Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 109. JOHN CLAYDON AND OTHERS

109. JOHN CLAYDON AND OTHERS

Illustration -- The Trial of John Claydon

he order of time calleth me back to matters here of our own country, which passed in the mean time with us in England; which things being taken by the way and finished, we will (Christ willing) afterward return to prosecute the troubles and conflicts of the Bohemians, with other things beside pertaining to the latter end of the council of Constance, and choosing of Pope Martin, as the order of years and time shall require.

Ye heard before how after the death of Thomas Arundel, archbishop of Canterbury, succeeded Henry Chichesley, A. D. 1414, and sat twenty-five years. In whose time was much trouble and great affliction of good men here in England; of whom many were compelled to abjure, some were burned, divers were driven to exile: whereof partly now to treat as we find them in registers and histories recorded, we will first begin with John Claydon, currier, of London, and Richard Turming, whom Robert Fabian doth falsely affirm to be burned in the year wherein Sir Roger Acton and Master Brown suffered; who indeed suffered not before the second year of Hcnry Chichesley being archbishop of Canterbury, which was A. D. 1413. The history of which John Claydon in the registers is thus declared:

THE seventeenth of August, 1415, did personally appear John Claydon, currier, of London, arrested by the mayor of the said city, for the suspicion of heresy, before Henry, archbishop of Canterbury,in St. Paul's church; which John (it being objected to him by the archbishop, that in the city of London and other places of the province of Canterbury he was suspected by divers godly and learned men for heresy, and to be contrary to the catholic faith, and determination of the church) did openly confess and denied not, but that he had been for the space of twenty years suspected, both about the city of London, and also in the province of Canterbury, and especially of the common sort, for Lollardy and heresy, and to be contrary to .the catholic faith and determination ofthe Church of Rome, and defamed of the same all the time aforesaid.

Insomuch that, in the time of Master Robert Braybrooke, bishop of London, deceased, he was, for the space of two years, committed to the prison of Conway for the aforesaid defamation and suspicion, and for the same cause also he was in prison in the Fleet for three years. Out of which prison he (in the reign of King Henry the Fourth) was brought before the Lord John Scarle, then chancellor to the king, and there did abjure all heresy and error. And the said John Claydon being asked of the said archbishop whether he did abjure the heresy of which he was suspected before any other, did confess, that in a convocation at London, in Paul's church, before Thomas Arundel, late archbishop, deceased, he did abjure all such doctrine which they called heresy and error, contrary to the catholic faith and determination of the church; and that he had not only left such articles and opinions, wherein he was defamed, but also did abstain from all company that were suspected of such opinions, so that he should neither give aid, help, counsel, nor favour unto them.

And, moreover, the said John was asked by the said archbishop, whether he ever had in his house since his abjuration, in his keeping, any books written in English. Whereunto he confessed that he would not deny, but that he had in his house and in his keeping many English books; for he was arrested by the mayor of the city of London for such books as he had, which books (as he thought) were in the mayor's keeping. Upon the which the mayor did openly confess, that he had such books in his keeping, which in his judgment were the worst and the most perverse that ever he did read or see; and one book that was well bound in red leather, of parchment, written in a good English hand; and among the other books found with the said John Claydon, the mayor gave up the said book before the archbishop. Whereupon the said John Claydon, being asked of the archbishop if he knew that book, did openly confess that he knew it very well, because he caused it to be written of his own costs and charges, for he spent much money thereupon since his abjuration. Then was he asked who wrote it. He did answer, "One called John Grime."

And further, being required what the said John Grime was, he answered, he could not tell. Again, being demanded whether he did ever read the same book, he did confess that he could not read, but he had heard the fourth part thereof read of one John Fullar. And being asked whether he thought the contents of that book to be catholic, profitable, good, and true? he answered, that many things which he he had heard in the same book were both profitable, good, and healthful to his soul; and, as he said, he had great affection to the said book, for a sermon preached at Horsleydown, that was written in the said book. And being further asked, whether, since the time of his said abjuration, he did commune with one Richard Baker of the city aforesaid, he did answer, yea, for the said Richard Baker did come often unto his house to have communication with him; and being asked whether he knew the said Richard to be suspected and defamed of heresy, he did answer again, that he knew well that the said Richard was suspected and defamed of many men and women in the city of London, as one whom they thought to be a heretic.

