Heuster was passing by St Mary's church in Oxford in 1536 during John Mallory's penance. He saw a chimney on fire and cried out, causing a panic inside the church. 1563, p. 621; 1570, p. 1382; 1576, p. 1179; 1583, p. 1208.
(1499/1500 - 1563) [ODNB; Foster]
Theologian; BA Oxford 1527; MA 1530; BTh 1533; DTh 1536; regius professor of divinity (1535 - 48, 1554 - 56, 1559 - 60); in exile under Edward VI and under Elizabeth; vice-chancellor of the university of Douai in Brabant; died there
Richard Smyth was one of the subscribers to the Bishops' Book. 1570, p. 1212; 1576, p. 1037; 1583, p. 1064.
Richard Smyth preached a sermon when John Mallory came into St Mary's church in Oxford to do his penance. During the sermon, cries of 'fire' produced panic in the congregation. 1563, p. 621; 1570, p. 1382; 1576, p. 1179; 1583, p. 1208.
In 1539 Richard Smyth and George Cotes ran the divinity schools at Oxford. 1563, p. 574.
Smyth witnessed Anne Askew's confession in 1545. 1563, p. 673; 1570, p. 1416; 1576, p. 1207; 1583, p. 1237.
The Lord Protector noted that Stephen Gardiner had not criticised Smyth's book. 1563, p. 735; 1583, p. 1344.
Doctors Smyth, Chedsey, Standish, Young and Oglethorpe recanted their earlier conservative positions in the last year of the reign of King Edward VI. 1570, p. 1522; 1576, p. 1323; 1583, p. 1373.
In a later letter to the Lord Protector, Gardiner criticised Smyth's recantation. 1563, p. 739; 1583, p. 1347.
ther recantation likewise happening not long before, in þe sayd Vniuersity, MarginaliaThe recantation of M. Malary Graduate of Cambridge, who recanted at Oxforde. which I thought here not to ouerpasse, and namely for that the same caryeth withall, a mery rydiculous spectacle, not vnworthy to be remembred, & here to be inserted, somewhat to recreate & refreshe by the way the wery mind of the reader, after so many bloudy and lamentable storyes, executions, recantatiōs, and tragedyes aboue passed. The story is this.[Back to Top]
The name of the person doing penance was added in the 1570 edition. Foxe's source was quite accurate: John Mallory had proceeded to take his MA degree at Christ's College in 1527 (Venn).
St Mary's was the University church at Oxford. In 1563, Foxe's wording for this passage is significant: 'upon a Sunday as I remember'. This is an indication that Foxe was present at the event.
Richard Smith was appointed the first Regius Professor of Divinity in October 1536.
All thinges thus being prepared and set in a readines, commeth forth poore Mallary with his fagotte vpon hys shoulder. Not long after also procedeth the doctor into the pulpite to make his Sermon: the purpose and argument wherof was wholy vpon the Sacramēt. MarginaliaThe Sacramēt of the aultar brought into the Pulpit.The which Doctor for the more confirmation and credite to his wordes, had prouided the holy catholick cake, and the Sacrament of the aulter, there to hang by a string before him in þe pulpit. Thus the Doctor with his God almighty
I.e., the wafer. This derisive phrase was added in the 1570 edition.
The name of the person who started calling 'fire' was added in the 1570 edition.
This sound of fire being heard into the Church, fyrst of them which stoode outtermost next to the Church doore so encreased and went from one to an other, that at length it came vnto the eares of the Doctors, & at last to the preacher himselfe. MarginaliaA maze among D. Smithes audiēce in OxfordWho as soone as they heard the matter, being amazed with soddeine feare, and maruelling what the matter should meane, beganne to look vp into the toppe of the Church, and to behold the walles. The residuc seeyng them look vp, looked vp also. Then began they in the middest of the audience to crye out with a loud voyce, fire, fire. Where sayth one? where sayth on other? In the Churche, sayth one. The mention of the Church was scarsely pronoūced, when as in one moment there was a common cry amongest thē, the Church is on fire, the Church is sette on fire by heretickes. &c. MarginaliaS. Maryes Church in Oxford falsly supposed to be set on fire by heretickes. And albeit no man did see any fire at all, yet forsomuch as al mē cried out so, euery man thought it true that they heard. Then was there such feare, cōcourse and tumult of people, through the whole church, that it cā not be declared in wordes, as it was in deed.[Back to Top]
And as in a great fire (where fire is indeed) we see many times how one litle sparke geueth matter of a mighty flame, setting whole stackes and piles on burning, so here vpon a small occasion of one mans worde, kindled first a general cry, then a strong opinion running in euery mans head within the Church, thinking the Church to be on fire, where no fire was at all. MarginaliaDeluders deluded.Thus it pleased almightye God to delude these deluders, that is, that these great Doctors and wise men of the Scholes, which thinke themselues so wise in Gods matters as though they coulde not erre, MarginaliaWe see great Clarkes how they are deceaued oft times in small trifles.should see by theyr own senses and iudgements, how blind and infatuated they were in these so small matters & sensible trifles.[Back to Top]
