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OS grid ref: SU 865 675

726 [702]

K. Hen. 6. Alanus Copus that sicophant answered. Margaret Iourdeman witche of Eye.

ly charging, that no person from hencefoorth presume to resort to the place where the saide Richarde was executed vnder colour of Pilgrime, or for any other cause of deuotion what so euer, nor send any offering thither, nor worship him hereafter openly or secretly, nor adiudge, esteme, repute, name or talke of him as otherwise iustified or innocent, then such as the said reuerend father by his former definitiue sentence hath pronounced him to be vpon paine and penaltye to be taken and reputed for an hereticke or a fauourer of hereticks, and to receiue condigne punishment prouided for hereticks. And that you arrest all & euery person whom you shall finde to do any thing cōtrary to this our Proclamation, and the same so arested, commit to our prisone, there to remaine vntil we shal thinke good to send countermaund for their deliuerance Witnes the king at his manor of Estampstede, the 15. day of Iuly in the 18. yere of his reigne.

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Per ipsum Regem.

Like writtes, and to the same effect were directed to al the shriues through all the realme bearing all one and the same Date. By the vertue of which letter, the Maior and sheriffes did such diligence, that shortly after, that cōcourse and seking of the people was left of.

MarginaliaEx Regist. Hen. Chicheslei.After the burning of thys man, which was about the moneth of Iune, in the same yere about Nouember, a conuocation was called by Henry Archbish. of Cant. wherein was propounded among the clergie, to consult with them selues, what way were best to be taken, for the remoouing a way the law of Premuniri facias, for so were the harts then of the temporalty set against the ecclesiasticall sort, þt where any vantage might be geuen them by the law, they did nothing spare, by reason whereof, the churchmen at that time were greatly molested by the sayd law of Premuniri, and by the kings writtes, and other inditements, to their no smal anoyance, MarginaliaThe bishops cōsult to abolish the lawe of Premuniri facias.By long consultation and good aduisement, at last this way was taken, þt a petition or supplicatiō should be drawen and presented to the king, for the abolishing of the foresaid lawe of Premuniri facias, and also for the restraining of other briefes, wryts, and inditements, which seemed then to lie heauy vppon the Clergy. This bill or supplication being contriued and exhibited by the Archbish. of Canter. and of Yorke, vnto the king standing in neede the same time, of a subsidie to be collected of the cleargie: MarginaliaThe kings aunswere to the bill of the Clergy touching the law of Premuniri.thys aunswer was geuen to their supplication on the kings behalfe: that for somuche as the time of Christenmasse then drewe neare, whereby he had as yet no sufficient leisure to aduise vppon the matter, he woulde take therein a farther pause. In the meane time, as one tendering theyr quiet, he would send to al his officers and ministers wtin his realm, that no such briefe of Premuniri, shoulde passe against them or any of them, from the saide time of Christenmas, till the next Parliament. An. 1439. Ex Regist. Cant.

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MarginaliaA briefe aunswere to Cope, concerning Lady Eleanor Cobham.In my former edition of Acts & monuments, so hastely rashed vp at that present, in such shortnesse of time, as in the sayde booke thou mayst see (gentle reader) declared and signified: among many other matters therein contained, there is a shorte note made of one Eleanor Cobham Duchesse of Gloucester, & of Syr Roger Onley knight (priest it should haue ben printed,) 

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Eleanor Cobham

In his Catalogus, Bale gave an account of a 'Roger Onley', a chaplain to Eleanor Cobham, the wife of Duke Humphrey of Gloucester. Bale described 'Onley' as an Oxford graduate, who became a Lollard. The clergy, because he was a Lollard, and because they hated Gloucester, falsely accused 'Onley' and the duchess of Gloucester of sorcery. 'Onley' and certain others were hanged, drawn and quartered. Eleanor Cobham was tried by an ecclesiastical tribunal and imprisoned for the rest of her life (Catalogus, pp. 584-5). The individual whom Bale identified as Roger Onley was, in fact, Roger Bolingbroke, the principal of St Andrew's Hall, Oxford. (One of Bale's sources, the chronicle of John Hardyng, misidentified Bolingbroke as Onley). Bale's account was, moreover, highly tendentious. Eleanor Cobham had, in fact, dabbled in astrology in an effort to find out when her husband (the heir to the childless Henry VI) might become king. Cobham also obtained love potions from one Margery Jourdemane, a reputed witch, whom Bale failed to mention. (For an account of the episode see R. A. Griffiths, 'The Trial of Eleanor Cobham', Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 51 [1968-9], pp. 381-99). Most importantly, no medieval source gives the slightest hint that Bolingbroke and Cobham were, as Bale claimed, Lollards. This is based solely on Bale's assumption, stemming from his desire to see proto-Protestants throughout the Middle Ages, that anyone condemned by an ecclesiastical tribunal was a Lollard or a Protestant avant la lettre. Bale simply ignored detailed descriptions of Cobham's sorcery and the inconvenient involvement of Jourdemane.

