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551 [551]

K. Richard. 2. The history of Iohn Wickliffe and his fellowes Actes and Mon. of the church.

such a prodigious wonder, that they wt blushing chekes are fayne to cut of the matter in the middest with silence.

The copye of this wylde Bull, sent to them from the Pope, was thys. 

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Foxe is taking the copy of the bull from the Fasciculi Zizaniorum - see Bodley Library MS, Musaeo 86, fos 63v-64r.

¶ Gregory the bishop, the seruant of Gods seruants, to his welbeloued sonnes the Chauncelour, and Vniuersity of Oxford, in the dioces of Lincolne gretyng, and Apostolicall benediction.

MarginaliaThe popes mad Bull sent to Oxford.WE are compelled not onelye to maruayle, but also to lament that you (considering the Apostolicall seate hath geuen vnto your Vniuersity of Oxford so great fauour & priuiledge, & also for that you flowe as in a large sea in the knowledge of the holye scriptures, and ought to be champions and defenders of the auncient and catholicke fayth, without the which there is no saluation) by your great negligence and slouthe, wyll suffer wylde Cocle, not onely to grow vp among the pure wheate of the florishing fielde of your Vniuersitye, but also to wax more strong and choke the corne. Neyther haue ye anye care (as we are enformed) to extirpe and plucke the same vp by the rootes, to the great blemishing of your renomed name, the perill of your soules, the contempt of the church of Rome, and to the great decaye of the auncient faith. And further (which greueth vs) the encrease of that filthy weede was more sharpelye rebuked and iudged of in Rome, then in England where it sprang. Wherefore let there be meanes sought by the helpe of the faythfull, to rote out the same. MarginaliaThe pope complaining of Iohn Wickliffe.Greuously it is come to our eares, that one Iohn Wyckleffe, person of Lutterworth in Lincolne dioces, a professor of diuinitie (would God he wer not rather a mastier of errours) is run into a kynde of detestable wyckednes, not onely and openly publishyng but also vomiting out of the fylthy dungeon of his brest, diuers professions, folse and erroneous conclusions, and most wycked and damnable heresies. Wherby he myght defyle the faythfull sorte, and bring them from the right pathe, headlong into the waye of perdition, ouerthrowe the state of the church, and vtterly subuert the secular policy. Of which his mischeuous heresies, MarginaliaMarsilius Padvuinus. Ioan. de Gauduno noted.some seme to agree (onely certaine names and termes chaunged) wyth the peruerse opinions, and vnlearned doctrine of Marcilius of Padua and Iohn of Gaudune, of vnwoorthy memory: whose bookes were vtterlye abolished in the realme of England, by our predecessor of happy memory Iohn. xxij. Which kyngdome doth not onely florish in power, and aboundaunce of faculties, but is much more glorious and shining in purenes of faith: Accustomed alwayes to bryng forth men excellently learned in the true knowledge of the holy Scriptures, rype in grauitie of maners, men notable in deuocion, and defenders of the catholique fayth. Wherfore we will and commaund you by our writyng Apostolicall, in the name of your obedience, and vpon payn of priuacion of our fauour, indulgēces and priuilegies graunted vnto you and your vniuersitie, from the sayd see Apostolical: that hereafter ye suffer not those pestilent heresies, those subtile and false conclusions and propositions, misconstruyng the right sense of fayth & good workes (how soeuer they terme it, or what curious implication of wordes so euer they vse) any longer to be disputed of, or brought in question: Least if it be not withstood at the first, and plucked vp by the rootes, it might perhaps be to late hereafter to prepare medicine when a greater number is infected with that contagion. MarginaliaHere the wyld bull striketh.And further, that ye apprehend immediatly or cause to be apprehended the sayd Ihon Wickleffe, and deliuer hym to be deteined in the saulf custody of our welbeloued brethren the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Byshop of Londō or either of them. And if you shall finde any gainsayers corrupted with the sayd doctrine (whiche God forbyd) in your sayd vniuersitie within your iurisdiction, that shall obstinately stand in the sayd errours: that then in lyke maner ye apprehende them, and commit them to safe custody, and otherwyse to doo in this case as it shall appertaine vnto you: So as by your carefull procedyngs herein, your negligence past concerning the premisses, may now fully be supplied and recompensed wyth present diligence. Wherby, you shall not onely purchase vnto you the fauour and beneuolence of the seate Apostolicall, but also greate rewarde and merite of almightye God.

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Yeuen at Rome at S. Maries the grea
ter. xi. Kalen. of Iune, and in the seuēth
yere of our consecration. 

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i.e. 22 May 1377.

