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Boxted

[Bocksted; Boxsted]

Essex

OS grid ref: TM 005 315

 
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Buckingham

OS grid ref: SP 695 335

Historic county town of Buckinghamshire

 
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Chelsea (Chelchith)

[Chelsey; Chelsith]

west London

OS grid ref: TQ 275 775

 
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Colchester
Colchester, Colchestre
NGR: TM 000 250

A borough, having separate jurisdiction, locally in the Colchester division of the hundred of Lexden, county of Essex. 22 miles north-east by east from Chelmsford. The town comprises the parishes of All Saints, St. James, St. Martin, St. Mary at the Walls, St. Nicholas, St. Peter, St. Rumwald and Holy Trinity within the walls; and St. Botolph, St. Giles, St. Leonard and St. Mary Magdalene without the walls; all in the archdeaconry of Colchester and Diocese of London

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English information from Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of England (S. Lewis & Co: London, 1831)

Scottish information from Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (S. Lewis & Co: London, 1846)

Welsh information taken from Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales(Lewis & Co: London, 1840)

The reason for the use of these works of reference is that they present the jurisdictional and ecclesiastical position as it was before the major Victorian changes. The descriptions therefore approximate to those applying in the sixteenth century, after the major changes of 1535-42. Except for the physical locations, which have not changed, the reader should not therefore take these references as being accurate in the twenty-first century.

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Dallington [Dalington]

Northamptonshire

OS grid ref: SP 735 615

 
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Rotherhithe (Redhra-hyþ: Old English) [Rederith]

Southwark, London

OS grid ref: TQ 355 795

 
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St Osyth
Saint Osithes, Saynt Osithes
NGR: TM 123 156

A parish in the hundred of Tendring, county of Essex. 11 miles south-east from Colchester. The living is a perpetual curacy in the Archdeaconry of Colchester, Diocese of London

English information from Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of England (S. Lewis & Co: London, 1831)

Scottish information from Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (S. Lewis & Co: London, 1846)

Welsh information taken from Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales(Lewis & Co: London, 1840)

The reason for the use of these works of reference is that they present the jurisdictional and ecclesiastical position as it was before the major Victorian changes. The descriptions therefore approximate to those applying in the sixteenth century, after the major changes of 1535-42. Except for the physical locations, which have not changed, the reader should not therefore take these references as being accurate in the twenty-first century.

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St Osyth [Saint Osithe]

Essex

OS grid ref: TM 125 155

 
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Woburn

[Wooburne; Woborne; Owborne]

Buckinghamshire

OS grid ref: SP 945 335

842 [818]

K. Hen 8. The burning of William Sweeting and Iames Brewster martyrs.

Abiuratio Magna, the great abiuration, and they whiche were noted of that doctrine and profession, were called by the name of knowne men or iust fast men. &c. In this congregatiō of the faithful brethren, were 4. principall readers or instructers. Wherof one was Tilesworth called thē. D. Tilesworth, who was burnt at Amersham, mentioned in our history before, by the name of William Tilseley: whō I suppose rather to be called Tilseworth, 

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William Tilesworth was excommunication and the signification of this excommunica-tion and commitment to the secular authority survives and is dated 10 August 1511 (TNA C 85/115/10). Although the date Foxe gave was incorrect, this document - which lists Robert Cosin, William Scrivener, Nicholas Collins and Thomas Man as also being condemned - shows that, in this case, apart from the date, the information from Foxe's aged informants was essentially accurate.

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pag. 774. An other was Thomas Chase MarginaliaThomas Chase Martyr. called amongst them, Doctour Chase, whom we declared before to be murdered and hanged in the Bishop of Lincolnes prison at Woborne, called Little ease, 
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There is no surviving information on Thomas Chase apart from theaccount in Foxe. This account - as Foxe makes clear - is based on testimony from contemporaries to the events and the cruelty with which Chase was treated undoubt-edly lost nothing in the telling. It seems reasonable to accept that Thomas Chase wasarrested for heresy and committed suicide in prison. There is no way of telling whathappened beyond that but claims that he was murdered seem far-fetched.

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pag. 774. MarginaliaVide. supra. pag. 774. The third was this Tho. Man, called Doctor Man, burned as is here mentioned in Smithfield, an. 1518. who, as by his owne confession, and no lesse also by his trauaile appeareth, was Gods champion and suffered muche trouble by the priestes, for the cause and lawe of God. Hee confesseth himselfe in the same Register, that he had turned seuen hundreth people to his Religion and doctrine, for the which he thanked God. MarginaliaThomas Man a great reader among the brethren of Amersham.He conueyed also fiue couples of men and women from Amershā, Oxbrige, Burnham, and Henley vppon Thamis, where they dwelt vnto Suffolke and Northfolke, that they mought be brought (as he then termed it) out of the deuils mouth. The fourth was Robert Cosin, named likewise among them, Doctor Cosin.

