Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 98. THE TROUBLE AND PERSECUTION OF THE LORD COBHAM.

98. THE TROUBLE AND PERSECUTION OF THE LORD COBHAM.

But to let this by-matter pass, again to return to the aforesaid universal synod, assembled by Thomas Arundel at St. Paul's church in London, as is before remembered, the chief and principal cause of the assembling thereof, as reporteth the Chronicle of St. Alban's, was to repress the growing and spreading of the gospel, and especially to withstand the noble and worthy Lord Cobham, who was then noted to be a principal favourer, receiver, and maintainer of them, whom the bishop misnamed to be Lollards; especially in the dioceses of London, Rochester, and Hereford, setting them up to preach whom the bishops had not licensed, and sending them about to preach, which was against the constitution provincial, before remembered; holding also and teaching opinions of the sacraments, of images, of pilgrimage, of the keys and Church of Rome, contrary and repugnant to the received determination of the Romish Church, &c.

In the mean time, as these were in talk amongst themselves concerning the good Lord Cobham, there resorted unto them the twelve inquisitors of heresies, whom they had appointed at Oxford the year before, to search out heretics, with all Wickliff's books; who brought two hundred and forty-six conclusions, which they had collected as heresies out of the said books. The names of the said inquisitors were these:

John Whitnam, a master in the New College; John Langedon, monk of Christ's Church in Canterbury; William Ufford, regent of the Carmelites; Thomas Claxton, regent of the Dominics; Robert Gilbert, Richard Earthisdale, John Lucke, Richard Snedisham, Richard Flemming, Thomas Rotborne, Robert Ronbery, Richard Grafdale.

These things thus done, and the articles being brought in, further they proceeded in their communication, concluding among themselves, that it was not possible for them to make whole Christ's coat without seam (meaning thereby their patched popish synagogue) unless certain great men were brought out of the way, which seemed to be the chief maintainers of the said disciples of Wickliff. Among whom this noble knight, Sir John Oldcastle, the Lord Cobham, was complained of by the general proctors to be the chief principal. Him they accused, first, for a mighty maintainer of suspected preachers in the dioceses of London, Rochester, and Hereford, contrary to the minds of the ordinaries. Not only they affirmed him to have sent thither the said preachers, but also to have assisted them there by force of arms, notwithstanding their synodal constitution made before to the contrary. Last of all, they accused him that he was far otherwise in belief of the sacrament of the altar, of penance, of pilgrimage, of image-worshipping, and of the ecclesiastical power, than the holy Church of Rome had taught many years before.

In the end it was concluded among them, that, without any further delay, process should be awarded out against him, as against a most pernicious heretic.

Some of that fellowship which were of more crafty experience than the others, thought it not best to have the matter so rashly handled, but by some preparation made thereunto before: considering the said Lord Cobham was a man of great birth, and in favour at that time with the king, their counsel was to know first the king's mind, to save all things upright. This counsel was well accepted, and thereupon the archbishop, Thomas Arundel, with his other bishops, and a great part of the clergy, went straightways unto the king then remaining at Kennington, and there laid forth most grievous complaints against the said Lord Cobham, to his great infamy and blemish, being a man right godly.

The king gently heard those blood-thirsty prelates, and far otherwise than became his princely dignity: notwithstanding requiring, and instantly desiring them, that in respect of his noble stock and knighthood, they should yet favourably deal with him; and that they would, if it were possible, without all rigour or extreme handling, reduce him again to the church's unity. He promised them also, that in case they were contented to take some deliberation, himself would seriously commune the matter with him.

Illustration -- Lord Cobham and the King

Anon after, the king sent for the said Lord Cobham, and as he was come, he called him secretly, admonishing him betwixt him and him, to submit himself to his mother the holy church, and, as an obedient child, to acknowledge himself culpable. Unto whom the Christian knight made this answer: "You, most worthy prince," saith he, "I am always prompt and willing to obey, forasmuch as I know you a Christian king, and the appointed minister of God, bearing the sword to the punishment of evil-doers, and for safeguard of them that be virtuous. Unto you, next my eternal God, owe I my whole obedience, and submit thereunto, as I have done ever, all that I have, either of fortune or nature, ready at all times to fulfil whatsoever ye shall in the Lord command me. But, as touching the pope and his spiritualty, I owe them neither suit nor service, forasmuch as I know him, by the Scriptures, to be the great antichrist, the son of perdition, the open adversary of God, and the abomination standing in the holy place." When the king had heard this, with such-like sentences more, he would talk no longer with him, but left him so utterly.

And as the archbishop resorted again unto him for an answer, he gave him his full authority to cite him, examine him, and punish him according to their devilish decree, which they called The Laws of holy Church. Then the said archbishop, by the counsel of his other bishops and clergy, appointed to call before him Sir John Oldcastle, the Lord Cobham, and to cause him personally to appear, to answer to such suspect articles, as they should lay against him: so he sent forth his chief summoner, with a very sharp citation, unto the castle of Cowling, where he at that time dwelt for his solace; and as the said summoner was come thither, he durst in no case enter the gates of so noble a man without his licence, and therefore he returned home again, his message not done.

Then called the archbishop one John Butler unto him, which was then the door-keeper of the king's privy chamber, and with him he covenanted, through promises and rewards, to have this matter craftily brought to pass under the king's name. Whereupon the said John Butler took the archbishop's summoner with him, and went unto the said Lord Cobham, showing him that it was the king's pleasure that he should obey that citation, and so cited him fraudulently. Then said he to them in few words, that he in no case would consent to those most devilish practices of the priests. As they had informed the archbishop of that answer, and that it was for no man privately to cite him after that, without peril of life, he decreed by and by to have him cited by public process or open commandment; and, in all the haste possible, upon the Wednesday before the nativity of our Lady, in September, he commanded letters citatory to be set upon the great gates of the cathedral church of Rochester, (which was but three English miles from thence,) charging him to appear personally before him at Ledis, the eleventh day of the same month and year, all excuses to the contrary set apart. Those letters were taken down anon after, by such as bore favour unto the Lord Cobham, and so conveyed aside. After that caused the archbishop new letters to be set up on the nativity day of our Lady, which also were rent down, and utterly consumed.

Then, forasmuch as he did not appear at the day appointed at Ledis, (where he sat in consistory, as cruel as ever was Caiaphas, with his court of hypocrites about him,) he judged him, denounced him, and condemned him, of most deep contumacy. After that, when he had been falsely informed by his hired spies, and other glosing glaverers, that the said Lord Cobham had laughed him to scorn, disdained all his doings, maintained his old opinions, contemned the church's power, the dignity of a bishop, and the order of priesthood, (for all these was he then accused of,) in his moody madness, without just proof, did he openly excommunicate him. Yet was not with all this his fierce tyranny satisfied, but he commanded him to be cited afresh, to appear before him the Saturday before the feast of St. Matthew the apostle, with these cruel threatenings added thereunto, that if he did not obey at the day, he would more extremely handle him. And to make himself more strong towards the performance thereof, he compelled the lay-power, by most terrible menacings of curses and interdictions, to assist him against that seditious apostate, schismatic, and heretic, the troubler of the public peace, that enemy of the realm, and great adversary of holy church; for all these hateful names did he give him.

This most constant servant of the Lord, and worthy knight, Sir John Oldcastle, the Lord Cobham, beholding the unpeaceable fury of antichrist thus kindled against him, perceiving himself also compassed on every side with deadly dangers; he took paper and pen in hand, and so wrote a Christian confession or reckoning of his faith, (which followeth hereafter,) both signing and sealing it with his own hand; wherein he also answered to the four chiefest articles that the archbishop laid against him. That done, he took the copy with him, and went therewith to the king, trusting to find mercy and favour at his hand. None other was that confession of his, than the common belief or sum of the church's faith, called The Apostles' Creed, of all Christian men then used, with a brief declaration upon the same, as hereunder ensueth:

The Christian belief of the Lord Cobham.

"I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth: And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, which was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, crucified, dead, and buried, went down to hell, the third day rose again from death, ascended up to heaven, sitteth on the right band of God the Father Almighty; and from thence shall come again to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the universal holy church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the uprising of the flesh, and everlasting life. Amen.

"And for a more large declaration (saith he) of this my faith in the catholic church, I stedfastly believe, That there is but one God Almighty, in and of whose Godhead are these three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and that those three persons are the selfsame God Almighty. I believe also, that the second person of this most blessed Trinity, in most convenient time appointed thereunto before, took flesh and blood of the most blessed Virgin Mary, for the safeguard and redemption of the universal kind of man, which was before lost in Adam's offence.

"Moreover I believe, That the same Jesus Christ our Lord, thus being both God and man, is the only head of the whole Christian church, and that all those that have been or shall be saved, be members of this most holy church. And this holy church I think to be divided into three sorts or companies.

"Whereof the first sort be now in heaven, and they are the saints from hence departed. These, as they were here conversant, conformed always their lives to the most holy laws and pure examples of Christ, renouncing Satan, the world, and the flesh, with all their concupiscence and evils.

"The second sort are in purgatory, (if any such place be in the Scriptures,) abiding the mercy of God, and a full deliverance of pain.

"The third sort are here upon the earth, and be called the church militant; for day and night they contend against crafty assaults of the devil, the flattering prosperities of this world, and the rebellious filthiness of the flesh.

"This latter congregation, by the just ordinance of God, is also severed into three divers estates; that is to say, into priesthood, knighthood, and the commons; among whom the will of God is, that the one should aid the other, but not destroy the other. The priests, first of all, secluded from all worldliness, should conform their lives utterly to the examples of Christ and his apostles. Evermore should they be occupied in preaching and teaching the Scriptures purely, and in giving wholesome examples of good living to the other two degrees of men. More modest also, more loving, gentle, and lowly in spirit, should they be, than any other sorts of people.

