Critical Apparatus for this Page
Commentary on the Text
Names and Places on this Page
Unavailable for this Edition
1222 [1222]

K. Henry. 8. The storye and doinges of Thomas Benet, Martyr.

onely merites and deseruynges are extolled & our own depressed, where the Sacrament is duely without superstition or Idolatry administred in remembraunce of his blessed Passion & onely sacrifice vpon the Crosse once for all, & where no superstition rayneth: of that Churche will I be.

Doth not the Pope (said they) cōfesse the true Gospel? do not we al the same? Yes (said he) but ye denie þe frutes therof in euery poynt. Ye build vpon þe sandes, not vpon the rocke. And wilt not þu beleue in dede (said they) that þe pope is Gods Vicar? No (said he) in dede. And why, sayd they? MarginaliaThe Pope not Gods Vicar, and why?Because (quoth he) he vsurpeth a power not geuē him of Christ, no more then to other Apostles, & also because hee doth by force of that vsurped supremacie, blynd the whole world, & doth contrary to all that euer Christ ordayned or commaunded. What, sayd they? if hee do all thynges after Gods ordinaunce and commaundement, should he then bee hys Vicar? Then (sayd he) would I beleue him to be a good bishop at Rome ouer his own dioces, and to haue no further power. And if it pleased God I would euery Byshop did this in their dioces: then should we lyue a peaceable lyfe in the Churche of Christ, & there should be no such seditions therein. If euery Byshop would seke no further power then ouer his owne dioces, it were a goodly thyng. MarginaliaWhat incōuenience followeth, that all Byshops should be ruled by man.Nowe because all are subiect to one, all must do and consent to all wickednes, as he doth, or be none of his. This is the cause of great superstitiō in euery kyngdome. And what Byshop so euer he bee that preacheth the Gospell and mainteyneth the truth, is a true Byshop of the Church. And doth not (sayd they) our holy father the Pope maintayne the Gospell? Yes (sayd he) I thinke he doth read it, and peraduenture beleue it, and so do you also, but neither he nor you doe fixe the Anker of your saluatiō therin. Besides that, ye beare such good will to it, that ye keepe it close that no mā may read it, but your selues: and whē you preache, God knoweth how you handle it: in so much that the people of Christ knoweth no Gospell well nere, but the Popes Gospell, and so the blynd lead the blynd, & both fall into the pit. In the true Gospel of Christ, confidēce is none, but onely in your Popishe traditions & phantasticall inuentions.

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaThe popes Gospell.Then sayd a Blacke Frier to hym, God knoweth, a blocke head: do we not preach the Gospell dayly? Yes (said he) but what preaching of the Gospel is that, whē therwith ye extoll superstitious thynges, & make vs beleue that we haue redēption through pardons & Buls from Rome, a pœna & culpa, as ye terme it, and by the merites of your orders ye make many brethren and sisters, ye take yearely money of them, ye burye them in your coates, and in shrifte ye begyle them: yea, ye do a thousand superstitious things more: a man may bee wery to speake of them. I see (sayd the Frier) that thou art a damned wretche: I will haue no more talke with thee.

[Back to Top]

Then stept to hym a Gray Frier, a Doctour (God knoweth) of small intelligence, and layd before hym great & many daūgers. I take God to recorde, sayd Benet, my lyfe is not deare to me. I am content to depart frō it, for I am wery of it, seing your detestable doings to the vtter destruction of Gods flocke, & for my parte, I cā no longer forbeare: MarginaliaBenet wearye of the Fryers talke.I had rather by death (which I know is not farre of) depart this life, þt I may no lōger bee partaker of your detestable Idolatries and superstitions, or be subiect to Antichrist your Pope. Our Pope (sayd the Frier) is the Vicar of God, and our wayes are the wayes of God. I pray you (sayd Benet) depart from me, and tell not me of your wayes. He is onely my way whiche sayth: I am the way, the truth, and the lyfe. In hys waye will I walke: hys doynges shall bee my example: not yours, nor your false Popes. His truth will I embrace, not the lyes and falsehode of you and your Pope. Hys euerlasting life will I seeke, the true rewarde of all faythfull people. Awaye from me I praye you. Vexe my soule no longer: ye shall not preuaile. There is no good example in you, no truth in you, no lyfe to bee hoped for at your handes. Ye are all more vayne then vanitie it self. If I should heare and folowe you this day, euerlastyng death should hang ouer me, a iust reward for all them that loue the lyfe of this worlde. Away from me, your cōpany liketh me not.