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¶ Robert Cosin Martyr.

MarginaliaRobert Cousyn burnt at Buckingham.THis Robert Cosin seemeth to be the same, which in the former part of our history is forementioned, being called by the name of father Robert, and was burnt in Buckingham, 

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This must be Robert Cosin, of Little Missenden, who is recorded on TNA C 85/115/10 as being condemned to death for heresy. Foxe will laterdescribe the execution of Thomas Man, but he says nothing about the executionsof William Scrivener or Nicholas Collins.

pag. 749. Of this Robert Cosine, I finde in the Registers of Lincolne: 
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This is Foxe's most explicit reference to drawing on a court book (now missing) for Lollards persecuted by William Smith, the bishop of Lincoln.

that he with Thomas Man had instructed and perswaded one Ioane Norman, about Amersham, MarginaliaThe teaching & doctrine of Robart. Cosyn.not to go on pilgrimage, nor to worship any Images of Saints. Also when she had bowed a peece of siluer to a saint for the health of her childe they disswaded her from the same, and that she needed not to confesse her vnto a Priest, but to be sufficient to lift vp her hands to heauen. MarginaliaA perilous heresie.Moreouer they were charged by the bishop for teaching þe sayd Ioan that she might aswell drinke vppon the sonday before Masse: as any other day. &c. Ex. Regist. Ioan. Longland. And thus you see the doctrine of these good men, for the which they were in those daies abiured, and condemned to death.

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¶ William Sweting, alias Clerke martyr.

Marginalia

William Sweeting Martyr.

Ex Regist. Rich. Fitziames, page. 60.

WIlliam Sweeting, 
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Andrew Hope, 'The lady and the bailiff: Lollardy among the gentry in Yorkist and Tudor England' in Lollardy and the gentry in the later Middle Ages, ed. Margaret Aston and Colin Richmond (Stroud, 1997), pp. 250-277, provides a definitive study of Sweeting and his background.

otherwise named Clerke, 
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William Sweeting acquired the alias of 'Clerk' because he was a water clerk at the parish church at Boxted for seven years.

first dwelt with the Ladye Percy at Dalington in the County of Northampton for a certayne space, and from thence went to Boxsted in the County of Essex, where he was the holy water Clerke, the space of seuen yeares: after that was baliffe and fermer to maystres Margerye Wood, the terme of 13. yeares. 
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Lady Margery Wood was the wife of Sir John Wood, speaker of of Edward IV's last Parliament and Richard III's first treasurer. Sweeting was bailiff of Lady Margery's manor of Rivers Hall at Boxted. (See Andrew Hope, 'The lady and the bailiff: Lollardy among the gentry in Yorkist and Tudor England' in Lollardy and the gentry in the later Middle Ages, ed. Margaret Aston and Colin Richmond (Stroud, 1997), p. 256.

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From Boxted he departed and came to the towne of saint Osithe, where he serued the Prior of saint Sythes named George Launde, MarginaliaGeorge Laund Prior of Saint Osithe, abiured. the space of 16. yeares and more. Where he had so turned the Prior by his perswasions, that the sayd Prior of saynt Osithe was afterward compelled to abiure. This William Sweting comming vp to London with the foresayd Prior, for suspicion of heresie was committed to the Lollardes Tower, vnder the custory of Charles Ioseph, 
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Charles Joseph would later become infamous as the gaoler and suspected murderer of Richard Hunne.

and there being abiured in the Churche of sainct Paule, was constrayned to beare a fagot at Paules crosse, and at Colchester. And afterward to weare a fagot vpon his coat all his life. Which he did two yeares together vpon hys left sleeue, till at length the person of Colchester required hym to helpe in the seruice of the Churche, and so pluckt the badge from hys sleeue: 
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This was a badge that some people convicted of heresy were compelled to wear identifying them as penitents convicted of heresy; removing it was an offence in itself.

and there he remayned two yeares, being the holye water Clerke. From thence afterward departed, and trauailing abroad, came to Rederith 
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This is actually Rotherhithe.

in the dioces of Winchester, where he was the holy water Clerke the space of a yeare: then went to Chelsith, where he was theyr neatheard, 
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I.e., a cowherd.

and kept the towne beastes. In the which towne vpon Sainct Annes day 
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I.e., 26 July. Sweeting and Brewster were both arrested when various Lollards, informed on them under questioning; see Andrew Hope, 'The lady and the bailiff: Lollardy among the gentry in Yorkist and Tudor England' in Lollardy and the gentry in the later Middle Ages, ed. Margaret Aston and Colin Richmond (Stroud, 1997), p. 265. Archbishop Ussher's notes of these interrogations, the originals of which no longer survive, are in Trinity College, Dublin, MS 775, fo. 124r.

