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Thomas Watson
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Thomas Watson

(1513 - 1584)

Chancellor of Cambridge University (from 25 September 1553); Master of St. John's (Cambridge) (from 28 September 1553); Dean of Durham (from 18 November 1553); Bishop of Lincoln (1557 - 1559) (DNB)

In the 1553 Convocation, Thomas Watson engaged in a long debate with James Haddon on the meaning of a passage in Theodoret, regarding the Eucharist (John Philpot, The trew report of the dysputacyon had and begonne in the convocacyon hows at London the XVIII day of Octobre MDLIIII, [Emden, 1554], STC 19890, sigs. C8v - D14; 1563, p. 912; 1570, p. 1576; 1576, p. 1344; 1583, p. 1414; also see Rerum, p. 227. Philpot's account, reprinted by Foxe, abridges this argument. It is given in BL Harley 422, fols. 38r - 40r, which was not printed by Foxe, but is printed in R. W. Dixon, A History of the Church of England (6 vols, London, (1884 - 1902), IV, pp. 81 - 85).

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Watson, supported by Henry Morgan and John Harpsfield, debated with Richard Cheney on the Real Presence on the fifth day of the 1553 Convocation (1563, pp. 912-17; 1570, pp. 1576-1576 [recte 1577]; 1576, pp. 1344-45; and 1583, pp. 1415-16).

Watson was one of the official disputants in the Oxford disputations of 1554 (1563, pp. 932, 936-38, 973-76; 1570, pp. 1591-93 and 1618-21; 1576, p. 1358-59 and 1381-83; 1583, pp. 1428-30 and 1451-54).

[NB: A brief account of the Oxford disputations of 1554 mentions Watson's debating with Ridley (1563, p. 934; 1570, p. 1606; 1576, p. 1371; 1583, p. 1441).

In an attempt to reinstate catholicism at the University of Cambridge, a commission under the direction of Cardinal Pole ordered the condemning and burning of the bones and books of Phagius and Martin Bucer. Members of the commission were Cuthbert Scott, Nicholas Ormanet, Thomas Watson, John Christopherson and Henry Cole. 1563, pp. 1537 [recte 1549]-1558 [recte 1570]

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On 20 August 1553, Watson preached a sermon at Paul's Cross where, to protect him from a potentially hostile crowd, he was guarded by two hundred soldiers (1570, p. 1634; 1576, p. 1395; 1583, p. 1465).

Thomas Watson was chosen by Pole to be a persecutor of the University of Cambridge. 1563, p. 1537, 1570, p. 2142, 1576, p. 1862, 1583, p. 1956.

Watson was sent to examine certain scholars at St John's College, Cambridge, on 9 January 1557. 1563, p. 1538, 1570, p. 2143, 1576, p. 1863, 1583, p. 1956.

He gave answer to an oration made by a fellow of Cambridge. 1563, p. 1538, 1570, p. 2143, 1576, p. 1863, 1583, p. 1956.

He thanked the fellows of Trinity College for their oration at the arrival of the commissioners. 1563, p. 1538, 1570, p. 2143, 1576, p. 1863, 1583, p. 1956.

The reformation of the University of Cambridge commanded by the queen's commissioners in 1557 was to take place at Watson's discretion. 1563, p. 1541, 1570, p. 2145, 1576, p. 1866, 1583, p. 1958.

Scot, Watson and Christopherson discussed and agreed to the exhumation of Bucer and Phagius. 1563, p. 1541, 1570, p. 2145, 1576, p. 1866, 1583, p. 1958.

Watson preached a sermon on Candlemas day. 1570, p. 2150, 1576, p. 1858, 1583, p. 1963.

Watson was present at the examination of John Rough and denounced him as a heretic. 1570, p. 2227, 1576, p. 1923, 1583, p. 2030.

Thomas Rose was imprisoned in the bishop of Lincoln's house in Holborn. 1576, p. 1978, 1583, p. 2083.

Watson was a participant in the Westminster disputation of 1559. 1563, p. 1717, 1583, p. 2119.

Watson was imprisoned in the Tower after the death of Mary. 1570, p. 2301, 1576, p. 1993, 1583, p. 2101.

1436 [1412]

Queene Mary. Disputation in the Conuocation house about the reall presence. 1553.multitude vpright, as he ought to be taken. None other answer then was made to Philpots reasons, but that hee was commaunded to silence. MarginaliaThis man called M. Phillips continued Deane of Rochester all Quene Maryes time and yet still so remayneth.

Then stoode vp the Deane of Rochester offeryng hym selfe to reason in the first question agaynst the natural presence, wishing that the scripture and the auncient Doctors in this poynt might be weyghed, beleeued, and followed. And agaynst this naturall presence he thought the saying of Christ in Saint Mathew to make sufficiently enough, if men would credite and follow scripture, who sayd there of hymselfe, that poore men wee should haue alway with vs, but hym we should not haue alwayes: which was spoken, quoth he, concernyng the naturall presence of Christes body, therefore we ought to beleeue as hee hath taught, that Christ is not naturally present on earth in the sacrament of the aultar.

