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Henry Pole
 
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Henry Pole

(1492 - 1539) [ODNB]

Baron Montagu; nobleman and convicted traitor

Reginald, Cardinal Pole, was the brother of Lord Montagu. 1563, p. 613; 1570, p. 1212; 1576, p. 1037; 1583, p. 1065.

1089 [1065]

K. Henry. 8. A Letter of Tonstall and Stokesley to Cardinall Poole

coulde euer dissemble so deepely, speaking so pithily? If they meant as they spake, who coulde euer turne head to tayle so sodenly & so shortly as these men did? But because these thinges we write for edification of other, rather then for commendation of them, let vs marke therefore theyr reasons, and let the persons goe.

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And although the sayd proufes and argumentes heretofore alledged, might suffice to the full discussion of this matter agaynst þe Popes vsurped primacy: yet because many do yet remayne, which wil not be satisfied, to refel therfore & confute this popishe article of the popes vayne and proud primacie, with as much matter and furniture of reasons & allegations as the writinges and testimonies of these Bishops and others do minister vnto vs: we mynde (the Lord willing) to annexe to these former confirmatiōs of the bishops aforesayd, MarginaliaThe epistle of Tonstall & Stokesly, to Cardinal Poole.an other supplement also of a certayne Epistle sent by Bishop Tonstall, and by Iohn Stokesley byshop of London, to Cardinall Poole, for a more ample confutation of the vsurped power.

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Concerning the argument of whiche Epistle, here is first to be vnderstanded, that about thys time or not much ouer, Cardinall Poole brother to the Lord Montagew, was attaynted of high treasō, and fled away vnto Rome, where within a short time after, he was made Cardinall of S. Mary Cosmeden: 

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Pole was created cardinal-deacon (22 December 1536) of St Mary in Cosmedin. There are three official ranks of cardinal and Pole's rank of deacon indicates that he was considered a member of the pope's political household, working full-time in the curia. The other ranks are cardinal-bishop (who holds an actual Episcopal position in Rome) and cardinal-priest (who works in a diocese outside of Rome).

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of whō more is to be spoken hereafter, the Lord so permitting, when we come to the tyme of Queene Mary. In the meane tyme hee remayning at Rome, there was directed vnto hym 
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Foxe leaves a great deal out of the chronology and makes it sound as if the Stokesley-Tunstal letter was the first (rather than last) official treatise in the exchanges between Pole and Henry VIII's scholars regarding the royal supremacy issue. Pole had served the king's interests in Paris with regard to the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon but, sometime after 1531 he'd changed his mind on the issue and decided instead to carry on his scholastic pursuits at Padua (at the king's expense) [for which, see The Works of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1556, 2 vols., ed. by J E Cox (Cambridge, 1844-46), ii, pp.229-31]. Henry left him in peace to about 1535 when enforcement of the royal supremacy necessitated his recall. As the king's cousin and an important man in his own right, Pole could not be allowed to remain silent on the issues (particularly given the recent executions of More and Fisher). To this end, his former student Thomas Starkey (a royal chaplain and propagandist) was to make contact and pursued Pole to return to England with a letter, the writing of which was very much under the direction of Stokesley and Thomas Cromwell [for which, see BL, Cott. MSS. Cleo. E, vi, fols.367rv ]. The full range of divorce and supremacy arguments are spelled out. Pole replied to this on 4 September 1535, in the form of a treatise entitled Pro Ecclesiasticae Unitatis Defensione which arrived in England at the worst possible time - during the Pilgrimage of Grace and Lincolnshire uprisings of 1536. The king established a four man committee to deal with Pole and his treatise - Stokesley, Cromwell, Tunstal and Starkey. Pole's treatise addressed four issues: Richard Sampson's supremacy polemic entitled Oratio quae docet hortatur admonet omnes potissimum Anglos Regiae dignitati cum primis ut obediant (1534), papal supremacy, Anne Boleyn, and Henry's need to perform penance. In the second and most important section, Pole denied Sampson's natural reason arguments as well as the humanist exegesis of the other royal apologists. Although Starkey was to have made the official response, he appealed to Stokesley and Tunstal for drafting and editing advice. His letter was sent on 13 July 1536 [see, BL, Cott. MSS. Cleo. E, vi, fols.379-83v] but proved only a prelude to the Stokesley/Tunstal letter.

