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563 [563]

K. Richard. 2. John Wickliffe. Robert Rigge. Ph. Repington. I. Asheton. N. Herfordof the church.

that they beyng so apprehended throughe their diligent searche, may be within vij. dayes of their admonitiō, expulsed the vniuersitie, and cited vp to the Archbyshop of Cant. before him to appear & to stand to their answers: Willing moreouer and commaūding the sayd vicechaūcelour and proctours, with other regentes their assisters, that if any person or persons in any house, haulle, or college, or in any other place, shalbe founde to haue any of their bookes or treatises cōpiled by the sayd Ihon Wicleffe, Nicholas Herford. &c: MarginaliaThe persons with theyr bookes to be arested.they will cause without delay the sayd person or persons with their bookes, to be arested & atached, & presented within one moneth, without correction, corruption, or mutation to the foresayd Archbishop, vpon their faith and aliegeance, as they will auoyde the forefacture of all and singulare the liberties and priuilegies to the vniuersitie appertaining. And that they will be obedient to the Archbishop aforesayd in the orderyng herof, and all other his iniūctions to be obeyed in all thinges lawfull and honest. Geuyng moreouer in these our letters, chardge and cōmaundemēt to the Maior, bayliffes and other the inhabitance of Oxford, to be assistant and attendāt vnto the foresayd vicechauncelor, and proctours touchyng the execution of the premisses, MarginaliaThe 14. day of Iuly. an. 1382.bearyng the date of the xiiij. day of Iuly, which was the yeare of our Lord. 1382

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¶ Matters incident of Robert Rigges, Vicechauncelor of Oxford, Nicholas Herford and Philip Repyngton, with other.

MarginaliaRob. Rigges Vicechancelor of Oxford.THe vicechaūcelour the same time in Oxford 

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Persecution of Lollards in Oxford

Foxe's description of events is not clear, so a word of explanation is in order. Robert Rygge, who was elected chancellor of Oxford in the first half of 1381, openly supported Wiclif's followers and associates in the university. Althouh Rygge was not a follower of Wiclif himself, he was an opponent of the friars, who were the chief adversaries of the Lollards. The friars, in turn, were supported by Archbishop William Courtenay. In 1382, Rygge appointed two of the chief Lollards in Oxford, Nicholas Hereford and Philip Repingdon, to preach the Ascension Day and Corpus Christi Day sermons respectively. The attacks on the friars in these sermons ignited a firestorm. At the same time, Rygge, citing Oxford's immunity from ecclesiastical jurisdiction, refused to publish either Courtenay's inhibitions against Wiclif's followers or the list of propositions attributed to Wiclif and condemned as heretical at the Blackfriars council. Rygge and his associate Thomas Brightwell were summoned before Courtenay and forced to submit. On 15 June, the Blackfriars decrees were published in Oxford, with the result that Wiclif's followers within the University were subject to prosecution. Rygge still did what he could for them, suspending the Cistercian Dr Henry Crump for attacking the Lollards. Rygge was summoned before the king's council in July and forced to reinstate Crump and investigate heresy in the University. On 15 June, when the Blackfriars decrees were published, Hereford, Repingdon and another Oxford Lollard, John Aston, were summoned before a second session of the Blackfriars council. On 1 July they were condemned as heretics and excommunicated. Aston and Repingdon publicly abjured on 18 November 1382. Hereford appealed to the pope and went to Rome where he was imprisoned.

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In the Commentarii, Foxe drew on the Fasciculi Zizaniorum (Bodley Library MS Musaeo e 86) for an account of Rygge's protection of the Lollards at Oxford, and the prosecutions of Hereford, Repingdon and Aston (see Commentarii, fos. 29v-32r). This material was reprinted in the Rerum (pp. 14-15). In the 1563 edition, Foxe added praise of Oxford. In the 1570 edition, Foxe added detail, particularly on Hereford, Repingdon and Aston, taken from Archbishop Courtenay's register. This completely superseded the material on 1563 ( pp. 101-3) which was taken from the Fasciculi Zizaniorum and was less complete and accurate. In the 1583 edition, Foxe added a statute against the Lollards and a statute repealing it, both taken from the Tower records.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

, was M. Robert Rygges. The two proctours were Ihon Hūtman, and Walter Dishe. Who then as farre as they durst, fauoured the cause of Ihon Wickleffe and that side: 
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Foxe's account of Hereford's and Repingdon's sermons, and Rygge's initial defiance of Courtenay comes from the Fasciculi Zizaniorum (see Bodley MS Musaeo e 86, fos. 76r-77v).

