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1039 [1038]

K. Henry. 8. A letter sent to Thomas Phillippe. Tracies Testament.

not minish the least heire of your hed without his will: vnto the which will, submitte your selfe, and reioyce: for the Lord knoweth how to deliuer the godly out of temptation, and how to reserue the vniust vnto the day of iudgement to be punished 

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2 Peter 2: 9.

: Marginalia2. Pet. 2. and therefore, caste all your care on hym, for he careth for you. 
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1 Peter 5: 7.

Marginalia1. Pet. 4. And in that you suffer as a Christen man, be not ashamed, but rather glorifie God on that behalfe: Marginalia1. Pet. 4. looking vpō Christ the author and finisher of our faith: which for the ioy that was set before him, abode the Crosse & despised the shame. 
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Hebrews 12: 2.

MarginaliaHeb. 12. Notwithstanding thoughe we suffer the wrong, after the example of our maister Christ, yet we bee not bound to suffer the wrong cause, for Christ iymself suffred it not, but reproued hym that smitte him wrongfully. And so likewyse sayeth S. Paule also 
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See Acts 23: 3.

: So that we must not suffer the wrong, but boldly reproue them that sit as righteous iudges and do contrary to righteousues.
MarginaliaAct. 23. Therefore according both to Gods law and mans, ye be not bounde to make no aunswer in no cause, till your accusers come before you. Which if you require and theron do sticke, the false brethren shall be known to the great comfort of those that now stand in doubt whom they may trust: and also it shall be a meane that they shall not craftily by questions take you in snares. And that you may this do lawfully, in the xx. Chapter of the Actes it is written. It is not the maner of the Romans to deliuer any man that he should perish before that he which is accused, haue his accusers before him, and haue licence to aunswer for iymselfe, as pertainyng to the crime whereof he is accused 
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Actually this is a reference to Acts 23: 27-8.

MarginaliaAct. 20. And also Christ will, that in the mouth of two or thre witnesses all things shall stand. 
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This is a somewhat unusual interpretation of Matthew 18: 20.

MarginaliaMath. 18. And in the v. cha. to Timoth. the first epistle it is written: Against a Seniour receiue none accusation but vnder two or thre witnesses. 
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I Timothy 5: 19.

Marginalia1. Tim. 5.
What is a Sentaue by S. Paule.
A Seniour in this place is any man that hath an house to gouerne. And also their owne lawe is agreeable to this. Wherfore seing it is agreable to the worde of God, that in accusations such witnesses should be, you may with a good conscience require it. And this the God of grace which hath called you vnto his eternall glory by Christ Iesu, shall hys owne selfe after a little affliction, make you perfect, shal settle, strengthen, and stablish you, that to him may be glory & prayse for euer. Amen.

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Thus ye haue heard the letter deliuered to Tho. Philip. Now followeth the Testament of William Tracey.

¶ Tracy his Testament.

A Litle before 

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The account which follows is word-for-word from Edward Hall'schronicle. (See Edward Hall, The union of the two noble and illustre famelies ofLancastre and York [London, 1548], STC 12721, fo. 211r-v).

thys tyme, William Tracy a worshypfull Esquyre in Glocestershyre, & thē dwellyng at Todington, made in his wil, that he would haue no funeral pompe at hys burying, neither passed he vppon Masse, and farther sayd that he trusted in God onely, and hoped by hym to bee saued, and not by any Sainte. 
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William Tracy was a prominent member of a leading Gloucestershire family and he was a former sheriff of the county. His will aroused considerablecontroversy because of its outspoken declaration of justification nby faith without theassistance of works. Manuscript copies of the will circulated extensively. (See John Craig and Caroline Litzenberger, 'Wills as Religious Propaganda: The Testament of William Tracy', Journal of Ecclesiastical History 44 [1993], pp. 415-31). In 1535, a copy of the will, with commentaries by William Tyndale and John Frith, was printedin Antwerp: the testament of master William Tracie esquier (Antwerp, 1535), STC 24167.

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This Gentleman dyed, and hys sonne as executor, brought the will to the Byshop of Canterbury to proue, whiche he shewed to the conuocation and there most cruellye they iudged that he should be taken out of the ground and bee brent as an hereticke, anno. 1532. 
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Foxe (following Hall's chronicle) is condensing extemely complex and protracted proceedings. Convocation debated Tracy's will in different sessions for fifteen months before Tracy was finally condemned (posthumously) as a heretic and the exhumation of his body ordered. (See John T. Day, 'William Tracy's Posthumous Legal Problems' in William Tyndale and the Law, ed. John A. R. Dick and Anne Richardson [Kirksville, MO, 1994], pp. 108-10).

