Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 242. PROHIBITION OF UNAUTHORISED PREACHING.

242. PROHIBITION OF UNAUTHORISED PREACHING.

            Ye heard before, how divers bishops were removed, and others placed in their rooms; amongst whom was Dr. Ridley, bishop of London, a worthy man both of fame and learning. This Dr. Ridley, in the time of Queen Jane, had made a sermon at Paul's Cross, so commanded by the council; declaring there his mind to the people as touching the Lady Mary, and dissuaded them, alleging there the incommodities and inconveniences which might rise by receiving her to be their queen; prophesying, as it were before, that which after came to pass, that she would bring in foreign power to reign over them, besides the subverting also of all Christian religion then already established: showing, moreover, that the same Mary being in his diocese, he, according to his duty, (being then her ordinary,) had travailed much with her to reduce her to this religion, and notwithstanding in all other points of civility she showed herself gentle and tractable, yet in matters that concerned true faith and doctrine, she showed herself so stiff and obstinate, that there was no other hope of her to be conceived, but to disturb and overturn all that, which, with so great labours, had been confirmed and planted by her brother afore. Shortly after this sermon, Queen Mary was proclaimed; whereupon he, speedily repairing to Framlingham to salute the queen, had such cold welcome there, that, being despoiled of all his dignities, he was sent back upon a lame halting horse to the Tower.

            After him preached also Master Rogers the next Sunday, entreating very learnedly upon the gospel of the same day.

            This so done, Queen Mary, seeing all things yet not going so after her mind as she desired, devised with her council to bring to pass that thing by other means, which as yet, by open law, she could not well accomplish; directing forth an inhibition by proclamation, that no man should preach or read openly in churches the word of God, besides other things also in the same proclamation inhibited, the copy whereof here followeth.

 

An inhibition of the queen, for preaching, printing, &c.

            "The queen's Highness, well remembering what great inconveniences and dangers have grown to this her Highness's realm in times past, through the diversity of opinions in questions of religion, and hearing also that now of late, since the beginning of her most gracious reign, the same contentions be again much revived, through certain false and untrue reports and rumours spread by some light and evil-disposed persons, hath thought good to do to understand, to all her Highness's most loving subjects, her most gracious pleasure in manner following:

            "First, her Majesty, being presently by the only goodness of God settled in her just possession of the imperial crown of this realm, and other dominions thereunto belonging, cannot now hide that religion, which God and the world knoweth she hath ever professed from her infancy hitherto: which as her Majesty is minded to observe and maintain for herself by God's grace, during her time, so doth her Highness much desire, and would be glad, the same were of all her subjects quietly and charitably embraced.

            "And yet she doth signify unto all her Majesty's loving subjects, that of her most gracious disposition and clemency, her Highness mindeth not to compel any her said subjects thereunto, until such time as further order by common assent may be taken therein: forbidding nevertheless all her subjects of all degrees, at their perils, to move seditions, or stir unquietness in her people, by interpreting the laws of this realm after their brains and fantasies, but quietly to continue for the time, till (as before is said) further order may be taken, and therefore willeth and straitly chargeth and commandeth all her said good loving subjects to live together in quiet sort and Christian charity, leaving those new-found devilish terms of papist or heretic, and such like, and applying their whole care, study, and travail, to live in the fear of God, exercising their conversations in such charitable and godly doing, as their lives may indeed express that great hunger and thirst of God's glory and holy word, which, by rash talk and words, many have pretended: and in so doing they shall best please God, and live without danger of the laws, and maintain the tranquillity of the realm. Whereof as her Highness shall be most glad, so, if any man shall rashly presume to make any assemblies of people, or at any public assemblies, or otherwise, shall go about to stir the people to disorder or disquiet, she mindeth, according to her duty, to see the same most severely reformed and punished according to her Highness's laws.