Which confession being made, he did cause the said books to be delivered to Master Robert Gilbert, doctor of divinity, to William Lindewood, doctor of both laws, and other clerks, to be examined; and in the mean time, David Beard, Alexander Philip, and Balthasar Mero, were taken for witnesses against him, and were committed to be examined to Master John Escourt, general examiner of Canterbury. This done, the archbishop continued his session till Monday next in the same place. Which Monday being come, which was the twentieth of the said month, the said Master Escourt openly and publicly exhibited the witnesses, being openly read before the archbishop, and other bishops; which being read, then after that were read divers tractations, found in the house of the said John Claydon; out of the which being examined, divers points were gathered and noted for heresies and errors, and especially out of the book aforesaid, which book the said John Claydon confessed by his own costs to be written and bound, which book was entitled, The Lantern of Light. In the which, and in the other examined, were these articles underwritten contained.

"1. Upon the text of the gospel, how the enemy did sow the tares, there is said thus, That wicked antichrist the pope, hath sowed among the laws of Christ his popish and corrupt decrees, which are of no authority, strength, nor value.

"2. That the archbishops and bishops, speaking indifferently, are the seats of the beast antichrist, when he sitteth in them, and reigneth above other people in the dark caves of errors and heresies.

"3. That the bishop's licence for a man to preach the word of God, is the true character of the beast, i. e. antichrist, and therefore simple and faithful priests may preach when they will against the prohibition of that antichrist, and without licence.

"4. That the court of Rome is the chief head of antichrist, and the bishops be the body; and the new sects, that is, the monks, canons, and friars, brought in not by Christ, but damnably by the pope, be the venomous and pestiferous tail of antichrist.

"5. That no reprobate is a member of the church, but only such as be elected and predestinate to salvation; seeing the church is no other thing but the congregation of faithful souls, which do and will keep their faith constantly, as well in deed as in word.

"6. That Christ did never plant private religions in the church, but whilst he lived in this world he did root them out. By which it appeareth that private religions be unprofitable branches in the church, and to be rooted out.

"7. That the material churches should not be decked with gold, silver, and precious stones, sumptuously; but the followers of the humility of Jesus Christ ought to worship their Lord God humbly, in mean and simple houses, and not in great buildings, as the churches be now-a-days.

"8. That there be two chief causes of the persecution of the Christians; one is, the priests' unlawful keeping of temporal and superfluous goods; the other is, the insatiable begging of the friars, with their high buildings.

"9. That alms is not given virtuously nor lawfully, except it be given with these four conditions: first, Unless it be given to the honour of God; secondly, Unless it be given of goods justly gotten; thirdly, Unless it be given to such a person as the giver thereof knoweth to be in charity; and fourthly, Unless it be given to such as have need, and do not dissemble.

"10. That the often singing in the church is not founded in the Scripture, and therefore it is not lawful for priests to occupy themselves with singing in the church, but with the study of the law of Christ, and preaching his word.

"11. That Judas did receive the body of Christ in bread and his blood in wine. In the which it doth plainly appear, that after consecration of bread and wine made, the same bread and wine that was before doth truly remain on the altar.

"12. That all ecclesiastical suffrages do profit all virtuous and godly persons indifferently.

"13. That the pope's and the bishops' indulgences be unprofitable, neither can they profit them to whom they be given by any means.

"14. That the laity is not bound to obey the prelates whatsoever they command, unless the prelates do watch to give God a just account of the souls of them.

"15. That images are not be sought to by pilgrimages, neither is it lawful for Christians to bow their knees to them, neither to kiss them, nor to give them any manner of reverence."