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Foxe first printed an account of this incident, based solely on Bale, in the Rerum (p. 116). Foxe, however, added an important error of his own. He stated that Onley (or Bolingbroke), was a knight, while Bale (and Bale's sources) are clear that he was a cleric. Foxe repeated his brief account of Onley and Cobnam in the 1563 edition. The combination of Bale's and Foxe's errors provided Nicholas Harpsfield, Foxe's most important contemporary critic, with an invaluable opportunity to discredit Foxe. Harpsfield seized upon it with alacrity. Harpsfield pointed out that Onley was not a knight and that he was really Roger Bolingbroke. He also made something of Foxe's mention of a woman, the mother of Lady Young, whose account appeared in the 1563 edition (just after that of Cobham and 'Onley') and made his own mistaken assumption: that the mother of Lady Young was actually Margery Jourdemane. (The mother of Lady Young was actually Joan Boughton, who was executed in 1494; see The Great Chronicle of London, ed. A. H. Thomas and I. D. Thornley [London, 1938], p. 252. Boughton was the mother-in-law of Sir John Young, a mayor of London). Harpsfield also pointed out that no source claimed that Cobham, Bolingbroke and Jourdemane were heretics. Rather all were agreed that they were convicted of sorcery (Dialogi sex, pp. 830-1).

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In the 1570 edition, Foxe responded to Harpsfield. He conceded that he was incorrect about Onley/Bolingbroke having been a knight, but that was his only concession. The 1570 account of Cobham, including Foxe's response to Harpsfield, was repeated, without change, in subsequent editions.

Thomas S. Freeman,
University of Sheffield

Which two persons, about the yeare of our Lord. 1440. or the next yeare following, were condemned, the one to death, the other to perpetual prison. Of this litle short matter, maister Cope the Popes Scout, lying in priuie wait to spie faults in al mēs works, wherso euer any may appeare, taketh pepper in the nose, & falleth againe vnto his olde barking against mee, for placing these foresayd persons in my booke of Martyrs, but especially he thinketh to haue great vantage against me, for that in the same story, I do ioyne withal, one Margaret Iourdeman, the witch of Eye, condemned also wyth them the same time, and burned for practising the kings death by an image of waxe, &c. To answere hereunto, first I say (as I before sayde) that I professe no such title to wryte of Martyrs: but in generall to wryte of rites and Monuments passed in the church and realme of England. Wherin, why should I be restrained from the free walke of a story wryter, more then other that haue gone before me?

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Secondly, touching my commendation of Sir Roger Onley, and the Lady Eleanor, if maister Alane be therewith offended, I aunswer that I commended them for sauoring and fauoring of the truth of Christes doctrine: For the fact, if any such were in them, I do not commend them. And although I did commend them, yet neither did I it wt any long tarying vppon it, nor yet all together vpon mine owne head, without some sufficient warrant of authoritie. For why may not I as well beleeue Iohn Bale, as M. Alane beleue M. Fabian? especially seeing I do knowe, and was priuie, that the saide Iohn in recognising his Centuries, followed altogether the history of Leland. De Catalogo virorum illustrium, which booke being borowed of masterCheke, I my selfe did see in the hands of the foresayd Iohn Bale, what time we were both together, dwelling in the house of the noble Lady Duches of Richmond. Wherefore if he thinke me so leud to speake without mine authors, he is deceiued. And if he thinke mine authors not to be beleueed, then let thys Nomothetes, or iolly Dictator, come foorth and prescribe vs a law, what authors he would haue vs to take, and what to refuse. For els why is it not as free for me to credite Iohn Bale, and Leland, as for him to credite Robert Fabian, and Edw. Hall, especially seeing they had seene hys bookes and workes left behinde him, wherupon they might better iudge, and so did neuer these?