            "And furthermore, forasmuch as it is also well known, that sedition and false rumours have been nourished and maintained in this realm, by the subtlety and malice of some evil-disposed persons, which take upon them, without sufficient authority, to preach and to interpret the word of God after their own brain in churches, and other places both public and private, and also by playing of interludes, and printing of false-found books, ballads, rhymes, and other lewd treatises in the English tongue, concerning doctrine, in matters now in question and controversy, touching the high points and mysteries of Christian religion; which books, ballads, rhymes, and treatises, are chiefly by the printers and stationers set out to sale to her Grace's subjects, of an evil zeal, for lucre and covetousness of vile gain: her Highness, therefore, straitly chargeth and commandeth all and every of her said subjects, of whatsoever state, condition, or degree they be, that none of them presume from henceforth to preach; or, by way of reading in churches, or other public or private places, (except in schools of the university,) to interpret or teach any Scriptures, or any manner of points of doctrine concerning religion; neither also to print any books, matter, ballad, rhyme, interlude, process, or treatise, nor to play any interlude, (except they have her Grace's special licence in writing for the same,) upon pain to incur her Highness's indignation and displeasure.

            "And her Highness also further chargeth and commandeth all and every her said subjects, that none of them, of their own authority, do presume to punish, or to rise against any offender in the causes above-said, or any other offender in words or deeds in the late rebellion committed or done by the duke of Northumberland, or his complices, or to seize any of their goods, or violently to use any such offender by striking or imprisoning or threatening the same; but wholly to refer the punishment of all such offenders unto her Highness and public authority, whereof her Majesty mindeth to see due punishment, according to the order of her Highness's laws.

            "Nevertheless, as her Highness mindeth not hereby to restrain and discourage any of her loving subjects, to give from time to time true information against any such offenders in the causes abovesaid, unto her Grace or her council, for the punishment of every such offender, according to the effect of her Highness's laws provided in that part: so her said Highness exhorteth and straitly chargeth her said subjects, to observe her commandment and pleasure in every part aforesaid, as they will avoid her said Highness's indignation and most grievous displeasure; the severity and rigour whereof, as her Highness shall be most sorry to have cause to put the same in execution, so doth she utterly determine not to permit such unlawful and rebellious doings of her subjects (whereof may ensue the danger of her royal estate) to remain unpunished, but to see her said laws touching these points to be thoroughly executed: which extremities she trusteth all her said loving subjects will foresee, dread, and avoid accordingly; her said Highness straitly charging and commanding all mayors, sheriffs, justices of peace, bailiffs, constables, and all other public officers and ministers, diligently to see to the observing and executing of her said commandments and pleasure, and to apprehend all such as shall wilfully offend in this part, committing the same to the next gaol, there to remain without bail or main-prize, till, upon certificate made to her Highness, or her privy council, of their names and doings, and upon examination had of their offences, some further order shall be taken for their punishment, to the example of others, according to the effect and tenor of the laws aforesaid.

            "Given at our manor of Richmond, the eighteenth day of August, in the first year of our most prosperous reign."

 

Master Bourn preaching at Paul's Cross.

bout this time, or not long before, Bonner, bishop of London, being restored, appointed Master Bourn, a canon of Paul's, to preach at the Cross, who afterward was bishop of Bath. Bourn took occasion of the gospel of that day, to speak somewhat largely in justifying of Bonner, being then present: "Which Bonner," said he, "upon the same text, in that place that day four years, had preached before: and was, upon the same, most cruelly and unjustly cast into the most vile dungeon of the Marshalsea, and there kept during the time of King Edward." His words sounded so evil in the ears of the hearers, that they could not keep silence; and began to murmur and to stir in such sort, that the mayor and aldermen, with other estates then present, feared much an uproar. But the truth is, that one hurled a dagger at the preacher; but who it was, it could not then be proved, albeit afterward it was known.