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MarginaliaM. Tracie taken vp being dead and burnt. This commission was sent to Doct. Parker Chauncellour of the dioces of Worcester, to execute their wicked sentence, whiche accomplished the same. The kynge hearyng his subiect to bee taken out of the ground and brent without hys knowledge or order of hys lawe, sent for the Chaūcellour and layd hygh offence to hys charge: who excused hym selfe by the Archbyshop of Canterbury whiche was late dead 
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I.e., Parker, the chancellor of the diocese, claimed that he was acting on the orders of the archbishop of Canterbury.

, but in conclusion it cost hym CCC. pounde to to haue his pardon. 
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Matthew Parker, the chancellor of the diocese of Worcester (not to be confused with the Elizabethan archbishop of Canterbury of the same name) burned Tracy's body in addition to exhuming it. This burning - but not the exhumation - was a violation of the statute De heretico comburendo, which mandated the punishments for heresy. Under this statute, it was illegal to burn a heretic, livingor dead, without receipt of a writ from Chancery and, in any case, the burning wasto be managed by secular officials. Whether Tracy's body was burned on the orders of the Archbishop Warham or not (Parker, the chancellor of the diocese, claimed that he was acting on the orders of the archbishop of Canterbury), Parker did not have a writ and he conducted the burning himself. Richard Tracy, William's son, petitioned the king, asking that Parker be punished for this violation of the law. Ultimately Parker was fined £100. (See John T. Day, 'William Tracy's Posthumous Legal Problems' in William Tyndale and the Law, ed. John A. R. Dick and Anne Richardson [Kirksville, MO, 1994], pp. 110-11).

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The will and Testament of this Gentleman thus condemned by the Clergie, was as here vnder foloweth.

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Marginalia The Testament of William Tracie. IN the name of God, Amen. I William Tracy of Todyngton in the Countye of Glocester Esquyre, make my Testament and last will, as here after foloweth. First and before all other thynges, I commit my selfe vnto God and to hys mercy, beleuing without any doubt or mistrust that by hys grace and the merites of Iesus Christ, and by the vertue of his Passion and of hys resurrection, I haue and shall haue remissiō of all my sinnes and resurrection of body and soule, accordyng as it is written: I beleue that my redemer lyueth, and that in the last day I shall rise out of the earth, and in my fleshe shall see my Sauiour: thys my hope is layde vp in my bosome. 

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Job 19: 25.

MarginaliaIob. 19.

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And touchyng the wealth 

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I.e., the health.

of my soule, the fayth that I haue taken and rehearsed is sufficient (as I suppose) without any other mans woorkes or merites. 
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It is this statement, declaring that faith, without works, was allthat was necessary salvation, which made this will hertetical.

My ground and belefe is, that there is but one God and one Mediatour betwene God and man, whiche is Iesus Christe: so that I accept none in heauen nor in earth to bee Mediatour betwene me and God, but onely Iesus Christ: all other to be but as peticioners in receyuyng of grace, but none able to geue influence of grace: And therfore will I bestowe no part of my goodes for that entente that any man should say or do, to helpe my soule, for therin I trust onely to the pro- myses of Christ: He that beleueth and is Baptised shalbe saued, and he that beleueth not shalbe dampned. 
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Mark 16: 16.

MarginaliaMarke. 16.

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As touchyng the burying of my body it auayleth me not what soeuer be done thereto, for S. Austen sayth De cura agenda pro mortuis, MarginaliaFuneral pompes serue only for the liuing and geue no helpe to the dead. that the funerall pompes are rather the solace of them that lyue, then the wealth and comfort of them that are dead, and therfore I remitte it onely to the discretion of myne executours. 

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Tracy's lack of concern over his burial arrangements was not heretical, but it was very unconventional.

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And touchyng the distribution of my temporall goodes, my purpose is, by the grace of God, to bestowe them to bee accepted as the frutes of fayth, so that I doe not suppose þt my merite shalbe by þe good bestowing of them, but my me MarginaliaOur merites be onely our fayth in Christ. rite is the faith of Iesus Christe onely, by whō such workes are good accordyng to the wordes of our Lord: I was hungry and thou gauest me to eate. &c. 

