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844 [820]

K. Hen 8. Persecution in Lincolne Dioces. W. Smith. I. Longland. Articles to Examinates.

Foure principall pointes they stood in against the Church of Kome, in pilgrimage, adoration of sainctes, in reading scripture bookes in English, and in the carnall presence of Christes body in the sacrament.

MarginaliaAbiuratio magna.After the great abiuration aforesayd, which was vnder William Smith Bishop of Lincolne: they were noted and termed among themselues by the name of knowne men, or iust fast men: MarginaliaKnowen men Iust fast men. as nowe they are called by the name of Protestantes. 

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Here Foxe dexterously identifies the Lollards with the Protestants, implicitly establishing that Protestant teachings went back to (at least) Wiclif.

As they were simple, & yet not vncircumspect in theyr doings, MarginaliaThe practise of Romish the crafty serpent being more wily then they, by fraudulent subtletie did so circumuent thē, that they caused the wife to detect the husband: the husband the wife, the father the daughter, the daughter the father, the brother to disclose the brother, and the neighbour the neighbor. 

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Foxe is genuinely shocked by Bishop Longland's methods of investigation, which undermined the integrity of both family and community.

MarginaliaThe practise of prelates.Neither were there any assemblies nor readinges kept, but both þe persons and also the bookes were knowne: Neither was any word so closely spoken, nor article mentioned, but it was discouered. So subtilly and sleightly these Catholicke prelates did vse their inquisitions and examinations, that nothing was done or sayd among these Knowne men, xv. or xx. yeares before so couertly, but it was brought at length to their intelligence. Such captious interrogatories, so many articles and suspicions they had, suche espyals and priuie scoutes they sent abroad, such authoritie and credite they had with the king, and in the kinges name: such dilligence they shewed in that behalfe, so violently and impudently they abused the booke, of þe peaceable Euangelistes, wresting mens consciences vppon their othe, swearing them vpon the same to detect thēselues, their fathers & mothers, & other of their kinred, which their friends & neighbours, and that to death. All whiche thinges in the further processe of the table ensuing (Christ willing) whiche we haue collected out of some part of the Registers of Lincolne, shall appeare.

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For the better declaration wherof, first here is to be premonished by the way, touching the see of Lincoln, that after MarginaliaW. Smith. Bish. of Lincolne.William Smith, succeded Iohn Longland. 

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William Smith (1495-1514) was succeeded as bishop of Lincoln by Thomas Wolsey (1514) and William Atwater (1514-21) before John Longland (1521-47) became bishop.

This William Smith, although he was somewhat eger & sharpe against the poore simple flocke of Christes seruauntes vnder whome some were burned, many abiured, a great nūber molested, as partly hath bene afore declared: yet was he nothing so bloudy or cruell, as was the sayd Longland, MarginaliaIohn Longland B. of Lincolne. which afterward succeeded in that Dioces. For so I fynde of him, that in the time of the great abiuratiō and troublesome affliction of Buckinghamshyre men, wherein many were abiured, & certaine burned, yet diuers he sent quietly home without punishment: and pennaunce, bidding them go home, and liue as good Christen men should doe. And many which were enioyned penaunce before, he did release 
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Although Longland does seem to have been rigorous, it should, in fairness, be noted that, unlike Smith, he was dealing with people who previously abjured and also that his systematic method of investigation ensured that he detacted numerous heretics.

This Smith dyed about the yeare of our Lord. 1515. by whome was builded, MarginaliaThe College of Brasen nose in Oxford builded. as is aforesaid, the Colledge of Brasan nose in Oxford.

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Not long after him folowed Iohn Longland, a fierce & cruell vexer of þe faythfull poore seruantes of Christ: 

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One scholar has declared that 'Longland took almost a sportsman's delight in apprehending preachers or intellectuals who were propagating heresy' (Margaret Bowker, The Henrician Reformation: The diocese of Lincoln under John Longland 1521-1547 [Cambridge, 1981], p. 61). It is also worth noting that abjuration and even informing on others were not necessarily sufficient to save a heretic. Longland burned his chief witness, Thomas Holmes.

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who to renue again the old sparkles of persecutiō, whiche were not yet vtterly quenched first began wt one or two of them which had bene abiured, whom he thought to be most notorious, causing them by force of their othe, to detect & bewray not onely their owne opinions touching poyntes of religiō: but also to discouer al other of their affinitie, which were either suspected or abiured before. And them likewise he put to their othe, most violently constrayning them to vtter and confesse both themselues, and whom els so euer they knew. By reason whereof, an incredible multitude 
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In this case, an 'incredible mutitude' is about 50 people.

of men, women, and maydens were brought forth to examination, and straightly handled. And such as were found in relapse, were burned.

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The rest were so burdened with superstitious and idolatrous penaunce and iniunctions, that eyther through griefe of conscience they shortly dyed: or els with shame they liued. MarginaliaBishop Longlād a greuous persecutor of christes people.All which tragicall doyngs and proceedings of the byshop against these Knowen and Iuste faste men, in these tables here vnder following (Christ graunting) shall appeare, MarginaliaAccusers.both with with the accusers, MarginaliaThe parties accused:and with the parties them selues accused, MarginaliaThe crimes obiectedand also the crimes obiected.