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a certayne Epistle exhortatory by Stokesley Byshop of London, and Tonstal Byshop of Duresme, perswading hym to relinquishe and abandon the supremacy of the Pope, and to conforme himselfe to the religion of his king. The copy 
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The letter can be found at Public Records Office, State Papers 1/113, fols.4-10r and was published as Letter to Cardinal Pole (London, 1575).

of which his Epistle for the reasons and argumentes therein conteined about the same matter, we thought here not vnworthely to be put in, or vnprofitable to be read. The tenour wherof here followeth.

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The true copy of a certayne letter, written by Cutbert Tonstall Byshop of Duresme, and Iohn Stokesley Byshop of London, to Cardinall Poole, prouing the Byshop of Rome to haue no speciall superioritie aboue other Byshoppes.

MarginaliaThis letter was testified by Cutbert Tonstall to Mathew Archb. of Canterbury and others to be his owne, about 14. dayes before his death.FOr the good will that we haue borne vnto you in times past as long as you continued the kinges true subiect, we cannot a little lament & mourne, that you neyther regarding the inestimable kindnes of the kings highnes heretofore shewed vnto you in your bringing vp, nor the honor of the house that you be come of, nor the wealth of the countrey that you were borne in, should so decline from your duety to your prince, that you shuld be seduced by fayre words and vaine promises of the Bishop of Rome, to winde with him, going about by all meanes to him possible, to pull downe and put vnder foote, your naturall Prince & Maister, to the destruction of the countrey that hath brought you vp, MarginaliaRead his trayterous Oration to the Emperour in his booke intituled, De Ecclesiæ Concordia, mouing him to seeke the destruction of king Hēry and the whole realme of England. and for a vayne glory of a red Hat, to make your selfe an instrument to set forth his malice, who hath styrred by all meanes that he could, all such Christiā Princes as would geue eares vnto him, to depose the kinges hignes from his Kingdome, and to offer it as a pray for them that should execute his malice, and to styrre if hee could his subiectes agaynst him in stryrring and nourishing rebellions in his realme: where the office & duety of all good Christiā men, and namely 

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This is very much a key statement of the treatise-letter as it signalled the bishops' intension to preserve basic Catholic principles along with royal supremacy. It also solves the problem that had plagued loyal Henrician Catholics with the notion that a church could be uniquely particular and local with yet remaining within the wider corps of Christendom through the supra-national nature of priesthood.

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of vs that be priestes, should be to bring all commotion to tranquillity, all trouble to quietnes, all discord to concord, and in doing contrary, we do shew our selues to be but the ministers of Satan, and not of Christ, who ordeined all vs that bee priestes, to vse in all places the legatiō of peace, & not of discord.

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But since that can not be vndone that is done, second it is to make amendes, and to followe the doing of the prodigall sonne 

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The parable of the prodigal son can be found at Luke 15.11-32. The allusion, of course, is that Pole is wasting his inheritance among the swine of Rome and, should he return the king would welcome him back with open arms and great celebration.

spoken of in the Gospell: MarginaliaLuke. 15. who returned home to his father, & was well accepted, as no doubt you might be, if you will say as he said in knowledging your folly, and doe as he did, in returning home agayne from your wandring abroad in seruice of him, who little careth what come of you, so that their purpose by you bee serued. And if you be moued by your conscience, that you can not take the king your mayster as supreme head of the Church of England because the Bishop of Rome hath heretofore many yeares vsurped that name vniuersally ouer all the Church, vnder pretence of the Gospell of S Mathew 
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Foxe notes this as Matthew 18 but the quote comes from Matthew 16.18. It is one of the most common foundations of papal authority.

, saying: MarginaliaMath. 18.Thou art Peter 
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In his treatise Pro Ecclesiasticae Unitatis Defensione, Pole had used the Matthew text to stress the pastoral responsibility of the papacy for the faith of all Christians. In essence, taking a literal view, he had assigned a universal potestas ordinis to Peter and, through him, to his successors, the popes at Rome [see, sigs.xlviirv]. Stokesley and Tunstal focussed instead on the underlying principle of the building of the church upon the rock of strong faith, repeating St Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians (3.11) recognizing faith in Christ as the true and only foundation. They are not denying that Peter is a key figure, even first among equals, but reflect mediaeval disputes over both his leadership role and whether his authority was to descend to any successor at all.

