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1174 [1174]

K. Henry. 8. The persecution of M. Thomas Bilney, and Arthur.

PersecutersMartyrs.The Causes.

pell, amongest whiche number was Thomas Arthur,
MarginaliaMaister Latimer Crossekeper in the Vniuersitie of Cambridge.& M. Hugh Latimer, 
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Hugh Latimer's famous account of what passed between him and Bilney when Bilney 'conuerted' him in 1524. 27 sermons preached by the ryght Reuerende father in God and constant matir [sic] of Iesus Christe, Maister Hugh Latimer, as well such as in tymes past haue bene printed, as certayne other commyng to our handes of late, whych were yet neuer set forth in print, (STC 15276) in the section known as Certayn Godly Sermons, made vppon the Lordes Prayer, at fol. 13B (reprinted in the Parker Society edition of Latimer's Sermons, ed. George Elwes Corrie (Cambridge, 1844), pp. 334-5. The word 'conuersion' was Day's and Foxe's anachronistic term for Bilney's influence on his contemporaries. 'Conversion' was not a term that the early evangelicals often used (see Peter Marshall, `Evangelical conversion in the reign of Henry VIII', in The Beginnings of English Protestantism, eds. Peter Marshall and Alec Ryrie [Cambridge, 2002], pp. 14-37).

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which Latimer at that tyme was
croskeper at Cambridge 
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Hugh Latimer became University Chaplain in 1522. Although one of his duties was the custody of Cambridge's elaborate silver processional cross, which was brought out at several important occasions during the academic year, Latimer was more correctly known as Chaplain of the University rather than as its `croskeper'. Foxe's source for his information here was from Ralph Morice in British Library, Harley MS 422, fols. 84-8, 90.

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, bringyng it forth vpō proces-
sion dayes. At the last, Bilney forsakyng the Vniuersi-
tie, went into many places teaching & preaching 
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Bilney and Thomas Arthur went preaching together from the university to Ipswich and Norwich and onward to London during the summer of 1527. Theirs was an aggressive preaching itinerary, and they were followed at every step by Dominican friars. At Ipswich, Bilney was heard to say that Christ was the only mediator between us and the Father. To petition the saints was to injure the blood of Christ. Bilney was accused of preaching in the churches of St Helen's Bishopsgate, St Magnus, and also in the churches of Willesden (in the week of Pentecost), Newington (in the week of Pentecost), Kensington, and Chelsea outside the city, as well as Ipswich on 28 May. At Willesden, Bilney spoke against going on pilgrimages and offerings to saints. He recommended that worshippers stay at home. At the church of St Magnus (which was always an important City church, as it stood on the north end of London Bridge), the parishioners were gilding their new rood, and here Bilney denounced idolatry. Chelsea is particularly noteworthy, as Sir Thomas More's residence was next to what is now known as Chelsea Old Church, where he intended to be buried next to the chantry chapel he built there. Arthur preached at Cambridge on Whitsunday; and also at Walden; and St Mary Woolchurch in London at the feast of the Trinity. Susan Wabuda, Preaching during the English Reformation (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 119-120; Gregory Walker, 'Saint or schemer?: the 1527 heresy trial of Thomas Bilney reconsidered', Journal of Ecclesiastical History, vol. 40 (1989), pp. 219-38; Patrick Zutshi and Robert Ombres, `The Dominicans in Cambridge 1238-1538', Archivum Fratrum Praedicatorum, vol. 60 (1990), pp. 313-73.

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, being
associate with Arthur, which accōpanied him frō the
Vniuersitie. The authoritie of Tho. Wolsey Cardinal
of Yorke, 
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Robert Barnes had shocked the university and the hierarchy of the English Church when he was the first of the Cambridge evangelicals to openly criticize Thomas Cardinal Wolsey in a sermon he delivered at St. Edward's Church in Cambridge on Christmas Eve in 1525.