"In the knighthood are all they which bear sword by law of office: these should defend God's laws, and see that the gospel were purely taught, conforming their lives to the same, and secluding all false preachers; yea, those ought rather to hazard their lives, than to suffer such wicked decrees as either blemish the eternal testament of God, or yet let the free passage thereof, whereby heresies and schisms might spring in the church. For of none other arise they, as I suppose, than of erroneous constitutions, craftily first creeping in under hypocritical lies, for advantage. They ought also to preserve God's people from oppressors, tyrants, and thieves, and to see the clergy supported so long as they teach purely, pray rightly, and minister the sacraments freely. And if they see them do otherwise, they are bound by the law or office to compel them to change their doings; and to see all things performed according to God's prescript ordinance.

"The latter fellowship of this church, are the common people; whose duty is to bear their good minds and true obedience to the aforesaid ministers of God, their kings, civil governors, and priests. The right office of these, is justly to occupy every man his faculty, be it merchandise, handicraft, or the tithe of the ground. And so one of them to be as a helper to another, following always, in their sorts, the just commandments of the Lord God.

"Over and besides all this, I most faithfully believe, That the sacraments of Christ's church are necessary to all Christian believers; this always seen to, that they be truly ministered according to Christ's first institution and ordinance. And, forasmuch as I am maliciously and most falsely accused of a misbelief in the sacrament of the altar, to the hurtful slander of many, I signify here unto all men, that this is my faith concerning that: I believe in that sacrament to be contained very Christ's body and blood under the similitude of bread and wine, yea, the same body that was conceived of the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, done on the cross, died and was buried, arose the third day from the death, and is now glorified in heaven. I also believe the universal law of God to be most true and perfect, and they which do not so follow it in their faith and works (at one time or another) can never be saved: whereas he that seeketh it in faith, accepteth it, learneth it, delighteth therein, and performeth it in love, shall taste for it the felicity of everlasting innocency.

"Finally, this is my faith also, That God will ask no more of a Christian believer in this life, but only to obey the precepts of that most blessed law. If any prelate of the church require more, or else any other kind of obedience, than this to be used, he contemneth Christ, exalting himself above God, and so becometh an open antichrist. All the promises I believe particularly, and, generally, all that God hath left in his Holy Scripture, that I should believe; instantly desiring you, my liege lord and most worthy king, that this confession of mine may be justly examined by the most godly-wise and learned men of your realm; and, if it be found in all points agreeing to the verity, then let it be so allowed, and I, thereupon, holden for none other than a true Christian. If it be proved otherwise, then let it be utterly condemned: provided always, that I be taught a better belief by the word of God; and I shall most reverently at all times obey thereunto."

This brief confession of his faith the Lord Cobham wrote, as is mentioned before, and so took it with him to the court, offering it with all meekness unto the king, to read it over. The king would in no case receive it, but commanded it to be delivered unto them that should be his judges. Then desired he, in the king's presence, that a hundred knights and esquires might be suffered to come in upon his purgation, which he knew would clear him of all heresies. Moreover, he offered himself, after the law of arms, to fight for life or death with any man living, Christian or heathen, in the quarrel of his faith; the king and the lords of his council ex-cepted. Finally, with all gentleness, he protested before all that were present, that he would refuse no manner of correction that should, after the laws of God, be ministered unto him; but that he would at all times with all meekness obey it. Notwithstanding all this, the king suffered him to be summoned personally in his own privy chamber. Then said the Lord Cobham to the king, that he had appealed from the archbishop to the pope of Rome, and therefore he ought, he said, in no case to be his judge.

Illustration -- Examination of Lord Cobham

As the day of examination was come, which was the twenty-third day of September, the Saturday before the feast of St. Matthew, Thomas Arundel, the archbishop, sitting in Caiaphas' room, in the chapter-house of Paul's, with Richard Clifford, bishop of London, and Henry Bolingbrook, bishop of Winchester; Sir Robert Morley, knight, and lieutenant of the Tower, brought personally before him the said Lord Cobham, and there left him for the time; unto whom the archbishop said these words:

"Sir John, in the last general convocation of the clergy of this our province, ye were detected of certain heresies, and by sufficient witnesses found culpable: whereupon ye were, by form of spiritual law, cited, and would in no case appear. In conclusion, upon your rebellious contumacy, ye were both privately and openly excommunicated. Notwithstanding we neither yet showed ourselves unready to have given you absolution, nor yet do to this hour, would ye have meekly asked it."

Unto this the Lord Cobham showed as though he had given no ear, having his mind otherwise occupied, and so desired no absolution; but said he would gladly, before him and his brethren, make rehearsal of that faith which he held, and intended always to stand to, if it would please them to license him thereunto. And then he took out of his bosom a certain writing, indented, concerning the articles Whereof he was accused, and so openly read it before them, giving it unto the archbishop, as he had made thereof an end; whereof this is the copy:

"I, John Oldcastle, knight, lord of Cobham, will that all Christian men know and understand, that I call Almighty God to witness, that it hath been, now is, and ever, with the help of God, shall be, mine intent and my will, to believe faithfully and fully all the sacraments that ever God ordained to be done in holy church; and moreover, do declare me in these four points: I believe that the most worshipful sacrament of the altar is Christ's body in form of bread, the same body that was born of the blessed Virgin, our lady St. Mary, done on the cross, dead and buried, the third day rose from death to life, the which body is now glorified in heaven.

"Also, as for the sacrament of penance, I believe, that it is needful to every man that shall be saved, to forsake sin, and do due penance for sin before done, with true confession, very contrition, and due satisfaction as God's law limiteth and teacheth, and else may not be saved; which penance I desire all men to do.

"And as for images, I understand that they be not of belief, but that they were ordained since the belief of Christ was given by sufferance of the church, to be calendars to lewd men, to represent and bring to mind the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, and martyrdom and good living of other saints: and that whoso it be that doth the worship to dead images that is due to God, or putteth such hope or trust in help of them as he should do to God, or hath affection in one more than in another, he loth in that the greatest sin of image worship.

"Also I suppose this fully, That every man in this earth is a pilgrim toward bliss, or toward pain; and that he that knoweth not, ne will not know, ne keep the holy commandments of God in his living here, albeit that he go on pilgrimages to all the world, and he die so, he shall be damned: he that knoweth the holy commandments of God, and keepeth them to his end, he shall be saved, though he never in his life go on pilgrimage, as men now use, to Canterbury, or to Rome, or to any other place."

This answer to his articles thus ended and read, he delivered it to the bishops, as is said before. Then counselled the archbishop with the other two bishops and with divers of the doctors, what was to be done in this matter; commanding him, for the time, to stand aside. In conclusion, by their assent and information, he said thus unto him: "Come hither, Sir John: in this your writing are many good things contained, and right catholic also, we deny it not; but ye must consider that this day was appointed you to answer to other points concerning those articles, whereof as yet no mention is made in this your bill: and therefore ye must yet declare us your mind more plainly. And thus, whether that ye hold, affirm, and believe, that in the sacrament of the altar, after the consecration rightly done by a priest, remaineth material bread, or not? Moreover, whether ye do hold, affirm, and believe, that, as concerning the sacrament of penance, where a competent number of priests are, every Christian man is necessarily bound to be confessed of his sins to a priest ordained by the church or not?"

After certain other communication, this was the answer of the good Lord Cobham: That none otherwise would he dcclare his mind, nor yet answer unto his articles, than was expressly in his writing there contained. Then said the archbishop again unto him; "Sir John, beware what ye do; for if ye answer not clearly to those things that are here objected against you, especially at the time appointed you only for that purpose, the law of holy church is, That, compelled once by a judge, we may openly proclaim you a heretic. Unto whom he gave this answer, "Do as ye shall think best, for I am at a point." Whatsoever he or the other bishops did ask him after that, he bade them resort to his bill; for thereby would he stand to the very death. Other answer would he not give that day; wherewith the bishops and prelates were in a manner amazed and wonderfully disquieted.

At the last the archbishop counselled again with his other bishops and doctors, and in the end thereof declared unto him, what the holy Church of Rome, following the saying of St. Augustine, St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, and of the holy doctors, had determined in these matters: no manner of mention once made of Christ! "which determination "(saith he) "ought all Christian men both to believe and follow."

Then said the Lord Cobham unto him, that he would gladly both believe and observe whatsoever holy church of Christ's institution had determined, or yet whatsoever God had willed him either to believe or to do: but that the pope of Rome, with his cardinals, archbishops, bishops, and other prelates of that church, had lawful power to determine such matter as stood not with His word thoroughly that, would he not (he said) at that time affirm. With this the archbishop bade him to take good advisement, till the Monday next following, (which was the twenty-fifth day of September,) and then justly to answer, specially unto this point: Whether there remained material bread in the sacrament of the altar, after the words of consecration, or not? He promised him also, to send unto him in writing those matters clearly determined, that he might then be the more perfect in his answer-making. And all this was nought else, but to blind the multitude with somewhat. The next day following, according to his promise, the archbishop sent unto him into the Tower this foolish and blasphemous writing, made by him and by his unlearned clergy.

"The faith and determination of the holy church touching the blissful sacrament of the altar, is this: That after the sacramental words be once spoken by a priest in his mass, the material bread, that was before bread, is turned into Christ's very body; and the material wine, that was before wine, is turned into Christ's very blood; and so there remaineth in the sacrament of the altar, from thenceforth, no material bread, nor material wine, which were there before the sacramental words were spoken. -- How believe ye this article?

"Holy church hath determined that every Christian man, living here bodily upon the earth, ought to be shriven to a priest ordained by the church, if he may come to him. -- How feel ye this article?

