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535 [467]

Geuing thankes to God for his strength, then said the doctor that lay with him, what do you master Bylney? He answered nothing but trying my flesh by Gods grace, and burninge one ioynt. When to morow Gods rods shall burn the hole body in the fire, and from thence was he caried in the morninge to be burned in Lolares pit in Norwich with great ioy and gladnesse falling downe flat vppon hys face before the stake, then rising vp, kissed it and embraced it, and tooke the chaine and closed in him selfe, confessing his faithe, and animatinge the people to stand fast in the truth of Goddes holye woorde, and so suffered as a true martyr of Iesus Christ.

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Notwithstāding the cruel answer of sir Thomas More is not here to be passed ouer, who at that time being Chauncelor of Englande, when as those which shuld burn Bilny came vnto him, requiring a letter of his hand, wherby they might be discharged after his death, he answered vnto them, sayinge: goo to good fellowes, burn him first, and then come after and aske a bil of my hand.

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About the same time D. Shaxton also was a great doer in the same quarell, and suffered much for the same: Bothe then and after, euen to the losse of his bishoprike of Glocester, 

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Nicholas Shaxton was bishop of Salisbury before his resignation in 1539, not Gloucester.

whiche he willingly renounced (at what time Latimer also of Worcester renounced his for the truthes sake) whose perseueraunce if it had answered to his begīning, he had deserued much more matter here to be talked vppon. In the meane time the letter of bishop Nix, that came to our handes concerning the same manne, I thought not to ouerpasse.

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¶ The copy of a letter sent by Byshop Nyxe of Norwytche, which was taken out of the letter subscribed with his own hand.

MAster doctor as I haue wrytten to you before in maister Pellis absence, I geue you full power, to exercise in the consistorye, and els wher, al such iurisdiction as I should do, if I were my self there. And as touching master Nicholas Shaxton, there was with me yester night the Prior of Peuteney, and the Prior of Westaker, 

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West Acre is in Norfolk and had an Augustinian priory before the Dissolution.

and they both shewed vnto me that he made a very good sermond at Westaker vpon S. Thomas day, and that there was no heresy in it, and so I thincke he dyd. They two priors haue promised me to be at Norwich vpon munday next cōming. The prior of Westacre went home to examin his brother better, & that done, to certify you therof vpon munday. When they come, you maye vse them, as you thinke best, & let the Prior of Westacre swear vpon a booke before you, whether he knoweth the mā that spake and said in s. Thomas chappel at Westacre, that Images were but stocks & not to be worshipped, and whether he hathe made anye inquisition for him. And also whether master Shaxton hath taughte to anye of his brethren any erronious opinion or not.

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Raphe Cantrel was latelye at Cambridge, whom I commaunded not only to enquire of master vicechauncelor, but of other, of the demeanor of master Shaxton, and he is very sore suspected of many men. And vpon Ashwedensday last past, 

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Nicholas Shaxton had preached a university sermon to the clergy in Cambridge on Ash Wednesday 1531 that it was wrong to say publicly that there was no purgatory, but not damnable to think so privately.

he made a sermonde, Ad clerum, 
Latin/Greek Translations  *  Close
Portions of a letter from Bishop Nixe of Norwich
Foxe text Latin

Quod malum et periculosum ... et consiliis evangelicis.