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But before we enter into the table, it shalbe requisite first to heare the order and copy of his captious and crafty interrogatoryes, whereby he constrayned the simple poore men to accuse and appeach one an other: which interrogatoryes were these in order as followeth.

Interrogatories ministred commonly by the Bishop of Lincolne agaynst these examinates here following.

THe interrogatories or articles: which Longland Bish.of Lincolne vsed most commonly to minister to these examinates or known men, in number were 9. and are these as followeth. 

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It is worth noting that these questions, rather unusually, are designed to gain information on the identity of other heretics, rather than to identifying the specific theological opinions of the accused. This is very characteristic of Longland's methods of investigation.

MarginaliaCaptious interrogatories ministred by the Bishop of Lincolne.1 First, whether they or any of them did know, that certayne of the parish of Amersham, had bene conuented before William Smyth late Bishop of Lincolne, for heresie.

2 Item, whether they knew, that they so conuented before the sayd Bishop, did erre in the sacrament of the altar, or in any other sacrament of the Church. And if they did in what Sacramentes, or in whiche of them: Also whether they knew that the sayd parties so conuented did confesse their erroures, and receiued penaunce for the same.

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3 Item, whether they, or any of them, were of the society of them so conuented for heresie: and if they were what fellowship they had with them and with whom?

4 Item, whether they or any of them, were euer conuersant, with such a one (naming the person whome they knew suspected) as with Thustan Littlepage. And if they were, what conuersation they had with him, how long, & when: And whether they knewe that sayde person to haue bene suspect of heresie?

5 Item, whether they, or any of them were euer conuersaunt with him, or him (naming some other person whom they suspected) as Alexand. Mastal. And if they were, how and how long? and whether they knew the sayd person to be suspected of heresie?

6 Item, whether they, or any of them had bene before time detected of heresie to the office of the foresayd William Bishop of Lincolne: And if the were, by what person or persōs they were detected? Or els whether they were onely called by the foresayd William Bishop, for heresie?

7 Item, whether he or they be noted and holden for heretickes, or be reputed and diffamed to be of the sect of thē which were conuented for heresie: And whether he or they be named for a Knowen man amongst them?

8 Item, whether he, or they haue bene euer at any readinges of such as haue bene so conuented for heresie?

9 Item, whether he, or othey were euer in any secret cōmunication or conuenticle with them: Whom, or which of them he knew to be named and reputed for a Knowen man, or holding against the sacrament of the altar, or other Sacramentes and articles of faith? And if they knew any such to declare where, and when, and what they were, and who were present the same time?

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These articles and interrogatories thus declared, now followeth to be shewed, a certayne briefe summe compendiously collected out of the Registers of Iohn Longland bishop of Lincolne, declaring in order of a table the names first of them which by othe were constrayned against theyr willes to detect and and accuse other. Secondly the persōs that were accused. Thirdly, the crimes to them obiected, as in the proces of this table shall follow to be seene. 

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What follows is a detailed - and, as far as we can tell, accurate - description of Longland's procedure in investigating heresy.

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And first, for asmuch as the Bishop perceiued that Roger Bennet, William Chedwell, Edmund Dormer, Thomas Harding, Robert Andrew, with such other were mē especially noted to be of that side, therfore to work his purpose the better, he began with them producing the same as witnesses, to ditect first Robert Bartlet of Amersham, & Richard his brother: vnderstanding that these forenamed witnesses, because they had bene abiured before, durst now doe no other, vppon payne of relapse, but needes confesse what soeuer was put vnto them. And therefore because Rob. Bartlet & Richard hys brother being called before þe bishop and sworn vpon their othe, would confesse nothing against themselues, the Bishop to conuict them by witnesses, went first to William Chedwell, lying sore sicke in his bed, causing him vpō the Euangelists to sweare, whether he knewe the foresayde Robert and Richard Bartlet to be knowen men. Which being done, the Bishop then called before him Robert Andrew Roger Bennet, Iohn Hill, Edmund Dormer. Iohn Milsent, Thomas Bernard, Thomas Littlepage, Iohn Dosset, all Amersham men: who being abiured before, as is sayd, durst no otherwise do, but confesse vpon their othe, that Robert and Richard Bartlet were knowen men. And yet the Bishop not contented wt this, caused also theyr two wiues to wit, Margaret the wife of Robert Bartlet, & Isabel þe wife of Richard Bartlet, to depose & geue witnesse againste their owne naturall husbandes. Albeit Isabel Bartlet being somewhat more temperate of her tongue, refused vtterly to confesse any thing of her husband, & denied her husbands words to be true, til at last she being conuict of periury, was constrained to vtter the truth, as in the proces of this table folowing more particularly foloweth to be seene.

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¶ A Table
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