For the which articles, the archbishop, with other bishops and divers learned communing together, first condemned the books as heretical, and burned them in fire; and then, because they thought the said John Claydon to be forsworn and fallen into heresy, the archbishop did proceed to his definitive sentence against the said John personally appearing before him in judgment, (his confessions being read and deposed against him,) after this manner:

"In the name of God. Amen. We Henry, by the grace of God, archbishop of Canterbury, primate of all England, and legate of the apostolic see, in a certain cause of heretical pravity and of relapse into the same, whereupon John Claydon, layman, of the province of Canterbury, was detected, accused, and denounced, and in the said our province of Canterbury publicly defamed, (as by public fame and common report notoriously to us hath been known,) first, sitting in judgment-seat and observing all things lawfully required in this behalf, do proceed to the pronouncing of the sentence definitive in form as followeth: The name of Christ being invocated and only set before our eyes, forasmuch as by the acts and things enacted, produced, exhibited, and confessed before us, also by divers signs and evidences, we have found the said John Claydon to have been, and to be, publicly and notoriously relapsed again into his former heresy, heretofore by him abjured; according to the merits and deserts of the said cause, being of us diligently searched, weighed, and pondered before, to the intent that the said John Claydon shall not infect other with his scab, by the consent and assent of our reverend brethren, Richard, bishop of London, John, bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, and Stephen, bishop of St. David's, and of other doctors, as well of divinity as of both laws, and also of other discreet and learned men assisting us in this behalf, we do judge, pronounce, and declare the said John Claydon to be relapsed again into his heresy, which he before did abjure, finally and definitively appointing him to be left unto the secular judgment, and so do leave him by these presents."

Thus John Claydon, receiving his judgment and condemnation of the archbishop, was committed to the secular power, and by them unjustly and unlawfully was committed to the fire, for that the temporal magistrate had no such law sufficient for them to burn any such man for religion condemned of the prelates, as is above sufficiently proved and declared. But to be short, John Claydon, notwithstanding, by the temporal magistrates, not long after was had to Smithfield, where meekly he was made a burnt offering unto the Lord, A. D. 1415.

Robert Fabian, and other chronologers which follow him, add also that Richard Turming, baker, of whom mention is made before in the examination of John Claydon, was likewise the same time burnt with him in Smithfield. Albeit in the register I find no sentence of condemnation given against the said Turming, neither yet in the story of St. Alban's is there any such mention of his burning made, but only of the burning of John Claydon aforesaid; wherefore the judgment hereof I leave free to the reader. Notwithstanding, concerning the said Turming, this is certain, that he was accused to the bishops, and no doubt was in their hands and bonds. What afterward was done with him, I refer it unto the authors.

The next year, after the burning of these two aforesaid, and also of John Huss, being burnt at Constance, which was A. D. 1416, the prelates of England, seeing the daily increase of the gospel, and fearing the ruin of their papal kingdom, were busily occupied with all their counsel and diligence to maintain the same: wherefore, to make their state and kingdom sure, by statutes, laws, constitutions, and terror of punishment, as Thomas Arundel and other prelates had done before, so the forenamed Henry Chichesley, archbishop of Canterbury, in his convocation holden at London, maketh another constitution (as though there had not enough been made before) against the poor Lollards, the copy and tenor whereof he sendeth abroad to the bishop of London, and to other his suffragans, by them to be put in straight execution, containing in words as followeth:

"Henry, by the grace of God, archbishop of Canterbury, primate of all England, and legate of the chief seat, to our reverend brother in the Lord, Richard, by the grace of God, bishop of London, health and brotherly love, with continual increase. Lately, in our last convocation in St. Paul's church in London, being kept by you and other our brethren and clergy of our province, we do remember to have made this order underwritten by your consents: 'Whereas among many other our cares this ought to be chief, that by some means we may take those heretics, which like foxes lurk and hide themselves in the Lord's vineyard; and that the dust of negligence may be utterly shaken from our feet, and from the feet of our fellow brethren, in this the said convocation of the prelates and clergy, we have ordained that our fellow brethren, our suffragans and archdeacons of our province of Canterbury, by themselves, their officials or commissaries, in their jurisdictions, and every of their charges in their country, twice every year at the least, do diligently inquire of such persons as are suspected of heresy;and that in every such their archdeaconries in every parish, wherein is reported any heretics to inhabit, they cause three or more of the honestest men, and best reported of, to take their oath upon the holy evangelist, that if they shall know or understand, any frequenting either in privy conventicles, or else differing in life or manners from the common conversation of other catholic men, or else that hold any either heresies or errors, or else that have any suspected books in the English tongue, or that do receive any such persons suspected of heresies and errors into their houses, or that be favourers of them that are inhabitants in any such place, or conversant with them, or else have any recourse unto them; they make certificates of those persons in writing, with all the circumstances wherewith they are suspected, unto the said our suffragans or archdeacons, or to their commissaries, so soon, and with as much speed, as possibly they can; and that the said archdeacon, and every of their commissaries aforesaid, do declare the names of all such persons denounced, together with all the circumstances of them, the diocese, and places, and secretly under their seals do send over unto us the same; and that the same diocesans effectually direct forth lawful process against them, as the quality of the cause requireth, and that with all diligence they discern, define, and execute the same.

