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Amersham, Buckinghamshire
NGR: SU 955 975

Borough and parish in the Hundred of Burnham, Buckinghamshire. 26.75 miles west-north-west of London. A rectory in the archdeaconry of Buckingham, diocese of Lincoln.

Lewis, Samuel,A Topographical Dictionary of England (S. Lewis & Co: London, 1831

 
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Great Missenden

Buckinghamshire

OS grid ref: SP 895 015

 
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Henley upon Thames

Oxfordshire

OS grid ref: SU 765 825

 
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Newbury
NGR: SU 474 675

A parish and town, having separate jurisdiction, although locally in the hundred of Faircross, county of Berkshire. 17 miles west by south from Reading, 56 miles west by south from London. The living is a rectory in the Archdeaconry of Berkshire, Diocese of Salisbury.

English information from Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of England (S. Lewis & Co: London, 1831)

Welsh information taken from Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales(Lewis & Co: London, 1840)

The reason for the use of these works of reference is that they present the jurisdictional and ecclesiastical position as it was before the major Victorian changes. The descriptions therefore approximate to those applying in the sixteenth century, after the major changes of 1535-42. Except for the physical locations, which have not changed, the reader should not therefore take these references as being accurate in the twenty-first century.

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Repton

[Repindon; Repyngdon]

Derbyshire

OS grid ref: SK 305 265

 
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Uxbridge
NGR: TQ 053 836

A chapelry in the parish of Hillingdon, hundred of Elthorne, county of Middlesex. 15 miles west by north from London. The living is a perpetual curacy in the Archdeaconry of Middlesex and Diocese of London.

English information from Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of England (S. Lewis & Co: London, 1831)

Welsh information taken from Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales(Lewis & Co: London, 1840)

The reason for the use of these works of reference is that they present the jurisdictional and ecclesiastical position as it was before the major Victorian changes. The descriptions therefore approximate to those applying in the sixteenth century, after the major changes of 1535-42. Except for the physical locations, which have not changed, the reader should not therefore take these references as being accurate in the twenty-first century.

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Westminster

London

OS grid ref: TQ 301 794

843 [819]

K. Henry. 8. William Sweting, Iames Brewster martirs. The burning of Christopher Shomaker.

Henry Hert 

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This might be the same Henry Hart who was a leader of the 'Freewillers' in the 1550s. This point is discussed in Patrick Collinson, 'Nightschools, conventicles and churches: continuities and discontinuities in early Protestant ecclesiology' in The Beginnings of English Protestantism, ed. Peter Marshall and Alec Ryrie (Cambridge, 2002), p. 227, n.81.

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Carpenter, of Westminster, and wrought with him in his science at Westminster.

Item for hauing a certaine litle booke of Scripture in English, of an old writing, almost worne for age, whose name is not there expressed.

Item, because he hearing vppon a time, one mayster Bardfield 

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John Bardfield was elected as one of the two bailiffs of Colchester (the highest municipal office in the city) in 1505. (See Andrew Hope, 'The lady and the bailiff: Lollardy among the gentry in Yorkist and Tudor England' in Lollardy and the gentry in the later Middle Ages, ed. Margaret Aston and Colin Richmond [Stroud, 1997], pp. 261-64).

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of Colchester thus say, that he will not worship the Maozim 
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Maozim, or 'the god of fortresses' appears in Daniel 11:38. The term is being used here to designate an idol.

in hart and thought, shall dye in sight, he asked afterwarde of William Man, what that worde Maozim should meane: MarginaliaMaozim in the 11. chap. of Daniel is an Idole, & signifieth as muche as fortes or munitions. who told him that it signified as muche as the masing God, to wit the sacrament of the altar.

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Itē, that he had much conference, with Henry Hert 

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This might be the same Henry Hart who was a leader of the 'Freewillers' in the 1550s. This point is discussed in Patrick Collinson, 'Nightschools, conventicles and churches: continuities and discontinuities in early Protestant ecclesiology' in The Beginnings of English Protestantism, ed. Peter Marshall and Alec Ryrie (Cambridge, 2002), p. 227, n.81.

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a gainst blations & Images, & that it was better bestowed money which was geuen to the poore, then that that was offered in pilgrimage.

Item, for that he had communication and conference wt Roger Heliar and one Walker a Thicker of S. Clements concerning diuers such matters of Pilgrimage, offering to Images, worshipping of Sainctes, and the sacrament of the altar. MarginaliaA perilous heresie.

MarginaliaEx Regist. Lond.Item, when Thomas Goodred, William Sweting, and he in the fieldes keeping beastes, were talking together of the sacramente of the Lordes bodye, and like matters, this Iames Brewster shoulde thus say: Nowe the sonne of the liuing God helpe vs. Vnto whome William Sweting agayne shoulde aunswere, Nowe almightye God so doe.