"Christ ordained St. Peter the apostle to be his vicar here in earth, whose see is the holy Church of Rome; and he granted that the same power which he gave unto Peter should succeed to all Peter's successors, which we call now popes of Rome; by whose power, in churches particular, be ordained prelates, as archbishops, bishops, parsons, curates, and other degrees more; unto whom Christian men ought to obey after the laws of the Church of Rome. This is the determination of holy church. -- How feel ye this article?

"Holy church hath determined, that it is meritorious to a Christian man to go on pilgrimage to holy places, and there specially to worship holy relics and images of saints, apostles, and martyrs, confessors and all other saints besides, approved by the Church of Rome. -- How feel ye this article? "

And as the Lord Cobham had read over this most wretched writing, he marvelled greatly of their mad ignorance; but that he considered again, that God had given them over, for their unbelief's sake, into most deep errors and blindness of soul. Again, he perceived hereby, that their uttermost malice was purposed against him, howsoever he should answer. And therefore he put his life into the hands of God, desiring his only Spirit to assist him in his next answer. When the said twenty-fifth day of September was come, (which was also the Monday before Michaelmas,) in the said year of our Lord 1413, Thomas Arundel, the archbishop of Canterbury, commanded his judicial seat to be removed from the chapter-house of Paul's to the Dominic Friars within Ludgate at London. And as he was there set, with Richard the bishop of London, Henry the bishop of Winchester, and Bennet the bishop of Bangor, he called in unto him his council and his officers, with divers other doctors and friars, of whom these are the names here following: Master Henry Ware, the official of Canterbury; Philip Morgan, doctor of the laws; Howel Kiffin, doctor of the canon law; John Kempe, doctor of the canon law; William Carleton, doctor of the canon law; John Whitnam, of the New College in Oxford; John Whitehead, doctor in Oxford also; Robert Wombewel, vicar of St. Lawrence in the Jewry; Thomas Palmer, the warden of Minors; Robert Chamberlain, prior of the Dominics; Richard Dodington, prior of the Augustines; Thomas Walden, prior of the Carmelites: all doctors of divinity. John Stephens also, and James Cole, both notaries, appointed there purposely to write all that should be either said or done. All these, with a great sort more of priests, monks, canons, friars, parish clerks, bell-ringers, pardoners, disdained him with innumerable mocks and scorns, reckoning him to be a horrible heretic, and a man accursed before God.

Anon the archbishop called for a mass-book, and caused all these prelates and doctors to swear thereupon, that every man should faithfully do his office and duty that day; and that neither for favour nor fear, love nor hate of the one party or the other, any thing should there be witnessed, spoken, or done, but according to the truth, as they would answer before God and all the world, at the day of doom. Then were the two aforesaid notaries sworn also to write and to witness the process that there should be uttered on both parties, and to say their minds, if they otherwise knew, before they should register it. And all this dissimulation was but to colour their mischiefs before the ignorant multitude.

Consider herein, gentle reader, what this wicked generation is, and how far wide from the just fear of God; for as they were then, so are they yet to this day.

After that, came out before them Sir Robert Morley, knight, and lieutenant of the Tower; and he brought with him the good Lord Cobham, there leaving him among them as a lamb among wolves, to his examination and answer.

"Then said the archbishop unto him, Lord Cobham, ye be advised, I am sure, of the words and process which we had unto you upon Saturday last past, in the chapter-house of Paul's, which process were now too long to be rehearsed again. I said unto you then, that you were accursed for your contumacy and disobedience to the holy church, thinking that ye should with meekness then have desired your absolution.

"Then spake the Lord Cobham with a cheerful countenance, and said, God said by his holy prophet, I shall curse where you bless.

"The archbishop made then as though he had continued forth his tale and not heard him, saying, Sir, at that time I gently proffered to have assoiled you if you would have asked it; and yet I do the same if ye will humbly desire it in due form and manner as holy church hath ordained.

"Then said the Lord Cobham, Nay, forsooth will I not, for I never yet trespassed against you, and therefore I will not do it. And with that he kneeled down on the pavement, holding up his hands towards heaven, and said, I shrive me here unto thee, my eternal living God, that in my frail youth I offended thee, O Lord! most grievously in pride, wrath, and gluttony, in covetousness, and in lechery. Many men have I hurt in mine anger, and done many other horrible sins; good Lord, I ask thee mercy. And therewith weepingly he stood up again, and said with a loud voice, Lo, good people! lo! for the breaking of God's law and his great commandments, they never yet cursed me, but, for their own laws and traditions most cruelly do they handle both me and other men; and therefore, both they and their laws, by the promise of God, shall utterly be destroyed.

"At this the archbishop and his company were not a little blemished. Notwithstanding, he took stomach unto him again after certain words had, in excuse of their tyranny, and examined the Lord Cobham of his Christian belief.

"Wherunto the Lord Cobham made this godly answer: I believe, saith he, fully and faithfully in the universal laws of God; I believe that all is true which is contained in the holy sacred scriptures of the Bible; finally, I believe all that my Lord God would I should believe.

"Then demanded the archbishop an answer of that bill which he and the clergy had sent him into the Tower the day before, in manner of a determination of the church concerning the four articles whereof he was accused; especially for the sacrament of the altar, how he believed therein.

"Whereunto the Lord Cobham said, That with that bill he had nothing to do; but this was his belief, he said, concerning the sacrament, that his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, sitting at his last supper, with his most dear disciples, the night before he should suffer, took bread in his hand; and giving thanks to his eternal Father, blessed it, brake it, and so gave it unto them, saying, Take it unto you, and eat thereof all: this is my body which shall be betrayed for you: do this hereafter in my remembrance. This do I thoroughly believe, saith he, for this faith am I taught in the Gospel of Matthew, chap. xxvi., in Mark, chap. xiv., and in Luke, chap. xxii., and also in the First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, chap. xi.

"Then asked the archbishop, If he believed that it were bread after the consecration or sacramental words spoken over it.

"The Lord Cobham said, I believe that in the sacrament of the altar is Christ's very body in form of bread, the same that was born of the Virgin Mary, done on the cross, dead, and buried, and that the third day arose from death to life, which now is glorified in heaven.

"Then said one of the doctors of the law, After the sacramental words be uttered, there remaineth no bread, but only the body of Christ.

"The Lord Cobham said then to one Master John Whitehead, You said once unto me in the castle of Cowling, that the sacred host was not Christ's body; but I held then against you, and proved that therein was his body, though the seculars and friars could not therein agree, but held each one against the other in that opinion. These were my words then, if ye remember it.

"Then shouted a sort of them together, and cried with great noise, We say all, that it is God's body. "And divers of them asked him in great anger, Whether it were material bread after the consecration, or not?

"Then looked the Lord Cobham earnestly upon the archbishop, and said, I believe surely that it is Christ's body, in form of bread. Sir, believe not you thus?

"And the archbishop said, Yes, marry, do I.

"Then asked him the doctors, Whether it were only Christ's body after the consecration of a priest, and no bread, or not?

"And he said unto them, It is both Christ's body and bread; I shall prove it thus: for like as Christ's dwelling here upon the earth had in him both Godhead and manhood, and had the invisible Godhead covered under that manhood, which was only visible and seen in him; so, in the sacrament of the altar, is Christ's very body and bread also: as I believe the bread is the thing that we see with our eyes, the body of Christ, which is his flesh and his blood, is thereunder hid, and not seen but in faith.

"And, moreover, to prove that it is both Christ's body and also bread after the consecration, it is by plain words expressed by one of your own doctors, writing against Eutyches, which saith, Like as the selfsame sacraments do pass by the operation of the Holy Ghost into a Divine nature, and yet, notwithstanding, keep the property still of their former nature, so that principal mystery declareth to remain one true and perfect Christ, &c.

"Then smiled they each one upon another, that the people should judge him taken in a great heresy. And with a great brag divers of them said, It is a foul heresy.

"Then asked the bishop what bread it was? And the doctors also inquired of him whether it were material or not?

"The Lord Cobham said unto them, The Scriptures make no mention of this word material, and therefore my faith hath nothing to do therewith: but this I say and believe, that it is Christ's body and bread; for Christ said in the sixth of John's Gospel, I,who came down from heaven, am the living, and not the dead bread. Therefore I say now again, as I said before, as our Lord Jesus Christ is very God and very man, so in the most blessed sacrament of the altar is Christ's very body and bread.

"Then said they all with one voice, It is a heresy!

"One of the bishops stood up, by and by, and said, What? it is a heresy manifest to say, that it is bread after the sacramental words be once spoken, but Christ's body only.

"The Lord Cobham said, St. Paul the apostle was, I am sure, as wise as you be now, and more godly learned, and he called it bread, writing to the Corinthians: The bread that we break, saith he, is it not the partaking of Christ? Lo! be called it bread! and not Christ's body, but a mean whereby we receive Christ's body.

"Then said they again, Paul must be otherwise understood; for it is sure a heresy to say that it is bread after the consecration, but only Christ's body.

"The Lord Cobham asked, How they could make good that sentence of theirs?

"They answered him thus, For it is against the determination of holy church.

"Then said the archbishop unto him, Sir John, we sent you a writing concerning the faith of this blessed sacrament, clearly determined by the Church of Rome, our mother, and by the holy doctors.

"Then he said again unto him, I know none holier than Christ and his apostles. And as for that determination, I wot it is none of theirs; for it standeth not with the Scriptures, but manifestly against them. If it be the church's, as ye say it is, it hath been hers only since she received .the great poison of worldly possessions, and not before.

"Then asked they him, to stop his mouth therewith, if he believed not in the determination of the church?