{Ornamental Capital ?101}And if perhaps they leave not such persons convicted unto the secular court, yet, notwithstanding, let them commit them unto the perpetual or temporal prisons, as the quality of the cause shall require, until the next convocation of the prelates and clergy of our province of Canterbury, there personally to remain; and that in the same prisons they cause them to be kept according as the law requireth; and that of all and singular the things aforesaid, that is, what inquisition they have made, and what they have found, and how in the process they have behaved themselves, and what persons so convicted they have caused to be put in safe keeping, with what diligence or negligence of the commissaries aforesaid, with all and all manner of other circumstances premised, and thereunto in any wise appertaining, and especially of the abjurations, if in the mean time they shall chance to abjure any heresies; that then in the next convocation of the prelates and clergy under the form aforesaid, they cause the same distinctly and apertly to be certified to us and our successors; and that they deliver effectually to the official of our court, the same process to remain with them, or else, in the register of our court of Canterbury; so that every one, to whom such things appertain for the further execution of the same process, may have recourse unto the same official with all effect.

"We therefore command that, as touching the constitution brought unto your city and diocesan, you cause the same in convenient place and time to be published, and that in all points you both observe the same yourselves, and cause it also of others to be diligently observed: commanding, furthermore, all and singular our fellow brethren and suffragans, that they in like wise cause the same to be published throughout all their cities and diocese, and both diligently observe the same themselves, and also cause all others to do the same; and what thing soever you shall do in the premises, that you certify us betwixt this and the feast of St. Peter ad vincula next coming, that you duly certify us of these things, by your letters patent, containing the same effect, sealed with your seals. Dated at our house in London, the first day of July, A. D. 1416."

During the time of this convocation, in the year abovesaid, two priests were presented and brought before the bishops, noted and defamed for heretics, one named John Barton, unto whom it was objected by Philip, bishop of Lincoln, that he had been excommunicated about six or seven years before, upon articles concerning religion, and yet neither would appear being cited, nor would seek to be reconciled again unto the church. Which things being so proved against him, he was committed to the custody of the aforesaid Philip, bishop of Lincoln, and so to be holden in prison, till he should hear further what should be done.

"The other was Robert Chapel, otherwise named Holbech, chaplain sometimes to the Lord Cobham; unto whom likewise it was objected, that he, being under the sentence of excommunication about three or four years, yet, notwithstanding, to the contempt of the keys, did continue saying mass, and preaching, and sought not to be reconciled; Chapel denying that he did know any such excommunication given out against him. Then was the copy of his excommunication first made by the bishop of Rochester, afterward denounced by the bishop of London, at Paul's cross, brought and read before him; and so that done that session brake up for that time, which was about the latter end of May, A. D. 1416.

The twelfth day of the month of July, next following, the said Chapel appeared again before the archbishop and the prelates. To whom when it is objected as before, how he had preached without the bishop's licence in divers places, as at Cobham, at Cowling, and at Shorne; at length he, confessing and submitting himself, desired pardon. Which although it was not at the first granted unto him, yet, at the last the bishop of Rochester, putting in his hands the decree of the canon law, and causing him to read the same, made him to abjure all his former articles and opinions, as heretical and schismatical, never to hold the same again, according to the contents of the aforesaid canon. Whereupon the said Robert, being absolved by the authority of the archbishop, (save only that he should not intermeddle with saying mass before he had been dispensed from the pope himself for irregularity,) was enjoined by the archbishop himself for his penance, standing at Paul's, to publish these articles following unto the people, instead of his confession given him to be read.

