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725 [701]

K. Hen. 6. The cruell fact of Mainardus. Ric. Wiche martired. The kings writte.

mies strong and enfebled themselues. Albeit afterward, in processe of time, they so defended the cause of their religion, not by sworde, but by argument and disputation, that the Bishop of Rome could neuer yet to this day, remooue the Thaborites, and Citie of Prage, from the communion of both the kindes, nor coulde euer cause them to keepe the conditions, which in the beginning of the Councell, was enioyned their priests to obserue, as testifieth MarginaliaEx Cochleo. lib. 8. hist. Hussit.Cochleus. lib. 8. hist. Huss. With whom also recordeth Antoninus, who in 3. part. hist. saith, that the doctrine of the Bohemians, which he termeth by the name of Zizania, did take so deepe roote wyth them, and grewe so fast, that afterwarde, neyther by fire nor sword, it could be extinct. MarginaliaEx Antonin 3. part. tit. 22. c. 10.An. 3. part. hist. tit. 22. cap. 10

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Concerning the which Bohemians, briefly & in a generall summe, to recapitulate their whole actes & doings, here is to be noted, that they in their owne defence, & in the quarel of Iohn Hus, and Hierome of Prage, prouoked by their catholike aduersaries to warre, fighting vnder Zisca their Captaine, had eleuen battailes with the Popes side, and euer went away victours. Ex paral. Abb. Vrsp. in Epitaphio, Ioan Zisc. Moreouer, in the history of Peucer MarginaliaEx hist. Caspari Peucer lib. 5. it is testified that pope Martin 5. sending for the B. of Wint. then Cardinal, had leuied 3. maine armies, intending to ouerrunne al the Bohemians: one army of the Saxons, vnder the prince Elector, the seconde of the Francones, vnder the Marques of Brandeburge, the thirde of Renates, Bauarians and Suechers, vnder Octo archb. of Treuers. With these, Sigismund also the Emperork, and Cardinal Iulian the popes Legate (who at last was slain in war, and being spoiled of all his attire, was left naked in the fielde) ioyned al their force. Who ioyning together 5. times (sayth the story) which 5. sondry battailes, assailed and inuaded the Bohemians: at euery which battail, 5. times the sayd aduersaries stroken and daunted with a sodain feare, MarginaliaMaruelous feare fallen vpon the popes army. ranne away out of the field, leauing their tents wt all their implements and furniture behind them, before any stroke was geuen. Ex Casp. Peuc. lib. 5. Whereby it may appeare, MarginaliaGods holy angels pitch their tentes about them which feare him. Psal.the holy aungels of God to fight for them which embraced the syncere doctrine of Christes gospell.

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Thus the Bohemians through the mighty protection of almighty God, cōtinued a long time inuincible, during all þe life of Zisca, & also of Procopius, til at length through discord growing betwene them & theyr captains Procopius & Mainardus, they were subdued vnto their enemies.

MarginaliaThe cruell deceite and wicked facte of Mainardus against the souldiours of Boheme.And heere by the way is not to be omitted the wicked and cruel facte of Mainardus, who after the death of Procopius, thinking to purge the realme of Boheme of those chiefe and principal soldiours, which had bene long expert and trained vp in warres, found meanes by a proclamation made, as though he woulde warre against other countreis of their ennemies bordering about them, craftily to traine all them which were disposed to take wages, into certaine barnes or houels, prepared for the same purpose, MarginaliaCertaine thousandes of the Bohemiā souldiors brent.and so shutting the dores vppon them, the wicked dissembler set fire vpon them, & brent of them diuers thousands, and so brought the rest by that meanes, vnder subiection to the Emperor during his lyfe time, which after that continued not long. MarginaliaEx Aenea Silu. lib. de hist. Boem. cap. 51.Ex Æne. Syl The which soldiours, if they had fought so much for the catholike liberties of the Pope and his churche, as they had fought against him, it is maruaile if the Pope had not dignified them all for holy martyrs. But they that kill with the sword (sayeth Christ) shall perish with the sword. Notwithstanding, the cruell deceit of Mainardus, is worthy of all men to be detested.

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MarginaliaEngland noted of crueltie.During this businesse among the bishops beyonde the sea in the meane time our bishops here also in Englande, were not vnoccupied. Whether it be þe nature of the countrey that so geueth: or whether þe great liuings and welthy promotions of the clergy, do draw wt them a more insensible vntowardnesse in Gods religion, hard it is to say: MarginaliaBurning & slaying in England.this is manifest to all them which will read and marke our stories from time to time, that in Englande is more burning and slaying for Religion and for all other matters: more bloudshed among vs then in any other lande or nation in Christendome besides. After the burning of Rich. Houeden, of Nicho. Canon, and of Thom. Bagley priest, aboue recorded, pag. 666. whom the bishops condemned to death An. 1431. not long after, about the yere of our Lorde 1439. MarginaliaAnno 1439. which was the 18. of the raign of king Henr. 6. they had an other poore man by the backe, MarginaliaR. Wiche Priest, Martir.named Rich. Wiche 

Commentary  *  Close
Richard Whiche

Foxe's account of Richard Wyche was first printed in the 1570 edition. Foxe listed two sources for his account, Robert Fabian's chronicle, and an old English chronicle he borrowed from someone named Permynger. This last named item is impossible to identify, particularly since Foxe's account is taken virtually word-for-word from Fabian. (See Fabyan's cronycle [London, 1559], STC 10664, p. 436). In the 1583 edition, Foxe added a royal proclamation to the sheriffs of London and Middlesex, ordering them to suppress the cult of Richard Wyche. How Foxe obtained a copy of this document is unknown, but the document survives and Foxe printed it accurately. (See the summary of the proclamation in Calendar of Close Rolls. Henry VI. Vol. III. 1435-1441, pp. 385-6).

