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1251 [1251]

K. Henry. 8. The letter of Tonstall and Stokesley, to Cardinall Poole.

Edmundus Boner,
Archdia. Leicester.
Guilielmus Skippe,
Archdiaco. Dorset.
Nicolaus Heth, Arch-
diaco. Stafford.
Cuthbert9 Marshall,
Arch. Notingham.
Ricardus Curren,
Archdia. Oxon.
Gulielmus Cliffe.
Calfridus Downes.
Robertus Okyng.

Radulph9 Bradford.
Richardus Smith.
Simon Mathew.
Ioannes Prin.
Guiliel. Buckmaster.
Gulielmus May.
Nicolaus Wotton.
Ricardus Coxe.
Ioannes Edmūdes.
Thomas Robertson.
Ioannes Baker.
Thomas Barret.
Ioannes Hase.
Ioannes Tyson.

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These were Doctours of Diuinitieand of both lawes.

Iudge now thy self (louyng reader) per confessata & allegata: that is, by these thinges heretofore confessed, alledged, allowed, proued and confirmed, by pen set forth, by wordes defended, and by othe subscribed by these Byshops and Doctours, if either Martin Luther hym selfe, or any Lutherane els could or did euer say more agaynst þe proud vsurpation of the Bishop of Rome, then these mē haue done. MarginaliaThe Byshops of England then good Lutherans.If they dissembled otherwise then they ment, who coulde euer dissemble so depely, speakyng so pithely? If they ment as they spake, who could euer turne head to tayle so sodenly & so shortly as these men did? But because these thynges we write for edification of other, rather then for commendation of them, let vs marke therefore their reasons, and let the persons go.

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And although the sayd proufes & argumentes heretofore alledged might suffice to the full discussiō of this matter agaynst the Popes vsurped primacie: yet because many do yet remayne, whiche will not be satisfied, to refell therfore and confute this Popishe Article of þe popes vayne & proud primacie, with as much matter and furniture of reasons & allegations, as the writynges & testimonies of these Byshops & others do minister vnto vs: we minde (the Lord willing) to annexe to these former confirmations of the Byshops aforesayd, MarginaliaThe epistle of Tonstall and Stokesley, to Cardinall other supplement also of a certein Epistle sent by Byshop Tonstall, and by Iohn Stokesley Bishop of London, to Cardinall Poole, for a more ample confutation of the vsurped power.

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Concernyng the argument of whiche Epistle, here is first to be vnderstanded, that about this tyme or not much ouer, Cardinal Poole brother to the Lord Montagew, was attaynted of hygh treason and fled away vnto Rome, where within a short tyme after, hee was made Cardinal of S. Mary Cosmeden: 

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Pole was created cardinal-deacon (22 December 1536) of St Mary in Cosmedin. There are three official ranks of cardinal and Pole's rank of deacon indicates that he was considered a member of the pope's political household, working full-time in the curia. The other ranks are cardinal-bishop (who holds an actual Episcopal position in Rome) and cardinal-priest (who works in a diocese outside of Rome).

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of whom more is to be spoken hereafter, the Lord so permittyng, whē we come to the tyme of Queene Mary. In the meane tyme he remainyng at Rome, there was directed vnto hym 
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Foxe leaves a great deal out of the chronology and makes it sound as if the Stokesley-Tunstal letter was the first (rather than last) official treatise in the exchanges between Pole and Henry VIII's scholars regarding the royal supremacy issue. Pole had served the king's interests in Paris with regard to the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon but, sometime after 1531 he'd changed his mind on the issue and decided instead to carry on his scholastic pursuits at Padua (at the king's expense) [for which, see The Works of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1556, 2 vols., ed. by J E Cox (Cambridge, 1844-46), ii, pp.229-31]. Henry left him in peace to about 1535 when enforcement of the royal supremacy necessitated his recall. As the king's cousin and an important man in his own right, Pole could not be allowed to remain silent on the issues (particularly given the recent executions of More and Fisher). To this end, his former student Thomas Starkey (a royal chaplain and propagandist) was to make contact and pursued Pole to return to England with a letter, the writing of which was very much under the direction of Stokesley and Thomas Cromwell [for which, see BL, Cott. MSS. Cleo. E, vi, fols.367rv ]. The full range of divorce and supremacy arguments are spelled out. Pole replied to this on 4 September 1535, in the form of a treatise entitled Pro Ecclesiasticae Unitatis Defensione which arrived in England at the worst possible time - during the Pilgrimage of Grace and Lincolnshire uprisings of 1536. The king established a four man committee to deal with Pole and his treatise - Stokesley, Cromwell, Tunstal and Starkey. Pole's treatise addressed four issues: Richard Sampson's supremacy polemic entitled Oratio quae docet hortatur admonet omnes potissimum Anglos Regiae dignitati cum primis ut obediant (1534), papal supremacy, Anne Boleyn, and Henry's need to perform penance. In the second and most important section, Pole denied Sampson's natural reason arguments as well as the humanist exegesis of the other royal apologists. Although Starkey was to have made the official response, he appealed to Stokesley and Tunstal for drafting and editing advice. His letter was sent on 13 July 1536 [see, BL, Cott. MSS. Cleo. E, vi, fols.379-83v] but proved only a prelude to the Stokesley/Tunstal letter.