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Matthew 25: 35.

and it foloweth: that ye haue done to the least of my brethren, ye haue done it to me. &c. 
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Matthew 25: 45.

And euer we should cōsider that true saying: that a good worke maketh not a good man, but a good mā maketh a good worke: for fayth maketh the man both good and righteous: for a righteous man liueth by fayth: and whatsoeuer sprinketh not of fayth is sinne. &c. 
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This is a rather free reading of Romans 14: 17-23.

MarginaliaRom. 14.

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And all my temporall goodes that I haue not geuen or deliuered, or not geuen by writyng of myne own hand, bearyng the date of this present writing, I doo leaue and geue to Margaret my wyfe, and to Richard my sonne whom I make myne Executors. Witnes hereof myne owne hand þe x. of October in the xxij. yeare of the reigne of kyng Henry the eyght.

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This is the true copie of hys will, for the which, as you heard before, after he was almost ij. yeares dead, they tooke him vp and burned hym.

Persons abiured, with their Articles.

Iohn Peti-
man, Skin- ner. 
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Apparently Periman was also selling heretical books.


His Articles: were much lyke vn-
to the others
Paules Crosse, preached nothyng
but lyes and flatteringes, and þt there
was neuer a true preacher but one:
namyng Edward Crome 
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Although none of his sermons survive, Edward Crome was one of the most outspoken and popular evangelical preachers in London. Crome himself was charged with heresy in 1531 and escaped by recanting. He subsequently retracted his recantation.


Rob. Gold
ston, Gla-
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An unnnamed glazier did pennace at Paul's Cross on 22 October 1531('Two London Chronicles', ed. C. L.. Kingsford in Camden Society Miscellany XII, third series 18 [London, 1910}, p. 5). This was probably Goldstone.


Hys Articles: That men shoulde
pray to God onely, & to no Saintes.
That Pilgrimage is not profitable.
That men should gyue no worshyp
to Images. Item, for saying, that
if he had as much power as any Car
dinall had, he would destroy all þe I-
mages that were in al the Churches
in England.

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Staple, Ser
uing man.
Hys Articles: For hauyng þe Te-
stament in Englishe. the v. bookes
of Moses, the practise of Prelates,
the summe of Scripture, the A. B. C.
Item, about
þe burnyng 
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James Bainham was the youngest son of Sir Alexander Bainham, who was the head of the most prominent family in the Forest of Dean and who had been sheriff of Gloucestershire five times. James Bainham's mother was the sister of William Tracy. On the Bainham family, see Caroline Litzenberger, The English Reformation and the Laity: Gloucestershire, 1540-1580 (Cambridge, 1997), pp. 30-31.

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of Baynhā,
for saying: I woulde I were wyth
Baynhā, seing that euery m n hath
forsakē hym, that I might drinke wt
hym, and he myght pray for me. I-
em, that he moued Henry Tompsō
to learne to read the new Testamēt
callyng it the bloud of Christ.
Item, in Lent past when he had MarginaliaEatyng of egges made heresie. no
fish, he did eate egges, butter, & chese.
Also about 6 wekes before M. Bil-
ney was attached, the said Bilney de-
liuered to hym at Grenewich. 4 new
testamentes of Tindals translation,
which he had in hys sleue and a bud-
get besides of bokes, which budget
he shortly after riding to Cambridge
deliuered vnto Bilney. &c. Item, on
Fridayes he vsed to eate egges 
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The eating of eggs, like the eating of meat, was traditionally forbidden on Fridays.

, and
thought, that it was no great offence
before God. &c.

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The sentence of life imprisonment against Tomson was severe, but it is confirmed by a contemporary chronicler ('Two London Chronicles', ed. C. L. Kingsford in Camden Society Miscellany XII, third series, 18 [London, 1910], p. 5).


His Articles: That which þe priest
lifteth ouer hys head at the sacryng
tyme, is not the very body of Christ,
nor it is not God, but a thyng that
God hath ordayned to be done.
This poore Tompson although at
the first he submitted hymselfe to the
bishop: yet they with sentence condem
ned hym to perpetuall prison.

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Iaspar Wet-
zell of Co-
His Articles: That he cared not for
goyng to the church to heare Masse,
for he could say Masse as wel as the
Priest. That he would not praye to
our lady, for she could do vs no good.

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