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985 [985]

K. Henry. 8. Persecution in the dioces of Lincolne.

MarginaliaThe practyse of Prelates.mentioned, but it was discouered. So subtlely & sleightly these Catholicque prelates did vse their inquisitiōs and examinations, that nothyng was done or sayd amonge these Knowen men, xv. or xx. yeares before so couertly, but it was brought at length to their intelligence. Such captious interrogatories, so many Articles and suspiciōs they had, such espialles and priuey scoutes they sent abroad, such authoritie and credite they had with the king, and in the kynges name: such diligence they shewed in that behalfe, so violently & impudētly they abused þe booke of þe peaceable Euangelistes, wreastyng mens cōsciences vpō their othe, swearing then vpon þe same to detecte thē selues, their fathers and mothers, and other of their kinred, with their frēdes and neighbours, and that to death. All whiche thynges in the further proces of the table ensuyng (Christ willyng) whiche wee haue collected out of some parte of the Registers of Lincolne, shall appeare.

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For the better declaration whereof, first here is to bee premonished by the way, touchyng the sea of Lyncolne, that after Williā Smith succeded Iohn Longland. 

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William Smith (1495-1514) was succeeded as bishop of Lincoln by Thomas Wolsey (1514) and William Atwater (1514-21) before John Longland (1521-47) became bishop.

MarginaliaW. Smyth Byshop of Lincolne.This William Smith althoughe hee was somewhat eger and sharpe agaynste the simple poore flocke of Christes seruaunts, vnder whom some were burned, many abiured, a great number molested, as partly hath bene afore declared: yet was he nothyng so bloudy nor cruell, MarginaliaIohn Longland byshop of was the said Longland, which afterward succeded in that dioces. For so I finde of him, that in the time of þe great abiuration, & troublesome affliction of Buckinghamshyre men, wherin many were abiured, and certeine burned, yet diuers he sent quietly home, without punishment and penaunce, byddyng them go home, and lyue as good Christen men should do. And many which were enioyned penaunce before, he did release. 
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Although Longland does seem to have been rigorous, it should, in fairness, be noted that, unlike Smith, he was dealing with people who previously abjured and also that his systematic method of investigation ensured that he detacted numerous heretics.

MarginaliaThe College of Brasen nose in Oxforde builded.This Smith died about the yeare of our Lord. 1515. by whom was builded, as is aforesayd, the College of Brasen nose in Oxford. 
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Foxe attended Brasenose College, which might explain his relatively lenient assessment of Bishop Smith.

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Not long after him folowed Iohn Longland, a fierce and cruell vexer of the faithfull poore seruaūts of Christ: 

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One scholar has declared that 'Longland took almost a sportsman's delight in apprehending preachers or intellectuals who were propagating heresy' (Margaret Bowker, The Henrician Reformation: The diocese of Lincoln under John Longland 1521-1547 [Cambridge, 1981], p. 61). It is also worth noting that abjuration and even informing on others were not necessarily sufficient to save a heretic. Longland burned his chief witness, Thomas Holmes.

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who to renew agayne the olde sparcles of persecution, which were not yet vtterly quenched, first begāne wt one or two of them, which had been abiured, whō he thought to be most notorious, causing them by force of their othe to detecte and bewray not only their owne opinions touching pointes of Religion, but also to discouer all other of their affinitie, which were either suspected, or abiured before. MarginaliaByshop Longland a grieuous persecutour of Christs people.And them likewise hee put to their othe, most violently constreynyng them to vtter and confesse both them selues, and whom els so euer they knew. By reasō wherof an incredible multitude 
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In this case, an 'incredible mutitude' is about 50 people.

of men, wemen, and maydēs, were brought forth to examination, and straitly handled. And such as were found in relapse, were burned. The rest were so burdened with superstitious and idolatrous penaunce & iniunctions, that either through griefe of cōscience they shortly dyed: or els with shame they lyued. MarginaliaAccusers:
The partyes accused:
The crimes obiected.
All whiche tragicall doynges and procedynges of the Byshop agaynst these Knowen and Iust fast men, in these tables here vnder folowyng (Christ grauntyng) shall appeare, both with the accusers, and with the parties them selues accused, and also the crimes obiected.

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But before we enter into the table, it shall be requisite first to heare the order and copie of his captious and crafty Interrogatories, whereby he constrayned the simple poore men to accuse and appeache one an other: whiche Interrogatories were these in order as foloweth.

¶ Interrogatories ministred commonly by the Bishop of Lyncolne agaynst these examinates here folowyng.