"And he said unto them, No, forsooth, for it is no God. In all our creed, this word in is but thrice mentioned concerning belief: In God the Father, in God the Son, in God the Holy Ghost, three persons and one God. The birth, the death, the burial, the resurrection and ascension of Christ, hath none in for belief, but in him; neither yet hath the church the sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, the latter resurrection, nor yet the life everlasting, nor any other in than in the Holy Ghost.

"Then said one of the lawyers, Tush, that was but a word of office; but what is your belief concerning holy church?

"The Lord Cobham answered, My belief is, as I said before, that all the Scriptures of the sacred Bible are true. All that is grounded upon them I believe thoroughly, for I know it is God's pleasure that I should so do. But in your lordly laws and idle determinations have I no belief. For ye be no part of Christ's holy church, as your open deeds do show; but ye are very antichrists, obstinately set against his holy law and will. The laws that ye have made are nothing to his glory, but only for your vain-glory and abominable covetousness.

"This, they said, was an exceeding heresy, and that in a great fume, not to believe the determination of holy church.

"Then the archbishop asked him, What he thought of holy church?

"He said unto him, My belief is, that the holy church is the number of them which shall be saved, of whom Christ is the Head. Of this church one part is in heaven with Christ, another in purgatory, you say, and the third is here in earth. This latter part standeth in three degrees, in knighthood, priesthood, and the commonalty, as I said before plainly in the confession of my belief.

"Then said the archbishop unto him, Can you tell me who is of this church?

"The Lord Cobham answered, Yea, truly can I.

"Then said Doctor Walden, the prior of the Carmelites, It is doubt unto you, who is thereof. For Christ saith in Matthew, Presume to judge no man. If ye be here forbidden the judgment of your neighbour or brother, much more the judgment of your superior.

"The Lord Cobham made him this answer: Christ saith also in the selfsame chapter of Matthew, That like as the evil tree is known by his fruit, so is a false prophet by his works, appear they never so glorious. But that ye left behind ye. And in John he hath this text: Believe you the outward doings. And in another place of John: When we know the thing to be true, we may so judge it, and not offend. For David said also, Judge rightly always ye children of men. And as for your superiority, were ye of Christ, ye should be meek ministers, and no proud superiors.

"Then said Doctor Walden unto him, Ye make here no difference of judgments; ye put no diversity between the evil judgments which Christ hath for.bidden, and the good judgments which he hath commanded us to have. Rash judgment and right judgment, all is one with you. So swift judges always are the learned scholars of Wickliff.

"Unto whom the Lord Cobham thus answered, It is well sophistered of you, forsooth. Preposterous are your judgments evermore. For as the prophet Isaiah saith, Ye judge evil good, and good evil: and therefore the same prophet concludeth, that your ways are not God's ways, nor God's ways your ways. And as for the virtuous man Wickliff, whose judgments ye so highly disdain, I shall say here, of my part, both before God and man, that before I knew that despised doctrine of his, I never abstained from sin. But since I learned therein to fear my Lord God, it hath otherwise, I trust, been with me: so much grace could I never find in all your glorious instructions.

"Then said Doctor Walden again yet unto him, It were not well with me (so many virtuous men living, and so many learned men teaching the Scripture, being also so open, and the examples of fathers so plenteous) if I then had no grace to amend my life, till I heard the devil preach. St. Jerome saith, That he which seeketh such suspected masters shall nut find the mid-day light, but the mid-day devil.

"The Lord Cobham said, Your fathers, the old Pharisees, ascribed Christ's miracles to Beelzebub, and his doctrine to the devil; and you, as their natural children, have still the selfsame judgment concerning his faithful followers. They that rebuke your vicious living must needs be heretics, and that must your doctors prove, when you have no Scripture to do it. Then said he to them all To judge you as you be, we need go no further than to your own proper acts. Where do you find in all God's law, that ye should thus sit in judgment of any Christian man, or yet give sentence upon any other man unto death, as ye do here daily? No ground have ye in all the Scripture so lordly to take it upon you, but in Annas and Caiaphas, which sat thus upon Christ, and upon his apostles after his ascension. Of them only have ye taken to judge Christ's members as ye do; and neither of Peter nor John.

"Then said some of the lawyers, Yes, forsooth, sir, for Christ judged Judas.

"The Lord Cobham said, No! Christ judged him not, but he judged himself, and thereupon went forth and so did hang himself: but indeed Christ said, Woe unto him, for that covetous act of his, as he doth yet still unto many of you. For since the venom of him was shed into the church, ye never followed Christ, neither yet have ye stood in the perfection of God's law.

"Then the archbishop asked him, what he meant by that venom?

"Then Lord Cobham said, Your possessions and lordships. For then cried an angel in the air, as your own chronicles mention, Woe, woe, woe, this day is venom shed into the church of God. Before that time all the bishops of Rome were martyrs in a manner; and since that time we read of very few. But indeed, since that same time, one hath put down another, one hath poisoned another, one hath cursed another, and one hath slain another, and done much more mischief besides, as all the chronicles tell. And let all men consider well this, that Christ was meek and merciful; the pope is proud and a tyrant: Christ was poor and forgave; the pope is rich and a malicious manslayer, as his daily acts do prove him: Rome is the very nest of antichrist; and out of that nest come all the disciples of him: of whom prelates, priests, and monks are the body, these pilled friars are the tail, which covereth his most filthy part.

"Then said the prior of the friars Augustines, Alack, sir, why do you say so? that is uncharitably spoken.

"And the Lord Cobham said, Not only is it my saying, but also the prophet Isaiah, long afore my time. The prophet, saith he, which preacheth lies, is the tail behind. For as you friars and monks be, like Pharisees, divided in your outward apparel and usages, so make ye division among the,people. And thus you, with such others, are the very natural members of antichrist.

"Then said he unto them all, Christ saith in his gospel, Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye close up the kingdom of heaven before men, neither enter ye in yourselves, nor yet suffer any other that would enter into it, but ye stop up the ways thereunto with your own traditions, and therefore are ye the household of antichrist: ye will not permit God's verity to have passage, nor yet to be taught of his true ministers, fearing to have your wickedness reproved. But by such flatterers as uphold you in your mischiefs, ye suffer the common people most miserably to be seduced.

"Then said the archbishop, By our Lady, sir, there shall none such preach within my diocese, and God will, nor yet in my jurisdiction, if I may know it, as either make division, or yet dissension among the poor commons.

"The Lord Cobham said, Both Christ and his apostles were accused of sedition-making, yet were they most peaceable men. Both Daniel and Christ prophesied that such a troublous time should come, as hath not been yet since the world's beginning. And this prophecy is partly fulfilled in your days and doings; for many have ye slain already, and more will ye slay hereafter, if God fulfil not his proChrist saith also, If those days of yours were not shortened, scarcely should any flesh be saved; therefore look for it justly, for God will shorten your days. Moreover, though priests and deacons, for preaching of God's word, and for ministering the sacraments, with provision for the poor, be grounded on God's law, yet have these other sects no manner of ground hereof, so far as I have read.

"Then a doctor of law, called Master John Kemp, plucked out of his bosom a copy of the bill which they had before sent him into the Tower by the archbishop's council, thinking thereby to make shorter work with him; for they were so amazed with his answers, not all unlike to them which disputed with Stephen, that they knew not well how to occupy the time; their wits and sophistry, as God would, so failed them that day.

"My Lord Cobham, saith this doctor, we must briefly know your mind concerning these four points here following. The first of them is this: and then he read upon the bill, The faith and determination of holy church touching the blessed sacrament of the altar is this, That after the sacramental words be once spoken of a priest in his mass, the material bread, that was before bread, is turned into Christ's very body, and the material wine is turned into Christ's blood. And so there remaineth, in the sacrament of the altar, from thenceforth no material bread, nor material wine, which were there before the sacramental words were spoken. Sir, believe you not this?

"The Lord Cobham said, This is not my belief; but my faith is, as I said to you before, that in the worshipful sacrament of the altar is Christ's very body in form of bread.

"Then said the archbishop, Sir John, ye must say otherwise.

"The Lord Cobham said, Nay, that I will not, if God be upon my side, as I trust he is; but that there is Christ's body in form of bread, as the common belief is.

"Then read the doctor again:

"The second point is this: Holy church hath determined, that every Christian man, living here bodily upon earth, ought to be shriven of a priest ordained by the church, if he may come to him. Sir, what say you to this?

"The Lord Cobham answered and said, A diseased or sore wounded man hath need to have a sure wise chirurgeon and a true, knowing both the ground and the danger of the same. Most necessary were it therefore to be first shriven unto God, which only knoweth our diseases, and can help us. I deny not in this the going to a priest, if he be a man of good life and learning; for the laws of God are to be required of the priest, which is godly learned. But if he be an idiot, or a man of vicious living, that is my curate, I ought rather to fly from him than to seek unto him; for sooner might I catch evil of him that is naught, than any goodness towards my soul's health.

"Then read the doctor again:

"The third point is this: Christ ordained St. Peter the apostle to be his vicar here in earth, whose see is the Church of Rome. And he granted that the same power which he gave unto Peter should succeed unto all Peter's successors, which we call now popes of Rome: by whose special power in churches particular be ordained prelates and archbishops, parsons, curates, and other degrees more, to whom Christian men ought to obey after the laws of the Church of Rome. This is the determination of holy church. Sir, believe ye not this?

"To this he answered and said, He that followeth Peter most nighest in pure living, is next unto him in succession; but your lordly order esteemeth not greatly the lowly behaviour of poor Peter, whatsoever ye prate of him. Neither carc ye greatly for the humble manners of them that succeeded him, till the time of Silvester, which, for the more part, were martyrs, as I told you before. Ye can let all their good conditions go by you, and not hurt yourselves with them at all. All the world knoweth this well enough by you, and yet ye can make boast of Peter.