"1. I confess that bishops, priests, and other ecclesiastical persons, having no other profession to the contrary, may lawfully have, receive, and retain lands and possessions temporal, to dispense and dispose the same, and the rents thereof, to the behoof of themselves, or of their church where they dwell, according as seemeth good to them.

"2. Item, I confess that it were very unlawful, yea, rather unjust, that temporal men upon any occasion, whatsoever it be, should take away temporal lands and possessions from the church, either universal or particular, to which they are given, the consideration of the abuse of mortal prelates, priests, or other ministers in the church, conversant, (which are mixed together good with bad,) abusing the same, to the contrary notwithstanding.

"3. Item, I confess that peregrinations to the relics of saints and to holy places are not prohibited, nor to be contemned of any catholic, but are available to remission of sins, and approved of holy fathers, and worthy to be commended.

"4. Item, I confess that to worship the images of Christ or of any other saints, being set up in the church, or any other place, is not forbidden, neither is any cause inductive of idolatry, being so used as the holy fathers do will them to be worshipped; but rather such images do profit much to the health of Christians, because they do put us in remembrance of the merits of those saints whom they represent, and the sight of them doth movc and stir the people to prayers and devotion.

"5. Item, I confess that auricular confession used in the church is necessary for a sinner to the salvation of his soul, and necessary to be done of such a priest, as is ordained by the church to hear the confession of the sinner, and to enjoin him penance for the same; without which confession (if it may he had) there is no remission of sins to him that is in sin mortal.

"6. Item, I confess and firmly do hold, that although the priest be in mortal sin, yet may he make the body of Christ, and minister other sacraments and sacramentals; which nevertheless are profitable to all the faithful, whosoever receive them in faith and devotion of the church.

"7. Item, I confess that bishops in their own dioceses may forbid, decree, or ordain, upon reasonable causes, that priests should not preach, without their special licence, the word of God, and that those that do against the same should suffer the ecclesiastical censures.

"8. Item, I confess that private religions, as well of monks, canons, and other, as also of the Begging Friars, being allowed by the Church of Rome, are profitable to the universal church, and in no means contrary to God's law, but rather founded and authorized thereon.

"9. Item, I promise and swear upon these holy evangelists, which I hold here in my hands, that I will henceforth never hold, affirm, nor by any means teach any thing contrary unto the premises either openly or privately."

After the setting out of the constitution aforesaid in the days of the above-named Henry Chichesley, archbishop of Canterbury, great inquisition hereupon followed in England, and many good men, whose hearts began to be won to the gospel, were brought to much vexation and caused outwardly to abjure.

Thus, while Christ had the inward hearts of men, yet the catholic antichrist would needs possess their outward bodies, and make them sing after his song. In the number of whom, being compelled to abjure, besides the other aforesaid, was also John Taylor, of the parish of St. Michael's at Querne; William James, master of arts and physician, who had long remained in prison, and at length, after abjuration, was licensed with his keeper to practise his physic.

Also John Dwarf, so named for his low stature, which was sent by the duke of Bedford to the aforesaid Chichesley, and other bishops, to be examined before them in the convocation; there he at length, revolting from his doctrine recanted, and did penance.

In like manner John Jourdelay of Lincolnshire, well commended in the registers for his learning, accused by the priests of Lincoln for a certain book, which he, contrary to the former decree of the bishops, did conceal and did not exhibit unto them, was therefore enforced to abjure. After whom was brought likewise before the bishops one Katharine Dertford, a spinster, who being accused and examined upon these three articles, concerning the sacrament of the pope's altar, adoration of images, and of pilgrimage, answered, that she was not able, being unlearned, to answer to such high matters, neither had she any further skill, but only her creed and ten commandments; and so was she committed to the vicar-general of the bishop of Winchester, (for that she was of the same diocese,) to be kept and further to be examined of the same.

At the same sitting was also brought before the said archbishop and his fellow bishops, by the lieutenant of the Tower, the parson of Heggely in Lincolnshire, named Master Robert, who being long kept in the Tower, at length by the king's writ was brought and examined the same time upon the like articles, to wit, touching the sacrament of their altar, peregrination, adoration of images, and whether it was lawful for spiritual men to enjoy temporal lordships, &c. To the which articles he answered (saith the register) doubly and mockingly, save only in the sacrament he seemed something more conformable, albeit not yet fully to their contentation. Wherefore being committed to the custody and examination of Richard, bishop of Lincoln, in the end he was also induced to submit himself.

