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1173 [1172]

K. Hen. 8. The storye and lyfe of the Lorde Cromwell. Boston Pardons.

seyng these vicious whorehunters and aduouterous persons amongest you, do liue viciously (as you can not deny) & may do otherwise if they lyst (as you cōfesse) what punishment then are they worthy to haue, which may lyue continent and will not, neither yet will take the remedy prouided by God, but refuse it? MarginaliaThe impiety of the papistes inexcusable. Which beyng so, then what iniquitie is this in you or rather impietie inexcusable agaynst God and man, to procure a moderation of lawes for such, and to shewe such compassion and clemencie to these so heynous adulterers, whorehunters, and beastly fornicatours, that if they adulterate other mens wiues neuer so ofte, yet there is no death for them: and to shewe no compassion at all, nor to finde out any moderation for such, but at the very first to kill them as felons and heretickes, whiche honestlie doe mary in the feare of GOD, or once saye that a Priest may mary? How can ye heare bee excused, O you children of iniquitie? What reason is in your doyng, or what truth in your doctrine, or what feare of God in your harts? You that neither are able to auoyde burnyng and pollution without wedlocke, nor yet will receaue that remedy that the Lorde hath giuen you, how will you stand in his face, when he shall reuele your operatiōs and cogitations to your perpetuall confusion, vnlesse by tyme ye conuerte and repent? And thus being ashamed of your execrable doynges I cease to defile my penne any further in this so stinking matter of yours, leauyng you to the Lord.

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MarginaliaRead afore pag. 1110. col. 2. It was declared before, pag. 1110. that what tyme these vj. Articles were in hand in the Parlament house, Cranmer then beyng Archbyshop of Caunterbury onely withstode the same, disputyng three dayes agaynst them: whose reasons and Argumentes I wishe were extant and remayning. After these Articles were thus passed and concluded, the kyng, who alwayes bare a speciall fauour vnto Cranmer, perceiuyng him to bee not a litle discomforted therewith, sent all the Lordes of the Parlament, and with them the Lord Cromwell, to dyne with him at Lambeth (as is afore declared) and within few dayes also vppon the same, required that he would giue a note of all his doynges and reasonynges in the sayd Parlament, MarginaliaCranmers reasons and allegations agaynst the vj. Articles, written to the king. which the said Crāmer eftsoones accomplished accordyngly, drawing out his reasons and allegatiōs, the copy wherof being fayre written out by his Secretary, was sent and deliuered vnto the kyng and there remained. 

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Foxe must have learned of this from Roger Morrice, who was Cranmer's secretary and an invaluable informant for the martyrologist.

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Now after these thynges thus discussed as touchyng the vj. wicked Articles, it foloweth next, in returnyng to the order of our story agayne, to declare those thyngs, which after the settyng out of these Articles ensued, commyng now to the tyme & story of & Lord Cromwell, a man whose worthy fame and deedes are worthy to liue renowmed in perpetuall memory.

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¶ The history concernyng the life, actes, and death of the famous and worthy Counsailour Lord Thomas Cromwell 
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Thomas Cromwell

In the Rerum, Foxe has a rather large account of Cromwell consisting of praise of Cromwell, a comparison of Cromwell and Stephen Gardiner (greatly to the detriment of the latter), and a long diatribe on persecution as a hallmark of the Catholic Church (Rerum, pp. 154-8). This was followed by a denciation of the evils of monasticism and further praise of Cromwell for dissolving them (Rerum, pp. 158-9). This was followed by a lengthy extract from Alexander Alesius, Of the Auctoritie of the Word of God, recounting a debate between Alesius and Bishop John Stokesley of London, held in a synod in London in 1537 and of Cromwell's oration to the bishops assembled on this occasion. (Cf. Alexander Alesius, Of the auctoritie of the word of God ['Strausburg', 1548?], STC 292, sigs. A5r-B7v with Rerum, pp. 159-64). The Rerum account of Cromwell ends with a brief statement that Cromwell fell from royal favour because he arranged Henry VIII's marriage to Anne of Cleves and also because of the intrigues of Stephen Gardiner (Rerum, p. 164).

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All of the material was reprinted in the 1563 edition. Some additional material was added in this edition. One item was an account of Cromwell's execution and last words, which was reprinted word-for-word from Hall's chronicle (cf. Edward Hall, The union of the two noble and illustre famelies of Lancastre and Yorke [London, 1560], STC 12723a, fo. 242r-v with 1563, p. 598). Another was a contemporary ballad, 'The Fantasie of Idolatry', which attacked the 'superstition' and 'idolatry' in the monasteries (1563, pp. 590 [recte 599]-598 [recte 600]).