of whom ye heard before, at that tyme, was
great in Englād, but his pompe and pride much grea-
ter, whiche did euidently declare vnto all wise men, the
manifest vanitie, not onely of his lyfe, but also of all the
MarginaliaBilney agaynst the pride of the pope, and of hys Cardinalls.bishops & clergie. Wherupō Bilney with other good mē
marueilyng at the incredible insolencie of the Clergy,
which they could now no longer suffer or abyde, began
to shake and reproue thys excessiue pompe of the cler-
gie, & also to plucke at þe authoritie of the B. of Rome.
Then it was tyme for the Cardinall to awake, and
spedily to looke about his busines. Neither lacked hee
in this point any craft or subtiltie of a Serpent, for hee
vnderstode well enough vppon how slender a founda-
tion their ambitious dignitie was grounded, neither
was he ignoraunt, that their Luciferous and proude
kyngdome could not long continue agaynst the mani-
fest worde of God, especially if the light of the Gospell
should once open the eyes of men. For otherwise he
did not greatly feare the power & displeasure of kinges
and princes. Onely this he feared, the voyce of Christ
in his Gospell, least it should disclose and detect their
hypocrisie and disceites, and force them to come into
an order of godly discipline: wherefore hee thought
good, spedily in time, to withstand these begynnynges.
Whereupon he caused the sayd Bilney and Arthur to
be apprehended and cast in prison, as before ye haue
MarginaliaCardinall Wolsey with hys complices, agaynst Bilney & Arthur.After this, the xxvij. day of Nouember, in the yeare
of our Lord. 1527. 
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The records of Bilney's and Arthur's examinations are preserved in the Register of Cuthbert Tunstall, bishop of London, in Guildhall Library, MS 9531/10 fols. 130B-136A.

the sayd Cardinall accompanyed,
with a great number of Byshops 
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Among the other examiners whom Foxe did not name was the bishop of Carlisle. The octagonal chapter house of Westminster Abbey has remained relatively unchanged in the intervening centuries. It is reached from the Cloister and it retains its original tile floor and wall paintings.

, as the Archbishop of
Caunterbury, Cuthbert of London, Iohn of Roche-
ster, Nicholas of Elye, Iohn of Exeter, Iohn of Lyn-
colne, Iohn of Bathe and Welles, Harry of S. Asse,
with many other both Diuines and Lawyers, came in
to the chapter house of Westminster, where the sayd
M. Thomas Bilney, & Thomas Arthur were brought
before them, and the sayd Cardinall there inquired of
M. Bilney whether he had priuately or publikely prea-
ched or taught to þe people, the opinions of Luther or a-
ny other, condempned by the Church, contrary to the
determination of the Churche. Whereunto Bilney
aunswered, that wittyngly hee had not preached or
taught any of Luthers opinions, or any other, cōtrary
to the Catholicke Churche. Then the Cardinall asked
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Wolsey's examination of Latimer, as related by Ralph Morice in British Library Harley MS 422, fols. 84-8, 90, should be compared with his examination of Arthur and Bilney.

whether hee had not once made an othe before,
that he should not preache, rehearse, or defende any of
Luthers opinions, but should impugne the same eue-
ry where. He aūswered, that he had made such an othe,
but not lawfullye. Which Interrogatories so mini-
stred, & aunsweres made, the Cardinall caused hym to
sweare, to aunswere playnly to the Articles and er-
rours preached, and set forth by him, as well in the Ci-
tie and diocesse of Londō, as in þe diocesse of Norwich
and other places, and that hee should do it without any
craft, qualifying or leauing out any part of the truth.
After he was thus sworne and examined, the sayd
MarginaliaThomas Arthur, examined.Cardinall proceded to the examination of M. Thomas
Arthur there present, causing him to take þe like othe,
that M. Bilney did. Which done, he asked of hym whe-
ther he had not once told syr Tho. More 
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The date of any previous conversation between Arthur and Sir Thomas More is not known.

knight, that in
the Sacrament of the altare was not the very body of
Christ. Which Interrogatory he denyed. Thē the Car-
dinall gaue him tyme to deliberate till noone, and to
bring in his aunswere in writing. After noone the same
day, what time the examinatiō of the foresayd Thomas
Arthur was ended, þe Cardinall and Byshops by theyr

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PersecutersMartyrs.The Causes.

authoritie Ex officio, did call in for witnesses before
M. Bilney, certeine men, namely Iohn Huggen, chief
Prouinciall of the Friers preachers throughout all
England, Geffrey Iulles, 
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Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall of London licensed the Dominican Geoffrey Jullys to preach through his diocese with two other Cambridge black friars, Robert Buckman and Henry Agbonby, in February 1526/7. Greater London Record Office, MS DL/C/330, fol. 134A and B. See also Patrick Zutshi and Robert Ombres, `The Dominicans in Cambridge 1238-1538', Archivum Fratrum Praedicatorum, vol. 60 (1990), pp. 313-73.

