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935 [935]

The order and maner of the cruell handlyng of VVyllyam Gardiner, an Englyshe marchaunt, tormented and burned by the Spanyardes in Portingale, for Gods true and holye woorde.

Thus the bodye of the saide Gardiner being consumed, yet the rage and fury of the common people cessed not, but that they woulde bee as cruell agaynst hym beyng dead, as they were, when he was alyue, and wyth theyr toungues to tormente this innocent Martyr, when they coulde dooe no more wyth theyre handes: yea for verye maddenesse they woulde scarce tarye vntyll hee were burned, but euery man as they coulde catche any piece of hym, halfe burned, and halfe vnburned, threwe it into the Sea.

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Thys Sacryfyce thus ended, the clergie to pacifye Gods wrathe, which they feared, for the vyolatynge of theyr Altare, appoynted a solemne fast for manye dayes, as it wer by an open penance to purge that 

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Again Foxe is surprisingly correct. The archbishop of Lisbon had, in the aftermath of Gardiner's sacrilege, ordered that fasting and a penitential procession be held in every church in the diocese and also decreed forty days indulgence to all who confessed their sins at this time (I. da Rosa Pereira, 'O Desacato na Capela Real em 1552 e o processo do calvinista inglês peranto Ordinário de Lisboa', Annais da Academia Portuguesa da Historia 29 (1984), pp. 619-20).

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, whiche hee hadde well doone for to prohybite, their Idolatry, not considerynge anye thynge at all, what extreame crueltye they hadde shewed vnto the liuelye member of Christ.

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And albeit this deathe of William Gardyner seameth to haue profited verye manye of theym lyttle or nothynge: yet for all that, there are manye as I haue hearde dyuers reporte, oute of whose myndes the rememberaunce of thys constaunt Martyr, can neuer bee pulled: and is so freshe yet amongest them, as if it were now lately doone.

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And finallye, albeit it bee a good whyle

The order and manner of the cruell handlinge of William Gardiner, an English Merchaunt, Tormented and burned in Pourtugall, in the cause of God and of his truthe
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Commentary on the Woodcuts  *  Close
It may have been an accepted patristic commonplace that the cause, not the punishment, makes the martyr, but it proved difficult (if not impossible) not to see a relationship between the two. Foxe's image of William Gardiner is among his most shocking. But the shock could not be seen as other than appropriate for the significance of the condemned's stand. His offence, that of trampling on the consecrated host and overturning the communion chalice, in no less a place than the Portuguese royal chapel, was to be seen as a heroic gesture in the noblest of causes: refusing to accept papal maintenance of the most egregious of all spiritual trespasses --- the idolatry of the host. The horror of this execution, the condemned man's hands having been cut off before the burning, and his body then suspended on a pulley enabling him to be raised and lowered in and out of the fire, prompted readers to make their own contribution by inserting words into the empty bandarole, such as 'Pitty, pitty', and 'I suffer for the Truth'. The substantial accuracy of Foxe's account of this event can be verified in Portuguese records, and it is clear that his informant was in Lisbon at the time and quite probably an eye-witness of the event. CUL copy: note that additional detail is provided; for example, the blood gushing from his wrists. He is wearing a purple-pink top and blue hose. WREN copy: the same details are provided in this copy also.

synce hee was putte to deathe, yet the memorye of hys deathe, as moste fruytefull seede sowen in that grounde, hath taken such roote in manye, that euen vnto thys presente daye, he is a liuely, and dylygente preachynge vnto theym, agaynst superstition, and Idolatrye, vsed in theyr churches.


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