MarginaliaSimon Sudbury Arch. of Cant., W. Courtney Bishop of London.Beside thys Bull sent to the Vniuersitie of Oxford, the sayd Pope Gregorie directed moreouer hys letters the same tyme, to the Archb. of Cant. Simon Sudbery: and to the bishop of Lond. named W. Courtney, wt the conclusions of Iohn Wickleff therin inclosed, commaūding them, by vertue of those hys letters Apostolicall, & straitly injoyning thē to cause the sayd Iohn Wickleffe to be apprehended, and cast in prison: And that the kyng and the nobles of England shoulde be admonished by them, not to geue any credit to the sayd Iohn Wickleffe, or to his doctrine in any wyse, &c.

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MarginaliaThree sundry letters of the pope to one person, about one matter.¶ Beside thys byll or bull of the Pope, sent vnto the Archbishop of Cant. and to the B. of London, bearing the date. 11. Kalend. Iunii. and the 7. yeare of the reigne of the pope: I finde moreouer in the sayd storie, two other letters 

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These letters are copied in Arundel 7; see Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, Rolls Society 28, 2 vols. (London, 1863-4), I, pp. 348-52.

of the pope concerning the same matter, but differing in forme, sent vnto the same bishops, and all bearing the same date both of the day, yeare, and moneth of þe reigne of þe said P. Gregory. Wherby it is to be supposed, that the pope either was very exquisite and sollicitous about þe matter, to haue Wickleffe to be apprehended, which wrote iij. diuers letters to one person, and all in one day, about one busines: or els that he dyd suspecte the bearers therof, the scruple whereof I leaue to the iudgement of the reader.

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Farthermore beside these letters writtē to the Vniuersitie, and to the byshops, he directeth also an other epistle, bearing the same date, vnto K. Edward (as one of my stories sayth) but as an other saith, to king Richard, which soundeth more neare to the truth, forasmuche, as in the vij. yeare of Pope Gregorye the xi. which was the yeare of our Lorde. 1378. K. Edward was not aliue. The copie of his letters to the king here followeth. 

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Foxe took this letter from Arundel 7; cf. Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, Rolls Society 28, 2 vols. (London, 1863-4), I, pp. 352-3.

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¶ The Copy of the Epistle sent by the bishop of Rome to Richard kyng of England, to persecute Ihon Wickleffe.

MarginaliaThe popes letter to K. Richard against I. W.VNto hys welbeloued Sonne in Christ, Richard the most noble kyng of England health. &c.

The kyngdome of England whiche the most hyghest hath put vnder your power and gouernaunce beyng so famous & renowmed in valiancy and strength, so aboundant and flowyng in all kynd of wealth and riches: but much more glorious resplendent and shinyng through the brightnes and clearenes of all godlines and faythe: hath accustomed alwayes to bring forth mē endued with the true knowledge and vnderstāding of the holy Scriptures, graue in yeares, feruent in deuotion, & defēdours of the catholicke faith: The whiche haue not onely directed and instructed their owne people thorowe their holsom doctrine and preceptes into the true pathe of Gods commaundementes, but also as we haue heard by the reporte and information of many credible persons (to our great grief and hart sorow) that Ihon Wickleffe person of Lutterworth in the dioces of Lincolne, professor of deuinitie (I would to God he were no author of heresie) to be fallē into such a detestable and abhominable madnes: that he hath propounded and set forth diuerse and sundry conclusions full of errours and cōteining most manifest heresy, the whiche doe tend vtterly to subuert and ouerthrow the state of the whole churche. Of the which, some of them (albeit vnder coloured phrase and speche) seme to smel and sauour of peruerse opinions and the foolish doctrine of cōdemned memory of Marsilius of Padua, and Ihon of Ganduno, 

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Marsilius of Padua and John of Jandun were two fourteenth century scholastics who attacked claims of papal power and jurisdiction. They would have agreed with Wiclif that princes had independent status from papal authority; they would not have agreed with Wiclif's sacramental theology.

whose bokes were by pope Ihon the xxij. our predecessor, a man of most happy memory reproued and condemned. &c.

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Hetherto gentle reader, thou hast heard how Wickleffe was accused by þe Bishop. Now you shall also heare the Popes mighty reasons and arguments by the which he did confute him to the king. It foloweth.

MarginaliaHere is prisonyng but no teaching.Therfore for so much as our reuerēt brethren the archbishop of Canterbury, and the Bishop of London haue receiued a speciall commaundement from vs by our autoritie, to apprehende and commit the forenamed Ihon Wickleffe vnto prison, and to transporte hys confession vnto vs: If they shal seme in the prosecution of this their busines to lacke your fauour or helpe, we require & most

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