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& Richard Iugworth, pro-
fessours of Diuinitie of the same order. Also William
Iecket Gentleman, William Nelson, and Thomas
Williames, whiche were sworne that all fauour, hate,
loue, or reward set apart, they should, without concea-
lyng of any falshode, or omittyng any truth, speake
their mindes vppon the Articles layd agaynst them, or
preached by him, as wel within the dioces of London,
as the dioces of Norwich: and because hee was other-
wise occupyed about the affaires of the realme, he com
mitted the hearyng of the matter to the Bishop of Lon
don, and the other Byshops there present, or to iij. of
them, to procede agaynst all mē, as wel spirituall as tē-
porall, as also against schedules, writinges and bookes,
set forth and translated by Martin Luther, 
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It had been illegal to preach or teach any of Martin Luther's doctrine any where in western Europe since mid 1520, when his books and sermons were banned by Pope Leo X in his Bull Exsurge Domine. When Luther continued to defy the pope by burning the Bull with books of canon law publicly in late 1520, Leo excommunicated him at the beginning of 1521. Heresy was illegal in England under the terms of both canon law and statute: the 1408 Constitutions of Archbishop Thomas Arundel, printed in William Lyndwood, Provinciale, (seu Constitvtiones Angliae) (Oxford, 1679; rpt. 1968), p. 286; 5 Ric. II, st. 2, c. 5 (1382); 2 Hen. IV, c. 15 (1401); 2 Hen. V., st. 1, c. 7 (1414). See also J. A. Guy, 'The Legal context of the controversy: the law of heresy', in The Debellation of Salem and Bizance in The Complete Works of St. Thomas More, vol. 10 (1987), pp. xlvii-lxvii.

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lately con-
dempned by Pope Leo the x. and by all maner of proba
ble meanes, to enquire & roote out their errours and
opinions, & all such as were found culpable, to compell
them to abiuration accordyng to the law, or if the mat-
ter so required, to deliuer thē vnto the secular power,
and to geue them full power and authoritie to deter-
mine vpon them.
MarginaliaBisney and Arthure brought before Tunstall byshop of London.The xxvij. of Nouember, 
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28 November 1527. Tunstall, West and Fisher came to the house of Richard Nix, near Charing Cross, perhaps out of consideration for Nix's partial blindness. Nix was a member of Bilney's college, Trinity Hall.

in the yeare aforesayd, the
Byshop of London, with the Bishop of Elye and Ro-
chester, came vnto the Byshop of Norwiches house,
whereas likewise Ex officio, they did sweare certaine
witnesses agaynst M. Thomas Arthur, in like sorte as
they had done before, agaynst M. Bilney, and so proce-
ded to þe examination of M. Arthur: which being ended
vpō certaine Interrogatories, the Byshop of London
MarginaliaWorke they neuer so secretly, yet God bringeth their practises to light at length.warned hym by vertue of his othe, that he should not
reuele his examinations, nor hys aunsweres, nor any
part or parcell therof.
The second day of December, 
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2 December 1527. Despite `the same place', this part of the proceedings resumed at the Chapter House of Westminster Abbey.

the Byshops assem-
bled agayne in the same place, and sware more witnes
agaynst M. Bilney. That done, they called for Maister
Arthur, vnto whose charge they layd these Articlesfolowyng.

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¶ Articles agaynst Thomas Arthur. 
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The records of Bilney's and Arthur's examinations are preserved in the Register of Cuthbert Tunstall, bishop of London, in Guildhall Library, MS 9531/10, fols. 130B-136A. Arthur's and Bilney's examinations have also been discussed by Susan Brigden, London and the Reformation, (Oxford, 1989), pp. 71, 111-113, 116, 119, 122-3, 127, 161, 195, 204, 260.