In so much that the same tyme and yeare, whiche was an. 1382. when certaine publique sermons shoulde be appointed customably at the feast of Ascension, and of Corpus Christi, to be preached in the cloister of S. Frideswide (now called Christes churche) before the people, by the vicechauncelour aforesayd and the proctours (the doinges thereof the vicechaūcelour aforesayd and proctours had committed to Philip Repington, and Nicholas Herford, MarginaliaNic. Herford preaching on the Ascension day defended that Nicholas Herford should preach on the Ascensiō day, and Repyngton on Corpus Christi day) First Herford beginning was noted to defēd Ihon Wicleffe, openly to be a faithfull, good, an innocent man: for the whiche no small a do with outcries was among the Friers. This Herford, after he had long fauoured and maintained Wickleffes part, grew first in suspition amongest the enemies of the truth. For assone as he begā some what liberally & freely to pronounce and vtter any thing whiche tended to the defence of Wickleffe: By & by the Carmelites, and all the orders of religion, were in his top, and layd not a few heresies vnto his charge, þe which they had strained here & there out of his sermons, and had compiled together in a certayne forme, by the hādes of certaine notaries, through the industry and diligence of one Peter Stokes a Carmelite: a kynde of people prone and ready to all kynd of mischief, vprours, debate, and dissensiō. After this, the feast of Corpus Christi drue neare, vpō whiche day it was loked for, that Repington should preache. MarginaliaRepington first chanon of Leicester, after bishop of Lincolne.This man was a chanon of Leycester, and had before taken his first degree vnto doctorshippe: who preachyng the same tyme at Bradgate for the same Sermon he became first suspected, and hated of the Pharisaicall broude of the Friers. But thorow the great & notable dexteritie of his wit, (whiche all mē did behold and see in him) accompanied with lyke modestie and honestie: he did so ouercome, or at the least assuage this crueltie and persecution whiche was towardes him, MarginaliaRepington cōmensed doctor.þt shortly after, by þe consent of the hole felowship, he was admitted doctour. Who assone as he hadde taken it vpō him, by and by he stepped forth in þe scholes, and began immediatly to shew forth and vtter, þt whichehe had long hidden and dissembled. Protesting openly, that in all morall matters, he would defend Wickleffe. But as touchyng the Sacrament, he would as yet hold his peace, vntill such tyme as the Lord shall otherwyse illuminate the hartes and mindes of the clergy.

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Now the day of Corpus Christi aforesayd approching neare, when the Friers vnderstood that this man should preache shortly, fearing least that he woulde rubbe the galles of their religion: they conuented with the Archbishop of Cāterbury, that the same day, a litle before that Philip should preach: Wickleffes cōclusiōs which were priuatly condempned, should be openly defamed, in the presence of the whole vniuersitie. MarginaliaPeter Stokes stāderdbearer to the papistes.The doyng of whiche matter, was cōmitted to Peter Stokes Frier, standerd bearer & chief champion of that side against Wickleffe.

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There were also letters sent vnto the cōmissary, that he should helpe and aide him, in the publishing of þe same conclusions, as is before declared.

These thinges thus done and finished, Repingdon at the hour appointed proceded to his sermō. In the which Sermon, among many other thinges, he was reported to haue vttered these sayinges, or to this effect. 

Commentary  *  Close

These articles from Repingdon's sermon are taken from the Fasciculi Zizaniorum (see Bodley MS Musaeo e 86, fo. 76r). Foxe omits Repingdon's declaration that Wiclif's belief in the sacrament was in agreement with that of the Catholic Church.

MarginaliaNotes of the Sermon of RepingtonThat the Pope or Bishops ought not to bee recommended aboue temporall Lordes.

Also, that in all morall matters hee woulde defende maister Wyckliffe as a true catholike doctor.

Moreouer, that the Duke of Lancaster was very earnestlye affected and minded in this matter, and woulde that all such shoulde be receaued vnder hys protection. Besides manye thinges mo, whych touched the prayse and defence of Wickleffe.

And finally, in concluding his sermon, hee dimissed the people with this sentence: I wyll (said he) in the speculatiue doctrine, as appertaining to the matter of the sacramēt of the aulter, keepe silence and hold my peace, vntill suche tyme as God otherwyse shall instruct and illuminate the hartes of the Clergy.

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When the Sermon was done, Repingdon entred into saynt Fridesweds church accompanied with manye of his frendes: who, as the enemies surmised, were priuely weaponed vnder their garmentes, if neede had ben. Frier Stokes the Carmelite aforesayde, suspectyng all this to be against him, and beyng afrayde of hurt, kept himselfe within the sanctuary of the church, not daring as then to put out his head. The Vicechauncelour and Repington, frendly saluting one an other in the church portche, sent awaye the people, and so departed euerye man home to his owne house. MarginaliaThe vniuersity reioyseth.There was not a litle ioy thorowe the hole vniuersitie for that sermon, but in the meane tyme, the vnquiet and busy Carmelite, slept not his matter. For first by his letters he declared the whole order of the matter vnto the archbishop, exaggerating þe perils and daungers that he was in, requiring and desiring his helpe and aide, pretermitting nothyng, wherby to moue and stirre vp the Archbishops minde, whiche of his owne nature was as hote as a toste as they say, and ready inough to prosecute the matter of his own accord, though no man had prickt him forward thereunto. Besides all this (iij. dayes after) wt a fierce & bold courage, þe sayd Frier breathyng out threatnynges and heresies agaynst them, tooke the waye vnto the scholes: MarginaliaWhether the Lordes temporall were to be prayed for before the pope and bishops. The fryer derided and mocked in the scholes.mindyng there to proue, that the pope and the byshops ought to be prayed for before the Lordes temporall. Whiles this Frier was thus occupied in the scholes, he was mocked and derided of all men, and shortly after he was sent for by the archbishop to London: whom immediatly after, þe vicechaūcelor and Brightwell folowed vp, to purge and cleare them selues & their adherētes from the accusatiōs of this Frier Peter. At the length they beyng examined vpon Wickleffes cōclusions that were condemned: they did all consent, that they were worthely condemned. The vicechauncelor being afterward accused for the contēpt

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