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650 [650]

K. Rich. 2. Preface of W, Thorpe to his examination.

ship the signe of the crosse to commmitte idolatrye and are reputed as idolatters.

Item, they sayd and affirmed that þe true fleshe and bloud of our Lord Iesus Christ, is not in the sacrament of the aultar, after the wordes spoken by the priest, truely pronounced.

Itē, they sayd and affirmed, the sacrament of the altar to be sacramentall bread, not hauing life, but onely instituted for a memoriall of Christes passion.

Item, they sayd and affirmed, that the body of Christ which is taken on the aultar, is a figure of the body of Christ as long as we see the bread and wyne.

Itē, they sayd and affirmed, that the decree of the prelates and clergie in the prouince of Canterburye, in their laste conuocation, with the consent of the kyng and the nobles in the last Parlament agaynst hym that was brent lately in the citie of London, was not sufficient to chaunge the purpose of the sayd Iohn, when the substaunce of the materiall bread is euen as before in the sacrament of the altar it was, no chaunge being made in the nature of bread.

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Marginalia* Their article commōly was thus, that who so taketh vpon him the office of a priest gthough he haue no cure of soules, nor licence of his ordinary, is bound to preach the gospell.* Item, that any lay man may preach the Gospel in euery place, and may teach it by his owne authoritie, without the licence of his ordinary.

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Item, that it is sinne, to geue any thyng to the preaching Friers, to the Minorites, to the Augustines, or to the Carmelites.

Item, that we ought not to offer at the burials of the dead.

Item, that the confession of sinnes to the people, is vnnedeful.

Item, that euery good man (though he be vnlearned) is a priest.

Item, that the infant (although he dye vnbaptised) shalbe saued.

Item, that neither the Pope, nor the prelate, neither any ordinary, can compel any man to sweare by any creature of God, or by the Bible boke.

Item, that aswell the Bishop, the simple man, the priest, and the lay man, be of lyke authoritie (as long as they liue well.)

Itē, that no man is boūd to geue bodely reuerence to any prelate

¶ William Thorpe. 
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William Thorpe

William Thorpe's account of his informal examination by Archbishop Thomas Arundel, on 7 August 1407, is one of the very few accounts by a Lollard of their persecution. As such it was of considerable interest to evangelicals anxious to demonstrate that there were 'true' Christians before Luther. Thorpe's account appeared in print, from the Antwerp press of Hans Luft around 1530. It was probably edited by William Tyndale, George Constantine or both. This version of Thorpe's examination formed the core of Foxe's account of Thorpe.

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In the Commentarii, Foxe printed an abridged version of the 1530 version of Thorpe's examination (fos. 116r- 156v). This abridged version was copied from Bale's translation written in Bodley Library MS e Musaeo 86, fos. 108v-110v). The Commentarii account was reprinted almost exactly in the Rerum (pp. 79-96). In the 1563 edition, Foxe had obtained a copy of the 1530 version of Thorpe's examinations. Foxe stated that he was printing Thorpe's examination as it had been printed by William Tyndale. Foxe then reprinted The examinacion of Naster William Thorpe, ed William Tyndale? or George Constantine?, (Antwerp, 1530?), STC 24045, in its entirety. In the 1570 edition, Foxe declared that he would rather have printed an original version of Thorpe's examinations, but all he could obtain was Tyndale's version. Foxe also stated that David Whitehead, a prominent Protestant preacher, had seen a copy of an MS copy of the work in George Constantine's hands before it was printed. Apart from these changes, the account of Thorpe in the 1570 edition repeated that in the 1563 edition. The 1570 account of Thorpe was reprinted, without alteration, in subsequent editions.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

MarginaliaThe examination of the constānt seruant of God W. Thorpe.THus much briefly beyng signified by the way, touchyng these whiche haue been forced in tyme of this kyng, to open abiuratiō: Next cōmeth to our hands, the worthy history of maister William Thorpe, a warrier valiaūt, vnder the triūphant bāner of Christ, with the processe of his examinations, before the foresayd Thomas Arundell Archbishop of Canterbury, writen by the sayd Thorpe, and storyed by his owne pen, at the request of his frendes, as by hys owne woordes in the processe hereof, may appeare. In whose examinatiō (which semeth first to begyn. an. 1407 thou shalt haue, good reader, both to learne and to maruel. To learne, in þt thou shalt heare truth discoursed and discussed, wt the contrary reasons of the aduersary dissolued. To maruel, for þt thou shalt behold here in this man, the maruelous force and strength of the Lordes might, spirite and grace, workyng and fightyng in his souldiours, and also speakyng in their mouthes, accordyng to the worde of his promise. Luke. xxi. To the text of the story we haue neither added nor diminished: MarginaliaThis history first set forth and corrected by Maister W TyndallBut as wee haue receiued it, copyed out & corrected by maister William Tindall (who had hys owne hande writyng) so we haue here sent it and set it out abroad. Although for the more credite of the matter, I rather wished it in his own naturall speache, wherin it was first writen. Notwithstandyng, to put away all doubt and scruple herein, this I thought before to premonishe and testifie to the reader touchyng the certeintie hereof: that they bee yet a lyue, which haue seen the selfe same copy in his own old Englishe, resemblyng the true antiquitie both of the speache and of the tyme: MarginaliaWe are further credibly informed, that some of the old copies remaine in Scotland.The name of whom as for record of the same to auouche, is maister Whithead, who as he hath seen the true auncient copy in the hands of George Constantine, so hath he geuen credible relation of the same, both to the printer and to me. Furthermore, the sayd maister Tyndall (albeit he did somwhat alter and amend the English therof, and frame it after our maner) yet not fully in all wordes, but that some thing doth remaine, saueryng of the old speach of þe tyme. What the causes were why this good man and seruaunt of Christ, W. Thorpe did write it and pen it out him self, it is sufficiently declared in his own preface, set before his booke. Which here is prefixed in maner as foloweth.