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Except for the material reprinted from Alesius and from Hall, the entire 1563 account of Cromwell was deleted from the 1570 edition. This material was replaced with stories of Cromwell drawn from individual informants. The most important of these was Ralph Morice, formerly Archbishop Cranmer's private secretary, who contributed an account of how Cromwell saved him when he lost an important document. The story of Lord Russell aiding Cromwell may very well have come from Francis Russell, the second earl of Bedford, who had close ties to Foxe. Foxe also derived a story of Cromwell's gratitude to an early benefactor from Matteo Bandello's famous Novelle; this was an account that Foxe had to have translated from Italian. Foxe's zeal in tracking these stories down, is an indication of how deeply he was committed to portraying Cromwell as an exemplar of the godly magistrate constantly prodding his king into further reformation of church and state. Foxe's account of Cromwell as printed in the 1570 edition remain unchanged in subsequent editions.

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Thomas S. Freeman

, Earle of Essex.

MarginaliaThe storye of the Lorde Thomas Cromwell. THomas Cromwell although borne of a simple parentage, and house obscure 

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In the Rerum, Cromwell is described as 'vir obscuro loco natus' (Rerum, p. 154). In the 1563 edition this was rendered as 'a man but of base stock' (1563, p. 598). Apparently this was too depracatory and it was changed to 'borne of a simple parentage and house obscure' (1570, p. 1346).

, through the singulare excellencie of wisedome and dexteritie of witte wrought in hym by God, coupled with like industrie of mynde and desertes of life, rose to highe preferrement and authoritie, in somuch that by steppes & staires of office and honour, he ascended at length to that, that not onely hee was made Earle of Essex, but also most secret and deare Counsellour to kyng Henry, and Vicegerent vnto his person 
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In January 1535, Cromwell was made royal vicegerent (or vicar-general) for spiritual affairs, giving complete supremacy over both provinces of the English Church.

, which office hath not commonly bene supplied, at least not so fruitfully discharged with in this Realme.

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First as touchyng his byrth, he was borne at Putney or therabout, beyng a Smithes sonne, whose mother maried after vnto a shyreman 

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Cromwell was the son of an upwardly mobile blacksmith, who moved into fulling, then became a cloth merchant and ended up owning a hostel and brewery. Cromwell's mother may have re-married a shearman, but this is probably Foxe getting his details confused, he was probably confused by Bandello's anecdote about Cromwell. Cromwell's father-in-law, Henry Wykys, was a shearman of Putney.

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. MarginaliaThe base degree of the L. Cromwell recompensed with noble Ornamentes. In the simple estate 
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Note Foxe's defensiveness about Cromwell's relatively humble background.

and rude beginnynges of this man (as of diuers other before him) we may see and learne that the excellencie of noble vertues and heroicall proweses, which aduaunce to fame and honour, stād not onely vpon byrth and bloud, as priuileges onely intayled appropriat to noble houses: but are disposed indifferently and proceede of the gift of God, who rayseth vp the poore abiect many times out of the donghill, and matcheth him in throne with Peeres and Princes 
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This is a reference to Psalm 113: 7-8.

. Psal. 113.

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MarginaliaCommendation of the L. Cromwell. As touchyng the order and maner of hys commyng vp, it would bee superfluous to discourse what may be sayd at large: onely by way of story it may suffice to giue a touch of certaine particulars, and so to proceede. Although the humble condition and pouertie of this man was at the beginning (as it is to many other) a great let and hinderance for vertue to shew her selfe, yet such was the actiuitie and forward rypnes of nature in him so pregnant in witte and so ready he was, in iudgemēt discrete, in toung eloquent, in seruice faythful, in stomacke couragious, in his penne actiue, that beyng conuersant in the sight of men, he could not long be vnspied, nor yet vnprouided of fauour and helpe of frendes to set him forward in place and office. Neither was any place or office put vnto him, whereunto he was not apt and fitte. Nothing was so hard, which with witte and industrie he could not compasse. Neither was his capacitie so good, but his memory was as great in reteinyng whatsoeuer he had atteyned. MarginaliaTho. Cromwell learned the newe Testament in Latin without booke. Which well appeared in cannyng 

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I.e., commiting to memory.

the text of the whole new Testament of Erasmus translation without booke, in his iourney goyng and commyng from Rome: wherof ye shall heare anone.

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Thus in his growyng yeres, as he shot vp in age, and rypenes, a great delite came in hys mynde to stray into foreine countreys 

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Why Cromwell journeyed abroad is unknown and so are his movements. He may have served as a soldier in the French army and serving in Italy. This would help account for his presence in Florence (The battle of Garigliano was fought on 27 December 1503. In it the French army was defeated by the Spanish forces).

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, to see the world abroad, and to learne experience: wherby he learned such tounges and languages, as might better serue for his vse hereafter.

And thus passing ouer his youth, beyng at Antwerpe he was there reteined of the Englishe Marchauntes to be their Clerke or Secretary 

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Cromwell certainly visited Antwerp, where he appears to have been a cloth merchant. He was not however the chief clerk to the English merchants there.

