obligatory) had been contravened in that the impediment of 'public honesty', which arose from the apparent non-fulfilment of the original marriage contract (non-consummation), had not been officially addressed in any contemporary documents. For a difference of opinion, cf. Scarisbrick, Henry VIII, pp.184-97 and Jasper Ridley, Thomas Cranmer (London, 1962), pp.37ff. These were all delicate issues. In a quite remarkable revision of his presentation, Foxe is much less strident about the 'unlawfulness' of the marriage in 1570 and later editions. It was 'very straunge and hard, for one bother to mary the wife of an other'. This enabled him to place the emphasis elsewhere - on the advice that Henry VIII received from learned theologians on the matter in Europe's universities; and to heap blame on the papacy for its role in the affair.

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To make the point that the marriage had been 'unlawful', Foxe somewhat exaggerates the point by saying that 'all universities' in the 1563 edition had found it to be so. He nuances the point in the editions after 1570. No university in Germany was found to give a positive determination, and many of the positive determinations were predicated upon the belief that Catherine's first marriage was consummated (over which there is a question mark). However, twelve positive determinations were sent, several of which were published as a preface to a book detailing the theological conclusions of the king's scholars, written by Stokesley, Fox and de Burgo and translated into English by Thomas Cranmer. The twelve positive determinations of 1530 come from Oxford (8 April) - gained by Fox, Longland and Bell; Cambridge (9 March) - gained by Fox and Gardiner; the canon law faculty of Paris (25 May) - gained by Stokesley, Fox and Reginald Pole; the divinity faculty of Paris (2 July) - gained by Stokesley, Fox and Pole; Angers (7 May); Bourges (10 June); Bologna (10 June); Orléans (5 April); Toulouse (1 October); Padua (1 July), Ferrara and Pavia (no dates mentioned). The text of some of these can be found in The Divorce Tracts of Henry VIII, ed. by Edward Surtz and Virginia Murphy (Angers, 1988), pp.5-27. There was a related problem of determining how valuable these university opinions were. Many modern scholars (e.g., Rex, Scarisbrick) have said that they had limited value in that they were bought and paid for (see, Rex Fisher, p. 163; Scarisbrick, Henry VIII, p. 256). Others (e.g., Chibi, Farge) have examined in more detail how the royal scholars solicited and interpreted the advice they received (see Andrew A Chibi, Henry VIII's Bishops [Cambridge, 2003], pp.110-2; James K Farge, 'The Divorce Consultation of Henry VIII', in Orthodoxy and Reform in Early Reformation France: The Faculty of Theology of Paris, 1500-1543 [Leiden, 1985], pp.135-43).

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Foxe was convinced in the 1563 that the pope's dispensation in respect of the marriage was unlawful - an early indication to those who had eyes to see of the fundamental flaws in the papal claims to authority in such matters. The question of whether the pope had sufficient authority to dispense with divine law in certain cases (that one the various faculties and doctors determined on) assumed that the previous marriage had been consummated. While it is interesting to go through the various evidences put forward one way or another, the fact of the matter is that the three central figures to the events, Catherine, Henry and Arthur, all had agendas to pursue, so anything they say is questionable in hindsight. For instance, when Henry first married Catherine, he said she was a virgin, a claim which assured the legitimacy of any premature births. Later, when he claimed she had not been a virgin, it suited the king's need for it to be nullified.

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Foxe was aware that a full account of the 'Great Matter' had to account for where the royal doubts about the validity of his marriage had come from. In 1563, Foxe formulates what still remain the three main avenues of scholarly investigation. Either Wolsey first suggested there was a problem, or the Spanish ambassador, or the king himself developed a scruple. In the 1570 edition and beyond, Foxe nuances his account, suggesting that it was a royal doubt, nurtured by the discussions over the possible marriage of Princess Mary, firstly to the Emperor Charles V (arranged through the so-called Treaty of Windsor, 1522) and then, when that fell through (the Infanta Isabel, or Isabella of Portugal being eventually married to Charles V, at Seville, 10 March 1526) by another potential marriage proposal to the French duke of Orléans, where there was a parallel problem, pointed out to him in the negotiations by a président of the Parlement of Paris. That said, Foxe is equally clear that Wolsey had a role in fomenting the king's doubts. In fact, we now know that Wolsey had already expressed them guardedly as early as 1518 (Calendar of State Papers, i (i & ii), i, p.1). What is undeniable is the issue that Foxe does not comment on, allowing the king's oration to do so for him (it would perhaps have been imprudent to dwell on it too much in 1570, or in subsequent editions): that after nine years of marriage, Henry did not have a male heir and this placed the Tudor dynasty on unsteady ground.

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Andrew ChibiUniversity of Leicester

so it fel that in the begynnyng of the next or second yeare followyng, MarginaliaA Parliament. an. 1534. which was an. 1534. a Parlament was called by the kyng, about the xv. day of Ianuary. In the whiche Parlament, the commons renuyng their olde grieffes, MarginaliaCrueltie of the clergie agaynst the temporaltie. complayned of the crueltie of the Prelates and Ordinaries, for callyng men before them Ex officio. For such was then the vsage of the Ordinaries and their Officialls, that they would send for men, and lay accusations to them of heresie, onely declaryng to them, that they were accused, and would minister Articles to them, but no accuser should be brought forth: wherby the commons was greuously anoyed and oppressed, for the partie so acited, must either abiure, or do worse, for purgation he might none make.

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As these matters were longe debatyng in the common house, at last it was agreed, that the temporall men should put their grieffes in wryting, and deliuer them to the kyng. Wherupon, the xviij. day of Marche, the common speaker accompanyed with certaine Knightes and Burgeses of the common house, came to the Kynges presence, and there declared, how the temporall men of his Realme were sore agreeued with the cruell demaynour of the Prelates & Ordinaries, which touched their bodyes and goodes so neare, that they of necessitie were inforced to make their humble sute by their speaker vnto his grace, to take such order and redresse in the case, as to his high wisedome might seeme most conuenient. &c.

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Vnto this request of the commons, although the kyng at that tyme gaue no present graunt, but suspended them with a delay, yet notwithstandyng this sufficiently declared the grudgyng myndes of the temporall men, agaynst the spiritualtie, lackyng nothyng but Gods helpyng hand to worke in the kynges hart for reformation of such thynges, which all they did see to be out of frame. MarginaliaGods helping hand in tyme of neede. Neither did the Lordes diuine prouidence fayle in tyme of neede, but eftsoones ministred a ready remedy in tyme expedient. He saw the pride and cruelty of the spiritual Clergy growen to such an hight, as was intollerable. He saw agayne and heard the

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