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514 [514]

Actes and Monumentes of the Churche.

the Cardinal and bishops by their autority ex officio, did cal in for witnesses before mayster Bilney, certen men, namelye Ihon Huggen, chefe prouincial of þe friers preachers through out al England, Geffrey Iulles, and Richard Iugworth, professors of deuinitye of the same order. Also William Iecket gentleman, William Nelson, & thomas Williames, which wer sworn that al fauor, hate, loue, or reward set apart, they should without concealynge of any falshode, or omitting any truth, to speake their mindes vpon the articles laide agaynste them, or preached by him as well wythin the diocesse of London, as the dioces of Norwich, and because he was otherwise occupied about the affaires of the Realme, he commytted the hearing of the matter to the bishop of Londō, and the other bishops there presente, or to iii. of them to procede against al men as well spirituall as temporall, as also againste sedules, wrytinges and bokes, setforth and translated by Martin Luther 

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It had been illegal to preach or teach any of Martin Luther's doctrine any where in western Europe since mid 1520, when his books and sermons were banned by Pope Leo X in his Bull Exsurge Domine. When Luther continued to defy the pope by burning the Bull with books of canon law publicly in late 1520, Leo excommunicated him at the beginning of 1521. Heresy was illegal in England under the terms of both canon law and statute: the 1408 Constitutions of Archbishop Thomas Arundel, printed in William Lyndwood, Provinciale, (seu Constitvtiones Angliae) (Oxford, 1679; rpt. 1968), p. 286; 5 Ric. II, st. 2, c. 5 (1382); 2 Hen. IV, c. 15 (1401); 2 Hen. V., st. 1, c. 7 (1414). See also J. A. Guy, 'The Legal context of the controversy: the law of heresy', in The Debellation of Salem and Bizance in The Complete Works of St. Thomas More, vol. 10 (1987), pp. xlvii-lxvii.

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, lately cōdempned by pope Leo the x. & by al manner of probable meanes to enquire and rote out their errors and opynions, and all suche as are founde culpable, to compell them to abiuration accordinge to the law, or if the matter so require, to deliuer thē vnto the seculer power, and to geue them full power and autority to determine vpon them.

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The xxviii. of Nouembre. 

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28 November 1527. Tunstall, West and Fisher came to the house of Richard Nix, near Charing Cross, perhaps out of consideration for Nix's partial blindness. Nix was a member of Bilney's college, Trinity Hall.

In the yere aforesaid, the bishop of London, with the bishop of Ely and Rochester came vnto the Byshop of Norwich his house, wheras likewise ex officio, they did sweare certain witnesses against master Thomas Arthur, in like sorte as they had done before against master Bilney, and so proceaded to the examination of mayster Arthur, which being ended vpon certain interrogatories, the Bishop of London warned hym by vertue of his oth, that he should not reuele his examinations, nor his answers, nor anye part or percell therof.

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MarginaliaWork they neuer so seacreat, yet God bryngeth to lyght at length.The second day of December, 

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2 December 1527. Despite `the same place', this part of the proceedings resumed at the Chapter House of Westminster Abbey.

the Byshops assembled again in the same place, and sware more witnesses against master Bilney. That doone, they called for mayster Arthur, vnto whose charge they laid thesee articles following. 
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The records of Bilney's and Arthur's examinations are preserved in the Register of Cuthbert Tunstall, bishop of London, in Guildhall Library, MS 9531/10, fols. 130B-136A. Arthur's and Bilney's examinations have also been discussed by Susan Brigden, London and the Reformation, (Oxford, 1989), pp. 71, 111-113, 116, 119, 122-3, 127, 161, 195, 204, 260.

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Marginalia1.In primis þt he exorted the people in his prayers, to pray specially for those that now be in prison, which article he denied.

