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1239 [1238]

K. Henry. 8. The kinges talke about reformation of Religion.

he deserueth this grace at thy handes. Of my word (swete harte) he hath bene towardes thee, an arrant knaue, and so let hym goe. To this the Queene in charitable maner repliyng in few wordes, ended that talke: MarginaliaThe queene by Gods marueilous blessing deliuered of all her aduersitie. hauyng also by Gods onely blessyng happelye for that tyme and euer, escaped the daungerous snares of her bloudy and cruell enemies for the Gospels sake.

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The pestiferous purpose of this Bishop, and of such lyke bloudy aduersaries practising thus agaynst the queene, and procedyngs of gods gospell (as ye haue heard) putteth me in remēbraunce of such an other lyke story of hys wicked workyng in like maner, a litle bfore: but much more pernicious and pestilent to the publicke churche of Iesus Christ, then this was daungerous to the priuate estate of the Queene. Whiche storye likewise I thought heare as in conuenient place, to be adioyned and notified to be knowen to all posteritie, accordyng as I haue it faythfully recorded and storyed by him, which heard it of the Archbyshop Crāmers own mouth declared, in order and forme as foloweth.

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¶ A discourse touching a certaine pollicie vsed by Steuen Gardiner byshop of Winchester, in staying Kyng Henry the viii. from redressyng of certayne abuses of ceremonies in the Churche, beyng Ambassadour beyonde the seas 
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Between 1535 and 1539, Stephen Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, was frequently on the continent, involved in embassies to both France and Germany. No league between England, France and the Empire was ever concluded, however, during this period. Rather, the events described here (to the extent that they took place) are contextualised by an entente agreed between King Francis I of France and Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, in 1538. This was the same year that Henry VIII sent out a set of Injunctions to his clergy, which Eamon Duffy characterises as outlawing 'in one fell swoop' pilgrimages as well as 'virtually the entire external manifestation of the cult of the saints, and also what was in many regions the single most common feature of mortuary piety, by forbidding the burning of candles before any image and commanding the quenching of the lights which…burned in their dozens during divine service in every church and chapel in the land' (Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, 1400-1580 [New Haven, 1992], p. 407).

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If one takes the Injunctions of 1538 (and Duffy's interpretation of them) as a measure, then it is not difficult to interpret them as reflecting a reformist 'mood' in 1538 that will be reversed over the course of the next year. The years between 1538 and the end of Henry VIII's reign have traditionally been considered a period of conservative 'backlash' when it comes to religious policy in England, resulting in such measures as the Act of the Six Articles (1539), the King's Book and the Act for the Advancement of Religion (both in 1543), the execution of Thomas Cromwell (1540), and the burning of Anne Askew and others. Foxe is wedded to a view of the 1540s in line with this interpretation. Indeed, he was its historiographical originator. In this interpretation, the story of Gardiner in France - successfully blocking further reform - is part and parcel. Nevertheless, Foxe's telling of this story here lends itself to an interpretation of events of the 1540s at least partly in line with recent scholarship arguing for analysis of Henrician domestic policy, certainly between 1538 and 1540, against a backdrop of foreign policy. According to Foxe, Henry aborted such reform in order to facilitate the creation of a league comprising England, the French and the German emperor. While this was never concluded, it is evident that the league successfully concluded between France and the Empire had an important effect on Henrician policy, both religious and foreign. The threat to England and its apostate king (excommunicated in December 1538) posed by an alliance between these two Roman Catholic powers was immense. And while the period between 1538 and 1540 saw negotiations between England and German members of the Schmalkaldic League intensify (and fail), and while Henry's desire for non-Romanist allies in Germany during this period also resulted in his ill-fated marriage to Anne of Cleves, it is also the case that Henry was concerned to find room to maneuver in his relationships with Francis I and Charles V.

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For interpretations measuring the influence of foreign policy considerations on the framing of domestic religious policy see Rory McEntegert, Henry VIII, the League of Schmalkalden and the English Reformation (London, 2002); Alec Ryrie, The Gospel and Henry VIII: Evangelicals in the Early English Reformation (Cambridge, 2003), pp. 29-34; Richard Rex, Henry VIII and the English Reformation (Basingstoke, 1993), pp. 154-55. G.W. Bernard makes a compelling argument for the importance of Henry's concern to find leverage with both France and the Empire, and the extent to which that motivated the execution of Cromwell (G.W. Bernard, , The King's Reformation: Henry VIII and the Remaking of the English Church [New Haven, 2005], pp. 556-69).

