Ex-Classics Home Page



            That day wherein Dr. Cranmer, late bishop of Canterbury, answered in the divinity school at Oxford, there was alleged unto him by Dr. Weston, that he (the said Cranmer) in his book of the sacrament falsely falsified the saying of the doctors, and specially the saying of St. Hilary, in these words, vero for vere, showing a print or two thereof, to have defaced his doings therein: but Dr. Cranmer, with a grave and fatherly sobriety, answered, that the print of St. Hilary's works, whereout he took his notes, was verbatim according to his book; and that could his books testify, if they were there to be seen: saying further, that he supposed Dr. Smith in that order rehearsed it in his book of the sacrament: to the which Dr. Smith there present (though he were demanded the answer thereof) stood in silence. But by and by Dr. Weston, without shame, to shadow Dr. Smith's silence, spitely said to Cranmer, "Belike you took your learning out of Master Dr. Smith's book."

            There chanced, at that present, to be in the school one William Holcot, gentleman, then a sojourner in the University college. He, hearing the same untruth, and remembering that he had amongst his books in his study the said book of Dr. Smith, at his return to his said study desirous to see the truth therein, found it agreeable to the writing and affirmation of Dr. Cranmer. And the said Holcot, then and there better remembering himself, found amongst his books the book of Stephen Gardiner, intituled The Devil's Sophistry, in which book was the said saying of St. Hilary alleged by the said Stephen verbatim, both in Latin and English, according to Dr. Cranmer's confirmation. Then the said William Holcot intending (for the manifest opening and trial of the truth therein) to have delivered the said Gardiner's book to Dr. Cranmer, brought it to Bocardo the prison of Oxford, where Dr. Cranmer then remained: but there, in the delivery thereof, he was apprehended by the bailiffs, and by them brought before Dr. Weston and his colleagues, then at dinner at Corpus Christi college, who straightways laid treason to the charge of the said William Holcot for the maintenance of Cranmer in his naughtiness (as they called it); and so, upon strait examination to know who were privy to his doings in delivery of the said Gardiner's book, committed him to the said prison of Bocardo, where he sojourned and slept in the straw that night.

            And in the morrow in the morning, Dr. Cole, yet alive, then dean of Paul's, and Dr. Jeffery, two of them then visitors, further examined the said Holcot of that his doings; threatening him to lay treason to his charge, and so to send him to the trial thereof to the then lord chancellor Stephen Gardiner, willing him presently to subscribe to the articles then in question; but he refused, desiring respite until the laws of the realm had determined the same, And so was he again committed to the said prison. And after three days Dr. Weston and the residue of the visitors solemnly, in St. Mary's church, pronouncing sentence against the late bishops, Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer; amongst others called there before them the said Holcot, willing him to subscribe to their three articles. He demanding them then these demands, first, whether they thought in their consciences that the articles, whereunto they willed him to subscribe, were according to the Scriptures, and that the religion then they went about to plant, were the true religion of Christ: they answered all with one voice, "Yea, yea." Then asked he them whether they thought themselves able to answer, and would answer before God for him, if he subscribed thereunto as they willed him. And they likewise answered, "Yea, yea." And so he, the said Holcot, through fear and frailty of the flesh, (as being a novice,) upon their threats subscribed. Then they with many fair and flattering words delivered him, but would not let him have again his book brought to Bocardo, lest (as it seemed) he should show it to their shame And they privily willed the master and the fellows of the said University college to see the said William Holcot forthcoming: and if they, within a fortnight after, did not hear from the then lord chancellor what should be done with him, that then they, at the fortnight's end, should expel him out of the said college; which they would have done, if the then vice-chancellor had not willed them to the contrary. This Holcot, though then an apostate, is yet now a penitent preacher.


Previous Next