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1170 [1170]

K. Henry. 8. Parlament an. 20. Reg. Hen. 8. Greuances agaynst the clergiemec.
¶ Greuances agaynst the Clergie of England.

MarginaliaExcessiue fines for probates of testamēts.1 THe first for the excessiue fines, which the Ordinaries tooke for probate of Testamentes, in so much that Syr Henry Guildford, knight of the Garter, and Comptrollour of the kinges house, declared in the open Parliament, of his fidelitie, that he and other beyng executours to Syr William Compton knight, MarginaliaA thousand Markes for the probate of one testament.payed for the probate of his will, to the Cardinall & the Archbishop of Canterbury, a thousand Marke sterlyng. After this declaration, were shewed so many extortions done by Ordinaries for probates of willes, that it were to much to rehearse.

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MarginaliaThe vnreasonable exaction of the clergie for Mortuaries.2 The second cause was, the great polyng and extreme exaction, which the spirituall men vsed, in takyng of corps presentes or Mortuaries: for the children of the dead should all dye for hunger and go a beggyng, rather then they would of charitie geue to them the sely kow whiche the dead man ought, if he had but onely one: such was the charitie of them.

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MarginaliaFermes & Granges in priestes handes.3 The thyrd cause was, that Priestes beyng Surueyers, Stuardes, and officers to Bishops, Abbots, and other spirituall heades, had and occupyed Fermes, Graunges, and grasing in euery countrey, so that the poore husbandmen could haue nothyng but of thē, and yet for that they should pay dearely.

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MarginaliaMonkes and priestes marchauntes.4 The fourth cause was, that Abbotes, Priors and spirituall men kept Tannehouses, and bought and sold woll, clothe, and all maner of marchaundise, as other temporall marchauntes dyd.

MarginaliaBeneficed men take of their flocke, but geue nothing.5 The fift cause was, because the spirituall persones promoted to great benefices and hauyng their liuyng of theyr flocke, were liyng in the Court in Lordes houses, and toke all of the parishoners, and nothyng spent on them at all, so that for lacke of residence, both þe poore of þe parishe lacked refreshyng, and vniuersally all the parishioners lacked preachyng, and true instruction of Gods woorde, to the great perill of their soules.

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MarginaliaPluralities of benefices.6 The sixt cause was, because one priest beyng litle learned, had tenne or twelue benefices, and was resident on none, and many well learned scholers in the Vniuersitie, which were able to preache and teache, had neither benefice nor exhibition.

These thynges before this tyme, might in no wise bee touched, not yet talked of by no man, except he would be made an hereticke, or lose all that he had: for the Bishops were Chaūcellours, and had all the rule about the kyng, so that no man durst once presume to attempt any thyng contrary to their profite, or commoditie.

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But now when God had illumined the eyes of the kyng, and the tyme so serued, that men more boldly durst expresse with voyce such grudges, as they had long conceaued in their hartes agaynst þe Clergye: the Burgesses of the Parlamēt appointed certeine of the cōmon house, men learned in the law, MarginaliaThree bils drawē out against the misorder of the clergie.to draw one Bill of the probates of Testamentes, an other for mortuaries, and the thyrd for none residence, pluralities, and takyng fermes by spirituall men.

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MarginaliaThe first bill, for Mortuaries.And first to the Bill of mortuaries being drawen, and beyng also passed the common house, and sent vp to the hygher, the spirituall Lordes shewed a fayre face, saying that surely priestes & Curates tooke more thē they should, and therfore it were well done to take some reasonable order. Thus they spake because it touched them but litle.

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MarginaliaThe second bill, for probates of testamentes.After this, within ij. daies, was sent vp the second Bill, concerning probates of Testamentes, which bill because it touched their profite somewhat nere, both the Archbyshop of Caunterbury, and all other Bishops in generall, begā to frowne, and grunte, insomuch as Doctour Iohn Fisher Byshop of Rochester, standyng vp in the Parlament chamber, openly protested, that such Billes were sent vp from the common house, tendyng to no other thyng, but to the destruction of the Churche: whiche Churche beyng downe, the glory then of the whole kyngdome (sayd he) must nedes fall, desiryng therfore the Lordes, for Gods sake, to take example by the kyngdome of Boheme: MarginaliaDoctour Fysher chargeth the commons with lacke of fayth.For as it was then with the people there, so now what say the commons here, but downe with the Church, and all this (sayd he) semeth onely to be for lacke of fayth. When these wordes were reported to the commons of the lower house, what the Byshop had sayd, in notyng all their doyngs to be for lacke of faith, MarginaliaThe grudge of the commons in the lower house, agaynst Fysher, bishop of Rochester.they tooke þe matter greuously, so to be estemed of the byshop, for no better then heretickes, vnderstayng moreouer, how that he, by those slaūderous wordes, went about to persuade the Lordes temporall agaynst them, and so to ouerthrow the ij. Bylles, by them passed before, as ye haue heard.

