Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 249. RIDLEY, CRANMER AND LATIMER AT OXFORD.


            The tenth of March a letter was sent to the lieutenant of the Tower, to deliver the bodies of Master Doctor Cranmer, the archbishop of Canterbury, Master Doctor Ridley, and Master Latimer, to Sir John Williams, to be conveyed by him unto Oxford.

            The twenty-sixth of March, there was a letter directed to Sir Henry Doell, and one Foster, to attach the bodies of Doctor Taylor, parson of Hadley, and of Henry Askew, and to send them up to the council.


How Thomas Cranmer, archbishop, Bishop Ridley, and Master Latimer, were sent down to Orford to dispute: with the order and manner, and all other circumstances unto the said disputation, and also to their condemnation, appertaining.

BOUT the tenth of April, Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, Ridley, bishop ofLondon, and Hugh Latimer, bishop also sometime of Worcester, were conveyed as prisoners from the Tower to Windsor; and from thence to the university of Oxford, there to dispute with the divines and learned men of both the universities, Oxford and Cambridge, about the presence, substance, and sacrifice of the sacrament. The names of the university doctors and graduates appointed to dispute against them, were these: of Oxford, Dr. Weston, prolocutor, Dr. Tresham, Dr. Cole, Dr. Oglethorpe, Dr. Pie, Master Harpsfield, Master Fecknam. Of Cambridge, Dr. Young, vice-chancellor, Dr. Glyn, Dr. Seton, Dr. Watson, Dr. Sedgewick, Dr. Atkinson, &c. The articles or questions whereupon they should dispute were these:

            First, Whether the natural body of Christ be really in the sacrament, after the words spoken by the priest, or no?

            Secondly, Whether in the sacrament, after the words of consecration, any other substance do remain, than the substance of the body and blood of Christ?

            Thirdly, Whether in the mass be a sacrifice propitiatory for the sins of the quick and the dead?

            Touching the order and manner of all which things there done, with the notes, arguments, and all circumstances thereunto pertaining, to deduce the matter from the beginning, leaving out nothing (as near as we may) that shall seem necessary to be added: First, Here is to be understood, that upon Saturday, the seventh day of April, the heads of the colleges in Cambridge being congregated together, letters coming down from Stephen Gardiner, lord chancellor, were read, with articles therewith annexed, that should be disputed upon at Oxford: the contents of which three articles are sufficiently expressed before. Whereupon, in the said congregation of the aforesaid university of Cambridge, there was granted first a grace in this form, proposed by the senior proctor: "May it please you to have an instrument made, that the doctrine of these aforesaid articles may be sound and catholic, and consonant with the verity of the right meaning faith; and that the same may be approved by your consent and voices?" Secondly, in the said congregation, another grace was given and granted, that Dr. Young, being vice-chancellor, Dr. Glyn, Dr. Atkinson, Dr. Scot, and Master Sedgewick, should go to Oxford to defend the said articles against Canterbury, London, and Latimer: also to have letters to the Oxford men, sealed with their common seal. Item, Another grace granted to Master Sedgewick to be actual doctor, being thereupon immediately admitted. The aforesaid letters, being then drawn out, the third day after (which was the eleventh day of April) were read in the aforesaid congregation-house, and there sealed.

            Whereupon the next day after (the twelfth of the said month) the aforesaid doctors, with the full grace of that university, set forward to Oxford: and coming thither the next day after, (being Friday, the thirteenth of April,) were all lodged at the Cross Inn, with one Wakecline, being some time servant to Bishop Bonner.

            Anon after their coming, Dr. Crooke presented them with wine for their welcome; and, shortly after, two of the beadles came from the vice-chancellor of Oxford, and presented the vice-chancellor of Cambridge with a dish of apples and a gallon of wine; after whom, next came Master Pie and Fecknam to welcome them. Then, after consultation concerning the delivery of their letters, and instrument of grace, (which was in Dr. Seton and Dr. Watson's keeping,) they went all to Lincoln college, to Dr. Weston, the prolocutor, and to the vice-chancellor, Dr. Tresham; and there they delivered their letters, and declared what they had done touching the articles, letters, and graces. Half an hour after eight they returned to their inn again: but first they concluded of a procession, sermon, and convocation, to be had the morrow following; and that the doctors of Cambridge should be incorporate in the university of Oxford, and likewise that the doctors of Oxford should be incorporate in the university of Cambridge. The same day the aforesaid prisoners were dissevered, as was said afore; Dr. Ridley to Alderman Irish's house, Master Latimer to another, and Dr. Cranmer remained still in Bocardo.

