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1323 [1323]

K. Henry. 8. The burning and Martyrdome of Iohn Lambert.

by any other, so that if he refused to do it, he should likewise haue incurred the lyke daunger. But to bee short, Cromwell at the kynges commaundement takyng the scedule of condemnatiō in hand, read the same: MarginaliaThe sentence agaynst Iohn Lambert.Wherin was conteyned the burnyng of heretickes, whiche either spake or wrote any thyng, or had any bookes by them, repugnaunt or disagreyng from the Papisticall Churche and their tradition, touching the Sacrament of the aultar: also, a Decree that the same should be set vp vppon the Churche porches, and be read. iiij. tymes euery yeare, in euery Churche throughout the realme, wherby the worshyppyng of the bread should be þe more firmely fixed in the hartes of the people. And in this maner was þe condēnation of Iohn Lambert. Wherin great pitie it was, and much to be lamēted, to see the kyngs hyghnes that day so to oppose and set his power and strength so fiercely and vehemently in assistyng so many proud and furious aduersaries, agaynst that one poore seely soule, to be deuoured. Whō his maiesty with more honor might rather haue ayded and supported beyng so on euery side oppressed & compassed about with-out helpe or refuge, among so many woulues and vultures, especially in such a cause tendyng to no derogation to hym nor to his realme, but rather to the necessary reformation of syncere truth and doctrine decayed. MarginaliaThe part of a good Prince, what to doe.For therin especially cōsisteth the honor of Princes, to pitie the miserable, to releue the oppressed, to rescue the wronges of the poore, and to tender and respect the weaker part, especially where right and truth standeth with hym: which if the kyng had done that day, it had bene, in my mynde, not so much for the comfort of that poore persecuted creature, as it would haue redounded to the immortall renowne of hys princely estate to all posteritie.

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But thus was Iohn Lambert, in thys bloudy Session by the kyng iudged & condemned to death, whose iudgement now remaineth with the Lord agaynst that day, when as before the tribunall seate of that great iudge, both Princes and subiectes shall stand and appeare, not to iudge, but to bee iudged, accordyng as they haue done and deserued 

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Foxe notes here that he had obtained this account of Lambert's trial from a certain 'A.G.'. This note only appeared in 1570, although Foxe had already printed this account in the Rerum and in the 1563 edition. 'A. G.' is very probably Anthony Gilby, the celebrated Protestant preacher, with whom Foxe shared a house in Frankfurt in 1554-55.

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. Ex testimo cuiusdam xxx. A. G.

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The order and maner of the burnyng of the constant Martyr in Christ Iohn Lambert.

MarginaliaThe wordes that he spake.
The Martyrdome of good Ioh. Lambert.

The order and maner of the burnyng of the constant Martyr in Christ Iohn Lambert.
woodcut [View a larger version]
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The trial and death of John Lambert alias Nicholson was extraordinary in many respects, and filled many pages of Foxe's book. Coming as it did at a critical phase of Henry VIII's remoulding of the English church, when eucharisitic doctrine threatened to upset applecarts in England itself, as well as its continental relations, and when the king's leading aides (both Cranmer and Cromwell) were covertly heading in directions quite other than those congenial to the king, Lambert's case was threatening. He was initially examined by Archbishop Warham on 45 articles, but it was his sacramentarian heresy that proved critical, and accounts for the space allotted to him in the 'Book of Martyrs' as well as the royal presence presiding at his final trial. He was burned at Smithfield on 22 November 1538. Another unusual feature of Lambert's case is the close relationship between Foxe's text and image. Author and designer here worked together, integrating word and image. Foxe described the peculiar horror of this burning, and the block-maker faithfully portrayed his words, that described how after Lambert's legs had been consumed 'up to the stumps', his 'tormentors' pulled back the fire and attacked him with their pikes 'after the manner and form that is described in the picture adjoined'. After which Lambert, 'lifting up such hands as he had, and his fingers' ends flaming with fire', cried out 'none but Christ, none but Christ', before he collapsed and fell into the fire. As it happened, the illustrator responsible for this block was peculiarly fitted to the task. For we can reasonably assign to him a group of woodcuts that share recognizable characteristics: a pyre with gatherings of straight logs; writhing flames that have partings (like those in hair); flames that lick around the martyr's arms (and sometimes dart from the hair); outstetched armsand splayed fingers (specially suiting this case). (He almost specialised in 'fingers flaming with fire'). Blocks that shared these features included several used in the first edition that proved awkward in size, and were abandoned or (unsatisfactorily) trimmed. (Examples are the burnings of William Sawtry, Alexander Gouch and Driver's wife, and Bishop Ferrar. If the maker of these cuts was also given assigments in the larger woodcuts, we might assign this one to him). CUL copy: the tips of the flames in this copy are depicted in red. Additional detail is provided in ink in this copy.

And thus much hetherto of Lābertes articles, aunsweres, disputation, and his condemnation also. Now to procede further to the story of his death:

MarginaliaLambert going to hys death.Vpon þe day that was appointed for this holy Martyr of God to suffer, he was brought out of the prison at viij. of the clocke in the mornyng, vnto the house of the Lord Cromwell, and so caryed into his inwarde chamber, where as it is reported of many, MarginaliaL. Cromwell desired of Lambert forgeuenes.that Cromwell desired hym of forgiuenes for that hee had done 

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It is highly unlikely that Cromwell would have had someone condemned by the king brought to his and that he would have sought the condemned man's forgiveness. This anecdote has to regarded as another attempt by Foxe to alleviate the embarrassment caused by Lambert's having been denounced by other evangelicals.

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. There, at the last, Lambert being admonished, that the houre of hys death was at hand, he was greatly cōforted and cheared, and beyng brought out of þe chamber into the Halle, he saluted the Gentlemen, & sat downe to breakefast with them, shewyng no maner of sadnes or feare. When as breakfast was ended, he was caried straight way to the place of executiō, wheras he should offer hym selfe vnto þe Lord a sacrifice of sweete sauor 
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See Ephesians 5:2; this is a common martyrological trope.

, who is blessed in his Sainctes for euer & euer. Amen.

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As touchyng the terrible maner and fashion of the burning of this blessed Martyr 

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This account of Lambert's execution was only added in the 1570 edition. It was probably sent to Foxe by an eyewitness to the event.

, here is to be noted that of all other, which haue bene burned and offered vp at Smithfield, there was yet none so cruelly and pitiously handled, as he. For after that his legges were cōsumed and burned vppe to the stumpes, and that the wretched tormentors and enemyes of God had withdrawne the fire from hym, so that but a small fire and coales were left vnder hym, thē two þt stoode on ech side of hym, wt their Hallebards pitched hym vp vpō their pikes, as farre as þe cheyne would reach, after þe maner and forme here in this picture aboue described. Thē he lyftyng vp such handes as hee had, & hys fingers endes flaming with fire, cried vnto þe people in these wordes: MarginaliaThe wordes which he spake at his death.NONE BVT CHRIST, NONE BVT CHRIST, and so beyng let down agayne from their Hallebards, fell into the fire and there gaue vp hys lyfe.

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