            In fine the stir was such, that the preacher plucked in his head, and durst no more appear in that place. The matter of this sermon tended much to the derogation and dispraise of King Edward, which thing the people in no case could abide. Then Master Bradford, at the request of the preachers brother and others, then being in the pulpit, stood forth and spake so mildly, Christianly, and effectually, that with few words he appeased all: and afterward he and Master Rogers conducted the preacher betwixt them from the pulpit to the grammar-school door, where they left him safe, as further, in the story of Master Bradford, is declared. But, shortly after, they were both rewarded with long imprisonment, and, last of all, with fire in Smithfield.

            By reason of this tumult at Paul's Cross, an order was taken by the lords of the council with the mayor and aldermen of London to this effect:

            "That they, calling the next day following a common council of the city, should thereby charge every householder to cause their children, apprentices, and other servants, to keep their own parish churches upon the holy days, and not to suffer them to attempt any thing to the violating of the common peace: willing them also to signify to the said assembly the queen's determination, uttered unto them by her Highness the twelfth of August, in the Tower; which was, that albeit her Grace's conscience was stayed in the matters of religion, yet she graciously meant not to compel or strain other men's consciences otherwise than God should (as she trusted) put in their hearts a persuasion of the truth that she was in, through the opening of his word unto them by godly, virtuous, and learned preachers, &c.

            "Also it was then ordered, that every alderman, in his ward, should forthwith send for the curates of every parish within their liberties; and warn them not only to forbear to preach themselves, but also not to suffer any others to preach, or make any open or solemn reading of Scripture in their churches, unless the said preachers were severally licensed by the queen."

            After this sermon at Paul's Cross aforenamed, the next day after it followed that the queen's guard was at the Cross with their weapons to guard the preacher. And when quiet men withdrew themselves from the sermon, order was taken by the mayor, that the ancients of all companies should be present, lest the preacher should be discouraged by his small auditory.

            August.-- The fifteenth of August, A.D. 1553, was one William Butler committed by the council to the Marshalsea, for uttering certain words against Master Bourn, preacher, for his sermon at Paul's Cross on Sunday last before.

            The sixteenth of August, was Humphrey Palden committed to the Compter, for words against the said Bourn's sermon at Paul's Cross.

            A letter sent to the sheriffs of Buckingham and Bedford, for the apprehending of one Fisher, parson of Amersham, a preacher.

            Another letter to the bishop of Norwich, not to suffer any preacher or other to preach or expound the Scripture openly, without special licence from the queen.

            The same day were Master Bradford, Master Vernon, and Master Beacon, preachers, committed to the charge of the lieutenant of the Tower.

            The same day, also, was Master John Rogers, preacher, commanded to keep himself prisoner in his own house at Paul's, without having any conference with any other than those of his own household.

            The twenty-second of August, there were two letters directed to Master Coverdale, bishop of Exeter, and Master Hooper, bishop of Gloucester, for their undelayed repair to the court, and there to attend the council's pleasure.

            The same day, Fisher, parson of Amersham, made his appearance before the council, according to their letter the sixteenth of August, and was appointed the next day to bring in a note of his sermon.

            The twenty-fourth of August, was one John Melvin, a Scot, and preacher, sent to Newgate in London by the council.

            The twenty-sixth of August, there was a letter sent to the mayor of Coventry and his brethren, for the apprehension of one Symons, of Worcester, preacher, and then vicar of St. Michael's in Coventry; and for the sending of him up to the council, with his examinations and other matters they could charge him with; with a commission to them to punish all such as had, by means of his preaching, used any talk against the queen's proceedings.

            The twenty-ninth of August, Master Hooper, bishop of Gloucester, made his personal appearance before the council, according to their letters the twenty-second of August.

            The thirty-first of August, Master Coverdale, bishop of Exeter, made his appearance before the council, according to their letters the twenty-second of August.

            September.-- The first of September, 1553, Master Hooper and Master Coverdale appeared again before the council, whence Master Hooper was committed to the Fleet, and Master Coverdale commanded to attend the lords' pleasure.

            The second of September, Master Hugh Saunders, vicar of St. Michael's in Coventry, was before the council for a sermon, and was commanded to appear again upon Monday next after.