"With that, one of the other doctors asked him, Then what do you say of the pope?

"The Lord Cobham answered, As I said before, so I say again, that he and you together make whole the great antichrist, of whom he is the great head: you bishops, priests, prelates, and monks, are the body, and the Begging Friars are the tail, for they cover the filthiness of you both with their subtle sophistry; neither will I in conscience obey any of you all, till I see you with Peter follow Christ in conversation.

"Then read the doctor again: The fourth point is this: Holy church hath determined, that it is meritorious to a Christian man to go on pilgrimage to holy places, and there specially to worship the holy relics and images of saints, apostles, martyrs, confessors, and all other saints besides, approved by the Church of Rome. Sir, what say you to this?

"Whereunto he answered, I owe them no service by any commandment of God, and therefore I mind not to seek them for your covetousness. It were best ye swept them fair from cobwebs and dust, and so laid them up for catching of scathe, or else to bury them fair in the ground as ye do other aged people, which are God's images.

"It is a wonderful thing, that saints now being dead should become so covetous and needy, and thereupon so bitterly beg, which all their lifetime hated all covetousness and begging. But this I say unto you, and I would all the world should mark it, that with your shrines and idols, your feigned absolutions and pardons, ye draw unto you the substance, wealth, and chief pleasures of all Christian realms.

"Why sir, said one of the clerks, will ye not worship good images?

"What worship should I give unto them? said the Lord Cobham.

"Then said Friar Palmer unto him, Sir, will ye worship the cross of Christ, that he died upon? "Where is it? said the Lord Cobham.

"The friar said, I put you the case, sir, that it were here, even now before you.

"The Lord Cobham answered, This is a great wise man, to put me an earnest question of a thing, and yet he himself knoweth not where the thing itself is. Yet once again I ask you, what worship I should do unto it.

"A clerk said to him, Such worship as Paul speaketh of, and that is this; God forbid that I should joy, but only in the cross of Jesus Christ.

"Then said the Lord Cobham, and spread his arms abroad, This is the very cross, yea, and so much better than your cross of wood, in that it was created of God; yet will not I seek to have it worshipped.

"Then said the bishop of London, Sir, ye wot well that he died on a material cross.

"The Lord Cobham said, Yea, and I wot also, that our salvation came not in by that material cross, but alone by him which died thereupon. And well I wot, that holy St. Paul rejoiced in none other cross, but in Christ's passion and death only, and in his own sufferings of like persecution with him, for the selfsame verity that he hath suffered for before.

"Another clerk yet asked him, Will ye then do none honour to the holy cross?

He answered him, Yes, if it were mine own, I would lay him up honestly, and see unto him that he should take no more scathe abroad, nor be robbed of his goods, as he is now adays.

"Then said the archbishop unto him, Sir John, ye have spoken here many wonderful words to the slanderous rebuke of the whole spiritualty, giving a great evil example unto the common sort here, to have us in the more disdain. Much time have we spent here about you, and all in vain, so far as I can see. Well, we must now be at this short point with you, for the day passeth away: ye must either submit yourself to the ordinance of the holy church, or else throw yourself (no remedy) into most deep danger. See to it in time, for anon it will be else too late.

"The Lord Cobham said, I know not to what purpose I should otherwise submit me. Much more have you offended me, than ever I offended you, in this troubling me before this multitude.

"Then said the archbishop again unto him, We once again require you to remember yourself well, and to have none other manner of opinion in these matters, than the universal faith and belief of the holy Church of Rome is. And so, like an obedient child, return again to the unity of your mother. See to it, I say, in time, for yet ye may have remedy, whereas, anon, it will be too late.

"The Lord Cobham said expressly before them all, I will none otherwise believe in these points than that I have told you here before. Do with me what you will.

{Ortanmenatal capital ?84A}Finally, then the archbishop said, Well, then I see none other but we must needs do the law; we must proceed forth to the sentence definitive, and both judge you and condemn you for a heretic."

And with that the archbishop stood up, and read there a bill of his condemnation, all the clergy and laity veiling their bonnets. And this was the tenor thereof:

"In the name of God; so be it. We, Thomas, by the sufferance of God, archbishop of Canterbury, metropolitan and primate of all England, and legate from the apostolic see of Rome, will this to be known unto all men. In a certain cause of heresy, and upon divers articles, whereupon Sir John Oldcastle, knight, and Lord Cobham, after a diligent inquisition made for the same, was detected, accused, and presented before us, in our last convocation of all our province of Canterbury, holden in the cathedral church of Paul's at London, at the lawful denouncement and request of our universal clergy of the said convocation, we proceeded against him according to the law (God to witness) with all the favour possible: and, following Christ's example in all that we might, which willeth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he might be converted and live; we took upon us to correct him, and sought all other ways possible to bring him again to the church's unity, declaring unto him what the holy and universal Church of Rome hath said, holden, determined, and taught, in that behalf. And though we found him in the catholic faith far wide, and so stiff-necked that he would not confess his error, nor purge himself, nor yet repent him thereof, we yet, pitying him of fatherly compassion, and entirely desiring the health of his soul, appointed him a competent time of deliberation, to see if he would repent and seek to be reformed; but since that time we have found him worse and worse. Considering, therefore, that he is not corrigible, we are driven to the very extremity of the law, and with great heaviness of heart we now proceed to the publication of the sentence definitive against him."

Then brought he forth another bill, containing the said sentence, and that he read also in his beggarly Latin. Christi nomine invocato, ipsumquæ solum preoculis habentes. Quia per acta inactitata, and so forth. Which I have also translated into English, that men may understand it.

"Christ we take unto witness, that nothing else we seek in this our whole enterprise, but his only glory. Forasmuch as we have found, by divers acts done, brought forth, and exhibited, by sundry evidences, signs, and tokens, and also by many most manifest proofs, the said Sir John Oldcastle, knight, and Lord Cobham, not only to be an evident heretic in his own person, but also a mighty maintainer of other heretics against the faith and religion of the holy and universal Church of Rome; namely, about the two sacraments, (of the altar and of penance,) besides the pope's power, and pilgrimages; and that he, as the child of iniquity and darkness, hath so hardened his heart, that he will in no case attend unto the voice of his pastor; neither will he be allured by straight admonishments, nor yet be brought in by favourable words: the worthiness of the cause first weighed on the one side, and his unworthiness again considered on the other side, his faults also aggravated or made double through his damnable obstinacy, (we being loth that he which is naught should be worse, and so with his contagiousness infect the multitude,) by the sage counsel and assent of the very discreet fathers, our honourable brethren, and lords bishops here present, Richard of London, Henry of Winchester, and Bennet of Bangor, and of other great, learned, and wise men here, both doctors of divinity, and of the laws canon and civil, seculars and religious, with divers other expert men assisting us: we sententially and definitively, by this present writing, judge, declare, and condemn the said Sir John Oldcastle, knight, and Lord Cobham, for a most pernicious and detestable heretic, convicted upon the same, and refusing utterly to obey the church again, committing him here from henceforth, as a condemned heretic, to the secular jurisdiction, power, and judgment, to do him thereupon to death. Furthermore, we excommunicate and denounce accursed, not only this heretic here present, but so many else besides as shall hereafter, in favour of his error, either receive him or defend him, counsel him, or help him, or any other way maintain him, as very favourers, receivers, defenders, counsellors, aiders, and maintainers of condemned heretics.

"And that these premises may be the better known of all faithful Christian men, we commit it here unto your charges, and give you straight commandment thereupon by this writing also, that ye cause this condemnation and definitive sentence of excommunication concerning both this heretic and his favourers, to be published throughout all dioceses, in cities, towns, and villages, by your curates and parish priests, at such times as they shall have most recourse of people. And see that it be done after this sort: As the people are thus gathered devoutly together, let the curate every where go into the pulpit, and there open, declare, and expound this excess in the mother tongue, in an audible and intelligible voice, that it may be perceived of all men: and that upon the fear of this declaration also the people may fall from their evil opinions conceived now, of late, by seditious preachers. Moreover we will, that after we have delivered unto each one of you bishops, which are here present, a copy hereof, that ye cause the same to be written out again into divers copies, and to be sent unto the other bishops and prelates, of our whole province, that they may also see the contents thereof solemnly published within their dioceses and cures. Finally, we will that both you and they signify again unto us, seriously and distinctly, by your writings, as the matter is, without feigned colour, in every point performed, the day whereon ye received this process, the time when it was of us executed, and after what sort it was done in every condition, according to the tenor hereof, that we may know it to be justly the same."

A copy of this writing sent Thomas Arundel, the archbishop of Canterbury, afterward from Maidstone, the tenth day of October, within the same year of our Lord, 1413, unto Richard Clifford the bishop London, which thus beginneth: Thomas, permissione Divina, &c.

The said Richard Clifford sent another copy thereof, enclosed within his own letters, unto Robert Maschal, a Carmelite friar, which was then bishop of Hereford in Wales, written from Haddam, the twenty-third of October in the same year, the beginning whereof is as followeth: Reverende in Christo Pater, &c.

This Robert Maschal directed another copy thereof from London the seven and twentieth day of November in the same year, enclosed in his own commission also, unto his archdeacon and deans in Hereford and Shrewsbury; and this is thereof the beginning, Venerabilibus et discretis viris, &c. In like manner did the other bishops within their dioceses.

After that the archbishop had thus read the bill of his condemnation, with most extremity, before the whole multitude, the Lord Cobham said with a most cheerful countenance: "Though ye judge my body, which is but a wretched thing, yet am I certain and sure, that ye can do no harm to my soul, no more than could Satan unto the soul of Job. He that created that, will of his infinite mercy and promise save it. I have, therein, no manner of doubt. And as concerning these articles before rehearsed, I will stand to them even unto the very death, by the grace of my eternal God."