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And thus haue you the causes likewise and crymes layd against Iames Brewster, vpon which he with William Sweting was together examined and condemned. Then being asked, as the Romishe maner is, whether he had any cause why he shuld not be adiudged for relapse, he trusting to finde fauoure and grace in submitting himselfe, sayd, that he submitted him to the mercy of almighty God, and to the fauourable goodnes of him his iudge. And likewise did William Swetinge submit himselfe, trusting belike that they should finde some fauour and reliefe in thys humble subiecting themselues vnto their goodnes.

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MarginaliaThe vnmercifull, and vnchristian dealing of the catholique Papists.But note here the vnmerciful and vnchristian dealing of these Catholique fathers, who vppon their submission were contented to geue out a solemne commission, the tenor whereof was to release and pardon them from the sentence of the excommunication, whereinto they had incurred: But immediately after vpon the same, the Byshop all this notwithstanding, pronounced vpon them the sentence of death and condemnation. MarginaliaWilliam Sweeting & Iames Brewster, burnt in Smithfield.Whereupon they were both deliuered to the secular power, and both together brent in Smithfield at one fire, the 18. day of October. an. 1511. 

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The signification of the excommunication of Sweeting and Brewster, and their transfer to the secular authorities for execution, is dated 14 September 1511 (TNA C/85/126/19).

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¶ Christopher Shoomaker Martyr.

MarginaliaChristoph. Shomaker burnt in Newbery mariirTO these blessed saintes before past, 

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Persecution in diocese of Lincoln

Of all the sections of Foxe's book, this account of the persecution of the Lollards in the Chilterns, may be the most valuable to students of late medieval English religion. One reason for its value is that is based on court books from the diocese of Lincoln that are now missing. However, there is some corroboration for Foxe's account of these persecutions. In the seventeenth century, Archbishop James Ussher copied twelve lines into one of his notebooks '"Ex libro Detectionum Confessionum et Abjurationum haeretic" coram Johanne Lincolnensi episcopo an. 1521 (In Bibliotheca Lambetha)' (Trinity College, Dublin, MS 775. fos. 128v-129r). Furthermore, the signification to Chancery survives of the excommunication of four heretics - named by Foxe - who were burned in Longland's persecution. Foxe did not invent the persecution and he is probably accurate in his description of the scope of the persecution and the people affected by it. But the extent to which he rewrote the beliefs of those accused of heresy, or omitted material he felt was damaging, will never be known.

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The second reason for the value of these records lies in the systematic manner in which Bishop John Longland investigated heresy in his diocese. The bishop began his inquiries by questioning those who had previously abjured and were thus vulnerable to being charged as relapsed heretics. Moreover, once they had abjured again, they were required to inform on other heretics, to demonstrate their sincerity. By this means, one heretic incriminated several others, each of whom incriminated others and ultimately Longland detected about 50 heretics. Four of these people were burned and the rest were obliged to do penance.

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Longland's persecution not only confirms that Lollardy was entrenched in the chilterns, it also demonstrates that in towns, such as Amersham, were almost completely controlled by them and that the local elites were disproportionately Lollard in sympathy. (For discussion of this see Derek Plumb, 'John Foxe and the Later Lollards of the Thames Valley' [Cambridge PhD, 1987], pp. 274-76 and Andrew Hope, 'Lollardy: the stone the builders rejected?' in Protestantism and the National Church in Sixteenth Century England, ed., Peter Lake and Maria Dowling (Beckenham, Kent, 1998], pp. 3-4 and 9-10). On occasion, the Lollard minorities were even able to intimidate the orthodox Catholics in the region. All of this was, of course, manna from heaven to Foxe, who used this material to show that there was a 'True Church' in England.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

we will also adioyne Christopher Shoomaker: of whom this I finde briefly in the Register of syr Iohn Longland: 
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If Smith was burned in in 1518, then he was prosecuted while Bishop William Atwater held the see of Lincoln. Foxe probably obtained his knowledge of this case from the testimony of John Say.

and that the sayde Christopher Shoomaker, a parishioner of great Missendē came to the house of one Iohn Say, and after other matters of talke, reade to him out of a little booke, the woordes which Christ spake to his disciples. And thus comming to his house about foure times: at euery time read something out of the same booke vnto him: teaching him not to be deceiued in the priestes celebration at Masse, and declaring that it was not the same very present body of Christ as the priestes did phantasie: but in substance breade, bearing the remembraunce of Christ. And taught him moreouer, that the Pilgrimage, worshipping and setting vp candles to saintes were all vnprofitable. And thus the sayde Ioh. Say beyng taught by this Christopher, and also confirmed by Iohn Okendē, and Robert pope, was brought to the knowledge of the same doctrine. Thus much briefly I find in that Register concerning Christopher Shooemaker, declaring fruther that he was burned at Newbery about this time, which was an. 1518. And thus much out of the Registers of London. 
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This is an error (probably typographical): this information came the Lincoln court book, not London.