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MarginaliaArticles agaynst Tho. Arthur.1 IN Primis, that hee exhorted þe people in hys prayers,
to pray specially for those that nowe bee in prison,
whiche Article he denyed.
2 That he sayd, thoughe men bee restrayned to preache
now a dayes 
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All traveling preachers, whether friars, monks, or learned secular clergymen, were required under the terms of English statute (2 Henry IV, c. 15, printed in Statutes of the Realm, vol. 2, pp. 125-8) and canon law (William Lyndwood, Provinciale, (seu Constitvtiones Angliae) (Oxford, 1679; rpt. 1968), Lib. V, tit. 5, pp. 288-9) to hold a license, usually from the bishop in whose diocese they wanted to preach. John Fisher, bishop of Rochester and chancellor of Cambridge obtained new licensing powers for the university under the terms of a Bull issued by Pope Alexander VI in 1503. A Cambridge University preaching license permitted its holder to preach anywhere in England, Scotland, and Ireland. Damian Riehl Leader, A History of the University of Cambridge, vol. 1, The University to 1546 (Cambridge, 1988), pp. 246-7, 278-9; Susan Wabuda, Preaching during the English Reformation (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 117-119. Arthur was licensed to preach by Cambridge University in 1519-20 in the same group that included Nicholas Shaxton and Thomas Cranmer. Grace Book B, Part II: Containing the Accounts of the Proctors of the University of Cambridge, 1511-44, ed. Mary Bateson (Cambridge, 1905), p. 77. Bilney was issued a license to preach in the diocese of Ely in 1525, which Bishop West retracted after he was convicted of heresy. Cambridge University Library, MS EDR, G/1/7, fol. 33A.

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(whiche is against Gods lawes) yet I may
preache: First by the authoritie of my Lord Cardinall, for
I haue his licence: Secōdly by the authoritie of the Vni-
uersitie: Thirdly, by the Pope: Fourthly by the authori-
tie of God, where hee sayth: Euntes in mundum, prædicate
MarginaliaAuthoritie to preach.Euangelium omni creaturæ. By whiche authoritie euery
man may preache, 
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For Arthur to preach that `euerye man may preach' was unusual, and against canon law and statute. Here he may have been influenced by some of the writings of Erasmus, or the idea of the priesthood of all believers, found in Martin Luther's [Of the Babylonian Captivity of the Church] - De Captivitate Babylonica Ecclesiae (Basle: Adam Petri, 1520).

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and there is nother Bishop nor Or-
dinary, nor yet the Pope, that may make any law to let
any man to preach the Gospel. This Article he confessed
that he spake.
3 When he spake of lawes, hee brought a similitude of
Crosses set vp agaynst the walles in London 
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For the crosses on the walls of London, see also Patrick Collinson, 'Truth and Legend: the Veracity of John Foxe's Book of Martyrs', in Elizabethan Essays (London, 1994), pp. 151-77 at p. 175, n. 88.

, that men
should not pysse there. When there was but one crosse or
a few more, men did reuerēce them, and pyssed not there:
but when there was in euery corner a Crosse set, then
men of necessity were compelled to pysse vpō the crosses:
So in lyke maner, when there was but a few holy and
deuout lawes in the Churche, then men were afrayde to
MarginaliaThe multitude of lawes, make lawes to be contemned.offend them. Afterward they made many lawes for their
aduauntage, and such as were pecuniall, those they doe
MarginaliaPalea in the popes decrees.obserue, and such as are not pecuniall, those they call Pa
lea, and regard them not, and so now a dayes, there are
so many lawes, that whether a mā do ill or wel, he shalbe
taken in the lawe. He confessed that he spake the very
same, or the lyke wordes.
MarginaliaThe preaching of the Gospell is to be left for no persecution.4 He sayd: good people, if I should suffer persecutiō for
þe preachyng of þe Gospel of God, yet there is. 7000. more, þt
would preach the gospel of God, as I do now. Therfore
good people, good people (which words he often rehear-
sed as it were lamēting) thinke not þt if these tyraunts &

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