And therewith he turned him unto the people, casting his hands abroad, and saying with a very loud voice, "Good Christian people, for God's love be well ware of these men, for they will else beguile you, and lead you blindfold into hell with themselves. For Christ saith plainly unto you, If one blind man leadeth another, they are like both to fall into the ditch."

After this, he fell down there upon his knees, and thus before them all prayed for his enemies, bolding up both his hands and his eyes towards heaven, and saying, "Lord, eternal! I beseech thee, of thy great mercy sake, to forgive my pursuers, if it be thy blessed will." And then he was delivered to Sir Robert Morley, and so led forth again unto the Tower of London; and thus there was an end of that day's work.

While the Lord Cobham was thus in the Tower, he sent out privily unto his friends; and they, at his request, wrote this little bill here following, causing it to be set up in divers quarters of London, that the people should not believe the slanders and lies that his enemies, the bishop's servants and priests, had made on him abroad. And thus was the letter:

"Forasmuch as Sir John Oldcastle, knight, and Lord Cobham, is untruly convicted and imprisoned, falsely reported and slandered among the common people by his adversaries, that he should both otherwise think and speak of the sacraments of the church, and especially of the blessed sacrament of the altar, than was written in the confession of his belief; which was intended and taken to the clergy, and so set up in divers open places of the city of London: known be it here to all the world, that he never since varied in any point therefrom, but this is plainly his belief: That all the sacraments of the church be profitable and expedient also to all them that shall be saved, taking them after the intent that Christ and his true church hath ordained. Furthermore he believeth, That the blessed sacrament of the altar is verily and truly Christ's body in form of bread."

After this, the bishops and priests were in great discredit both with the nobility and commons; partly, for that they had so cruelly handled the good Lord Cobham, and partly again, because his opinion (as they thought at that time) was perfect concerning the sacrament. The prelates feared this to grow to further inconvenience towards them both ways, wherefore they drew their heads together, and at the last consented to use another practice somewhat contrary to that they had done afore. They caused it by and by to be blown abroad by their feed servants, friends, and babbling Sir Johns, that the said Lord Cobham was become a good man, and had lowly submitted himself in all things unto holy church, utterly changing his opinion concerning the sacrament. And thereupon, they counterfeited an abjuration in his name, that the people should take no hold of his opinion by any thing they had heard of him before, and so to stand the more in awe of them, considering him so great a man, and by them subdued.

This is the abjuration, say they, of Sir John Oldcastle, knight, sometime the Lord Cobham.

"In Dei Nomine. Amen. I, John Oldcastle, denounced, detected, and convicted of, and upon, divers articles savouring both of heresy and error, before the reverend father in Christ, and my good lord, Thomas, by the permission of God, lord archbishop of Canterbury, and my lawful and rightful judge in that behalf, expressly grant and confess: That as concerning the estate and power of the most holy father the pope of Rome, of his archbishops, his bishops, and his other prelates, the degrees of the church, and the holy sacraments of the same, especially of the sacraments of the altar, of penance, and other observances besides of our mother, holy church, as pilgrimages and pardons; I affirm, I say, before the said reverend father archbishop, and elsewhere, that I, being evil-seduced by divers seditious preachers, have grievously erred, and heretically persisted, blasphemously answered, and obstinately rebelled; and therefore I am, by the said reverend father, before the reverend fathers in Christ also, the bishops of London, Winchester, and Bangor, lawfully condemned for a heretic.

"Yet nevertheless, I now, remembering myself, and coveting by this means to avoid that temporal pain which I am worthy to suffer as a heretic, at the assignation of my most excellent Christian prince and liege lord, King Henry the Fifth, now, by the grace of God, most worthy king both of England and of France; minding also to prefer the wholesome determination, sentence, and doctrine of the holy universal Church of Rome, before the unwholesome opinions of myself, my teachers, and my followers, I freely, willingly, deliberately, and thoroughly confess, grant, and affirm, that the most holy fathers in Christ, St. Peter the apostle, and his successors, bishops of Rome, especially now at this time my most blessed lord, Pope John, by the permission of God, the three and twentieth pope of that name, which now holdeth Peter's seat, (and each of them in their succession,) hath full strength and power to be Christ's vicar in earth, and the head of the church militant: and that by the strength of his office (what though he be a great sinner, and afore-known of God to be damned?) he hath full authority and power to rule and govern, bind and loose, save and destroy, accurse and assoil, all other Christian men.

"And agreeably still unto this I confess, grant, and affirm, all other archbishops, bishops, and prelates in their provinces, dioceses, and parishes, appointed by the said pope of Rome to assist him in his doings or business, by his decrees, canons, or virtue of his office, to have had in times past, to have now at this time, and that they ought to have in time to come, authority and power to rule and govern, bind, loose, accurse, and assoil the subjects or people of their aforesaid provinces, dioceses, and parishes, and that their said subjects or people ought, of right, in all things to obey them. Furthermore, I confess, grant, and affirm, that the said spiritual fathers, as our most holy father the pope, archbishops,bishops, and prelates, have had, have now, and ought to have hereafter, authority and power for the state, order, and governance of their subjects or people, to make laws, decrees, statutes, and constitutions, yea, and to publish, command, and compel their said subjects and people to the observation of them.

"Moreover, I confess, grant, and affirm, that all these aforesaid laws, decrees, statutes, and constitutions made, published, and commanded, according to the former spiritual law, all Christian people, and every man in himself is straitly bound to observe, and meekly to obey, according to the diversity of the aforesaid powers, as the laws, statutes, canons, and constitutions of our most holy father the pope, incorporated in his decrees, decretals, Clementines, codes, charts, rescripts, sextiles, and extravagants over all the world; and as the provincial statutes of archbishops in their provinces, the synodal acts of bishops in their dioceses, and the commendable rules and customs of prelates in their colleges, and curates in their parishes, all Christian people are both bound to observe, and also most meekly to obey. Over and besides all this, I, John Oldcastle, utterly forsaking and renouncing all the aforesaid errors and heresies, and all other errors and heresies like unto them, lay my hand here upon this book or holy evangely of God, and swear, that I shall never more from henceforth hold these aforesaid heresies, nor yet any other like unto them, wittingly. Neither shall I give counsel, aid, help, or favour at any time, to them that shall hold, teach, affirm, and maintain the same, as God shall help me, and these holy evangelists.

"And that I shall from henceforth faithfully obey and inviolably observe all the holy laws, statutes, canons, and constitutions, of all the popes of Rome, archbishops, bishops, and prelates, which are contained and determined in their holy decrees, decretals, Clementines, codes, charts, rescripts, sextiles, sums-papal extravagants, statutes provincial, acts synodal, and other ordinary regules and customs constituted by them, or that shall chance hereafter directly to be determined or made. To these and all such other will I myself, with all power possible, apply. Besides all this, the penance which it shall please my said reverend father the lord archbishop of Canterbury hereafter to enjoin me for my sins, I will meekly obey and faithfully fulfil. Finally, all my seducers and false teachers, and all other besides, whom I shall hereafter know suspected of heresy or errors, I shall effectually present, send or cause to be presented, unto my said reverend father, lord archbishop, or to them which have his authority, so soon as I can conveniently do it, and see that they be corrected to my uttermost power."

This abjuration never came to the hands of the Lord Cobham, neither was it compiled of them for that purpose, but only therewith to blind the eyes of the unlearned multitude for a time; after the which like fetch and subtle practice was also devised the recantation of the archbishop Thomas Cranmer, to stop for a time the people's mouths: which subtlety in like manner was also practised with the false recantation of the Bishop Hooper, and divers other, as in their places hereafter, Christ granting, shall be showed.

And thus much hitherto concerning the first trouble of Sir John Oldcastle, Lord Cobham, with all the circumstances of the true time, place, occasion, causes, and order belonging to the same, wherein I trust I have sufficiently satisfied all the parts requisite to a faithful history, without corruption. For the confirmation whereof, to the intent the mind also of the wrangling caviller may be satisfied, and to stop the mouth of the adversary, which I see in all places to be ready to bark, I have, therefore, of purpose annexed withal my ground and foundation, taken out of the archives and registers of the archbishop of Canterbury: whereby may appear the manifest error both of Polydore and of Edward Hall, who, being deceived in the right distinction of the times, assign this citation and examination of the Lord Cobham to be after the Council of Constance, whereas Thomas Arundel, archbishop of Canterbury, at the Council of Constance was not alive. The copy and testimony of his own letter shall declare the same, being written and sent to the bishop of London in form as followeth:

The copy of the epistle of the archbishop of Canterbury, written to the bishop of London, whereon dependeth the ground and certainty of this aforesaid history of the Lord Cobham above premised.