J. Barrie Hall

The first point [in the sermon] was: That it is an evil and dangerous thing publicly to assert or preach that purgatory does not exist: but that to believe that purgatory does not exist is by no means damnable. The second was: It is impossible for a man to be continent or chaste, although he waste himself away with fasting, fall to his prayers, and withdraw and keep himself away from company in sight and in thought, unless God grant ... another saying not in his sermon ... was this: That in celebrating the daily mass he offered constant prayers to God that celibacy be utterly taken away from the clergy and that matrimony or union be granted and permitted to the same. ... in all these articles ... dissension and error; as: Concerning faith and works, concerning grace and free will, concerning sin in a good work, concerning the sacrifice of the New Testament, concerning the priesthood of the new law, concerning communion in either kind, concerning baptism and Christian liberty, concerning monastic vows, concerning fasting and the choice of foods, concerning the celibacy of priests, concerning the church, concerning the canonical books, concerning things not expressed in the scriptures which should firmly be held, concerning the necessity not to deviate from general councils in faith and morals, concerning the power of the church to establish laws, concerning ecclesiastical sacraments and their efficacy, concerning the power of excommunication conferred on the church, concerning the punishment of heretics, concerning the sacrifice of the mass, concerning purgatory, concerning the veneration of and prayer to the saints, concerning the veneration of images of the saints, concerning pilgrimages, concerning the precepts and counsels of the gospels.

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wherin master vicechauncelor tooke him in ii. poynts. The fyrst was Quod malum & periculosum est publice asserere aut prædicare purgatorium non esse credere tamen purgatorium non esse nullo pacto esse damnabile. The second was, Impossibile est hominem cōtinere aut castū esse. Et ise ipsum ieiunio maceret, orationibus incumbat, ac a consortio visiet cogitatione se abstineat et cohibeat, nisi deus det. And another saying he had, whyche was not in his sermond. which was this. Quod in cotidiana missæ celebratiōe preces assiduas deo obtulit, vt celibatus a clero penitus tolleretur, et matrimonium siue coniugium eidem conceda tur et permittatur. 
Commentary  *  Close

The date of Shaxton's marriage is not know, but there was at least one son from his union before he repudiated his wife in 1546. See his profile in the ODNB.

The which poyntes he stode in stedfastly. In so much þt maister vycechauncelour 
Commentary  *  Close

The Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge then was Dr. John Watson, who had studied Greek with Erasmus. See the Grace Book B, Part II: Containing the Accounts of the Proctors of the University of Cambridge, 1511-44, ed. Mary Bateson (Cambridge, 1905), p. 162.

with thassistance of maister doctor Wilson  
Commentary  *  Close

For Dr. Nicholas Wilson's extensive record of opposing heresy, see his profile by Kenneth Carleton in the ODNB.

& Edmonds had much a do to bringe him to forsake them, þe which at their perswasions, but with great difficulty and to auoyd open abiuration. And vppon consideratyon hereof master vicechancelor deuised and drue an oth for him specially the which not only he but all other þt this yere do procede in holy diuinity, did openly & solemply swear, þe whyche othe insueth as followeth in this letter. You shal swear by the holy contents of this boke, þt thou shalt not kepe, hold, maintain & defēd, at any time during your life any opinion erronious, or error of Wyckleffe. Husse, Luther, or any other condempned of heresy, and that ye shal kepe, hold, maintain & defēd generally & specially al such articles and poynts, as the catholike churche of Rome, beleueth, holdeth, or maintaineth at this time, & that ye shal alowe and accept, maintaine & defend for your power, al traditions, institutions, rites, ceremonis and laudable customes of the churche, as the sayde churche of Rome taketh them, alloweth them & approueth thē, and that you shall namely and especiallye holde as the saide Catholicke church holdeth in all theese articles where in lately hath bene controuersye, dissention and error, as de fide et operibus, de gratia et libero arbitrio, de peccato in bono opere, de sacrificio noui Testamenti, de sacerdotio nouæ legis, de communione sub vtraq; specie, de baptismo et libertate christiana, de votis monasticis, de ieiunio et delectu ciborum, de celibatu sacerdotū, de ecclesia, de libris canonicis, de non expressis in scripturis firmiter tenēdis de conciliorum generalium indeuiabilitate in fide et moribus, de potestate Ecclesie ad condendas leges, de sacramentis ecclesiasticis, & eorum efficatia, de potestate excommunicandi collata ecclesiæ, de hereticis puniēdis, de sacrificio missæ, de purgatorio, de veneratione sanctorum

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