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IN turning ouer the Registers and Recordes of Lincoln likewise, and comming to the yere of our Lord. 1520. and 1521. I finde that as the light of the Gospell began more to appeare, and the number of the professors to growe, so the vehemencie of persecution, and stirre of the bishops began also to encrease. Wherupon ensued great perturbatiō & greeuous affliction in diuers & sondry quarters of thys realm, especially about Buckingham shyre, and Amershā, Vxbrige, Henley, Newbery, in the dioces of London, in Essex, Colchester, Suffolke and Northfolke, and other partes moe. And this was before the name of Luther was heard of in these countryes among the people. Wher-for they are much begyled and misse informed, whiche condemne this kinde of doctrine now receaued, of noueltie, asking where was this churche and religion xl. yeres agoe, before Luthers time? 

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Once again, Foxe is using the records of Lollard trials to show that there was a 'True Church' before Luther.

MarginaliaThe antiquitie of the true doctrine of the Gospell.To whome it may be aunswered, that this Religion and forme of doctrine was planted by the Apostles, and taught by true Byshops, afterward decayd, and nowe reformed againe, although it was not receiued nor admitted to the Popes Clergye before Luthers time, neyther yet is, yet it was receiued of other, in whose heartes it pleased the Lorde secretly to worke, and that of a great number, whiche both professed and suffered for the same, as in the former times of this history may appeare. And if they thinke this doctrine be so newe, that it was not heard of before Luthers time how thē came such great persecution before Luthers time here in Englande? If these were of the same profession, whiche they were of, thē was their crueltie vnreasonable, so to persecute theyr
The burning of Christopher Shoomaker.
MarginaliaThe death of Christopher Shomaker.
Anno. 1518.

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The burning of Christopher Shoomaker.
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Shoemaker was of the parish of Great Missenden. He would read passages of a doctrinal text to one John Say in the parish, urging him to renounce his belief in Catholic doctrine. Shoemaker was burned at Newbury in 1518.

owne Catholicke fraternitie. And if they were otherwise how then is this doctrine of the Gospell so new, or the professors thereof so late start vp, as they pretend them to be? But this commeth onely of ignoraunce, MarginaliaIgnoraunce of antiquite. & for not knowing nor considering well the times & antiquities of the church which hath bene before vs. Which if they did, they shold see and say, that the church of England hath not lacked great multitudes, which tasted & folowed the sweetnes of Gods holy worde, almost in as ample maner, for the number of well disposed hartes as now. Although publique authoritie then lacked to maytayne the open preaching of the gospel, yet þe secret multitude of true professours, was not much vnequall: MarginaliaElder times of the Gospell with these latter times compared.certes the feruent zeale of those Christian dayes seemed much superior to these our dayes and times: as manifestly may appeare by their sitting vp all night in reading and hearing, also by their expenses and charges in buying of bookes in Englishe: of whome some gaue fiue markes, 

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Foxe is interested in demonstrating the zeal of the Lollards in acquiring godly literature, but this is also an indication of the affluence of many of these Lollards. On the importance of books to the Lollards see Margaret Aston, 'Lollardy and Literacy' in Lollards and Reformers: Images and and literacy in late medieval England (London, 1984), pp. 1-47.

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some more, some lesse for a booke. Some gaue a lode of hay for a few chapters of S. Iames or of S. Paule in English. In whiche raritie of bookes, and want of teachers this one thing I greatly maruel and muse at, to note in the Registers & to consider howe the worde of trueth notwithstanding did multiply so exceedingly as it dyd amongest them. Wherein is to be seene no doubt þe meruellous working of Gods mighty power. For so I finde and obserue in considering the Registers, howe one neighbour resorting and conferring with an other, eftsoones with a few wordes of the first or second talke, did win and turne their mindes to that wherein they desired to perswade them, touching the trueth of Gods worde and hys sacramentes. MarginaliaThe earnest zeale of our forfathers in following Christs Gospell.To see their trauailes, theyr earnest seeking their burning zeales, their readinges, their watchinges, their sweete assemblies, theyr loue and concord, their godly liuing, their faythfull meaning with the faythfull, may make vs now in these our dayes of free profession to blush for shame.

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Foure
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