moneth December, the yeare aforesaide, in the house of the honorable Syr Thomas Moore, hyghe chauncelour of Englande, in the parish of Chelsey, there beynge present the foresayde Sir Thomas Moore, Rychard Foxfard, doctour of bothe lawes, Nicolas Wylson Batchler of Diuinitie, George Broune, batcheler of Diuinitie, Priour of the couent of the order of saint Augustine in the vniuersitie, Sãpson Michael doctour of decrees, Iohn Iude, Walter Marsh, and Sebastian Hyllarie, learned men, and maister Roper and Dauncie, gentlemen, and also Richarde Gresham and Edwarde Altam, shryues of the citie of London, and me Mathewe Grefton register of the acts, the shryues receiued the forsayde Tewkesbery into their custody, and caried hym away with them, and afterwardes burned hym in Smith fielde as is aforesayde, hauing no wrytte of the kynges for their warrant.
According to English law, a heretic could only be burned after Chancery sent a writ authorizing the execution. Foxe claims that this did not happen in this case and, as a matter of fact, there is no surviving copy of the signification of excommunication for Tewkesbury. This is hardly conclusive. If, however, the dates Foxe gives for Tewkesbury's trial and execution are correct, then the authorities were certainly in a hurry to execute Tewkesbury; he was burned four days after he was condemned.[Back to Top]
Foxe printed this account of John Randall in the Rerum (p. 121). The account printed in 1563 is a direct translation of the account in the Rerum, except for two changes: in the earlier account Randall died in 1526, not 1531, and he attended Trinity College, not Christ's College. (Trinity was not founded until 1546). Nicholas Harpsfield incisively questioned the details of Foxe's story, asking how a murderer could have killed Randall, place him in a noose, and then leave the room, with the door bolted from the inside? (Dialogi sex, pp. 747-48). After these criticisms, Foxe dropped his account of Randall's 'murder' from all subsequent editions.[Back to Top]
Foxe's wife was Agnes Randall; John Randall was presumably his relation through marriage. Agnes Randall was very probably Foxe's source for this story.
Foxe has a terse report in the Rerum of an old man of Buckingham- shire being executed in 1531 for eating pork during Lent (Rerum, p. 126). Foxe's source for this episode is unknown; Bale does not mention this old man in any of his works. Perhaps Laurence Humphrey, who was Foxe's friend, a native of Buckinghamshire, and who was with Foxe in Basel, was the source for this story. In any case, the Rerum account was translated word-for-word in the 1563 edition. The story was dropped from all subsequent editions, possibly because Foxe grew unsure of this individual's existence or at least of his ability to prove it.[Back to Top]
I Haue founde in a certaine place mentiõ to be made of a certaine olde man, which for eatyng of Bacon in the Lent (dwelling in the countie of Buckingham) was condempned to the fyre and burned, in this yeare of our Lorde 1531. As touchinge his name & other circumstances whiche perteine vnto the true setting fourth of the histories, we cannot fynde or vnderstande any more. Notwithstandyng I haue thought good, not to passe ouer this matter with silence, for the memoriall of the mã hymselfe, albeit I know not his name.[Back to Top]
It appears that Foxe's account of Edward Freeze and 'father' Bate is based on material sent to Foxe by an informant; very probably an informant in Colchester (this account contains quite a bit of detail on people from Essex and Colchester). But there is quite a bit of corroboration for Foxe's account. First of all, A. G. Dickens uncovered information on Edward Freese's family. Edward's father Frederick was a Dutch immigrant (the family name was probably Vries or de Vries), who settled in York and made a living as a bookbinder and stationer (A. G. Dickens, Lollards and Protestants in the diocese of York 1509-1558 [Oxford, 1959], p. 30). This Dutch background may explain the pronounced evangelical convictions of Valentine and Edward Freese. Another major piece of corroboration is a letter, almost certainly sent to Thomas Cromwell, which is now in the TNA. Although the signature has been cut off of the letter, the biographical details related in it fit Edward Freese so closely that is virtually certain that he wrote it. The author of the letter, detained in London for religious offences, admits that he had been a monk since the age of 13, but claims that he was 'sold' by his master to the abbot of Jervaulx (see next comment). The author of the letter declared that he attempted to flee the abbey several times but was recaptured. Finally he fled to Colchester and he got married (TNA SP 1/73, fos. 175r-176r).[Back to Top]
A. G. Dickens guessed that 'Bearsie Abbey' was Bermondsey (A.G. Dickens, Lollards and Protestants in the diocese of York 1509-1558 [Oxford, 1959], p, 30). But a letter, almost certainly by Edward Freese, refers to himself as having been 'sold' to Jervaulx Abbey by his master, when he was an apprentice. And on 30 July 1532, the abbot of Jervaulx wrote to Cromwell, regarding an 'Edw. Payntter' (remember that Freese was a painter) who had been arrested for heresy and was in the custody of London. In this letter, the abbot said that 'Edw. Payntter' had fled the abbey of Jervaulx but that Jervaulx did not him returned (L&P V, p. 527).[Back to Top]
It appears that Foxe's account of Edward Freeze and 'father' Bate is based on material sent to Foxe by an informant; very probably an informant in Colchester (this account contains quite a bit of detail on people from Essex and Colchester). But there is quite a bit of corroboration for Foxe's account.[Back to Top]
Unsurprisingly, there was probably more behind Freese's arrest than this. In a letter that he sent to Cromwell, he admitted having previously arrested for heresy, but released upon receipt of a royal pardon. Freese also denied the charge the he had led conventicles that met secretly at night (TNA SP 1/73, fo. 175r-v).[Back to Top]
Manchet was the finest kind of wheat bread [OED].