            The fourth of September, a letter was directed from the council to Master Hugh Latimer, for his appearance before them.

            About the fifth day of September the same year, Peter Martyr came to London from Oxford, where for a time he had been commanded to keep his house, and found there the archbishop of Canterbury, who offered to defend the doctrine of the Book of Common Prayer, both by Scriptures and doctors, assisted by Peter Martyr and a few others, as hereafter ye shall hear. But whilst they were in hope to come to disputations, the archbishop and others were imprisoned; but Peter Martyr was suffered to return whence he came.

            The same day there was a letter sent to the mayor of Coventry to set Hugh Symons at liberty, if he would recant his sermon; or else to stay him, and to signify so much to the council.

            The thirteenth of September, Master Hugh Latimer appeared before the council, according to their letter the fourth of September, and was committed to the Tower close prisoner, having his servant Austin to attend upon him.

            The same day the archbishop of Canterbury, appearing before the council, was commanded to appear the next day at afternoon before them in the Star-chamber.

            The fourteenth of September, the archbishop of Canterbury, according to their former day's commandment, made his appearance before the lords in the Star-chamber; where they, charging him with treason, and spreading abroad of seditious bills to the disquieting of the state, committed him from thence to the Tower of London, there to remain till further justice and order at the queen's pleasure.

            The fifteenth of September, there was a letter sent to Master Horn, dean of Durham, for his appearance before them; and another was sent to him the seventh of October next after, for his speedy appearance.

            The sixteenth of September, there were letters sent to the mayors of Dover and Rye, to suffer all French protestants to pass out of this realm, except such whose names should be signified to them by the French ambassador.

            October.-- The first day of October Queen Mary was crowned at Westminster, and the tenth day of the same month began the parliament with the solemn mass of the Holy Ghost, after the popish manner, celebrated with great pomp in the palace of Westminster; to the which mass among the other lords, according to the manner, should come the bishops which yet remained undeposed, which were the archbishop of York, Dr. Taylor, bishop of Lincoln, John Harley, bishop of Hereford. Of the bishops, Dr. Taylor and Master Harley, (presenting themselves according to their duty, and taking their place amongst the lords,) after they saw the mass begin, not abiding the sight thereof, withdrew themselves from the company; for the which cause the bishop of Lincoln being examined, and protesting his faith, was, upon the same, commanded to attend; who not long after, at Ankerwyke, by sickness departed. Master Harley, because he was married, was excluded both from the parliament and from his bishopric.

            Mass being done, the queen, accompanied with the estates of the realm, was brought into the parliament-house, there, according to the manner, to enter and begin the consultation: at which consultation or parliament were repealed all statutes made in the time of King Henry the Eighth for prĉmunire, and statutes made in King Edward the Sixth's time for administration of Common Prayer and Sacrament in the English tongue; and further, the attainder of the duke of Northumberland was by this parliament confirmed. In the mean while many men were forward in erecting of altars and masses in churches. And such as would stick to the laws made in King Edward's time, till others should be established, some of them were marked, and some presently apprehended; among whom Sir James Hales, a knight of Kent and justice of the Common Pleas, was one; who, notwithstanding he had ventured his life in Queen Mary's cause, in that he would not subscribe to the disinheriting of her by the king's will, yet for that he did, at a quarter sessions, give charge upon the statutes made in the time of King Henry the Eighth, and Edward the Sixth, for the supremacy and religion, he was imprisoned in the Marshalsea, Compter, and Fleet, and so cruelly handled and put in fear, by talk that the warden of the Fleet used to have in his hearing, of such torments as were in preparing for heretics, (or for what other cause God knoweth,) that he sought to rid himself out of this life by wounding himself with a knife, and afterward was contented to say as they willed him: whereupon he was discharged. But, after that, he never rested till he had drowned himself in a river, half a mile from his house in Kent: of whom more is to be seen, when you come to his story.

 

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