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and vpon this rocke I will build my Church. MarginaliaThe place of Mathew Tu es Petrus expounded.Surely the text many of the most holy & auncient expositors, wholy doe take to be ment of the fayth, then first confessed by the mouth of Peter, vppon whiche fayth, confessing Christ to be the sonne of God, the church is builded, Christe being the very lowest foundation stone, whereupon both the Apostles themselues, and also the whole fayth of the Churche of Christ by them preached through the world, is founded and builded, and other foundation none can be, Marginalia1. Cor. 3.but that onely as S. Paule MarginaliaLuke. 22. The place of Luke expounded.sayth: No other foundation can any man lay, besides that which is layd, which is Christ Iesus.

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And where you thinke that the Gospell of Luke 

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Luke 22.32.

proueth the same authority of the Bishoppe of Rome, saying: Peter, I haue prayed for thee, that thy fayth shoulde not fayle: and thou beynge once conuerted, confirme thy brethren, Surely that speaketh 
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The bishops argue this was meant to comfort Peter, and only Peter, after his fall from faith, letting him know that he would return and be a fervent in faith as he usually had been.

onely of the fall of Peter knowne to Christ by his godly prescience, whereof he gaue an inkling that after the time of his fal, he should not despayre, but returne agayne and confirme his brethren, as he euer being most feruent of them, was wont to do. The place doth playnely open it selfe that it can not be otherwise taken, but thys to be the very meaning of it, and not to be spoken but to Peter: For els his successours must first fayle in the fayth and then conuert, and so confirme theyr brethren. And where as you thinke that this place of the Gospell of Iohn. 
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John 21.17. The stress of the verse is actually Christ's knowledge, not Peter's.

MarginaliaThe place of Iohn 21. expoūded. Feede my sheepe, was spokē onely to Peter, and that those woordes make him shepheard ouer all, and aboue all: S. Peter 
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With reference to 1 Peter 5.2-4 the shepherd analogy is considered further and applied to all priests which more fully fits the characteristics of the priesthood the two bishops would like to establish.

himselfe testifieth the contrary in his canonicall, Epistle, where he sayth to all priestes: Marginalia1. Pet. 5.Feede the flocke of Christ which is among you: which he bade them do by the authority that Christ had put them in, as foloweth: And when the chiefe shepheard shall appeare, ye shall receiue the incorruptible crowne of eternall glory.

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The same likewise Saynt Paule in the Actes, 

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This refers to Acts 20.28. Where Paul writes 'overseers' this is generally interpreted as 'bishops'. Indeed, with regard to the supposed supremacy of Peter, Acts makes it clear that the activities of Paul have taken on a more central role.

MarginaliaActes. 20. testifieth sayinge: Geue heed to your selues and to the whole flocke, wherin the holy ghost hath set you to gouerne the church of God. Where, in the originall text, the word 
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The two bishops find the key words regere (oversee) and pasce (feed) to have identical implications.

signifiyng Regere, to gouerne, xxx, is the same that was spoken to Peter, Pasce, Feede, for it signifieth both in the Scripture. And that by these wordes he was not constitue 
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The implication of the statement goes a long way toward underpinning the bishops' point equating Peter with papal power. Peter (although not a Judaizer) tended to preach the gospel message only to Jews, while it remained to Paul to preach to Gentiles.

a shepheard ouer all, it is very playne by the facte of Saynct Peter, which durst not enterprise much conuersation among the Gentiles, but eschewed it as a thing vnlawfull, and muche rather prohibited then commaunded by Gods law, vntill he was admonished by the reuelation of the sheete full of diuers viandes 
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This refers to Acts 10.11-15 & 11.5-11 and is taken as a sign that God wants all men to be saved, not just Jews or Gentiles. The bishops' point being that, while fervent in his faith, Peter had been wrong in his approach until this truth was explained to him. Indeed, Peter does not figure very heavily from this point on, attention has switched to the evangelising efforts of Paul.

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, mentioned in the Actes of the Apostles: MarginaliaActes. 10. where if Christ by these wordes, Feede my sheepe, had geuen such an vniuersall gouernaunce to Peter, then Peter being more feruēt then other of the Apostles to execute Christes commaundement, woulde of his owne courage haue gone without any such new admonition to Cornelius: except peraduenture you would say, that Peter did not vnderstād the sayd wordes of Christ, for lacke of the light which the latter men haue obteined to perceiue, and thereby vnderstand the wordes of Christ to Peter, better then Peter himselfe did. And straunge also it were to condemne Peter as an high Traytour to his mayster, after his ascention: as he in deede were worthy if hys mayster had signified vnto him, that the Byshops of Rome, by hys dying there 
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The bishops are raising a controversial issue. In the Apocryphal Acts of Peter (said to have been written by John's companion Leucius Charinus), Peter is seen fleeing Rome to avoid execution until he is confronted by a vision of Christ heading into Rome. This is the source of the famous 'Quo Vadis?' phrase. Peter turns back and accepts his martyrdom. Should he really, in his willingness to flee, be considered as Pole and tradition often consider him?