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a certeine Epistle exhortatory by Stokesley Byshop of Lōdon, and Tonstall Byshop of Duresme, persuadyng hym to relinquishe and abandon the supremacie of the Pope, and to cōforme hym selfe to the Religion of hys kyng. The copy 
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The letter can be found at Public Records Office, State Papers 1/113, fols.4-10r and was published as Letter to Cardinal Pole (London, 1575).

of whiche Epistle, for the reasons and argumentes therein conteyned about the same matter, we thought here not vnworthy to be put in, or vnprofitable to be read. The tenour wherof here foloweth.

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¶ The true Copy of a certaine Letter written by Cutbert Tonstall Bishop of Duresme, and Iohn Stokesley Byshop of London, to Cardinall Poole, prouyng the Byshop of Rome to haue no speciall superioritie aboue other Byshops.

MarginaliaThis letter was testified by Cutb. Tonstall, to Mathew Archbishop of Canterbury and others, to be hys owne, about 14. dayes before hys death.FOr the good will that wee haue borne vnto you in tymes past, as long as you cōtinued the kynges true subiect, we cā not a litle lament & mourne, that you neither regardyng the inestimable kyndnes of the kynges hyghnes heretofore shewed vnto you in your bryngyng vp, nor the honour of the house that you be come of, nor the wealth of the countrey that you were borne in, should so decline frō your dutye to your Prince, that you should bee seduced by fayre wordes and vayne promyses of the Byshop of Rome, to wynde with hym, goyng about by all meanes to hym possible, to pull downe and put vnder foote, your naturall Prince and Maister, Marginalia Read hys trayterous oration to the Emperour in his booke intitled, de Ecclesiæ concordiæ, mouing him to seke the destruction of king Henry and the whole realme of þe destruction of the countrey that hath brought you vp, and for a vayne glory of a red hat, to make your selfe an instrumēt to set forth his malice, who hath styrred by all meanes that he could, all such Christian Princes as would giue eares vnto hym, to depose the kinges hyghnes from his kyngdome, and to offer it as a pray, to them that should execute hys malice, and to styrre if he could, his subiectes agaynst hym, in styrryng and nourishyng rebellions in hys realme: where the office and duetie of all good Christian men, and namely 

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This is very much a key statement of the treatise-letter as it signalled the bishops' intension to preserve basic Catholic principles along with royal supremacy. It also solves the problem that had plagued loyal Henrician Catholics with the notion that a church could be uniquely particular and local with yet remaining within the wider corps of Christendom through the supra-national nature of priesthood.

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of vs that be Priestes, should bee to bryng all cōmotion to tranquilitie, all trouble to quietnes, all discorde to concorde, and in doyng the contrary, we shewe our selues to bee but the ministers of Sathan, and not of Christ, who ordeyned all vs that be Priestes, to vse in all places the legation of peace, and not of discorde.

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But synce that can not bee vndone that is done, second it is to make amendes, and to folow the doyng of the prodigall sonne 

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The parable of the prodigal son can be found at Luke 15.11-32. The allusion, of course, is that Pole is wasting his inheritance among the swine of Rome and, should he return the king would welcome him back with open arms and great celebration.

spoken of in the Gospell: MarginaliaLuke. 15.who returned home to hys father, and was well accepted, as no doubt you myght be, if you will say as he sayd in knowledgyng your foly, & do as he dyd in returnyng home agayne from your wandryng abroad in seruice of them, who litle care what come of you, so that their purpose by you be serued. And if you bee moued by your conscience, that you can not take the kyng our maister as Supreme head of the Churche of England, because the Byshop of Rome hath heretofore many yeares vsurped that name vniuersally ouer all the Churche, vnder pretence of the Gospel of S. Mathew 
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Foxe notes this as Matthew 18 but the quote comes from Matthew 16.18. It is one of the most common foundations of papal authority.

, saying: MarginaliaMath. 18.Thou art Peter, 
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In his treatise Pro Ecclesiasticae Unitatis Defensione, Pole had used the Matthew text to stress the pastoral responsibility of the papacy for the faith of all Christians. In essence, taking a literal view, he had assigned a universal potestas ordinis to Peter and, through him, to his successors, the popes at Rome [see, sigs.xlviirv]. Stokesley and Tunstal focussed instead on the underlying principle of the building of the church upon the rock of strong faith, repeating St Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians (3.11) recognizing faith in Christ as the true and only foundation. They are not denying that Peter is a key figure, even first among equals, but reflect mediaeval disputes over both his leadership role and whether his authority was to descend to any successor at all.