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in the morning, as he went forth with his beastes to the field, the good man was apprehended & brought before the Bishop: and hys chamber searched for bookes. This was anno. 5511.

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MarginaliaCrimes obiected.The crimes whereupon he was examined be these.

Marginalia

The Gospell of S. Mathewe.

Against pilgrimage.

First, for hauing muche conference with one William Man of Boxsted, in a booke which was called Mathew. 
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I.e., they discussed the gospel of Matthew.

Item, that he had familiaritie, and frequented much the company of Iames Brewster, who had bene before abiured.

Item, that when his wife should go on pilgrimage, he asked of her, what good she should receiue by her going on pilgrimage, adding moreouer, that as he supposed, it was to no purpose, nor profite, but rather it were better for her to keepe at home, and to attend to her busines.

MarginaliaAgainst trāsubstantiation.Item, that he had learned: and receiued of William Man, that the Sacrament of the Priestes altar was not the present very body, but bread in substaunce, receiued in memoriall of Christ.

Item, that he propounded, and affirmed the same doctrine to Iames Brewsteer.

MarginaliaAgainst Images.Item, because he had reprehended his wife for worshipping the Images in the churche, and for setting vp candles before them.

And thus haue you all the causes and crimes layde against this William Sweting, wherfore he was condemned. Who then beeing asked what cause he had, why hee should not be iudged for relapse, sayd he had nothing els, but onely that he committed himselfe to the mercye of almighty God.

¶ Iames Brewster Martyr.

MarginaliaIames Brewster of Colchester Martyr.WIth William Sweting also the same time was examined and condemed Iames Brewster, of the Parish of saint Nicholas in Colchester. This Iames Brewster was a Carpenter, dwelling ten yeares in the town of Colchester, who being vnlettered, could neyther reade nor write, and was apprehended vpon the daye of S. Iames, 

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I.e., 25 July.

in one Walkers house in S. Clementes parish.

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About sixe yeares before, whiche was ann. 1505. he had bene abiured by William Warham Archbishop of Caunterbury, 

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Sweeting and Brewster had both abjured at Paul's Cross on 15 March 1505 (The Great Chronicle of London, ed. A. H. Thomas and I. D. Thornley [London, 1938], p. 331).

the see of London being then vacant. And after other penaunce done at Colchester, was enioyned to weare a Fagot vpon his vpper garment during his life. Whiche badge he did beare vpon his left shoulder neare the space of two yeares, till the Controller of the Earle of Oxforde pluckt it away, because he was labouring in the workes of the Earle.

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MarginaliaCrimes obiected against Brewster.The crimes whereupon he was examined, and which he confessed were these: 

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The original records have not survived, but Archbishop Ussher's notes, taken from them, partially corroborate Foxe's version (Trinity College, Dublin, MS 775, fo. 123v.

first that he had bene fiue tymes

The burning of William Sweting and Iames Brewster.
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William Sweeting (alias Clerke) was brought to London to be examined with George Laund, prior of St Osyth's near Colchester. He abjured and did penance in Colchester. In 1511 he came again to the attention of the authorities, was brought before the bishop and his belongings searched for heretical literature. He was eventually condemned. Brewster was a carpenter in the parish of St Nicholas in Colchester. He could neither read nor write but he had already come to the attention of the authorities previously, in 1505. When rearrested it emerged that Brewster had been listening to readings given by Sweeting in the fields and that he shared his doctrinal views. The two men were executed together. Andrew Hope has shown the long association of the two men and the ways in which they were able to instruct and convert their social superiors and employers, including Geoge Laund, the Forge family, and Lady Jane Young: a revealing demonstration of how Lollard opinions could move up the social scale. CUL copy and WREN copy: they are dressed in white.

with William Sweting in the fields keeping beastes, hearing hym read many good thinges out of a certayne book. At which reading also were present at one time, Wodroffe or Woodbynde, a Nette maker, with his wife: also a brother in law of William Sweting: and an other time Thomas Goodred, who heard likewise the sayde Thomas Sweting read.

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Item, because he vsed the company and conference of

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