MarginaliaCaptious interrogatoryes ministred by þe B. of Lincolne.THe Interrogatories or Articles, whiche Longland Byshop of Lincolne vsed most commonly to minister to these examinates or Knowen men, in number were ix. and are these as foloweth. 

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It is worth noting that these questions, rather unusually, are designed to gain information on the identity of other heretics, rather than to identifying the specific theological opinions of the accused. This is very characteristic of Longland's methods of investigation.

Marginalia1.First, whether they, or any of them did know, that certeine of the parishe of Amersham, had bene conuented before William Smith late Bishop of Lincolne, for heresie?

Marginalia2.Item, whether they knew, that they so conuented before the said Bishop, did erre in the Sacrament of the altare, or in any other Sacrament of the Churche. And if they did, in what Sacramentes, or in whiche of them: Also whether they knewe that the said parties so conuented did confesse their errours, & receaued penaunce for the same?

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Marginalia3.Item, whether they, or any of them were of the socieitie of them so conuented for heresie: And if they were, what felowship they had with them, and with whom?

Marginalia4.Item, whether they, or any one of them were euer conuersant with such a one (naming the person whō they knew suspected) as with Thurstan Litlepage. And if they were, what cōuersation they had with him, how long, and when: And whether they knew the said person to haue bene suspect of heresie?

Marginalia5.Item, whether they, or any of them were euer conuersant with him, or him (naming some other person, whom they suspected) as Alexand. Mastall. And if they were, how, and how long: And whether they knew the sayd person to bee suspected of heresie?

Marginalia6.Item, whether they, or any of them had bene before time detected of heresie to the office of the foresayd William Bishop of Lincolne. And if they were, by what person or persons they were detected: Or els whether they were onely called by the foresaid William Bishop, for heresie?

Marginalia7.Item, whether he, or they be noted and holden for heretikes, or be reputed and diffamed to be of the secte of thē, which were conuented for heresie: And whether he or they be named for a Knowen man amongest them?

Marginalia8.Item, whether he, or they haue bene euer at any readinges of such as haue bene so conuented for heresie?

Marginalia9.Item, whether he, or they were euer in any secret communication or conuenticle with them. Whom, or whiche of them he knew to be named and reputed for a Knowen man, or holding against the Sacrament of the altare, or other Sacraments, and Articles of faith. And if they knewe any such, to declare where, and when, and what they were, and who were present the same time?

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These Articles and Interrogatories thus declared, nowe followeth to be shewed a certayne briefe summe cōpendiously collected out of þe Registers of Iohn Longland bishop of Lincolne, declaring in order of a table the names, first of them which by othe were constrained agaynst their wils to detecte and accuse other: Secondlye the persons þt were accused: Thirdly þe crimes to thē obiected, as in þe proces of this table shall follow to be seene. 

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What follows is a detailed - and, as far as we can tell, accurate - description of Longland's procedure in investigating heresy.

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And first, forasmuch as the Bishop perceaued that Roger Bennet, Williā Chedwell, Edmund Dormer, Thomas Hardyng, Robert Andrew, with such other were men especially noted to be of that side, therfore to woorke his purpose the better, he began with them, producyng the same as witnesses, to detect first Robert Bartlet of Amersham, and Richard his brother: vnderstandyng that these forenamed witnesses, because they had bene abiured before, durst now do no other vpon peyne of relapse, but needes confesse what soeuer was put vnto them. And therfore because Robert Bartlet & Richard his brother beyng called before the Byshop, and sworne vpon theyr othe, would confesse nothyng agaynst thē selues, the Byshop to conuict them by wytnesses, went first to William Chedwell lying sore sicke in his bed, causing him vpon þe Euangelistes to sweare, whether he knew the foresayd Robert & Richard Bartlet to be Knowen men. Which beyng done, the Byshop then called before hym Robert Andrew, Roger Bennet, Iohn Hill, Edmund Dormer, Iohn Mylsent, Thomas Bernard, Thomas Litlepage, Iohn Dosset, all Amersham men: who beyng abiured before, as is sayd, durst no otherwise doo, but confesse vppon their othe, that Robert and Richarde Bartlet were Knowen men. And yet the Byshop not contented with this, caused also their two wyues, to wytte, Margarete the wife of Robert Bartlet, and Isabell the wife of Rich. Bartlet, to depose & geue wytnesse agaynst their owne naturall husbandes. Albeit Isabell Bartlet beyng somwhat more temperate of her tongue, refused vtterly to confesse any thing of her husband, and denyed her husbandes wordes to be true, till at last she beyng conuict of periurie, was constrayned to vtter the truth, as in the proces of thys table following more particularlye follweth to be seen.

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