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646 [646]

K. Henry. 4. Statue ex officio. Constitution against Christes seruants.

in any of his owne prisons, and there to be kept so long as to his discretion shalbe thought expedient. And further the sayd ordinary (except in cases by the whiche accordyng to the Canon law, the partie offēdyng ought to be deliuered to the seculer power) shall charge the sayd person with such a fine of money to be paid vnto þe kings maiestie, as he shal thinke competent for the maner and qualitie of the offence. And the said diocesan shalbe boūd to geue notice of the sayd fine, into the kyngs maiesties Exchequer, by his letters patēt vnder his seale: to the entent, that the sayd fine may be leuied to the kyngs maiesties vse, of the goodes of the person so conuicte.

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And further, if any person within thys realme and other the kings maiesties dominions, shall be conuicted before the ordinarie of the place, or hys commissaryes, of the sayd wicked preachinges, doctrines, opinions, scholes, and hereticall and erroneous informations or any of them: and will refuse to abiure and recant the said wicked secte, preachinges, teachinges, opinions, scholes and informatiōs: Or if, after hys abiuration once made, the relapse be pronoūced agaynst him by the diocesan of the place, or hys commissaries (for so by the cannon lawe he ought to be left to the secular power, vpon credit geuen to the ordinary or hys cōmissaries) That then, the Shiriefe of the same countie, the Maior, Shrieffes, or Shiriefe, or the Maior or Baylifes of the same citie, village or borough of the same countie, and nearest inhabiting to the said Ordinarie or his said Commissaries: shal personally be present, as oft as they shal be required, to cōferre with the sayd Ordinarie or hys Commissaries in geuing sentence agaynst the sayd persons offending or any of them. MarginaliaA bloudy statute.And after the sayd sentence so pronounced, shall take vnto them the sayd persons so offending, and any of them, and cause them openly to be burned in the sight of all the people: To the entent, that thys kinde of punishment may be a terrour vnto others, that the lyke wicked doctrines, and hereticall opinions, or the authors and fauourers therof, be no more maintayned within thys realme & dominions, to the great hurt (which God forbyd) of christian religion, and decrees of holy church. In which all and singular the premisses, concerning the statute aforesayd: Let the Shiriefs, Maiors, and Baylifes of the sayd Counties, cities, villages, & boroughes, be attendant, ayding, and fauouring, the sayd Ordinaries and their Commissaries.

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By this bloudy statute so seuerely and sharpely enacted agaynst these simple men, here hast thou (gentle reader) a litle to stay with thy selfe: and to consider the nature and condition of this present world, how it hath be set and bent euer from the beginnyng, by all might, coūsaile, and wayes possible, to striue agaynst the wayes of God, and to ouerthrowe that whiche he will haue set vp. And although the world may see by infinite stories & examples, that it is but in vayne to striue against him: yet such is þe nature of this world (all set in malignitie) that it will not cease still to be lyke it selfe. MarginaliaThe law of Maximinus and the statute ex officio cōparedThe lyke lawe and statute in the tyme of Dioclesian & Maximinus was attempted, as before appeareth, pag. 117. and for the more strength were written also in tables of brasse, to the entent that the name of Christ, should vtterly be extincted for euer. And yet, the name of Christ remayneth, where that brasen law remayned not three yeares. The whiche law written then in brasse, althoughe it differ in manner and forme, from this our statute Ex officio, yet to þe end and crueltie, to spill the bloud of saintes, there is no difference betwen the one and the other. Neither is there any diuersitie touching the first originall doer and worker of them both. For the same Sathan, whiche then wrought his vttermost agaynst Christ, before he was bounde vp: the same also nowe after hys loosing out, doth what hee can, though not after the same way, yet to the same entent. For then, with outward violence as an opē enemy,he did what he could: Now by a more couert way, vnder the title of the churche, he impugneth þe church of Christ, vsing a more subtile way to deceaue, vnder gay pretensed titles: but no les pernitious in þe end, whereto he showteth, as wel appeareth by this bloudy statute Ex officio, the sequell wherof cost afterward, many a Christē mans lyfe. As in processe of story remayneth more hereafter (Christ willyng) to be declared.