To the reverend father in Christ, and lord, the Lord Robert, by the grace of God, bishop of Hereford, Richard, by the permission of God, bishop of London, health and continual increase of sincere love: We have of late received the letters of the reverend father in Christ, and lord, the Lord Thomas, by the grace of God, archbishop of Canterbury, primate of all England, and legate of the apostolic see, to this effect: Thomas, by the permission of God, archbishop of Canterbury, primate of all England, and legate of the apostolic see, to our reverend brother, the Lord Richard, bishop of London, health and brotherly love in the Lord. It was lately concluded before us, in the convocation of prelates and clergy of our province of Canterbury last celebrate in our church of St. Paul, intreating amongst otherthings with the said prelates and clergy upon the union and reformation of the Church of England, by us and the said prelates and clergy; that it was almost impossible to amend the hole of our Lord's coat which was without seam, unless, first of all, certain nobles of the realm, which are authors, favourers, protectors, defenders, and receivers of these heretics called Lollards, were sharply rebuked, and, if need were, by the censures of the church and the help of the secular power, they be revoked from their errors. And afterward, having made diligent inquisition in the convocation amongst the proctors of the clergy and others, which were there in number out of every diocese of our province, it was found out amongst others, that Sir John Oldcastle, knight, was, and is, the principal receiver, favourer, protector, and defender of them; and that, specially in the dioceses of London, Rochester, and Hereford, he had sent the said Lollards to preach, not being licensed by the ordinaries and bishops of the dioceses or places, contrary to the provincial constitutions in that behalf made, and hath been present at their wicked sermons, grievously punishing with threatenings, terrors, and the power of the secular sword, such as did withstand him: alleging and affirming amongst others, that we and our fellow-brethren, suffragans of our provinces, had not, neither have, any power to make any such constitutions: also he hath holden and doth hold opinion, and teach, as touching the sacraments of the altar, of penance, of pilgrimage, and the worshipping of saints, and of the keys, contrary to that which the universal Church of Rome doth teach and affirm.

"Wherefore, on the behalf of the said prelates and clergy, we were then required that we would vouchsafe to proceed against the said Sir John Oldcastle upon the premises. Notwithstanding, for the reverence of our lord the king, in whose favour the said Sir John at that present was, and no less also for honour of his knighthood, we, with our fellow brethren, and suffragans then present, with a great part of the clergy of our province, coming personally before the presence of our lord the king, being then at his manor of Kennington, put up against the said Sir John a complaint, partly reciting the faults of the said Sir John; but at the request of our lord the king, we, desiring to reduce the said Sir John to the unity of the church, without any reproach, deferred all the execution of the premises for a great time. But at the last, forasmuch as our said lord the king, and his great travails taken about the conversion of him, did nothing at all profit, as our said lord the king vouchsafed to certify us both by word and writing, we immediately decreed to call forth the said Sir John personally to answer before us at a certain time already passed, in and upon the premises, and sent our messengers with these our letters of citation to the said Sir John, then being at his castle at Cowling: unto the which messenger we gave commandment, that he should in no case go into the castle, except he were licensed; but by the mean of one John Butler, porter of the king's chamber, he should require the said Sir John, that he would either licence the said messenger to come into the castle, or that he would cite him, or at the least, that he would suffer himself to be cited, without his castle. The which Sir John openly answered unto the said John Butler, declaring the premises unto him on the behalf of our Lord the king, that he would by no means be cited, neither in any case suffer his citation. Then we, being certified of the premises, lawfully proceeded further.

"First, having faithful report made unto us, that he could not be apprehended by personal citation, we decreed to cite him by an edict, to be openly set up in the porches of the cathedral church of Rochester next unto him, little more than three English miles distant from the said castle of Cowling. As we had thus caused him to be cited, and our edict aforesaid to be publicly and openly set upon the porches of the said church, that he should personally appear before us the eleventh day of September last past, to answer unto the premises, and certain other things concerning heresy: the which day being come, and we, sitting in the tribunal seat in our great chapel within the castle of Leeds, of our diocese, the which we then inhabited, and whereas we then kept residence with our court, and having taken an oath, which is requisite in the premises, and the information by us heard and received, as the common report goeth, in the parts whereas the said Sir John dwelleth, (fortifying himself in his said castle,) defending his opinions manifoldly, contemning the keys of the church and the archbishop's power; we therefore caused the said Sir John Oldcastle, cited as is aforesaid, to be openly, with a loud voice, called by the crier; and so being called, long looked for, and by no means appearing, we judged him (as he was no less worthy) obstinate, and for punishing of his said obstinacy we did then and there excommunicate him. And, forasmuch as by the order of the premises, and other evident tokens of his doings, we understand that the said Sir John, for the defence of his errors doth fortify himself, as is aforesaid, against the keys of the church, by pretence whereof, a vehement suspicion of heresy riseth against him; We have decreed, if he may be apprehended, again personally to cite him, or else, as before, by an edict, that he should appear before us the Saturday next after the feast of St. Matthew the apostle and evangelist next coming, to show some reasonable cause, if he can, why we should not proceed against him, to a more grievous punishment, as an open heretic, schismatic, and open enemy of the universal church. And personally to declare why he should not be pronounced such a one, or that the aid of the secular power should not be solemnly required against him; and further to answer, do, and receive as touching the premises, whatsoever justice shall require. The which time being come, that is to say, the Saturday next after the feast of St. Matthew, being the twenty-fourth day of September, Sir Robert Morley, knight, lieutenant of the Tower of London, appeared personally before us, sitting in the chapter-house of the church of St. Paul at London, with our reverend fellow-brethren and lords, Richard, by the grace of God, bishop of London, and Henry, bishop of Winchester, and brought with him Sir John Oldcastle, knight, and set him before us; for a little before he was taken by the king's servants, and cast into the Tower: unto which Sir John Oldcastle, so personally present, we rehearsed all the order of the process, as it is contained in the acts of the day before passed, with good and modest words and gentle means; That is to say, how he, the said Sir John, was detected and accused in the convocation of the prelates and clergy of our said province, as is aforesaid, upon the articles before rehearsed, and how he was cited, and for his contumacy, excommunicate: and when we were come to that point, we offered ourselves ready to absolve him. Notwithstanding, the said Sir John not regarding our offer, said, that he would willingly rehearse before us, and my said fellow brethren, the faith which he held and affirmed. So he, having his desire, and obtaining license, took out of his bosom a certain schedule indented, and there openly read the contents of the same, and delivered the same schedule unto us, and the schedule of the articles whereupon he was examined, which was in form following:

"I, John Oldcastle, knight, Lord of Cobham, desire to make manifest unto all Christians, and God to be taken to witness, that I never thought otherwise, or would think otherwise, by God's help, than with a stedfast and undoubted faith to embrace all those his sacraments which he hath instituted for the use of church.

"Furthermore, that I may the more plainly declare my mind in these four points of my faith; first of all, I believe the sacrament of the altar to be the body of Christ under the form of bread. The very same body which was born of his mother Mary, crucified for us, dead, and buried, rose again the third day, sitteth on the right hand of his immortal Father, now being a triumphant partaker with him of his eternal glory.

"Then, as touching the sacrament of penance, this is my belief, That I do think the correction of a sinful life to be most necessary for all such as desire to be saved, and that they ought to take upon them such repentance of their former life, by true confession, unfeigned contrition, and lawful satisfaction, as the word of God doth prescribe unto us; otherwise there will be no hope of salvation.

"Thirdly, as touching images, this is my opinion, That I do judge them no point of faith, but brought into the world, after the faith of Christ, by the sufferance of the church, and so grown in use, that they might serve for a calendar for the lay-people and ignorant; by the beholding whereof they might the better call to remembrance the godly examples and martyrdom of Christ and other holy men: but if any man do otherwise abuse this representation, and give the reverence unto those images which is due unto the holy men whom they represent, or rather unto him to whom the holy men themselves owe all their honour, setting all their trust and hope in them which ought to he referred unto God; or if they be so affected toward the dumb images, that they be in any behalf addicted unto them, either be more addicted unto one saint than another, in my mind they do little differ from idolatry, grievously offending against God, the author of all honour.

"Last of all, I am thus persuaded, That there be no inhabitants here in earth, but that we shall pass straight either to life or punishment; for whosoever doth so order his life that he stumbleth at the commandments of God, which either he knoweth not, or he will not be taught them, it is but in vain for him to look for salvation, although he ran over all the corners of the world. Contrariwise, he which observeth his commandments cannot perish, although in all his lifetime he walked no pilgrimagc, neither to Rome, Canterbury, nor Compostella, or to any other place, whither the common people are accustomed to walk.

"This schedule, with the articles therein contained, being read, as is aforesaid, by the said Sir John, we, with our fellow-brethren aforesaid, and many other doctors and learned men, had conference upon the same; and at the last, by the counsel and consent of them, we spake these words following unto the said Sir John there present: Behold, Sir John! there are many good and catholic things contained in this schedule, but you have at this time to answer unto other matters which savour of errors and heresies, whereunto, by the consent of this schedule, it is not fully answered; and, therefore, you must answer thereunto, and more plainly express and declare your faith and opinions as touching those points in the same bill: that is to say, Whether you hold, believe, and affirm, that in the sacrament of the altar, after the consecration rightly done, there remaineth material bread or not.

"Item, Whether you hold, believe, and affirm, that it is necessary, in the sacrament of penance, for a man to confess his sins unto a priest appointed by the church?

"The which articles in this manner delivered unto him, amongst many other things he answered plainly, That he would make no other declaration or answer thereunto than was contained in the said schedule. Whereupon, we, favouring the said Sir John, with the benign and gentle means we spake unto him in this manner: Sir John! take heed, for if you do not plainly answer to these things which are objected against you, within a lawful time now granted you by the judges, we may declare you to be a heretic: but the said Sir John persevered as before, and would make no other answer. Consequently, notwithstanding, we, together with our said fellow-brethren, and others of our counsel, took advice, and by their counsel declared unto the said Sir John Oldcastle, what the said holy Church of Rome in this matter, following the saying of blessed St. Augustine, Jerome, Ambrose, and other holy men, hath determined: the which determinations every catholic ought to observe. Whereupon the said Sir John answered, That he would believe and observe whatsoever the holy church determined, and whatsoever God would he should observe and believe. But that he would in no case affirm, that our lord the pope, the cardinals, archbishops, and bishops or other prelates of the church, have any power to determine any such matters. Whereunto, we, yet favouring him, under hope of better advisement, promised the said Sir John, that we would give him in writing certain determinations upon the matter aforesaid, whereunto he should more plainly answer, written in Latin, and, for his better understanding, translated into English: whereupon we commanded and heartily desired him, that against Monday next following he should give a plain and full answer; the which determination we caused to be translated the same day, and to be delivered unto him the Sunday next following. The tenor of which determinations here follow in this manner

"The faith and determination of the holy church upon the holy sacrament of the altar is this: That after the consecration done in the mass by the priest, the material bread shall be changed into the material body of Christ and the material wine into the material blood of Christ; therefore, after the consecration, there remaineth no more any substance of bread and wine, which was there before: -- what do you answer to this article?