Marginalia2.Item þt he said, thoughe men be restrained to preach now a daies 

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All traveling preachers, whether friars, monks, or learned secular clergymen, were required under the terms of English statute (2 Henry IV, c. 15, printed in Statutes of the Realm, vol. 2, pp. 125-8) and canon law (William Lyndwood, Provinciale, (seu Constitvtiones Angliae) (Oxford, 1679; rpt. 1968), Lib. V, tit. 5, pp. 288-9) to hold a license, usually from the bishop in whose diocese they wanted to preach. John Fisher, bishop of Rochester and chancellor of Cambridge obtained new licensing powers for the university under the terms of a Bull issued by Pope Alexander VI in 1503. A Cambridge University preaching license permitted its holder to preach anywhere in England, Scotland, and Ireland. Damian Riehl Leader, A History of the University of Cambridge, vol. 1, The University to 1546 (Cambridge, 1988), pp. 246-7, 278-9; Susan Wabuda, Preaching during the English Reformation (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 117-119. Arthur was licensed to preach by Cambridge University in 1519-20 in the same group that included Nicholas Shaxton and Thomas Cranmer. Grace Book B, Part II: Containing the Accounts of the Proctors of the University of Cambridge, 1511-44, ed. Mary Bateson (Cambridge, 1905), p. 77. Bilney was issued a license to preach in the diocese of Ely in 1525, which Bishop West retracted after he was convicted of heresy. Cambridge University Library, MS EDR, G/1/7, fol. 33A.

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(which is agaynst Goddes lawes) yet I may preach. First by the authority of my Lord Cardinal, for I haue his licens Secondlye by the autority of the vniuersitye. Thirdly by the Pope. Fourthlye by the autority of God, where he said: Euntes in mundum predicate Euangelium omni crearuræ. By which autority euery man maye preache, 
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For Arthur to preach that `euerye man may preach' was unusual, and against canon law and statute. Here he may have been influenced by some of the writings of Erasmus, or the idea of the priesthood of all believers, found in Martin Luther's [Of the Babylonian Captivity of the Church] - De Captivitate Babylonica Ecclesiae (Basle: Adam Petri, 1520).

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andthere is nother bishop or Ordinarye, nor yet the Pope, that may make any law to let anye man to preach the gospel. This article he confesseth that he spake.

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Marginalia3.Item when he spake of lawes, he brought a similitude of crosses set vp against the walles in London 

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For the crosses on the walls of London, see also Patrick Collinson, 'Truth and Legend: the Veracity of John Foxe's Book of Martyrs', in Elizabethan Essays (London, 1994), pp. 151-77 at p. 175, n. 88.

, that men shoulde not pysse there. Whē there was but one crosse or a few more, men did reuerence them, and pissed not there, but when there was in euerye corner a crosse set, then men of necessitye were compelled to pisse vpon the crosses. MarginaliaThe multitude of lawes make lawes to be contemned.So in like manner whē there was but a fewe, holye and deuout lawes in the church, then men were afraid to offend them. Afterward they made manye lawes for their aduauntage, and such as were pecunial, they do obserue them, & those þt are not pecunial they cal them palea, MarginaliaPalea is the popes decrees.& regard them not, and so now a daies, there are so many lawes, that whether a man doo ill or wel, he shalbe taken in the law.

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He confessed tht he spake the very same, or the like wordes.

Marginalia4.Item he said: good people, if I should suffer persecution for the preching of the Gospell of god, yet there is 7000. more that wold preach þe gospel of God, as I do now. Therfore good people, good people, (which words he often rehersed as it were lamenting) thincke not that if these tirantes and persecuters put a man to death, for preaching the gospel.

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This article he confessed that he spake in like words and sence, sauing that he made no mention of tirauntes.

Marginalia5.Item that euery man, yea euery lay man is a priest, 

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Luther argued in Of the Babylonian Captivity of the Church that every Christian, in some senses, can be a priest in the exercise of ministry. De Captivitate Babylonica Ecclesiae (Basle: Adam Petri, 1520).

he cōfessed that he spake such words, declaring in his sermone, that euery christyan man is a priest, offering vp the sacrifice of prayer, and if they did murmure agaynste the order of priesthode, they did murmur agaynst them selues.

Marginalia6.Item that men shuld pray to no Saintes in heauen, but only to God, and they shoulde vse no other mediator for them, but onlye Christe Iesu our redemer only.

This Article he denied.

Marginalia7.Item he preached that they should worshyp no Images of sainctes, which were nothynge but stockes and stones.

This he also denied.

Marginalia8.Item he did preach vpon Whitsonday laste wythin the vniuersity of Cambridge, suche or like wordes and sentences. That a Bacheler of deuinitie admitted of the vniuersity or any other person hauing or knowing the gospell of God, should goo forth and preache in euery place, 

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For Arthur to preach that 'euerye man may preach' was unusual, and against canon law and statute. Here he may have been influenced by some of the writings of Erasmus, or the idea of the priesthood of all believers, found in Martin Luther's De Captivitate Babylonica Ecclesiae (Basle: Adam Petri, 1520).

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and let for no manne what estate or degre so euer he were, & if any bishop did accurse them for so doing, their curses shoulde tourne to the harme of them selues.

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He confessed this.

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