[Back to Top]

Thus a whole weeke, night and day, was Benet applied of these and such other hipocrites. It were an infinite matter to declare all thinges done and sayd to hym in the tyme of hys imprisonment: & the hate of the people that tyme by meanes of ignoraunce, was hoate against him: MarginaliaTho. Benet pacient and constant.notwithstandyng they could neuer moue hys pacience. Hee aunswered to euery matter soberly, and that more by the aide of Gods spirite, then by any wordly study. I thinke he was at þe least, fifty yeres old. Beyng in prisō his wife prouided sustenance for hym, & whē she lamented, he comforted her & gaue her many good and godly exhortations, and prayde her to moue him nothyng, to apply vnto hys aduersaries.

[Back to Top]

Thus when these godly Canons & Priestes with þe Monkes & Friers had done what they could, & perceaued þt he would by no meanes relent, thē they proceding vnto iudgemēt, drew out their bloudy sentēce agaynst him, MarginaliaSentence read agaynst Tho. Benet.condemning hym (as the maner is) to be burned. Whiche beyng done, and the writte, which they had procured de comburendo, beyng brought from London, 

Commentary  *  Close

'De heretico comburendo' was the statute authorizing the death penalty for heresy. It mandated that a writ had to be sent from Chancery authorizing the execution of a condemned heretic.

MarginaliaTho. Benet deliuered to the secular power.they deliuered hym the xv. of Ianuary. 1531. vnto Syr Tho. Denys Knight, then Shriffe of Deuonshyre, to be burned. The milde Martyr reioycing hys end to approche so nere, as the shepe before the shearer yelded hym selfe with all humblenes, to abyde and suffer the Crosse of persecution: MarginaliaTho. Benet brought to the place of execution.and beyng brought to hys execution in a place called Lyuery dole without Exeter 
Commentary  *  Close

The Freeman's Book of Exeter records that Sir Thomas Dennys, sheriff of Exeter, wished to burn Dusgate in Southernhay (just aside the city walls), but that the mayor insisted that he be burned at Liverydole, the normal site of executions, a mile outside the city (Exeter City Muniments, Book 55, fo. 89r). This entry does not record the reasons for this decision, but it seems likely that the sheriff wished to make a public spectacle of Dusgate's death and that the mayor resisted this, possibly from sympathy for Dusgate, possibly from fear of disorder.

[Back to Top]
, he made his most humble confession & prayer to almighty God, and requested all the people to do the lyke for hym, whom he exhorted with such grauitie and sobrietie, & with such a pithie oration to seeke the true honoryng of God & the true knowledge of him, as also to leaue the deuises, fantasies, & imaginations of mans inuentions, that all the hearers and beholders of hym were astonyed and in greate admiration: In somuch that the most part of the people, as also the scribe who wrote the sentence of condemnation against him, dyd pronounce and confesse that he was Gods seruaūt and a good man. Neuertheles two Esquiers, namely Thomas Carewe and Iohn Barnehouse standyng at the stake by hym, first with fayre promises and goodly wordes, but at length rough threatninges, willed him to reuoke hys errours and to call to our Lady and the Saintes, and to say Precor sanctam mariam & omnes sanctos Dei. &c. 
Commentary  *  Close

'I pray to holy Mary and all the saints of God'.

MarginaliaTho. Benet refuseth to pray to our Ladye.To whom hee with all mekenes aunswered, saying: no no, it is God onely, vpon whose name we muste call, MarginaliaOne Aduocate, Christ.& we haue no other Aduocate vnto hym, but onely Iesus Christ, who dyed for vs, & now sitteth at the ryght hand of hys father to be an Aduocate for vs, and by hym must we offer and make our prayers to God if we will haue them to take place and to be heard. With which aunswere the foresayde Barnehouse was so enkyndled, MarginaliaA furse bushe thrust in hys face, because he would not praye to our Ladye.that he tooke a furse bushe 
Commentary  *  Close

A furze is an evergreen bush with spiny leaves. It was used in this case as kindling for the fire to burn Dusgate.

vppon a pyke and being sette on fyre, thrust it vnto hys face, saying: ah whoresonne hereticke? pray to our Ladye, and say, Sancta Maria ora pro nobis, or by Gods woundes I will make thee to do it. To whom the sayd Thomas Benet with an humble and a meeke spirite, most paciently aunswered: Alas Syr, trouble me not, and holding vp his handes, sayd: Pater ignosce illis. 
Commentary  *  Close

Dusgate is quoting Luke 23:34 in theVulgate.

MarginaliaThe constant end and Martyrdome of Tho. Benet.Whereupon the Gentlemen caused the woode and furses to bee set a fire, and therewith this godly man lifted vp hys eyes and handes into heauen saying: O Domine, recipe spiritum meum 
Commentary  *  Close

Dusgate is quoting Luke 23:46 in the Vulgate.

and so continuyng in hys prayers, did neuer sturre nor striue, but most paciently abode the crueltie of the fire, vntill hys life was ended. For þe which the Lord God be praysed, and sende vs hys grace and blessyng, that at

[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