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Also the communication of Kynge Henry the viii. hadde with the Ambassadour of Fraunce at Hampton Court concernyng the reformation of religion, as well in Fraunce, as in England. nn. 1546. Mens. August.

IT chaunced in the tyme of Kyng Henry the eyght, when his highnes dyd lastly (not many yeares before his death) conclude a league betwene the Emperour, þe French kyng and hym selfe, MarginaliaSte Gardiner Ambassadour. that the byshop of Winchester Steuen Gardiner by name, was sent in Ambassage beyonde the Seas, for that purpose. In whose absence the archbyshop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer, attendyng vppon the kynges court, sought occasion somewhat to further the reformation of the corrupt religiō, not yet fully restored vnto a perfectiō. For lyke as the sayd Archbyshop was alwayes diligente & forward to preferre and aduaunce the sincere doctrine of the Gospell: so was that other Byshop a contrary instrument, continually spurnyng agaynst the same, in what soeuer coast of the worlde he remayned. For euen now he beyng beyonde the Seas in the temporall affayers of þe realme forgat not but found the meanes, MarginaliaWinchester a great hinderer of the course of the Gospell. as a most vigilant Cham, pion of the Byshop of Rome, to stop and hinder, aswell the good diligence of the sayd Archbyshop, as the godly disposition of the kynges Maiestye in that behalfe, whiche thus chaunced.

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Whilest the sayd byshop of Winchester was now remayning beyond the Seas, about the affaires aforesaid, MarginaliaThe kinges conference with D. Cranmer about reformatiō of the Church. þe kings Maiestie and the said Archbyshop, hauyng conferēce together for the reformation of some superstitious enormities in the Church: MarginaliaRood loftes. amongst other thinges, the king determined forthwith to pull downe the Roodes in euery churche, MarginaliaRinging on Alhallow night. & to suppresse þe accustomed ringing on Alhallow night, with a few such lyke vayne ceremonies: And therefore, when the sayde Archb. takyng his leaue of the kyng, to go into Kent hys dioces, hs highnes willed hym to remember that he shoulde cause ij. letters to be deuised: for me (quoth the kyng) MarginaliaLetters of reformation to be sent by the kyng. to bee signed, the one to be directed vnto you my Lorde, and the other vnto the Archbyshop of Yorke, wherein I will commaunde you both to send forth your precepts vnto all other Byshops within your Prouinces, to see those enormities and Ceremonies reformed vndelaydly that wee haue communed of.

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So vpon this, the kinges pleasure knowen, when the Archbishop of Canterburye was then come into kent, he caused his Secretarye to conceiue and write these Letters according to the kinges minde, and being made in a readynes, sent them to the Court to Sir Anthony Deny, for him to get them signed by the kinge when Maister Deny had moued the king therunto: the kinge made aunswere: MarginaliaThe kinges minde altered by Wint. I am now other wayes resolued, for you shall send my Lord of Canterbury worde, that sithence I spake with him about these matters, I haue receyued letters from my Lord of Wynchester, now being on the other side of the Sea, about the conclusion of a league betwene vs, the Emperour and the french king, MarginaliaReformatiō of Religion stopped by Ste. Gardiner. and he wryteth playnly vnto vs, that the league will not prosper nor go forward, if we make any other innouation, chaunge or alteration, either in Religion or ceremonies, than hearetofore hath bene already commensed and done. Wherefore my Lorde of Canterburye must take patience herein, and forbeare vntyll we may espye a more apt and conuenient tyme for that purpose.

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MarginaliaAn. 1546. Which matter of reformation began to be reuiued againe, at what tyme the great Ambassadour from the Frēch king MarginaliaThis Ambassadour was Admirall of Fraunce whose name was Monsieur de Annebault, he came to Hampton Court the 20 day of Aug. an. 1546.
The matter of reformation agayne renued a litle before the kynges death
came to the kynges Maiestie at Hampton Court not long before his death. Where then no Gentleman was permitted to waite there vpon hys Lord and maister, without a veluet coat and a chayne of golde. And for that entertainement of the Ambassadour, were builded in the parke there three very notable great and sumptuous bancketing houses. At the which it was purposed, that the sayd Ambassadour should haue bene iij. sundry nights very richly bācketed. But as it chaunced, the French kynges great affaires were then sodenly such, that this Ambassadour was sent for home in post hast, before he had receiued halfe the noble entertainement that was prepared for hym, so that he had but the fruition of the first bancketyng house.