Thus this strong imaginatiō of fire being fixed in their heades, as nothing could remoue them to thinke contrary bnt that the Church was on fire: so euery thing that they saw or heard, encreased this suspition in them, to make it seme most true, which was in deede most false. MarginaliaWhat strong imagination can do in deluding mans senses. The first & chiefest occasion that augmēted this suspition, was the hereticke there bearing his fagot, which gaue them to ima-gine, that all other heretickes, had conspired with him, to set the Church on fire.[Back to Top]
After this, through the rage of the people & running too and fro, the dust was so raysed, that it shewed as it hadde bene the smoke of fire. Which thing together with the outcry of the people, made all men so afrayd, that leauing the Sermon, they began altogether to runne away. But such was the preasse of the multitude running in heapes together, that the more they laboured, the lesse they could gette out. For whilest they ranne all headlong vnto the doores euery man striuing to get out first, the thrust one an other in such sort, and stucke so fast, that they which were without, neither could get into the Church, agayn, neither they that were within could get out by any meanes. So the one dore being stopped, the ran to an other litle wicket on the North side, towardes the Colledge called Brason nose, thinking so to passe out. But there agayne was the like or greater throng. So the peole clustring & thronging together, MarginaliaMuch hurte done in the thronge, whereof some dyed some yet are aliue whose mothers armes were there brokēit put many in daunger and broughte many vnto theyr end, by brusing of their bones or sides. There was yet an other dore towardes the West, which albeit it was shut and seldom opened: yet now ranne they to it with such sway, that the great barre of iron (which is incredible to be spoken) being pulled out and broken by force of mens handes, the dore notwithstanding could not be opened, for the preasse or multitude of people.[Back to Top]
At the last, when they were there also past all hope to get out, then they were all excedingly amazed and ran vp and downe, crying out vpon the heretickes which had cōspired theyr death. The more they ranne about & cried out the more smoke & dust rose in the Church, euen as though all thinges now had bene on a flaming fire. I thinke there was neuer such a tumultuous hurly burly rising so of nothing heard of before, nor so great a feare where was no cause to feare, nor peril at all: so þt if Democritus the mery philosopher MarginaliaDemocritus was a Philosopher which vsed to laugh at all thinges: as Heraclitus vsed to weepe at all thinges. sitting in þe top of the church, & seing al things in such safety as they were, hadde looked downe vpon the multitude, and beholden so great a number some howling and weeping, running vppe and downe, and playing the madde men, now hither, now thither, as beyng tossed too and fro with waues or tempestes, trembling and quaking raging and faring, without any manifest cause, specially if he had sene those great Rabbines the Doctors laden with so many badges or cognisaunces of wisedome, so foolishly and ridiculously seeking holes and corners to hide themselues in, gasping, breathing, and sweating, and for very horror, being almost beside themselues, I thinke he would haue satisfied himself with this one laughter, for all his life time, or elles rather woulde haue laughed his hart out of his belly, whilest one sayd that he playnely heard he noice of the fire, an other affirmed that he sawe it with his eyes, and an other sware that he felt the moten leade dropping downe vpon his head and shoulders. Such is the force of imagination, when it is once graffed in mennes hartes through feare. In all the whole company there was none that behaued himselfe more modestly then the Hereticke that was there to do penaunce, who casting his Fagot of frō his shoulders vpon a Monkes head that stood by, MarginaliaSome say that the Monks head was broken with the fagotte. kept himselfe quiet, minding to take such part as the other did.[Back to Top]
All the other being careful for themselues, neuer made an end of running vp and downe & crying out. None cried not more earestly then the Doctor that preached (who was as I sayd, D. Smith) who in a maner first of all cryed out in the pulpit, saying: These are the traines and subtleties of the heretickes agaynst me. Lord haue mercy vpō me: Lord haue mercy vpon me. But might not God, as it had bene (to speake with Iob MarginaliaIob. 40.) out of a whyrlewinde
See Job 40: 6.
MarginaliaA iust expostulation against these burners of gods people.Or if you thinke it but a light or trifling matter in thē go to now, do you also with like courage, cōtemne, & with like patience suffer now the same tormentes your selues. And if so be it I shoulde nowe suffer you with the whole Church to be burned to ashes, what other thing shoulde I do vnto you, then you do dayly vnto your felowes and brethren? Wherefore since you so litle esteme the death of others, be now content that other men shoulde also litle regard the death of you. With this (I say) or with some other like aunswere, if that either God, or humane charity, either the common sense of nature would expostulate with them, yea if there had bene a fire indeed (as they were more[Back to Top]