Critical Apparatus for this Page
Commentary on the Text
Names and Places on this Page
Unavailable for this Edition
1192 [1192]

K. Henry. 8. Simon Fyshe. The supplication of Beggars.

MarginaliaEx certa relatione, viuoq̀; testimonio propriæ ipsius coniugis.durst take vpon them to play that part, which touched the sayd Cardinall, this foresayd M. Fishe tooke vppon him to do it, whereupon great displeasure ensued agaynst him, vpon the Cardinals part: In somuch as he beyng pursued by the sayd Cardinall, the same nyght that this Tragedy was playd, was cōpelled of force to voyde his owne house, & so fled ouer the sea vnto Tyndall: vppon occasion whereof the next yeare folowyng this booke was made (beyng about the yeare. 1527.) and so not lōg after in the yeare (as I suppose) 1528. was sent ouer to the Lady Anne Bulleyne, who then lay at a place not farre from the Court. Whiche booke her brother seyng in her hand, tooke it and read it, and gaue it her agayne, willyng her earnestly to giue it to þe kyng, which thing she so did. MarginaliaThe booke of the supplication of beggars geuen to the kyng.This was (as I gather) about the yeare of our Lord. 1528. The kyng after he had receaued the booke, demaunded of her who made it. Wherunto she aunswered & said, a certain subiect of his, one Fishe, who was fled out of þe realme for feare of the Cardinall. 

Commentary  *  Close

No doubt as a result of his treatise, A supplication for the beggars (1529).

After þe king had kept the booke in his bosome. 3. or. 4. dayes, as is credibly reported, such knowledge was giuen by the kinges seruauntes, to the wife of the said Symon Fishe, that she might boldly sēd for her husband, without all perill or daunger. Wherupon she therby beyng incouraged, same first and made sute to the kyng for the safe returne of her husband. Who vnderstandyng whose wife she was, shewed a maruelous gentle & chearefull countenaūce towardes her, askyng where her husbād was. She aūswerd, if it like your grace, not farre of. Then sayth he, fetch hym, and he shall come and go safe without perill, and no mā shall do him harme, saying moreouer that he had much wrong that he was from her so long: who had ben absent now the space of ij. yeares & a halfe. In the which meane tyme, the Cardinall was deposed, as is aforeshewed, and M. More set in his place of the Chauncellourshyp.

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaM. Fishe brought and gently entertayned of the kyng.Thus Fishes wife beyng emboldened by the kinges wordes, went immediatly to her husband being lately come ouer, and lying priuely within a myle of the Court, and brought him to the kyng: which appeareth to be about the yeare of our Lord. 1530. When þe king saw him, & vnderstode he was þe author of þe boke, he came & embraced him with louing coūtenaūce: who after long talke, for þe space of. iij. or. iiij. houres, as they were ridyng together on huntyng, at length dimitted hym and bad him take home his wife, for she had taken great paynes for him. Who aūswered the kyng agayne and said, he durst not so do, for feare of Syr Thomas More then Chauncellour, and Stoksley then Bishop of London. This semeth to be about the yeare of our Lord. 1530. The kyng taking his signet of his finger, willed him to haue him recommended to the Lord Chauncellour, chargyng him not to bee so hardie to worke him any harme. MarginaliaM. Fishe rescued by the kyng.M. Fishe receiuyng the kynges signet, went and declared his message to the Lorde Chauncellour, who tooke it as sufficient for his owne discharge, but he asked him if he had any thyng for the discharge of hys wife: for she a litle before had by chaunce displeased the Friers, for not sufferyng them to say their Gospels in Latin in her house, as they did in others, vnlesse they would say it in English. Wherupon the Lord Chaūcellour, though he had discharged the mā, MarginaliaSyr. Tho. More persecuteth M. Fishes wife.yet leauing not his grudge towardes the wife, the next mornyng sent hys man for her to appeare before him: who, had it not bene for her yong daughter, which then lay sicke of þe plague, had bene like to come to much trouble. MarginaliaM. Fishe dieth of the plague.Of the which plague her husband, the sayd M. Fishe deceasing within halfe a yeare, 

Commentary  *  Close

Fish had been arrested in London on heresy charges, but died of plague before he could stand trial in 1531.

she afterwarde maryed to one M. Iames Baynham, Syr Alexander Baynhams sonne, a worshipfull knight of Glostershyre. The whiche foresayd M. Iames Baynham, not long after was burned, 
Commentary  *  Close

James Bainham was a lawyer of Middle Temple and member of the Christian Brethren. He was burned as a relapsed heretic (tried on 19 April 1531) for denying purgatory and auricular confession. See John F Davis, Heresy and reformation in the south east of England, 1520-1559 (London, 1983), pp. 55-6.

as incontinently after in the processe of this story, shall appeare.

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaThe sūme of Scripture translated by M. Fyshe.And thus much concerning Simon Fishe the author of the booke of beggars, 

Commentary  *  Close

This refers to Simon Fish, A supplication for the beggars (Antwerp, 1529). For references I have used the copy in The English Scholar's Library of Old and Modern Works, ed. by Edward Arber (London, 1878), pp. 1-13, which can be found on-line at http://www.archive. org/stream/supplicationforb00fishuoft. For a biographical examination, see J S W Helt, 'Fish, Simon (d.1531)', ODNB (Oxford, O.U.P., 2004).

[Back to Top]
who also translated a booke cal-led the summe of þe scripture, 
Commentary  *  Close

This is Simon Fish's Sum of the Holy Scripture (which is actually the translation from a Dutch original treatise in denial of infant baptism), printed in England in 1529.

out of the Dutch.

