moste manifest Heretike, and therefore hathe decreed, that he should be disagraded, and hath for the same cause really disgraded him from all prerogatiue and priuilege of the Clergie, decreing to leaue him vnto the seculer power, and hath really so left him according to the lawes and canonicall sanctiōs set fourth in this behalfe, & also that our holy mother the church hath no further to doo in the premisses. We therefore being zelous in Religion, & a reuerēt louer of the catholike faith, willing and mynding to maintaine and defend the holy church, and the lawes and liberties of the same, to roote all suche errors and heresies out of oure kyngdome of Englande, and with condigne punishement to correcte and punishe all Heretikes or such as be conuicte, prouided always, that bothe according to the lawe of God and man, and the Canonicall institutions in this behalf accustomed, that suche Heretikes conuicte and condemned in forme aforesaid, ought to be burned with fyre. We cōmaunde you as streghtly as we may or can, firmely enioyning you, that you do cause the said William being in your custodie, in some publique or opē place within the liberties of your Citie aforesayde, (the cause aforesaide being published vnto the people) to be put into the fyer, and there in the same fyer really to be burned, to the great horrour of this offence and the manifest example of other Christians. Fayle not in the executiō hereof vpon the perill that will fall therupon.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaAdmonitiō to PrincesThus it may appeare howe kynges & Princes haue bene blynded & abused by þe false Prelates of the churche, in so much that they haue bene their slaues and butchers, to slay Christes poore innocent members. See therfore what daunger it is for Princes not to haue knoweledge and vnderstanding them selues, but to be led by other mens eyes, and specially trusting to suche guydes, who through hypocrisie both deceiue thē, and through crueltie deuoure the people.[Back to Top]
Let vs proceade farther to other that folowe.
In the Commentarii (fos. 60v-61r), Foxe wrote that he had read an account in a 'vetustae historiae' [old history] of an elderly priest burned in Smithfield in 1401. (The 'vetustae historiae' was, in fact, College of Arms MS Arundel 7, a version of Thomas of Walsingham's Chronica Majora). Foxe speculated that this elderly priest was William Swinderby and reprinted the reference to the 'vetustae historiae' and his opinion that it referred to Swinderby in the Rerum (pp. 59-60) and in all of the editions of the Acts and Monuments. But in the 1570 edition, Foxe added a great deal more material about Swinderby. His account of Swinderby's trial and abjuration in Lincoln is taken from the Fasciculi Zizianniorum. The remaining material, concerning Swinderby's 1391 appearances before Bishop John Trefnant of Hereford come from Bishop Trefnant's register. Comments by Foxe indicate that he consulted the actual register and made a copy from it, and furthermore, that he had borrowed the register and had to return it. It seems likely that Bishop John Scory of Hereford, who had been bishop of Chichester under Edward VI, and who went into exile under Mary, procured the register for Foxe. The 1570 account of Swinderby was reprinted faithfully, without change, in all subsequent unabridged editions of the Acts and Monuments. Foxe concluded his account with his persistently held, but erroneous belief that Swinderby was executed. In fact, Swinderby was condemned by Trefnant in 1391, escaped from custody, appealed to Richard II, and by March 1392 was being sought in Wales. He eluded his pursuers and later researchers, and vanished from the historical record.[Back to Top]
Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield
Marginalia1401.THe yeare of our Lorde M.iiii.C. and one being complete, and the xiii. yeare after the death of Wicklieffe, kyng Henry the fourth then raigning ouer Englande: when as kinge Richarde was put down from his really seate, and being in the Towre was disceased. There was a parliament holden at London, in the which it was decreed that who soeuer shewed them selues to be fauourers of Wicklieffe, they should be apprehended, who at that tyme were called Lollardes, and if so be thei did obstinatly perseuer in that doctrine, they should be deliuered ouer vnto the byshopof the Dioces, and from him shoulde bee committed to the correction of the seculer magistrate, this lawe brought a certaine priest vnto punishement the same yeare, who was burned in Smithfield, in the presence of a great nomber, this we haue drawen out of a piece of an olde storie, and it is moste certayne that this man was burned for the affirmation of the true faith, so that it doth not appeare by the storie, what this priestes name was, notwithstanding by diuers coniectures it appeareth vnto me, that his name was Swinderbye, who as we haue before saide was forced to recant by the byshop of Lyncolne, but whether he retourned to his first song again, let other me iudge, I haue declared what I thinke therein.[Back to Top]
AFter all these followed Henry Crompe a Monke, whiche at the first was a great persecutor of Wicklieffe, Rychard Whyte, and Reignold Pecocke, byshop firste of S. Asse and afterward of Chichester, of whō we wil speake hereafter more at large.
William Thorpe's account of his informal examination by Archbishop Thomas Arundel, on 7 August 1407, is one of the very few accounts by a Lollard of their persecution. As such it was of considerable interest to evangelicals anxious to demonstrate that there were 'true' Christians before Luther. Thorpe's account appeared in print, from the Antwerp press of Hans Luft around 1530. It was probably edited by William Tyndale, George Constantine or both. This version of Thorpe's examination formed the core of Foxe's account of Thorpe.[Back to Top]
In the Commentarii, Foxe printed an abridged version of the 1530 version of Thorpe's examination (fos. 116r- 156v). This abridged version was copied from Bale's translation written in Bodley Library MS e Musaeo 86, fos. 108v-110v). The Commentarii account was reprinted almost exactly in the Rerum (pp. 79-96). In the 1563 edition, Foxe had obtained a copy of the 1530 version of Thorpe's examinations. Foxe stated that he was printing Thorpe's examination as it had been printed by William Tyndale. Foxe then reprinted The examinacion of Naster William Thorpe, ed William Tyndale? or George Constantine?, (Antwerp, 1530?), STC 24045, in its entirety. In the 1570 edition, Foxe declared that he would rather have printed an original version of Thorpe's examinations, but all he could obtain was Tyndale's version. Foxe also stated that David Whitehead, a prominent Protestant preacher, had seen a copy of an MS copy of the work in George Constantine's hands before it was printed. Apart from these changes, the account of Thorpe in the 1570 edition repeated that in the 1563 edition. The 1570 account of Thorpe was reprinted, without alteration, in subsequent editions.[Back to Top]
Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield
NExt hereafter commeth to hand the worthy Historie of Maister William Thorpe, a valiaunt warrier vnder the triumphant banner of Christ. In whose examination, thou shalt haue (good Reader) both to learne and to maruel. To learne thou shalt heare truthe discoursed and discussed, with the contrary reasons of the aduersary dissolued. To maruel, thou shalt behold here in this mā, the maruelous force & strength of the Lordes might, spirit and grace, working and figthing in his Souldiers, and also speaking in their mouthes, according to þe worde of his promise, Luk. xxi. MarginaliaThis history first seet forth & corrected by M. Williā Tindall.To the text of the story we haue neither added nor diminished: But as we haue receiued it copied out and corrected, by Maister William Tindall (who had his owne hande writing) so we haue here sent it and set it out abroade. The english though the saide Maister Tindall did somwhat amend, and frame it after our maner: yet not fully in all wordes, but that some thing dooth remaine, sauering the old speache of that time. What þe causes were, why this good man and seruaunt of Christe, did write it and pen it out him selfe, it is sufficiently declared in his owne preface, set before his boke. Which here is prefixed in manner as foloweth.[Back to Top]