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MarginaliaWestons aunswere to the Deane.To this was aunswered by the Prolocutor, that we should not haue Christ present alwayes to exercise almes deeds vpon hym, but vpon the poore.

MarginaliaThe Deanes replycation.But the Deane prosecuted his argument, and shewed it out of S. Austen further, that the same interpretation of the scripture alledged, was no sufficient aunswere, who writeth in the 50. treatise of S. Iohn on this wise, MarginaliaAugust. in Ioan, tract. 50.on the same sentence: MarginaliaA notable authority out of Saint Augustyne.When as he sayd (sayth S. Austen) me shal ye not haue always with you, he spake of the presence of his bodye. For by his maiestie, by his prouidence, by his vnspeakable & vnuisible grace, that is fulfilled which is sayd of him. Behold I am with you vntill the consummation of the world. But in the fleshe which the worde tooke vpon hym, in that which was borne of the virgin, in that which was apprehended of the Iewes, whiche was crucified on the Crosse, which was let down from the crosse, which was wrapped in cloutes, which was hid in the Sepulchre, which was manifested in the resurrection, you shall not haue me alwayes with you. And why? for after a bodily presence he was conuersant with his disciples fortie dayes, and they accompanying him, seyng and not folowing him, he ascended & is not here, for there he sitteth at the right hand of the father, and yet here he is, because he is not departed in the presence of hys maiestie. After another maner we haue Christ alwayes by presence of hys maiesty, but after the presence of his flesh it is rightly sayd: You shall not verily haue me alwayes with you. For the Church had hym in the presence of his flesh a few dayes, and now by fayth it apprehendeth hym and seeth hym, not with eyes.

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MarginaliaWatsons aunswere to Saint Augustine. August in Ioan tract. 70.To this authority D. Watson tooke vpon him to aunswer, and sayd, he would answer S. Austen by S. Austen, and hauyng a certaine booke in hys hand of notes, he alledged out of the 70. 

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Once again, the text is occasionally altered by typographical errors in the edition of 1576. A reference to Augustine's 'xc' treatise on St. John (Trew report, sig. B4v), rendered as 'lxxxx' in 1563 (p. 908) and 1570 (p. 1513) became '70' in 1576 (p. 1513) and was reprinted as '70' in 1583 (p. 1412).

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treatise vpon S. Iohn, that after that mortall condition and maner we haue not now Christ on the earth as he was heretofore before his passion.

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MarginaliaPhilpot against Watson.Agaynst whose aunswer, Iohn Philpot replyed and said, that M. Watson had not fully answered S. Augustine by S. Augustine, as he would seeme to haue done, for that in the place aboue mentioned by M. Deane of Rochester, he doth not onely teach the mortall state of Christes body before his passion, but also the immortall condition of the same after his resurrection: in the which mortal body S. Augustine seemeth plainely to affirme, that Christ is not present vpon the earth, neither in forme visibly, neither in corporall substance inuisibly, as in few lynes after þe place aboue alledged. S. Augustine doth more plainely declare by these wordes, saying: Now these two manners of Christes presence declared, which is by his maiestie, prouidence, & grace now present in the world, which before his ascension was present in flesh, and beyng now placed at the right hand of the father, is absent in the same from the world, I thinke (saith Saint Augustine) that there remayneth no other question in thys matter.

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Now quoth Philpot, if S. Augustine acknowledged no more presence of Christ to be now on earth, but onely his diuine presence, and touching his humanitie to bee in heauen, we ought to confesse and beleeue the same. But if we put a third presence of Christ, that is, corporally to bee present always in the sacrament of the aultar inuisibly, according to your suppositions, whereof S. Augustine maketh no mention at all in all his works: you shal seeme to iudge that which S. Augustine did neuer comprehend.

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MarginaliaWatson.Why, quoth Watson, S. Augustine in the place by me alledged, maketh he not mention how S. Steuen beyng in this world, saw Christ after his ascension?

MarginaliaPhilpot.It is true, said Philpot, but he saw Christ, as the scripture telleth, in the heauens beyng open, standyng at the right hand of God the father. Further to this Watson answered not.

MarginaliaD. Weston.Then the Prolocutor went about to furnish vp an answere to S. Augustine, saying, that he is not now in the world after that maner of bodily presence, but yet present for all that in his body.

To whom Philpot answered, that the Prolocutor dyd

MarginaliaPhilpot replyeth to Weston.grate much vpon this worde Secundum, in S. Augustine, which signifieth after the maner, or in forme: but he doth not answer to id quod, which is that thyng or substance of Christ, in the which Christ suffred, arose, and ascended into heauen, in the which thing and substance he is in heauen, and not on earth, as S. Augustine in the place specified most clearely doth define.