Now commeth an other note of one Edmūd Moddys the kynges footeman, 

Commentary  *  Close

Edmund Moody was made a gentleman by letters patent in 1540. The story is that Moody saved the king from drowning some time previous, for which see //free pages.genealogy.roots moody/.

touchyng the same matter.

MarginaliaM. Moddys the kinges footeman.This M Moddys beyng with the kyng in talke of Religion, and of newe bookes that were come from beyond the seas, sayd if it might please his grace to pardō him, and such as he would bryng to his grace, he should see such a booke as was maruell to heare of. The kyng demaunded what they were. MarginaliaThe booke of Beggars brought to the kyng by George Elyot, and George Robinson.Hee sayd, two of your Marchaunts, George Elyot, and George Robinson. The kyng poynted a tyme to speake with them. Whē they came afore his presence in a priuye closet, hee demaunded what they had to say, or to shew hym. One of them said that there was a booke come to their handes, whiche they had there to shew his grace. When hee saw it, he demaunded if any of them could read it. Yea sayd George Elyot, if it please your grace to heare it. I thought so, sayd the kyng, for if nede were thou canst say it without booke. The whole boke being read out, þe kyng made a long pause, and then sayd, MarginaliaThe kinges aunswere vpon the booke of Beggars.if a man should pull down an old stone wall & begin at the lower part, þe vpper part therof might chaunce to fal vpō his head: & then he tooke the booke & put it into his deske, & commaūded thē vpon their alegiance, þt they should not tell to any man, þt he had seene the booke. &c. The Copie of the foresaid boke, intitled of the beggars, here ensueth.

[Back to Top]
¶ A certaine Libell or booke intituled the Supplication of beggers, throwen and scattered at the procession in Westminster vpon Candelmas day, before kyng Henry the viij. for hym to read and peruse, made and compiled by Maister Fishe. 
Commentary  *  Close
Supplication of Beggers

This is a complete copy of Simon Fish, A supplication for the beggars (1529). For references I have used the copy in The English Scholar's Library of Old and Modern Works, ed. by Edward Arber (London, 1878), pp. 1-13.

Andrew ChibiUniversity of Leicester

¶ To the king our soueraigne Lorde.

MarginaliaA libell called the Supplication of Beggars.MOst lamentably complayneth their wofull misery, vnto your highnes, your poore dayly bedemen the wretched hydious monsters, on whom scarsly for horror any eye dare looke, the foule vnhappy sort of lepers, and other sore people, nedy, impotēt, blynde, lame, and sicke, that lyue onely by almes, how that their number is dayly so sore increased, that all the almes of all the well disposed people of this your realme, is not halfe enough for to susteine them, but that for verye constraint, they dye for hunger. And this most pestilent mischief is come vppon your sayd poore beadmen, by the reason that there is in the tymes of your noble predecessours passed, craftely crept into this your realme, an other sorte, not of impotent, MarginaliaStronge, valiant, sturdie, and idle beggars.but of strong, puisant, and counterfeit holy, and idle beggers and vagabundes, which since the tyme of their first entre, by all the craft and wylines of Sathan, are now encreased vnder your sight, not onely into a great nomber, but also into a kyngdome.

[Back to Top]

These are not the herdes but the rauinous wolues goyng in herdes clothyng, deuouryng the flocke, Byshops, Abbots, Priours, Deacōs, Archdeacons, Suffraganes. Priests, Monkes, Chanons, Friers, Pardoners and Somners. And who is able to nomber this idle rauenous sort, which (setting all labour aside) haue begged so importunatly, MarginaliaMore then the thyrd parte of the realme in the spirituall mens handes.that they haue gottē into their handes, more then the thyrd part of all your Realme. 

Commentary  *  Close

The Supplication makes three important arguments (economic, theological and anti-clerical). That the clergy control so much land is one of his economic complaints. The economic argument is probably the key aspect of the treatise given that the 1520s witnessed a Europe wide inflation crisis.

The goodliest lorshyps, manors, landes, & territories are theirs. Besides this, they haue the x. parte of all the corne, medow, pasture, grasse, woode, coltes, calues, lambes, pygs geese, and chickens. Ouer and besides, the x. part of euery seruauntes wages, the x. parte of wolle, milke, hony, waxe, cheese, and butter: yea and they looke so narrowly vpon their profites, that the poore wiues must be countable to them for euery x. egge, or els she getteth not her rightes at Easter, and shalbe takē as an hereticke. Hereto haue they their foure offryng dayes. What money pul they in by probates of testamentes, priuye tithes, and by mens offrynges to their pilgrimages, and at their first Masses. Euery man and childe that is buryed, must pay somewhat for Masses and Diriges, to bee song for hym, or els they will accuse their friendes and executours of heresie. What money get they by mortuaries, by hearing of confessions (and yet they will kepe therof no counsell) by halowyng of Churches, altares, superaltares, chappels, and belles, by cursyng of men, and absoluyng them agayne for money? what a multitude of money gather the Pardoners in a yeare? Howe much money get the

[Back to Top]
Go To Modern Page No:  
Click on this link to switch between the Modern pagination for this edition and Foxe's original pagination when searching for a page number. Note that the pagination displayed in the transcription is the modern pagination with Foxe's original pagination in square brackets.
Type a keyword and then restrict it to a particular edition using the dropdown menu. You can search for single words or phrases. When searching for single words, the search engine automatically imposes a wildcard at the end of the keyword in order to retrieve both whole and part words. For example, a search for "queen" will retrieve "queen", "queene" and "queenes" etc.
Humanities Research Institute  *  HRI Online  *  Feedback
Version 2.0 © 2011 The University of Sheffield