The same likewise did W. Henry of Tenterden, being suspected and arrested for company-keeping with them whom the bishops called Lollards, and for having suspected books.

Besides these, divers other there were also which in the same convocation were convented and revoked their opinions, as J. Galle, a priest of London, for having a book in English, entitled, A book of the New Law. Item, Richard Monk, vicar of Chesham in Lincolnshire, who submitted himself likewise. In this race and number followed, moreover, Bartholomew Cornmonger, Nicholas Hoper, servant to the Lord Cobham, Thomas Granter, with other more, mentioned in the aforesaid register.

Among the rest which were at this time troubled for their faith, was one Ralph Mungin, priest, who for the same doctrine was arrested and sent by the lord chancellor of England to the aforesaid archbishop, and by him committed to David Price, vicar-general to the bishop of London: where after be had endured four months in prison, he was by the said David presented to the convocation, against whom divers articles were objected.

But for the better explaining of the matter, first here is to be noted, that touching the time of this convocation provincial, Pope Martin had sent down to the clergy of England for a subsidy to be gathered of the church, to maintain the pope's war against the Lollards (so the papists did term them) of Bohemia. Also another subsidy was demanded to persecute one Peter Clerke, master of arts of Oxford, who, flying out of England, was at the council of Basil, disputing on the Bohemians' side. And thirdly, another subsidy was also required to persecute William Russel, warden of the Grey Friars in London, who the same time was fled from England to Rome, to maintain his opinion before the pope, and there escaped out of prison, &c., of whom more largely hereafter (Christ willing) we shall treat. In the mean time, mark here the pretty shifts of the pope to hook in the English money, by all manner of pretences possible.

Thus Ralph Mungin, the aforesaid examinate, appearing before the bishops in the convocation, it was articulated against him, first, that he should affirm and hold, that it was not lawful for any Christian to fight and make war against the heretics of Bohemia.

Item, It was to him objected, that he did hold and say, that it was not lawful for any man to have propriety of goods, but the same to be common; which he expressly denied that ever he so said or affirmed. Whereby we have to observe, how the crafty malice of these adversaries useth falsely to collect and surmise of men, what they never spake, whereby to oppress them wrongfully whom by plain truth they cannot expugn.

Moreover, they objected against him, that he should keep company with Master Clerke aforesaid, and also that he dispersed in the city of London certain books of John Wickliff and of Peter Clerke, namely, the book Trialogus, and the Gospels of John Wickliff, &c. He was charged, moreover, to have spoken against the pope's indulgences, affirming that the pope had no more power to give indulgences then he had.

Upon these and other such articles objected, the said Mungin, being asked if he would revoke, answered, that it seemed to him not just or meet so to do, which did not know himself guilty of any heresy. Thus he, being respited for the time, was committed to prison till the next sitting; who then being called divers and sundry times afterward before the bishops, after long inquisition and strait examination made, also depositions brought in against him so much as they could search out, he notwithstanding still denied, as before, to recant. Wherefore the aforesaid Henry the archbishop, proceeding to his sentence definitive, condemned him to perpetual prison.

After whose condemnation, the Sunday next following the recantation of Thomas Granter, and of Richard Monk, priests above mentioned, were openly read at Paul's cross; the bishop of Rochester the same time preached at the said cross. The tenor of whose recantations, which his articles in the same expressed, hereunder followeth.