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Furthermore, for the more fortification of this statute of the kyng aforesayd, cōcurreth also an other constitution made much aboute the same tyme, by the Archb. of Canterbury Thomas Arundell: 

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Arundel's Constitutions

Although Archbishop Courtney's actions had largely driven the first generation of Wiclif's followers at Oxford either out of the university or back into conformity, by Henry IV's reign it was a presence, although an underground one, at the university. (Ultimately Arundel would impose his authority over the university in 1411, but that need not concern us here). In 1407 Archbishop Thomas Arundel summoned a convocation to Oxford in 1407, which drafted a series of 'constitutions', designed to prevent the spread of heresy. (Although the 'constitutions' were drafted in 1407, they were not issued until 1409). These 'consitutions' were essentially a two-pronged attack on heresy at both the popular level and within the universities. At the popular level, the constitutions displayed an alarm against the dissemination of heretical teachings in the vernacular. The translation of any scriptural text into English was banned, as was the ownership of a such a translation without the express approval of the diocesan. Preaching was confined to those who had obtained an episcopal licence and banned on clerical vices before the laity. No preacher was to cast doubt on the teachings of the Church regarding the sacraments. A number of provisions concerned the universities; the most important of these mandated enquiries about the views of every student in an Oxford hall on a monthly basis. The enforcement of these provisions was irregular, but there can be no doubt that it was decisive in driving heresy out of the universities. The 'constitutions' also widened the scope of heresy investigations by making the possession of vernacular translations of Scripture heretical. Foxe was interested in these 'constutions' as proof of the repression and cruelty of the Catholic church. He first printed them in the 1570 edition, having obtained them from Thomas Arundel's register. (See Arundel Register, Lambeth Palace Library, II, fos. 10r-12v).

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Thomas S. Freeman,
University of Sheffield

So that, no industrye nor policie of man here dyd lacke, to set the matter forward, but especially on the bishops partes, who left no meanes vnattempted, how to subuerte the right wayes of the Lorde. Fyrst in moste diligent and exquisite execution of the kynges statute set forth: the execution wherof they dyd so exactlye applie, that meruell it is to consider, all other lawes of kinges (commonly, be they neuer so good) to be so coldlye kept, and thys onely amonge all the reast so nerely followed. But herein is to be seene, the diligence of the Romishe prelates, which neuer let any thyng to fall, that maketh for the dignitie of their estate. Secondly, beside their vigilant care, in seing the kinges statute to be executed: No lesse industrious also were they, in adding therunto moe constitutions of their owne, as from time to tyme appeareth as well by other Archbishops hereafter, and by Pope Martine, as also by this constitution here present made by Thomas Arundell the Archbyshop. The style and tenour wherof, to the entent the rigour of the same maye appeare to all men, I thought here vnder to adioyne, in wordes as followeth.

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¶ The Constitution of Tho. Arundel against the followers of Gods truth

A cruell constitutiō by the Archb. against the Gospellers with 13. articlesTHomas by the permission of God Archbishop, of Canterbury, primate of all Englād, and Legate of the see Apostolike: to all & singular our reuerēd brethrē, felow bishops, and our suffragans, And to Abbates, Priours, Deanes of cathedrall churches, Archdeacons, Prouostes and chanons: also to all persons, vicars, chapelayns, and clerkes in parishe churches, and to all lay mē whom and where so euer, dwellyng within our prouince of Canterbury, greating: and grace to stand firmely in þe doctrine of þe holy mother church. Yt is a manifest and plain case, that he doth wrong and iniurie to the most reuerend councel, who so reuolteth frō þe things beyng in þe sayd coūcel once discussed & decided. And who soeuer dare presume to dispute of the supreme or principal iudgement here in earth, in so doing incurreth the payne of sacrilege, accordyng to the authoritie of Ciuile wisedome, and manifest traditiō of humane law. Much more then, they, who trustyng to their own wittes, are so bold to violate and with contrary doctrine to resiste, MarginaliaBlasphemy.and in word and dede to contemne, the preceptes of lawes and canōs, rightly made and procedyng, from the keybearer and porter of eternal life and death, bearing the rowme & person, not of pure man, but of true God here in earth: whiche also haue ben obserued hetherto, of the holy fathers our predecessours, vnto the glorious effusion of their bloud, and voluntary sprinkling out of their braynes: MarginaliaHe meaneth here of Tho. Becket his predecessor, who had his braynes bet out in the tyme of K. Henry 2. Are worthy of greater punishment, deseruing quickly to be cut of, as rotten members, from the body of the churche militant. MarginaliaScripture clarkly applied.For such ought to consider, what is in the olde Testament written: Moses & Aaron amongest his priests, that is, were chief heades amongest them. And in the newe Testament, among the Apostles there was a certeine difference: And though they were all Apostles, yet it was graunted of the Lorde to Peter, that he should beare preeminence aboue the other Apostles: and also the Apostles them selues would the same, that he shoulde be the chiefetaine ouer all the reast. MarginaliaThis geare hangeth together lyke germans lippes.And being called Cephas, that is, head: should be as prince ouer the Apostles. Vnto whom it was sayd: Marginaliaxxx, marke this you Grammarians.Thou being once conuerted, confirme thy brethren: as though he would say. If there happen any doubt among them, or if any of them chaunce to erre and straye out of the way of fayth, of iuste liuing, or right conuersatiō: Do

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