, or in some such like cōdition placed perteinyng to their affaires.

MarginaliaThe towne of Boston It happened the same tyme 

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Cromwell journeyed to Rome in 1517-18 to secure the renewal of the of the papal indulgences granted to the Lady Guild of Boston. The basic details (at least) of the episode can be verified: a payment, to Cromwell, of £47 in expenses for the trip is recorded in the guild's account book (BL, Egerton 2886. fo. 181r-v). Magnus Williamson has plausibly suggested that Ralph Morrice, whose father had extensive connections with the town, was Foxe's source. (See Magnus Williamson, 'Evangelicalism at Boston, Oxford and Windsor under Henry VIII: Foxe's Narratives Recontextualised' in John Foxe at Home and Abroad, ed. David Loades [Aldershot, 2004], p. 39).

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, that the Towne of Boston thought good to send vp to Rome, for renuyng of their two Pardons, one called the greater Pardon, the other the lesser Pardon. Which thyng although it should stand them in great expenses of money MarginaliaThe Popes marchaundise deare ware. (for the Popes Marchaundise is alwayes deare ware) yet notwithstanding such sweetnes they had felt thereof and such gayne to come to their Towne by that Romish Marchaundise MarginaliaSuperstition commonly is gainfull (as al superstition is commonly gaynefull) that they like good Catholicke Marchauntes and the Popes MarginaliaThe Popes leases of pardons good customers, thought to spare for no coste, to haue their leases agayne of their Pardons renewed, what soeuer they payde for the fine. And yet was all this good Religion then: such was the lamentable blindnes of that tyme.

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This then beyng so determined & decreed amongest my coūtreymen of Boston, to haue their pardōs needes repayred & renewed from Rome, one Geffray Chābers with an other cōpanion was sent for the messēgers, with writyngs & money, no small quantitie, well furnished and with all other thynges appointed, necessary for so chargeable and costly exployt, who commyng in his iorney to Antwarpe & misdoubtyng himselfe to bee to weake for the compassing of such a weyghtie peece of worke, cōferred & perswaded with Tho. Cromwell to associate him in that legacie, and to assiste him in the contriuyng thereof. Cromwell although perceauing the enterprise to be of no small difficultie, to trauerse the popes Court, for the vnreasonable expenses amongest those greedy cormorantes, yet hauing some skill of the Italian toung 

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Records of the English Hospital in Rome also show that Cromwell stayed there in June 1514.

, and as yet not grounded in iudgement of Religion in those his youthfull dayes, was at length obteined and content to gyue the aduenture, MarginaliaCromwell goeth to Rome. and so tooke his iourney toward Rome. Cromwell loth to spend much tyme, and more loth to spend his money: and agayne perceiuyng that the Popes greedy humor must needes be serued with some present or other (for without rewardes there is no doyng at Rome) began to cast with him selfe, what thyng best to deuise, wherein he might best serue the Popes deuotion.

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At length hauyng knowledge how that þe popes holy touth greatly delited in new fangled straunge delicates and dayntie dishes, MarginaliaCromwells presentes to the Pope. it came in his mynde to prepare certeine fine dishes of gelly, after the best fashion, made after our countrey maner here in England, which to them of Rome was not knowen nor sene before.

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This done, Cromwell obseruyng hys tyme accordyngly, as the Pope was newly come from hunting into his pauillion, he with his companions approched with his English presents brought in with a threemans song (as we call it) in the English tongue, and all after the English fashion. The Pope sodenly merueilyng at the straungenes of the song, and vnderstandyng that they were Englishe men, and that they came not emptie handed, willed them to be called in. Crōwell there shewyng his obediēce, & offeryng his iolye iunkets, such as Kynges and Princes onely (sayd he) in the realme of Englād vse to feede vpon, desired the same to be accepted in beneuolent part, MarginaliaCromwell a suter for Boston Pardons. which he and his companions as poore suters vnto his holynes, had there brought, and presented as nouelties meete for hys recreation. &c.

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Pope Iulius 

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The pope would have been Leo X, not Julius II.

seyng the straungenes of the dishes, commaunded by and by his Cardinall to take the assay. Who in tastyng therof liked it so well, and so lykewise the Pope after him, that knowyng of them what their sutes were, and requiring them to make knowen the making of that meate, MarginaliaBoston pardons obteined at Rome. he incōtinent without any more adoe, stāped both their pardons, as well the greater as the lesser.

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And thus was the iolye pardons of the Towne of Boston obteyned as you haue heard, for the maintenance of their decayed Port. The Copy of which Pardons (which I haue in my handes) briefly comprehended, commeth to this effect 

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Foxe - as he details of the document and a marginal citation make clear - is quoting, or paraphrasing, the renewal of the indulgences granted by Pope Clement VII in 1527, not the indulgences obtained by Cromwell.

: That all the brethren and sisters of the gylde of

our
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