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, shoulde be heades of all the church, and he knowyng the same by these wordes, Feede my sheepe, yet notwithstandyng his maysters high legacy and commaundement, woulde flee as he did, from Rome, MarginaliaOf this flying away of Peter frō Rome reade before pag. 34. vntill his mayster encountring him by the waye, with terrible woordes, caused him to returne. And because thys history peraduenture can not weigh agaynst an obstinate mynde, to the contrary. What shall we saye to the woordes of Saynt Ambrose 
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This refers to St Ambrose (c.340-97), one of the four great doctors of the church, and his work on the Holy Spirit entitled 'De Spiritu sancto libri tres ad Gratianum Augustum' (which can be found in Patrologiae cursus completus: series Latina, 221 vols., ed. by J P Migne (Paris, 1844-1903), xvi, pp.731-850).

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, declaring and affirming that as great and as ample primacy was geuen to Paule, as to Peter? MarginaliaAs great primacy geuen to S. Paule, as to Peter. Vppon these woordes of Paule He that wrought by Peter. &c. thus he writeth: Petrum solum nominat, & sibi comparat, quia primatum ipse acceperat 
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The quote is taken from 'De Spiritu sancto', book ii, p.808. The bishops draw out the equity argument for Paul and Peter. The Henrician apologist often referred to Ambrose, as his writings could be interpreted against the theory of the church's foundation on one human figure.

ad fundandam Ecclesiam: se quoque pari modo electum vt primatū habeat in fundandis Ecclesijs Gentium. &c. That is to say, He nameth Peter onely, and compareth him to himselfe, because he receiued a primacy to builde a church: and that he in like sort was chosen himselfe to haue a primacye in building the churches of the Gentiles. And shortly after it foloweth: Of those (that is to say of the Apostles) which were the chiefest, his gift, he sayth, was allowed, whither he had receiued of God, so that hee was founde worthy to haue the primacy in preaching to the Gentiles, as Peter had in preaching to the Iewes. And as he assigned to Peter for his companions, those whiche were of the chiefest men amongst the Apostles, euen so also did he take to him selfe Barnabas, who was ioyned vnto him by Gods iudgement: and yet did hee challenge to himselfe alone to the prerogatiue or primacy which God had geuen him, as to Peter alone it was graunted among the other Apostles. So that the Apostles of the Circumcision gaue theyr handes to the Apostles of the Gentyles: MarginaliaEqualitye of de.gee among the Apostles.to declare theyr concorde in fellowshippe, that eyther of them should know that they had receiued the perfection of the spirite in the preaching of the Gospell, and so shoulde not neede eyther other in any matter. And shortelye after sayth Saynt Ambrose, who durste resiste Peter the chiefe Apostle, but an other suche a one, whiche by the confidence of his election might knowe himselfe to be no lesse, and so might reproue boldly that thing which he inconsiderately had done.

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This equallity of dignity whiche Saynt Ambrose affirmeth by scripture to be equally geuen to Peter and Paule, S. Cyprian and S. Hierome 

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This refers to St Cyprian (d.258), who was converted to Christianity late in life, and to St Jerome (c.347-420), who is best known as the translator of the out of its original languages into the Latin edition known as the Vulgate. These church fathers were useful for the parity argument as both recognized Peter and Paul as sectarian leaders (Jews and Gentiles respectively).

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do extend to all the Apostles, Cyprian saying thus: 
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This comes from Cyprian's treatise entitled 'On the unity of the church' (which can be found in The Writings of Cyprian, 2 vols., ed. by A Roberts and J Donaldson (Edinburgh, 1882), i, pp.377-98). The quote comes early in the work (pp.380-1).

MarginaliaCiprian De simplicitate clericorum. Hoc erat vti & cæteri apostoli, quod fuit Petrus, pari consortio præditi, & honoris & potestatis: All the rest of the Apostles were the same that Peter was, being endued with like equality of honor

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and
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