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Wherupon, after long debate, it was at length agreed by the sayd commons, that Thomas Audeley their speaker, with xxx. of the chiefe of that house, should bee sent to the kyng, beyng then in his Palace of Westminster, before called Yorke place: where they eloquently declared, what a dishonour to the kyng, and the realme it was, to say, that they whiche were elected for the wisest men of all the Shieres, Cities, and boroughes within the realme of England, should be declared in so noble and open presence, to lacke faith, which was equiualent to say, that they were Infidels & no Christians, as ill as Turkes or Sarasins: so that what payne or study so euer they tooke for the common wealth, or what Actes or lawes so euer they made or stablished, should bee taken as lawes made by Panyms and heathen people, and not worthye to bee kept by Christian men: wherfore they most humbly besought the kynges highnes, to call the sayd Bishop before hym, and to cause hym to speake more discretly, of such a nomber as was in the common house.

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MarginaliaThe king not cōtented with the Byshop of Rochester.The kyng beyng not well contented with the saying of the Byshop, yet gently aūswered the speaker, and sent them away. Who immediatly sent for the Archbishop of Caunterbury and vi. other byshops, and Rochester also, signifying vnto them the grudge of the commons. The Byshop of Rochester excusing him selfe, aunswered, MarginaliaThe Byshops excuse.that he in so saying, ment onely the doynges of the Bohemiās to be for lacke of fayth, and not the doynges of them that were in the common house, which saying was confirmed by the Byshops there present, which had him in great reputation, and so by that onely saying, the king accepted his excuse, and therfore sent woorde to the commons by Syr William Fitzwilliams, knyght, Treasorer of hys houshold: whiche blinde excuse pleased the commons nothyng at all.

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MarginaliaDifference betwene the laitie and spiritualtie, about certayne constitutions.After this, diuers assemblies were kept betwene certeine of the Lordes, and certeine of the commons, for the Billes of the probates of Testamentes, and mortuaries. The temporaltie layd to the spiritualtie, their own lawes and constitutions, and the spiritualtie sore defended them by prescriptiō and vsage. MarginaliaLonge vse maketh not euill thinges lawfull.To whom it was thus aunswered, by a Gentlemen of Greys Inne: The vsage hath euer ben of theeues, to robbe on shoters hill, ergo is it lawfull? With this aunswere the spiritual men were sore offended, because their doynges were called robberies, but the temporall men stoode still by their sayinges, in somuch that the sayd Gentleman sayd to the Archb. of Caunterbury, that both the exaction of probates of Testamentes, MarginaliaMortuaries as they were vsed, differed litle frō theft.and the taking of Mortuaries, as they were vsed, were open robbery and theft. After long disputation, the temporall Lordes began to leane to the cōmons, but for all that, the Billes remayned vnconcluded a while.

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It folowed shortly after in the Parlament, that a Byll was assented to, by the Lordes of the hygher house, & sent downe to the commons in the lower house, and by them also, with much labour agreed vnto, of whom the most part were the kynges seruauntes: in the whiche Bill it was required, and concluded, that the kyng should be released of all such loane of money, whiche he had borowed of his subiectes, in þe xv. yeare of hys reigne. The passyng of which Byll went sore agaynst the stomackes of þe poore commons, for many rested vpon it, countyng and passyng it ouer one to an other for good debt, as if it had bene ready money in their purses. Wherefore the kyng to regratifie them agayne, graunted to them a generall pardon of all offences, onely certeine great offences & debtes excepted: MarginaliaRedresse of the greeues of the commons.also he aided them for the redresse of their greues agaynst the spiritualtie, and caused ij. new Bylles to bee made indifferently, both for the probate of Testamētes, and mortuaries, whiche Bylles were so reasonable, that

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