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530 [506]

K. Henry. 4. The burning of Iohn Badby.

bound with iron chaynes fastened to a stake, hauyng dry wood put about hym.

And as he was thus standyng in the pipe or tonne (for as yet Cherillus Bull was not in vre among the bishops) it happened that the prince the kings eldest sonne, was there present. Who shewyng some part of þe good Samaritane, began to endeuour and assay how to saue the lyfe of hym, whō the hypocriticall Leuites and Phariseis sought to put to death. MarginaliaThe prince laboureth to turne Badby. He admonished and counsailed him, that hauyng respect vnto hymselfe, he should spedely withdraw himself out of these daungerous Laberinthes of opinions, addyng often tymes threatnings, the which might haue daunted any mās stomacke. Also Courtney at that tyme Chauncellor of Oxford, preached vnto hym, and enformed hym of the fayth of holy Church.

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MarginaliaThe sacrament solemnly brought to Smithfield at the burning of Badby. In this meane season, the Prior of S. Bartlemewes in Smithfield, brought with all solemnitie the Sacrament of Gods body, with twelue torches borne before, & so shewed the Sacrament to the poore man beyng at the stake. And then they demaunded of hym how he beleued in it, he answeryng: that he knew well it was halowed bread, & not gods body. And then was the tunne put ouer hym, and fire put vnto hym. And when he felt the fire, he cryed, mercy (calling belyke vpon the Lorde) and so the Prince immediatly com maunded to take away the tunne, and quenche the fire. The Prince hys commaundement beyng done, asked hym if he would forsake heresie to take hym to the fayth of holy Church: which thyng if he would do, he should haue goodes inough, promising also vnto hym a yearely stipend out of the kings treasury, so muche as should suffice hys contentation.

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But this valiaunt champion of Christ, neglectyng the princes fayre wordes, as also contemnyng all mens deuises: refused the offer of worldly promises, no doubt, but beyng more vehemently inflamed with the spirit of God then with any earthly desire. MarginaliaIoh. Badby constant to the end. Wherfore, when as yet he continued vnmoueable in his former mynd, the prince commaunded hym straight to be put agayne into the pipe or tunne, and that he should not afterward looke for any grace or fauour. But as he could be allured by no rewardes, euen so was he nothing at all abashed at their tormentes, but as a valiant champion of Christ, he perseuered inuincible to the end Not without a great and most cruell battayle, but with much more greater triumph of victory: the spirit of Christ hauing alwayes the vpper hande in hys members, maugre the fury, rage, and power of the whole world. For the manifestation of which torment, we haue here set forth the picture of hys burning, in such maner as it was done.

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✼ The description of the horrible burnyng of Iohn Badby, and how he was vsed at hys death.

woodcut [View a larger version]

Commentary on the Woodcuts  *  Close
This is another of the five burnings between Wyclif and Luther that were accorded large illustrations. In 1563 the woodcut has no heading, but three lines of small type carried over from the previous pages are set above it. Badby, unlike Sawtry, was a layman, described as scissor, taylor, in the trial record , and this standing affected both the proceedings against him and what Foxe made of them. The woodcut that portrays his 'horrible burning' represents vividly the two unusual features of his demise. The condemned stands in the fire in an open-ended barrel (the stake to which the text tells us this was bound with chains is not depicted), at unusually close quarters to the surrounding officials and spectators. If this arrangement was intended to intensify the fire and so shorten the suffering of the condemned, that might be connected with the other exceptional feature of this case: namely the efforts of the Prince of Wales to extract a last-minute recantation . Such high-powered secular intervention, itself unprecedented and extraordinary at this final phase, is shown in the outstretched hand of the mounted prince, who was ready to offer the condemned man a life pension as well as a pardon if he recanted and returned to the church. The Prince interpreted Badby's cry for mercy as a sign of his change of heart. He had the fire quenched and Badby removed from the barrel, but to no avail. Badby was returned to the barrel and died in the relit flames. Foxe's text points to the accuracy of this depiction; 'for the manifestation of which torment, we have here set forth the picture of his burning, in such manner as it was done'. CUL copy: thick, heavy orange paint used for flames, which is clumsily extended on the flames close to Badby's body, which lessens the effect of the original illustration, as the flames look thicker tipped than those at the base of the fire. Those flames at the base look much more realistic – their tips do rise into points. The sheriff is mounted on a white steed. Badby is dressed in white The scroll depicting his words is edged in purple (like that of Sawtry's final words) but it is not so distinct, since purple is used copiously for the clothes of the onlookers. WREN copy: the flames are depicted crudely in this copy also.

This godly martyr Iohn Badby hauing thus consummate his testimony and martyrdome in fire, the persecutyng Bishops yet not herewith contented, and thinkyng themselues as yet eyther not strong enough, or els not sharp enough agaynst the poore innocent flocke of Christ: MarginaliaAll the power of man set agaynst the Gospell. to make all thinges sure and substantiall on their side, in such sorte, as this doctrine of the Gospell now springing should be suppressed for euer: layd their conspiring heades together, and hauing now a king for their owne purpose, readye to serue their turne in all pointes (during the time of the same Parliament aboue recited yet continuing) the foresayd Bishops and clergye of the realme, exhibited a Bill vnto the kinges maiestie: 

Commentary  *  Close
Ex officio statute

Although Foxe identifies the statute he is printing as 'Ex Officio', it is actually 'De heretico comburendo', the 1401 statute which defined heresy as a capital offence to be punished by burning at the stake (anno 2. Hen IV., cap xv). Foxe compared this statute with the laws decreed by the Roman emperors against the early Christians. Foxe believed and stated that these persecutions were to be exactly equated and that Satan was the direct instigator of both persecutions. Foxe introduced this statute in the 1570 edition and it was reprinted without change in all subsequent editions.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

subtily declaring, what quietnes hath bene maintayned within this realme by his most noble progenitours, who alwayes defended the auncient rites and customes of the Church, and enriched the same with large giftes, to the honor of God and the realme: MarginaliaThe Gospel of Christ counted as wicked and hereticall. and contrarywise, what trouble and disquietnes was now risen by diuers (as they termed them) wicked and peruerse men teaching & preachyng openly and priuily, a certaine new, wicked, & heretical kinde of doctrine, contrary to the Catholike faith & determination of holy church: Wherupon the kyng alwayes oppressed with blynd ignoraunce by the crafty meanes and subtile pretenses of the clergy, graunted in the sayd Parliament (by consent of the nobility assembled) a statute to be obserued called Ex officio as followeth.
The Statute Ex officio.

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