¶ The preface of William Thorpe.
MarginaliaThe Preface.THe Lord God that knoweth all things, wotteth wel þt I am right sorrowful for to write or to make knownthis sentence beneath written, whereby of myne euen christen set in hie state and dignitie, so great blyndnes & malice may be knowen: þt they which do presume of thē selfe to destroy vices, and to plant in men vertues, neyther dread to offend God, nor lust to please him as theyr workes shewe. MarginaliaGods lawes must be knowē and folowed.For certes, the bydding of God and hys law, which in the praysing of his most holy name he cōmaundeth to be knowen and kept of all men & women, yong and old, after the cunning and power that he hath geuen to thē: The Prelates of this land and their ministers, with the couent of priestes chieflye consentyng to them, enforce thē most buselye to withstand and destroy the holy ordinaunce of God. And there throughe, God is greatly wroth and moued to take hard vengeaunce, not onely vpon them that do the euyll, but also on them that consent to these Antichristes lims: which know or might know, their malice and falshood, and dresse them not to withstand their malice & their great pride. Neuertheles, 4. thinges moueth me to wryte this sentence beneath.

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MarginaliaFoure causes of setting forth his examinatiōThe first thing þt moueth me hereto is this, that where as it was knowen to certaine friendes, that I came frō the prison of Shrewsbery, and as it befell in dede that I should to the prison of Caunterbury: then diuers frends in diuers places, spake to me full hartfully & full tenderly: and cōmaunded me then if it so were, that I should be examined before the Archb. of Cant. that if I mighte in any wise, I should write mine apposing and mine answering. And I promised to my speciall friendes, that if I might, I would gladly do theyr biddinges as I might.

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MarginaliaThe 2. cause.The seconde thing that moueth me to write thys sentence, is this: diuers frendes whyche haue hearde that I haue bene examined before the Archbishop, haue come to me in prison, and counselled mee buselye, and coueted greatlye that I should doo the same thing. And other brethren haue sente to mee, and requyred mee on Gods behalfe, that I should write out and make knowen, both myne apposing and myne aunswering, for the profitte that (as they say) vpon my knowledging, may come thereof. But this they bad me, that I should be busie in all my wyts, to go as neare the sentence and the woordes as I could, both that were spoken to mee and that I spake: Vpauenture this writing maye come an other time, before the Archbishop and hys counsell. And of this counselling I was right glad: for in my conscience I was moued to do this thing, and to aske hetherto the speciall helpe of God. And so than I considering the great desire of diuers frendes of sondrye places, according all in one: I occupied all my mind and my wits so busely, that through Gods grace I perceiued by their meaning and their charitable desire, some profit might come there through. For soothfastnes and truth hath these conditions: MarginaliaTruth leaueth alwayes a sweete smell behynd it.where euer it is impugned, it hath a swete smell, and therof commeth a sweete sauour. And the more violently the enemies dresse them selues to oppres and to withstand the truth, the greater and þe sweeter smell commeth thereof. And therefore, this heauenly smell of Gods woord, wyll not as a smoke passe awaye wyth the wynde: but it will descende and rest in some cleane soule, that thrusteth thereafter. And thus some deale by this writing, may be perceiued throughe Gods grace, how that the enemies of the truth (standing boldly in their malice) enforce thē to withstand the freedom of Christes Gospell, for which freedome Christ became man, and shed hys hart bloud. And therefore it is great pity and sorow, that manye men and women doo theyr own weyward will: nor busie them not to knowe nor to do the pleasaunt wyll of God.

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MarginaliaGodly counsell geuen, if it may be followed.The men and women that heare the truth and soothfastnes, and heare or knowe of this (perceiuing what is nowe in the churche) ought here through, to be the more moued in all their wits, to able them to grace, and to set lesser pryce by them selues, that they wythout tarieng:

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