            On Saturday, being the fourteenth of April, at eight of the clock, the aforesaid vice-chancellor of Cambridge, with the other doctors of the same university, repaired to Lincoln college again, and found the prolocutor above in a chapel, with a company of the house singing Requiem mass, and tarried there until the end. Then they, consulting all together in the master's lodging, about nine of the clock came all to the university church called St. Mary's; and there, after a short consultation in a chapel, the vice-chancellor, the prolocutor, &c. of Oxford, caused the vice-chancellor of Cambridge, and the rest of the doctors of that university, to send for their scarlet robes, brought from Cambridge; save that Doctors Seton and Watson borrowed of the Oxford men. And in this time, the regents in the congregation-house had granted all the Cambridge doctors their graces, to be incorporate there; and so they went up, and were admitted immediately, Dr. Oglethorpe presenting them, and the proctor reading the statute, and giving them their oaths.

            That done, they came all into the choir, and there held the convocation of the university. They had mass of the Holy Ghost solemnly sung in prick-song, by the choir men of Christ's church. But first, the cause of the convocation was opened in English, partly by the vice-chancellor, and partly by the prolocutor, declaring that they were sent by the queen, and wherefore they were sent; and caused Master Say, the register, openly to read the commission. That done, the vice-chancellor read Cambridge letters openly, and then concluded, that three notaries, Master Say for the convocation, a beadle of Cambridge for that university, and one Master White for Oxford, should testify of their doing; and then willed the said notaries to provide parchment, that the whole assembly might subscribe to the articles, save those that had subscribed before in the convocation-house at London and Cambridge. And so the vice-chancellor began first; after him the rest of the Oxford men, as many as could in the mass time.

            The mass being done, they went in procession: First, The choir in their surplices followed the cross; then the first-year regents and proctors; then the doctors of law, and their beadles before them; then the doctors of divinity of both universities intermingled, the divinity and arts' beadles going before them, the vice-chancellor and prolocutor going together. After them bachelors of divinity, Regentes, et non regentes, in their array; and last of all, the bachelors of law and art; after whom followed a great company of scholars and students not graduate. And thus they proceeded through the street to Christ's church; and there the choir sung a psalm, and after that a collect was read. This done, departed the commissioners, doctors, and many others to Lincoln college, where they dined with the mayor of the town, one alderman, four beadles, Master Say, and the Cambridge notary. After dinner they went all again to St. Mary's church; and there, after a short consultation in a chapel, all the commissioners came into the choir, and sat all on seats before the altar, to the number of thirty-three persons; and first they sent to the mayor, that he should bring in Dr. Cranmer, who, within a while, was brought to them with a great number of rusty bill-men.

{Ilustration: Cranmer at the Convocation at Oxford £255}

            Thus the reverend archbishop, when he was brought before the commissioners, reverenced them with much humility, and stood with his staff in his hand, who notwithstanding, having a stool offered him, refused to sit. Then the prolocutor, sitting in the midst in a scarlet gown, began with a short preface or oration in praise of unity, and especially in the church of Christ; declaring withal his bringing up, and taking degrees in Cambridge, and also how he was promoted by King Henry, and had been his councillor and a catholic man, one of the same unity, and a member thereof in times past, but, of late years, did separate and cut off himself from it, by teaching and setting forth of erroneous doctrine, making every year a new faith: and therefore it pleased the queen's Grace, to send them of the convocation, and other learned men, to bring him to this unity again, if it might be. Then showed he him, how they of the convocation-house had agreed upon certain articles, whereunto they willed him to subscribe.

            The archbishop answered to the preface very wittily, modestly, and learnedly, showing that he was very glad of a unity, forasmuch as it was "the preserver of all commonwealths, as well of the heathen as of the Christians:" and so he dilated the matter with one or two stories of the Romans' commonwealth. Which thing when he had done, he said, that he was very glad to come to a unity, so that it were in Christ, and agreeable to his holy word.

            When he had thus spoken his full mind, the prolocutor caused the articles to be read unto him, and asked if he would grant and subscribe unto them. Then the bishop of Canterbury did read them over three or four times; and touching the first article, he asked what they meant by these terms, "true and natural." "Do you not mean," saith he, "a sensible body?" Some answered, "The same that was born of the Virgin;" and so confusedly, some said one thing, some another.

            Then the bishop of Canterbury denied it utterly; and when he had looked upon the other two, he said, they were all false, and against God's holy word: and therefore he would not agree, he said, in that unity with them.

            This done, the prolocutor, first willing him to write his mind of them that night, said moreover, that he should dispute in them, and caused a copy of the articles to be delivered him, assigning him to answer thereunto on Monday next: and so charged the mayor with him again, to be had to Bocardo, where he was kept before; offering moreover unto him, to name what books he would occupy, and should have them brought unto him. The archbishop was greatly commended of every body for his modesty; insomuch that some masters of arts were seen to weep for him, which in judgment were contrary to him.