"In the name of God. Before you my lord of Canterbury, and all you my lords here being present, and afore you all here gathered at this time, I Thomas Granter priest unworthy, dwelling in the citie of London, feeling and understanding that afore this time I affirmed open errors and heresies saying, beleeving, and affirming within this citie, that he that Christian men callen pope, is not very pope, nor Gods vicar in earth, but I said he was antichrist. Also I said, beleeved, and affirmed, that after the sacramentall words said by a priest in the masse, there remaineth materiall bread and wine, and is not turned into Christ's body and His bloud. Also I said and affirmed that it was not to doe in no wise, to goe on pilgrimage, but it was better I said to abide at home and beat the stooles with their heeles; for it was, I said, but tree and stone that they soughten. Also I said and affirmed that I held no Scripture catholike ner holy, but onely that is contained in the Bible. For the legends and lives of saints, I held hem nought, and the miracles written of hem I held untrue. Because of which errors and heresies I was tofore Master Davie Price vicar generall of my lord of London, and since tofore you my lord of Canterbury and your brethren in your councell provinciall, and by you fully informed, which so said, mine affirming, beleeving and teaching beene open errours and heresies, and contrarious to the determination of the Church of Rome. Wherfore I willing to follow and sewe the doctrine of holy church, and depart fro all manner errours and heresie, and turne with good will and heart to the one head of the chirch, considering that holy chirch shutteth ner closeth not her bosome to him that will turne again, ne God will not the death of a sinner, but rather he ben turned and live; with a pure heart I confesse, detest, and despise my said errours and heresies, and the said opinions I confesse as heresies and errours to the faith of the Church of Rome, and to all universally holy chirch repugnant. And therefore, these said opinions in speciall, and all other errours and heresies, doctrines and opinions, ayen the faith of the church, and the determinations of the Chirch of Rome, I abjure and forsweare here tofore you all, and sweare by these holy Gospels by me bodily touched, that from henceforth I shall never hold, teach, ne preach errour, errours, heresie, ne heresies, nor false doctrine against the faith of holy chirch, and determination of the Chirch of Rome, ner none such thing I shall obstinately defend, ne any man holding or teaching such manner things by me or any other person, openly or privily I shall defend, I shall never after this time be receitor, fautor, counsellor, or defendor of heretikes, or of any person suspect of heresie, ner I shall trow to him, ner wittingly fellaship with him, ner yeve him counsell, favour, yifts, ne comfort. And if I know any heretikes, or of heresie, or of such false opinions any person suspect, or any man or woman making or holding privy conventicles, or assemblies, or any divers or singular opinions from the common doctrine of the Church of Rome, or if I may know any of their fautors, comforters, councellers, or defensers; or any that have suspect bookes or quiers of such errours and heresies; I shall let you my lord of Canterbury, or your officers in your absence, or the diocesans and ordinaries of such men, have soon and ready knowing, so help me God and holydeme, and these holy evangelies by me bodily touched."

After this recantation at the cross, thus published, and his submission made, the said Granter then was, by the advice of the prelates, put to seven years prisonment, under the custody and charge of the bishop of London.

After this followed in like manner the recantation of Richard Monk. Also of Edmund Frith, which was before butler to Sir John Oldcastle.

Besides this above remembered, many and divers there be in the said register recorded, who likewise for their faith and religion were greatly vexed and troubled, especially in the diocese of Kent, in the towns of Romney, Tenterden, Woodchurch, Cranbrook, Staphelhurst, Beninden, Halden, Rolvenyden, and others, where whole households, both man and wife, were driven to forsake their houses and towns for danger of persecution; as sufficiently appeareth in the process of the Archbishop Chichesley, against the said persons, and in the certificate of Burbath, his official, wherein are named these persons following:
1. W. White, priest.
2. Th. Grenested, priest.
3. Bartho. Cornmonger.
4. John Wadnon.
5. Joan, his wife.
6. Tho. Everden.
7. William Everden.
8. Stephen Robin.
9. W. Chiveling.
10. John Tame.
11. John Fowlin.
12. William Somer.
13. Marian, his wife.
14. John Abraham.
15. Robert Munden.
16. Laurence Coke.

These being cited together by the bishop would not appear. Whereupon great inquisition being made for them by his officers, they were constrained to flee their houses and towns, and shift for themselves as covertly as they might. When Burbath, and other officers, had sent word to the archbishop that they could not be found, then he directed down order that citations should be set up for them on every church door, through all towns where they did inhabit, appointing them a day and term when to appear. But, notwithstanding, when they yet could not be taken, neither would appear, the archbishop, sitting in his tribunal seat, proceedeth to the sentence of excommunication against them. What afterward happened to them in the register doth not appear; but like it is, at length they were forced to submit themselves.