"And holy mother church hath determined, that every Christian, dwelling upon earth ought to confess his sins unto a priest ordained by the church, if he may come unto him: -- how think you by this article?

"Christ ordained St. Peter his vicar on earth, whose seat is in the church of Rome, giving and granting the same authority, which he gave unto Peter, also to his successors, which are now called popes of Rome; in whose power it is to ordain and institute prelates in particular churches, as archbishops, bishops, curates, and other esclesiastical orders, unto whom the Christian people owe obedience, according to the tradition of the Church of Rome. This is the determination of the holy church:what think you by this article?

"Besides this the holy church hath determined, That it is necessary for every Christian to go on pilgrimage to holy places, and there specially to worship the holy relics of the apostles, martyrs, confessors, and all saints whomsoever the Church of Rome hath allowed: -- what think you of this article?

"Upon which Monday, being the five and twentieth day of the said month of September, before us and our fellow-brethren aforesaid, having also taken unto us our reverend brother Benedict, by the grace of God, bishop of Bangor, and, by our commandment, our counsellors and ministers, Master Henry Ware, official of our court of Canterbury; Philip Morgan, doctor of both laws; Howel Kiffin, doctor of the decretals; John Kemp and William Carleton, doctors of law; John Witnam, Thomas Palmer, Robert Wombewell, John Withe, and Robert Chamberlain, Richard Dotington, and Thomas Walden, professors of divinity; also James Cole and John Stephens, our notaries appointed on this behalf: they, all and every one, being sworn upon the Holy Gospel of God, laying their hands upon the book, that they should give their faithful counsel in and upon the matter aforesaid, and in every such cause, and to the whole world: by and by appeared Sir Robert Morley, knight, lieutenant of the Tower of London, and brought with him the aforesaid Sir John Oldcastle, setting him before us; unto whom we gently and familiarly rehearsed the acts of the day before passed, and, as before, we told him that he both is and was excommunicate, requiring and entreating him that he would desire and receive in due form the absolution of the church. Unto whom the said Sir John then and there plainly answered: That in this behalf he would require no absolution at our hands, but only of God. Then, afterwards, by gentle and soft means we desired and required him to make plain answer unto the articles which were laid against him; and first of all, as touching the sacrament of the altar. To the which article, besides other things, he answered and said thus: That as Christ, being here on earth, had in him both Godhead and manhood, notwithstanding, the Godhead was covered and invisible under the humanity, the which was manifest and visible in him: so likewise, in the sacrament of the altar, there is the very body and very bread; bread which we do see, the body of Christ hidden under the same, which we do not see. And plainly he denied, that the faith, as touching the said sacrament, determined by the Romish church and holy doctors, and sent unto him by us in the said schedule, was the determination of the holy church. But if it be the determination of the church, he said that it was done contrary unto the Scriptures; after the church was endowed, and after that poison was poured into the church, and not afore. Also, as touching the sacrament of penance and confession, he plainly said and affirmed then and there: That if any man were in any grievous sin, out of the which he knew not how to to rise, it were expedient and good for him to go unto some holy and discreet priest to take counsel of him; but, that he should confess his sin to any proper priest or to any other, although he might have the use of him, it is not necessary to salvation; forasmuch as by only contrition such sin can be wiped away, and the sinner himself purged. As concerning the worshipping of the cross, he said and affirmed: That the only body of Christ which did hang upon the cross, is to be worshipped; forasmuch as that body alone was and is the cross, which is to be worshipped.

And being demanded what honour he would do unto the image of the cross, he answered by express words: That he would only do it that honour, that he would make it clean and lay it up safe. As touching the power and authority of the keys, the archbishops, bishops, and other prelates, he said, That the pope is very antichrist, that is the head; that the archbishops, bishops, and other prelates, be his members, and that the friars be his tail: the which pope, archbishops, and bishops, a man ought not to obey, but so far forth as they be followers of Christ and of Peter, in their life, manners, and conversation, and that he is the successor of Peter which is best and purest in life and manners. Furthermore, the said Sir John, spreading his hands, with a loud voice said thus to those which stood about him: These men, which judge and would condemn me, will seduce you all and themselves, and will lead you unto hell; therefore take heed of them. When he had spoken those words, we again, as oftentimes before, with lamentable countenance, spake unto the said Sir John, exhorting him, with as gentle words as we might, that he would return to the unity of the church, to believe and hold that which the church of Rome doth believe and hold: who expressly answered, that he would not believe or hold otherwise than he had before declared. Wherefore, we perceiving, as it appeared by him, that we could not prevail, at the last, with bitterness of heart we proceeded to the pronouncing of a definitive sentence in this manner:

"In the name of God, Amen. We, Thomas, by the permission of God, archbishop and humble minister of the holy church of Canterbury, primate of all England, and legate of the apostolic see, in a certain cause or matter of heresy upon certain articles, whereupon Sir John Oldcastle, knight, Lord Cobham, before us, in the last convocation of our clergy of our province of Canterbury holden in the church of St. Paul in London, after diligent inquisition thereupon made, was detected and accused, and by our said province notoriously and openly defamed. At the request of the whole clergy aforesaid thereupon made to us in the said convocation, with all favour possible that we might (God we take to witness), lawfully proceeding against him, following the footsteps and example of Christ, who would not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live, we have endeavoured by all ways and means, we might or could, to reform him, and rather reduce him to the unity of the church, declaring unto him what the holy universal church of Rome doth teach, hold, and determine in this behalf. And albeit that we found him wandering astray from the catholic faith, and so stubborn and stiff-necked, that he would not confess his error, or clear himself thereof, to detest the same; notwithstanding, we, favouring him with a fatherly affection, and heartily wishing and desiring his preservation, prefixed him a certain competent time to deliberate with himself, and, if he would, to repent and reform himself. And last of all, forasmuch as we perceived him to be unreasonable, observing chiefly those things which by the law are required in this behalf, with great sorrow and bitterness of heart we proceeded to the pronouncing of the dcfinitive sentence in this wise:--

"The name of Christ being called upon, setting him only before our eyes: Forasmuch as by act enacted, signs exhibited, evidences, and divers tokens, besides sundry kind of proofs, we find the said Sir John to be, and have been, a heretic, and a follower of heretics in the faith and observation of the sacred universal church of Rome, and specially as touching the sacraments of the eucharist and of penance; and that as the son of iniquity and darkness he hath so hardened his heart, that he will not understand the voice of his Shepherd, neither will be allured with his monitions, or converted with any fair speech: having first of all searched and sought out, and diligently considering the merits of the cause aforesaid, and of the said Sir John, his deserts and faults aggravated through his damnable obstinacy, not willing that he that is wicked should become more wicked, and infect others with his contagion: by the counsel and consent of the reverend men of profound wisdom and discretion, our brethren, the lords, Richard, bishop of London, Henry, bishop of Winchester, and Benedict, bishop of Bangor, and also of many other doctors of divinity, the decretals and civil law, and of many other religious and learned persons our assistants, we have judged and declared sententially, and definitively condemned the said Sir John Oldcastle, knight, Lord Cobham, being convicted in and upon that most detestable guilt, not willing penitently to return unto the unity of the church, and in those things which the sacred universal church of Rome, doth hold, teach, determine, and show forth. And especially as one erring in the articles above-written, leaving him from henceforth as a heretic, unto the secular judgment.

"Moreover, we have excommunicated, and by these writings do pronounce and excommunicate him, as a heretic, and all other which from henceforth, in favour of his error, shall receive, defend, or give him counsel or favour, or help him in this behalf, as favourers, defenders, and receivers of heretics. And, to the intent that these premises may be known unto all faithful Christians, we charge and command you, that, by your sentence definitive, you do cause the curates which are under you, with a loud and audible voice in their churches, when as most people is present, in their mother tongue, through all your cities and dioceses, to publish and declare the said Sir John Oldcastle, as is before said, to be by us condemned as a heretic, schismatic, and one erring in the articles abovesaid; and all other which from henceforth in favour of his errors shall receive or defend him, giving him any counsel, comfort, or favour in this behalf, to be excommunicate as receivers, favourers, and defenders of heretics: as is more effectually contained in the process. That by such means the erroneous opinions of the people, (which, peradventure, hath otherwise conceived the matter,) by those declarations of the truth, how the matter is, may be cut off: the which thing also we will and command to be written and signified by you, word for word, unto all our fellow brethren, that they all may manifest, publish, and declare throughout all their cities, and dioceses, the manner and form of this our process, and also the sentence by us given, and all other singular the contents in the same; and likewise cause it to be published by their curates which are under them, as touching the day of receipt of these presents, and what you have done in the premises, how you and they have executed this our commandment. We will that you and they duly and distinctly certify us, the business being done, by your and their letters patent according to this tenor.

"Dated in our manor of Maidstone, the tenth of October, A. D. 1413, and in the eighteenth year of our translation."

Thus have you here the judicial process of the bishops against this most noble Christian knight, described by their own letters and style. After all this, the sentence of death being given, the Lord Cobham was sent away, Sir Robert Morley carrying him again unto the Tower, where, after he had remained a certain space, in the night season, (it is not known by what means,) he escaped out and fled into Wales, where he continued by the space of four years.

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