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MarginaliaTo the third obiection.Thirdly, for the name of Roger Onley, if Cope denie that there was any such name in stories mētioned, but that there was one called Roger Bolingbroke. &c. heereby it may appeare that either his prompter out of England deceiued him, or els that hee goiung no further but to Fabian and Hall, lacketh no good wil in him, but only a little matter to make a perfect sycophant. And admit the sayde name of Onley could not be founde in those wryters, yet it were not vnpossible for a man to haue two names, especially if he were a religious man, to beare the name of the towne where he was born, beside his own proper surname. But nowe what if I (M. Cope) can auouch and bring foorth to you the name of Roger Onley out of sufficient recorde, which you seeme not to haue yet read? Haue yee not then done well and properly (thinke you) so bitterly to flee in my face, and to barke so egerly all this while at moneshine in the water, hauing no more cause almoste against me, thē against the man in the Moone? And now least you shoulde thinke me so much vnprouided of iust authority for my defence, as I see you vnprouided of modestie and patience, wryte you to your prompter or suborner (where so euer he lurketh here in England) to sende you ouer vnto Louane the booke of Iohn Harding a Chronicler, more auncient then either Fabian or Hall, printed in the house of Richard Grafton, Anno 1543. where turne to the fol. 223. fac. b. lin. 19. and there shall you finde and reade these wordes.

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Againe the Church and the king cursedly:

By helpe of one maister Roger Onley. &c.

By the whyche woordes yee must necessarily confesse Roger Onley to be the name of the man, either els must ye needes deny the author. For otherwise that master Roger Bolingbroke was the onely helper to the Duchesse in that fact, by no wise it can stande with the story of these authors which say, that 4. other besides hym were cōdemned for the same crime. &c. MarginaliaVid. Centu. 8. Ral. ca. 4. And moreouer thought the sayd Sir R. Onley was no knight (as I haue saide in my former edition) yet this yee cannot deny, by the testimonie of them that haue sene his workes, but that he was a Priest, which you wil graunt to be a knights fellow. And thus much for the name and condition of M. Roger Onley.

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MarginaliaTo the 4. obiection.Fourthly, as concerning Margaret Iourdeman, whō ye call the witch of Eye, ye offer me herein great wrong, to say that I make her a marytr, which was a wytche: when as I here professe, confesse, and ascertaine both you, and all English men, both present & al posterity hereafter to come, that this Margaret Iourdeman I neuer spake of, neuer thought of, neuer dreamed of, nor did euer heare of, before you named her in your booke your selfe. So farre is it of, that I eyther with my will, or against my will, made any martyr of her.

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MarginaliaM. Cope rayleth without a cause.Furthermore, I professe and denounce in like manner, þt neither haue you any iust or congrue occasion in my boke so to iudge, much lesse to raile of me. For where, in expresse words I do speake of the mother of the Lady Yong, what occasion haue you therby to slander me and my boke with Margarete Iourdeman? which Margarete whether shee was a witche or not, I leaue her to the Lorde. As for me, neither did I knowe of her then, nor did I meane of her nowe. But because I couple her in the same story, you say. To this I say, because shee was the mother of a Ladie, I thought to ioyne her wt an other Lady in the same story, as in one pue together, although in one cause I will not say. And yet notwtstanding I doe so couple the saide mother wt the Duchesse, in such distinct difference of yeares, that you M. Cope might easily haue vnderstande, or beside you, no man els would haue thought the contrary, but that Margaret Iourdeman was neither heere in my booke, nor yet in my memento. For the woordes of my storie are playne, where as the condemnation of the Lady Eleanor, & of the mother of Lady Young being referred to the yeare of our Lord 1441. I doe also in the same story (through the occasion of that Ladie) inferre mention of the mother of the Ladie Yong, declaring in expresse woordes, MarginaliaSee the former edition, pag. 371. that shee folowed

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