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To this nothing els beyng aunswered, MarginaliaThe Deane of Rochester.the Deane of Rochester proceeded in the maintenance of his argument, and read out of a booke of Annotations, sundry authorities for the confirmation therof. To the which MarginaliaMoreman.Moreman, who was appointed to answer him, made no direct aunswer, but bade him make an argument, saying that maister Deane had recited many wordes of Doctors, but he made not one argument.

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Then said the Deane, the authorities of the doctors by me rehersed, be sufficient arguments to proue mine intent, to the which my desire is to be answered of you. But still Moreman cried, make an argument to shift of the authoritie, which he could not answer vnto. After this þe Deane made this argument out of the institution of the sacramēt: Do this in remembraunce of me: and thus ye shall shew foorth the Lordes death vntill he come.

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MarginaliaArgument.The sacrament is the remembrance of Christ: Ergo, the sacrament is not very Christ: for yet he is not come. For these words, Vntill he come, do plainly signify the absence of Christes bodye. MarginaliaWeston answereth to the Argument.Then the Prolocutor went about to shew that these wordes Vntill he come, did not import any absence of Christ on the earth, by other places of scripture, where, MarginaliaDonec in Scripture.Donec, vntill, was vsed in like sense: but directly to the purpose he answered nothing.

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MarginaliaM. Deanes questions.In conclusiō, the Deane fel to questioning with Moreman, whether Christ did eate the Paschal lambe with hys disciples, or no? He answered, Yea. Further, he demanded whether he eate likewise the Sacrament with them, as he did institute it? Moreman aunswered, Yea. Then he asked what he did eate, and whether he eate his owne naturall body, as they imagine it to be, or no? MarginaliaMoreman affirmeth that Christ did eate his owne body.Which when Moreman had affirmed, then said the Deane, it is a great absurditie by you granted, and so he sate downe.

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MarginaliaPhilpot.Against this absurditie, Philpot stood vp and argued, saying, he could proue it by good reason deduced out of scripture, that Christ eat not his owne natural body at the institution of the sacrament, and the reason is this.

Receiuing of Christes body hath a promise of remis-
sion of sinnes with it annexed.
Christ eating the sacrament, had no promise of remis-
sion of sinne.
Ergo, Christ in the Sacrament did not eate his owne
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Thus when Philpot argued that 'The body of Christ givyn by the sacrament hath a promes of remission of synnis adjoyned vnto all them that receyve it dewely, but this promes could take no effect in chryst, ergo christ ate not his own body in the sacrament', (Trew report, sigs. B6v-B7r; 1563, p. 909); Foxe changed this to 'Receaving of Christes body hath a promise of remission of sinnes with it annexed, Christ eating the Sacrament had no promise of remission of sinne, ergo, Christ in the Sacrament dyd not eate his own body' (1570, p. 1573; 1576, p. 1342; 1583, p. 1412).

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MarginaliaMoreman denieth the Sacrament to haue a promise of remission of sinnes annexed vnto it.To this reason Moreman answered, deniyng the former part of the argumēt, that the sacrament had a promise of remission of sinnes annexed vnto it.

MarginaliaPhilpot.Then Philpot shewed this to be the promise in the sacrament: Which is geuen for you, which is shed for you for the remission of sinnes. But Moreman would not acknowledge that to be any promise, so that he droue Philpot to the 6. of S. Iohn, to vouch this saying with these words: The bread which I geue, is my flesh, which I will geue for the lyfe of the world.

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Moreman aunswering nothing directly to this argument, MarginaliaHarpesfield affirmeth that which his fellow denyed.Harpsfield start vp to supply that which wanted in hys behalfe, and thinking to haue answered Philpot, confirmed more strongly his argumēt, saying: Ye mistake the promise which is annexed to the body of Christ in the Sacrament: for it pertained not to Christ, but to his Disciples, to whom Christ said: This is my body, which is geuen for you, and not for Christ hymselfe.

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MarginaliaPhilpot.You haue sayd well for me, quoth Philpot, for that is myne argument. The promise of the body of Christ, tooke no effect in Christ: Ergo, Christ eate not his owne body.

MarginaliaWeston also is contrary to Moreman.Then the prolocutor to shoulder out the matter, sayd: the argument was naught. For by the lyke argument he might go about to proue that Christ was not baptised, because the remission of sinne which is annexed vnto Baptisme, tooke no effect in Christ. MarginaliaM. Philpots argument not soluted.To the which Philpot replied, that like as Christ was baptised, so he eate the sacrament: but he tooke on hym Baptisme, not that he had any neede thereof, or that it tooke any effect in hym, but as our maister, to geue the church an example to folow him in the ministration of the sacrament, and therby to exhibite vnto vs himselfe, and not to geue himselfe to himselfe.

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No more was said in this. But afterward the Prolocutor demanded of Philpot, whether he would argue against the naturall presence, or no? To whom he answered, Yea, if he would heare hys Argument without interruption,

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