            Then was Dr. Ridley brought in, who, hearing the articles read unto him, answered without any delay, saying, they were all false; and said further, that they sprang out of a bitter and sour root. His answers were sharp, witty, and very learned. Then did they lay to his charge a sermon that he made when he was bishop of Rochester, wherein (they said) he spake with transubstantiation. He denied it utterly, and asked whether they could bring out any that heard him, which would say and affirm with them the same. They could bring no proof of it at all. After that, he was asked of one, whether he desired not my lord chancellor that now is, to stick to the mass, and other things? He said, that my Lord would say no such things or words of him; for if he did, he reported not the truth of him.

            Then he was asked, whether he would dispute or no? He answered, that as long as God gave him life, he should not only have his heart, but also his mouth and pen to defend his truth: but he required time and books. They said, he could not, and that he should dispute on Thursday, and till that time he should have books. He said it was not reason, that he might not have his own books, and time, also, to look for his disputations. Then gave they him the articles, and bade him write his mind of them that night, and so did they command the mayor to have him from whence he came.

            Last of all came in Master Latimer in like sort, with a kerchief, and two or three caps on his head, his spectacles hanging by a string at his breast, and a staff in his hand, and was set in a chair; for so was he suffered by the prolocutor. And after his denial of the articles, when he had Wednesday appointed for disputation, he alleged age, sickness, disuse, and lack of books, saying, that he was almost as meet to dispute, as to be a captain of Calais: but he would, he said, declare his mind either by writing or word, and would stand to all they could lay upon his back: complaining moreover, that he was permitted to have neither pen nor ink, nor yet any book but only the New Testament there in his hand, which, he said, he had read over seven times deliberately, and yet could not find the mass in it, neither the marrow-bones nor sinews of the same. At which words the commissioners were not a little offended; and Dr. Weston said, that he would make him grant that it had both marrowbones and sinews in the New Testament. To whom Master Latimer said again, "That you will never do, Master Doctor:" and so, forthwith, they put him to silence; so that whereas he was desirous to tell what he meant by those terms, he could not be suffered. There was a very great press and throng of people, and one of the beadles swooned by reason thereof, and was carried into the vestry.

            After this, bringing home the prolocutor first, the Cambridge men, viz., Dr. Young, vice-chancellor, Seton, Glyn, Atkinson, Scot, Watson, and Sedgewick, went to the Cross Inn to supper. And this was on Saturday, being the fourteenth day of April.

            On Sunday after, Master Harpsfield preached at St. Mary's, the university church, at nine of the clock, where were divers of the doctors of the university in their robes, and placed accordingly. After the sermon they went all to dinner to Magdalene college, and there had a great dinner. They supped at Lincoln college with the prolocutor, whither Dr. Cranmer sent answer of his mind upon the articles, in writing.

            On Monday, being the sixteenth of April, Master Say and Master White, notaries, went about in the morning to the colleges, to get subscriptions to the articles. And, about eight of the clock, the prolocutor, with all the doctors and the vice-chancellor, met together at Exeter college; and so they went into the schools. And when the vice-chancellor, the prolocutor, and doctors were placed, and four (appointed to be exceptores argumentorum) sat at a table in the midst, and four notaries sitting with them, Dr. Cranmer came to the answerer's place, the mayor and aldermen sitting by him; and so the disputation began to be set to work by the prolocutor with a short præludium. Dr. Chedsey began to argue first, and ere he left, the prolocutor divers times, Drs. Tresham, Oglethorpe, Marshal, the vice-chancellor, Pie, Cole, and Harpsfield did interrupt and press him with their arguments, so that every man said somewhat, as the prolocutor would suffer, disorderly; sometimes in Latin, sometimes in English, so that three hours of the time were spent ere the vice-chancellor of Cambridge began; who also was interrupted as before. He began with three or four questions subtilely. Here the beadles had provided drink, and offered the answerer; but he refused with thanks. The prolocutor offered him, if he would retire for a brief interval, he should. Thus the disputation continued until almost two of the clock, with this applausion of the audience: Vicit veritas. Then were all the arguments, written by the four appointed, delivered into the hand of Master Say, registrar; and as for the prisoner, he was had away by the mayor; and the doctors dined together at the University college.

            And thus much concerning the general order and manner of these disputations, with such circumstances as there happened, and things there done, as well before the disputation, and in the preparation thereof, as also in the time of their disputing. Now followeth to infer and declare the orations, arguments, and answers, used and brought forth in the said disputations on both parts.


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