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MarginaliaThe kings bancket for the Frēch Ambassadour. Now what princelyke order was there vsed in the furniture of that bāket, as well in placing of the noble estates, namely the kynges Maiestie and the French Ambassadour with the noble men both of England and France on the one part, and of the Queenes highnes and the Ladye Anne of Cleaue wyth other noble women & Ladyes on the other part, as also touching the great and sumptuous preparatiō of both costly and fine dishes there out of number spent, it is not our purpose here presently to entreate thereof, MarginaliaSecrete communication betwene the king the French Ambassadour, and the Archb. of Cant. but onely to consider the note of the conference and communication had the first night after the sayd banket was finished, betwene the kynges Maiestie, the sayd Ambassadour, and the Archbyshop of Canterbury (the kynges highnes standing openly in the bancketyng house in the open face of all the people, and leaninge one arme vpon the shoulder of the Archbyshop of Canterbury, and the other arme vpon the shoulder of the Ambassadour) touching the establishing of godly religiō betwene those ij. princes in both their realmes: As by the report of the sayd ArchbiK. Edwardes visitation, then being register in the same visitation, relation was made on that behalfe in this sort.

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When the sayd visitation was put in a readynes, before the Commissioners should proceede in their vyage, MarginaliaThe testimonye and credite of the storye. the said Archbyshop sent for the sayd Register hys man vnto Hāpton Court, and willed hym in any wise to make notes of certayne thynges in the sayd visitatiō: whereof he gaue vnto hym instruction, hauing then further talke wyth him touchyng the good effect and successe of the sayd visitation. Vpon which occasion the Register MarginaliaThe name of this Register was M. Morice secretary sometymes to the Archb. Thomas Cranmer. sayd vnto his Maister the Archbyshop: I do remember that you not long agoe, caused me to conceiue and write letters, which kyng Henry the 8. should haue signed and directed vnto your grace, & the Archbyshop of Yorke, for the reformation of certayne enormities in the Churches, as taking downe of þe Roods, & forbidding of rynging on Alhallow night, & such lyke vaine ceremonies. Which letters your grace sent to the Court to be signed by the kynges Maiestie, but as yet I thinke that there was neuer any thing done therein.

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Why, quoth the Archbyshop agayne, neuer heard you how those letters were suppressed and stopped? Wherunto the Archbyshops seruaunt aunswering agayne: as it was (sayd he) my dutie to write those letters: so was it not my part to be inquisitiue what became therupon. Mary, quoth the Archbyshop, my Lord of Winchester then being beyond the Seas about a conclusion of a league betwene the Emperour, the French kyng, and the kyng our maister, and fearing that some reformatiō should here passe in the realme touchyng Religion in hys absence agaynst hys appetite, MarginaliaMarke the mischieuous fetches of this olde Foxe Winchester. wrote to the kynges Maiestie, bearing hym in hand, that the league then towardes, woulde not prosper nor go forwardes on his Maiesties behalfe, if he made any other innouation or alteration in Religion or ceremonies in the Church, then was already done: which his aduertisement herein caused the kyng to stay the signing of those letters, as Syr Anthony Deny wrote to me by the kynges commaundement.

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Then sayd his seruaunt agayne vnto hym: Forasmuch as the kynges good intent tooke no place then, now your grace may go forward in those matters, the oportunitie of the tyme much better seruing thereunto then in king Henryes dayes.

Not so, quoth the Archbyshop. It was better to attempt such reformations in king Henry the viij. his dayes, then at this tyme, the kyng beyng in his infancie. For if the kynges father had set forth any thyng for the reformation of abuses, who was he that durst agaynesay it? Mary, we are now in doubt how men will take the chaunge or alteration of abuses in the Church, and therfore the Counsaile hath forborne specially to speake thereof and of other thynges, which gladly they would haue reformed in this visitation, referryng all those & such lyke matters, vnto the discretions of the Visitours. But if king Henry the viij.

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