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1390 [1366]

King Edw. 6. The cruell burning of William Gardiner Martyr in Portugale.

of all, bringing him into the Vestry, MarginaliaThe right hand of W. Gardiner cut of in the vestrey. cut off his right hand, which he taking vp with his left hād, kissed. Then he was brought into the market place, MarginaliaThe left hand of W. Gardiner cut of in the Market place. wheras his other hand also was cut off: which he kneeling downe vpon the grounde,also kissed. These things thus done after the manner and fashion of Spaine, his armes being bound behinde him, & his feete vnder the horse bellye, hee was caried to the place of execution.

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The order and manner of the cruell handlinge of William Gardiner, an English Merchaunt, tormented and burned in Portugall, in the cause of God and of his truthe.
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It may have been an accepted patristic commonplace that the cause, not the punishment, makes the martyr, but it proved difficult (if not impossible) not to see a relationship between the two. Foxe's image of William Gardiner is among his most shocking. But the shock could not be seen as other than appropriate for the significance of the condemned's stand. His offence, that of trampling on the consecrated host and overturning the communion chalice, in no less a place than the Portuguese royal chapel, was to be seen as a heroic gesture in the noblest of causes: refusing to accept papal maintenance of the most egregious of all spiritual trespasses --- the idolatry of the host. The horror of this execution, the condemned man's hands having been cut off before the burning, and his body then suspended on a pulley enabling him to be raised and lowered in and out of the fire, prompted readers to make their own contribution by inserting words into the empty bandarole, such as 'Pitty, pitty', and 'I suffer for the Truth'. The substantial accuracy of Foxe's account of this event can be verified in Portuguese records, and it is clear that his informant was in Lisbon at the time and quite probably an eye-witness of the event. CUL copy: note that additional detail is provided; for example, the blood gushing from his wrists. He is wearing a purple-pink top and blue hose. WREN copy: the same details are provided in this copy also.

MarginaliaThe wretched cruelty of the Portugals in burning a Christian Martyr.There was in that place a certaine engine, frō the which a great rope comming downe by a pulley, was fastened about the middle of this Christian Martyr, which first pulled him vp. Then was there a great pile of woode sette on fire vnderneath him, into the which he was by little & little let downe, not with the whole body, but so, that his fete only felt the fire. Then he was hoised vp, and so let downe againe into the fire, and thus oftentimes pulled vppe and downe. In which great torment for al that, he continued wt a constant spirite: and the more terribly he burned, þe more vehemently he prayed.

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MarginaliaWilliam Gardiner at his burning willed agayne to repent.At the last, when his feete were consumed, the tormentors asked him whether hee did not yet repent hym of his deede, and exhorted him to call vppon oure Ladie and the Saintes. Wherunto he answered, that as he had done nothing whereof hee did repent him, so hee had the lesse neede of the helpe of our Lady or any other Sainte: and what externall torments so euer they vsed, the truthe (he sayde) remaineth alwaies one and like vnto it selfe: the which as he had before confessed in his life, so would he not nowe denie it in his death, desiring them to leaue of such vanities andfolie. MarginaliaW. Gardiner would not pray to our Lady, so long as he had Christ to be his aduocate.For when as Christ did cease any more to be our aduocate, then he would pray to our lady to be his aduocate, and sayd: O eternall God, father of all mercies, I beseeche thee looke downe vpon thy seruant. &c. And when as they sought by all meanes possible to stoppe his praying, and praising God iu this sorte, he cried out with a loude voyce, rehearsing the 43. Psalme: MarginaliaThe prayer of W. Gardiner out of the 43. Psalme.Iudica me Deus, & discerne causam meam, de gente non sancta. Iudge me O God, and defende my cause against the vnmercifull people.

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He was not come vnto the latter ending of the Psalme, when as they pulling him vp and downe in the fire for the more torment, the rope being burnt a sonder, he fel downe in the midst therof: wheras geuing his body for a sacrifice, hee chaunged his temporall paines for perpetuall rest and quietnesse.

Thus it seemed good in the sighte of God by this Messenger to prouoke the Portugales to þe sincere knowledge of him: and therfore they ought the more to haue acknowledged the great loue & kindnesse of God offred vnto them, and also the more to be mindefull of their owne duetie and thankefulnesse towardes him. And if it be so great an of-

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fence
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