Concerning Sir John Oldcastle, the Lord Cobham, and of his first apprehension, with his whole story and life, sufficiently hath been expressed before; how he being committed to the Tower, and condemned falsely of heresy, escaped afterward out of the Tower, and was in Wales about the space of four years. In the which mean time, a great sum of money was proclaimed by the king to him that could take the said Sir John Oldcastle, either quick or dead. About the end of which four years being expired, the Lord Powis, whether for love or greediness of the money, or whether for hatred of the true and sincere doctrine of Christ, seeking all manner of ways how to play the part of Judas, at length obtained his bloody purpose, and brought the Lord Cobham bound up to London; which was about the year of our Lord 1417, and about the month of December. At which time there was a parliament assembled in London, for the relief of money the same time to be sent to the king, whom the bishops had sent out (as ye heard before) to fight in France. The records of which parliament do thus say, That on Tuesday the fourteenth day of December, and the nine and twentieth day of the said parliament, Sir John Oldcastle, of Cowling in the county of Kent, knight, being outlawed, as is before minded, in the king's bench, and excommunicated before by the archbishop of Canterbury for heresy, was brought before the lords, and having heard his said convictions, answered not thereto in his excuse. Upon which record and process it was adjudged that he should be taken as a traitor to the king and the realm; that he should be carried to the Tower of London, and from thence drawn through London unto the new gallows in St. Giles's without Temple Bar, and there to be hanged, and burned hanging.

Illustration -- The Execution of John Oldcastle

As touching the pretensed treason of this Lord Cobham falsely ascribed unto him in his indictment, rising upon wrong suggestion and false surmise, and aggravated by rigour of words rather than upon any ground of due probation, sufficiently hath been discoursed before in my defence of the said Lord Cobham, against Alanus Copus. Where again it is to be noted, as I said before, and by this it appeareth that the Lord Cobham was never executed by force of the indictment or outlawry, because if he had, he should then have been brought to the bar in the king's bench, and there the judges should have demanded of him, what he could have said, why he should not have died; and then not showing sufficient cause for the discharge or delay of execution, the judges should have awarded and given the judgment of treason; which being not so, it is clear he was not executed upon the indictment. Besides, to prove that he was not executed upon the indictment and the outlawry, the manner of the execution proveth it; because it was neither an execution of a traitor, nor was the whole punishment thereof pronounced by the judge, as by due order of law was requisite.

Finally, as I said before, here I repeat again, that albeit the said Lord Cobham was attainted of treason by the act, and that the king, the lords, and the commons assented to the act; yet all that bindeth not in such sort (as if indeed he were no traitor) that any man may not, by search of the truth, utter and set forth sincerely and justly the very true and certain cause whereupon his execution did follow. Which seemeth, by all circumstance and firm arguments, to rise principally of his religion, which first brought him in hatred of the bishops; the bishops brought him in hatred of the king; the hatred of the king brought him to his death and martyrdom. And thus much for the death and execution of this worthy servant of Christ, the Lord Cobham.

Moreover, in the records above mentioned it followeth, how in the said parliament, after the martyrdom of this valiant knight, motion then was made, that the Lord Powis might be thanked and rewarded, according to the proclamation made, for his great travail taken in the apprehension of Sir John Oldcastle, knight, heretic. Thus stand the words of the record; where two things are to be noted: First, how Sir John here in the record is called not traitor, but heretic only. Secondly, mark how this brother of Judas here craveth his reward for betraying the innocent blood. Wherein it is not to be doubted, but that his light fee in this world, will have a heavy reward hereafter in the world to come, unless he repented, &c.

Furthermore, in the said parliament, Act 17, it was enacted, that the church and all estates should enjoy all their liberties, which were not repealed, or repealable, by the common law; meaning belike the excluding of the jurisdiction of the pope's foreign power, which had always by the common law been excluded out of this realm.

In the same parliament also a grievous complaint was made (by the bishops no doubt) against insurrections. In the end they suspected that they were the Lollards, heretics and traitors, with a request that commissions might at all times be granted to inquire of them. Whereunto answer was made, that the statutes therefore made should be executed, &c. Thus the clergy ceased not to roar after Christian blood, and whosoever was else in fault, still the clergy cried, Crucify Christ, and deliver us Barabbas; for then all horrible acts and mischiefs, if any were done, were imputed to the poor Lollards.

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