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and vpon this rocke I vvill builde my Church: MarginaliaThe place of Mathew Tues Petrus, expounded.Surely that text, many of the most holy and auncient expositours, wholy do take to be ment of the fayth, then first confessed by the mouth of Peter, vpon whiche fayth confessing Christ to be the sonne of God, the Churche is builded, Christ beyng the very lowest foundation stone, whereupon both the Apostles them selues, and also the whole fayth of the Churche of Christ by them preached thorow the world, is founded and builded, and other foundation none can be, but that onely, as S. Paule sayth: No other foundation can any man lay, besides that vvhiche is layd, vvhiche is Christ Iesus. Marginalia1. Cor. 3.

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And where you thinke that the Gospell of Luke 

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Luke 22.32.

proueth the same authoritie of the Byshop of Rome, saying: MarginaliaLuke. 22.Peter I haue prayed for thee, that thy fayth should not fayle: and thou beyng once conuerted, confirme thy brethren: MarginaliaThe place of Luke expounded.Surely that speaketh 
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The bishops argue this was meant to comfort Peter, and only Peter, after his fall from faith, letting him know that he would return and be a fervent in faith as he usually had been.

only of þe fall of Peter knowen to Christ by hys godly prescience, wherof he gaue hym an ynkelyng that after the tyme of hys fall, he should not dispayre, but returne agayne and confirme hys brethren, as he euer beyng most feruent of them, was wont to do. The place doth playnly open it selfe that it can not be otherwise taken, but this to be the very meanyng of it, and not to be spoken but to Peter: For els hys successours must fyrst fayle in the fayth, and then cōuert, and so confyrme theyr brethren. And where as you thinke that thys place of the Gospell of Iohn: 
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John 21.17. The stress of the verse is actually Christ's knowledge, not Peter's.

Fede my Sheepe, MarginaliaThe place of Ioh. 22. expoūded.was spoken onely to Peter, and that those wordes make him shepheard ouer all, and aboue all: S. Peter 
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With reference to 1 Peter 5.2-4 the shepherd analogy is considered further and applied to all priests which more fully fits the characteristics of the priesthood the two bishops would like to establish.

hym selfe testifieth the contrary in hys Canonicall Epistle, where he sayth to all Priests: Fede the flocke of Christ vvhiche is among you: Which he bad them doe by the authoritie that Christ had put them in, as foloweth: And vvhen the chief shepheard shall appeare, ye shall receiue the incorruptible crovvne of eternall glory. Marginalia1. Pet. 5.

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The same likewise S. Paul in þe Actes 

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This refers to Acts 20.28. Where Paul writes 'overseers' this is generally interpreted as 'bishops'. Indeed, with regard to the supposed supremacy of Peter, Acts makes it clear that the activities of Paul have taken on a more central role.

testifieth, saying: Geue hede to your selues and to the vvhole flocke, vvherin the holy Ghost hath set you to gouerne the Churche of God. MarginaliaAct. 20.Where, in the original text, the word 
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The two bishops find the key words regere (oversee) and pasce (feed) to have identical implications.

signifying Regere, to gouerne, xxx, is the same that was spoken to Peter, Pasce, Fede, for it signifyeth both in the Scripture. And that by these wordes he was not constitute 
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The implication of the statement goes a long way toward underpinning the bishops' point equating Peter with papal power. Peter (although not a Judaizer) tended to preach the gospel message only to Jews, while it remained to Paul to preach to Gentiles.

a Shepeheard ouer all, it is very plaine by the facte of S. Peter, which durst not enterprise much conuersation among the Gentiles, but eschewed it as a thyng vnlawfull, and much rather prohibited then commaunded by Gods law, vntill hee was admonished by the reuelation of the shete full of diuers viandes 
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This refers to Acts 10.11-15 & 11.5-11 and is taken as a sign that God wants all men to be saved, not just Jews or Gentiles. The bishops' point being that, while fervent in his faith, Peter had been wrong in his approach until this truth was explained to him. Indeed, Peter does not figure very heavily from this point on, attention has switched to the evangelising efforts of Paul.

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, mencioned in the Actes of the Apostles: MarginaliaAct. 10.where if Christ by these wordes: Fede my sheepe, had geuē such an vniuersall gouernāce to Peter, then Peter being more feruent then other of þe Apostles to execute Christes cōmaundement, would of hys own courage haue gone without any such new admonition, to Cornelius: except

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