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Foxe assumes, as almost every scholar examining the incident has, that Wyche was executed for Lollard beliefs and that his cult was generated by other Lollards. For a compelling case that neither assumption is true, and for the best account of the episode, see Richard Rex, 'Which is Wyche? Lollardy and Sanctity in Lancastrian London' in Martyrs and Martyrdom in England, c. 1400-1700, ed. Thomas S. Freeman and Thomas F. Mayer (Woodbridge, 2007), pp. 88-106.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

Priest, mentioned both in Rob. Fabian, and also in another olde english chronicle borowed of one Perminger. MarginaliaEx Fabian part. 7. Ex antiquo alto Chronico. What his opinions were, they do not expresse. This they recorde, that this Rich. wich. first was degraded, then burned at the tower hil for heresy. Some do affirm that he before his death reuolted, but that seemeth by his burning, not to be true.

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It is also testified of him, that before his death, he spake (as prophesying) that the posterne of the tower shuld sink,

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Richard Wyche, truly a 'veteran Lollard priest' when he went to the stake in 1440, had a heretical career that started near the beginning of the century and took him from Newcastle to London and the Welsh marches. His intermittent appearances suggest that he was associated with Sir John Oldcastle, and was of some standing, since he sent a letter to John Hus (who also received books from him) in 1410, at the same time as Oldcastle wrote to a Bohemian noble. His respect in the eyes of Londoners was such that steps were taken to prevent people pilgrimaging to his place of execution. Foxe's account of Wiche's death is a short but particularly vivid one, describing how a pile of stones was gathered and a cross erected at the site of his execution, after the martyr's death. This interesting event, taking place some time after the death of the martyr would have been difficult to include, since most illustrations depict the moment immediately surrounding the death of the martyr. But the story may have been enough to warrant him having his own illustration (albeit one of the generic, repeated small woodcuts). CUL copy: Wiche is dressed in white with a greying beard. He is clad on top but is depicted as having heavily greying hair. WREN: the same details are added.

which also afterward came as he said to passe, wherfore of many of the people he was counted for an holy man: MarginaliaRich. Wiche after his death taken for a saint. In so much that (as it is affirmed) they came to þe place where he was burnt, and there made their oblations and prayers, and areired a great heap of stones, and set vp a crosse there by night: so that by this meanes a great clamor ran vppon the Churchmen, and especially vppon suche as put hym to death. Then to cease the rumor, the king gaue commandement to punish such, as went thether on pilgrimage. The copy wherof is here to be sene as foloweth.

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Rex vicecomitibus London. & Midd. salutem. Albeit Richard Wyche late clearke, who heretofore long sithence heretically did hold, teach, & publikely preache certaine heresies and erroneous opinions in many places within our realme of England. And for the same many yeares nowe past being iudicially conuicted, did before a iudge in that behalfe sufficient abiure all heresy generally, and afterward as a dogge returning to his vomit, did presume to maintain, teach, & publikely preach his former errors and heresies, so that hee was worthely adiudged a Relapse. And againe being impeached for the same before the reuerend father in God Robert B of London his lawfull Ordinarie was called foorth to iudgement, and being before him, did iudicially confesse hys errors and heresies. For the which cause the saide reuerende father, vppon mature deliberation by hym the sayde Reuerende father first had with the aduise of the learned in the lawe, his assistantes lawfully proceeding against the saide Richard did by his sentēce defintiue pronounce and adiudge him to bee a Relapse, and did disgrade him from the order and dignitie of Priesthoode, & tooke from him all priestly ornaments, and depriued him of all priestly function and Priuiledge (according to iustice) and last of all turned him ouer to the secular power as the manner is: And afterwards you, by our Princely commandement and warrant did according to the lawe of oure realme for his last punishment consume the body of the sayd Richard to ashes, being a Relapse conuict, and disgraded as a notorious traitour, not only against God, but also against vs and our crowne and dignity. All which notwithstanding certaine our subiects (as we haue ben sundry times enformed) being pricked foreward with a Diabolical spirite, practising of all likelihode not only sedition, but also Idolatry within our Realme are not afraide publikely to affirme that the sayde Richard was altogether innocent of heretical prauity Nay rather they do moste shamefully with their vaine deuises, and wickedly conceiued imaginatiōs blase abroad that he was, & died a good, iust and an holy man, and that he doeth many myracles (whereas in deede no suche myracles be done by him.) Which disordinate persones we may well and vpon probable causes repute & deme culpable, not only of heretical prauitie, but also of high treason, and as rebels to our persone, Maiestie, and violatours of the peace and dignity of our Realme, as with all breakers and trespassours against the sacred Canons of the Churche, who dare so presumptuously aduenture to worship the said Richard as a Sainct, whereas it is not lawfull to worship any manner of person be he neuer so holy before he be canonised by the authority of the B. of Rome. We therefore being very carefull for the good preseruatiō of our peace, and desirous to abolish from out al the coastes of the same al maner Idolatry, do charge & command you that in certain places within your liberties wher you shal think most cōuenient, you cause forthwith proclamatiōs to be made on our behalfe, straight-

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