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Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 89. JOHN BADBY


In the year of our Lord 1409, on Sunday, being the first day of March, in the afternoon, the examination following of one John Badby, tailor, being a layman, was made in a certain house or hall within the precinct of the Preaching Friars of London, in an outer cloister, on the crime of heresy, and other articles repugnant to the determination of the erroneous Church of Rome, before Thomas Arundel, archbishop of Canterbury, and other his assistants, as the archbishop of York, bishops of London, of Winchester, of Oxford, of Norwich, of Salisbury, of Bath, of Bangor; and also Edmund, duke of York, Thomas Beaufort, the chancellor of England, Lord de Roos, the clerk of the rolls, and a great number of other lords, both spiritual and temporal, being then at the self-same time present: Master Morgan read the articles of his opinions to the hearers, according as it is contained in the instrument read by the aforesaid Master Morgan, the tenor whereof followeth, and in effect is such:

"In the name of God, Amen. Be it manifest to all men by this present public instrument, that in the year of the incarnation of our Lord, according to the course and computation of the Church of England, otherwise in the year 1409, in the second indiction, in the third year of the popedom of the most holy father in Christ and lord, Lord Gregory the Eleventh, by the divine permission pope, the second day of January, in the chapel Carvariæ , of St. Thomas, martyr, nigh unto the cathedral church of Worcester, being situate in the said diocese, in the presence of me, the public notary, and of the witnesses underwritten, the aforesaid John Badby, a layman, of the said diocese of Worcester, appearing personally before the reverend father in Christ and lord, Lord Thomas, by the grace of God bishop of Worcester, sitting in the said chapel for chief judge, was detected of and upon the crime of heresy being heretically taught and openly maintained by the aforesaid John Badby: that is, that the sacrament of the body of Christ, consecrated by the priest upon the altar, is not the true body of Christ by the virtue of the words of the sacrament; but that after the sacramental words spoken by the priests to make the body of Christ, the material bread doth remain upon the altar as in the beginning, neither is it turned into the very body of Christ, after the sacramental words spoken of the priests.

"Which John Badby being examined, and diligently demanded by the aforesaid reverend father concerning the premises, in the end did answer, That it was impossible that any priest should make the body of Christ, and that he believed firmly that no priest could make the body of Christ by such words sacramentally spoken in such sort. And also he said expressly, That he would never, while he lived, believe that any priest could make the body of Christ sacramentally, unless that first he saw manifestly the like body of Christ to be handled in the hands of the priest upon the altar, in his corporal form. And furthermore he said, That John Rakier, of Bristol, had as much power and authority to make the like body of Christ, as any priest had. Moreover he said, that when Christ sat at supper with his disciples, he had not his body in his hand, to the intent to distribute it to his disciples; and he said expressly, that he did not this thing. And also he spake many other words, teaching and fortifying the heresy in the same place, both grievous, and also out of order, and horrible to the ears of the hearers, sounding against the catholic faith.

"Upon which occasion the same reverend father admonished and requested the said John Badby oftentimes, and very instantly to charity; forasmuch as he would willingly that he should have forsaken such heresy and opinion holden, taught, and maintained by him in such sort against the the sacrament; to renounce, and utterly abjure them, and to believe other things which the holy mother the church doth believe: and he informed the said John on that behalf both gently, and yet laudably. Yet the said John Badby, although he were admonished and requested both often and instantly by the said reverend father, said and answered expressly, That he would never believe otherwise than before he had said, taught, and answered. Whereupon, the aforesaid reverend father, bishop of Worcester, seeing, understanding, and perceiving the aforesaid John Badby to maintain and fortify the same heresy, being stubborn, and proceeding in the same stubbornness, pronounced the said John to be before this time convicted of such a heresy, and that he hath been and is a heretic, and in the end declared it in these words:

"In the name of God, Amen. We, Thomas, bishop of Worcester, do accuse thee, John Badby, being a layman of our diocese, of and upon the crime of heresy, before us sitting for chief judge, being oftentimes confessed and convicted of and upon that that thou hast taught, and openly affirmed, as hitherto thou dost teach, boldly affirm, and defend: that the sacrament of the body of Christ, consecrated upon the altar by the priest, is not the true body of Christ; but after the sacramental words, to make the body of Christ, by virtue of the said sacramental words pronounced, to have been in the crime of heresy; and we do pronounce thee both to have been, and to be, a heretic, and do declare it, finally, by these writings.'

"These things were done accordingly, as is above written, and are recited in the year, indiction, popedom, month, day, and place aforesaid; being present the same time John Malune, prior of the cathedral church of Worcester; John Dudle, monk; and Haul, the sub-prior of the said church; Thomas Penings, of the order of the Carmelites; Thomas Fekenham, of the order of the Preaching Friars; William Pomfret, of the order of the Minorites, being professors and masters in divinity; William Hailes, Gualter of London, John Swippedew, being public notaries; and William Beauchamp and Thomas Gerbis, being knights; Richard Wish, of Tredington; Thomas Wilby, of Hembury; John Weston, of Yewley, being parsons of churches; and Thomas Baleinges, the master of St. Wolston, in Worcester; and also Henry Haggely, John Penerel, Thomas Trogmorton, and William Wasleborne, esquires, of the dioceses of Worcester and Norwich, and many other worshipful and honest men being witnesses, and called specially to the things aforesaid.

"And I, John Chew, clerk of the diocese of Bath and Wells, and, by the authority apostolical, public notary of the said bishop, have, in testimony of the premises, put my hand and seal to the examination, interrogation, monition, and answer of the same John Badby, and to his obstinacy, and also to the proceedings of all and singular other doings as is aforesaid, which against him, before the said bishop, were handled and done, in the year, indiction, popedom, month, day, and place aforesaid, which, with the forenamed witnesses, was personally present; and the same, even as I heard them and saw them to be done, (being occupied with other matters,) I caused to be written and published, and into this public form have compiled the same. I, the aforesaid notary, am also privy unto the words and examinations interlined between seven or eight lines of the beginning of this instrument; which lines I, also, the aforesaid notary, do approve and make good.

"And I, Walter London, clerk of the diocese of Worcester, and, by the authority apostolical, public notary, to all and singular the aforesaid things as before by the aforesaid notary recited, and in the year, indiction, popedom, month, day, and place aforesaid handled and done, being with other the fore-recited witnesses personally present, and to all and every of the same, (as I saw and heard them to be done, being thereunto faithfully desired and required,) in testimony of the premises, have signed and subscribed according to the accustomed manner.

"And when the articles, in the aforesaid instrument contained, were, by the archbishop of Canterbury, publicly and vulgarly read and approved, he publicly confessed and affirmed, that he had both said and maintained the same. And then the archbishop, to convince the constant purpose of the said John Badby, commanded the same articles again to be read, often instructing him both by words and examples, informing and exhorting him that thereby he might be brought the sooner to the religion that he was of. And, furthermore, the said archbishop said and affirmed there openly to the same John, that he would, if he would live according to the doctrine of Christ, gage his soul for him at the judgment day. And after that again he caused those articles, in the said instrument expressed, to be read by the aforesaid Philip Morgan, and the said archbishop himself expounded the same in English as before; whereunto John Badby answered: as touching the first article, concerning the body of Christ, he expressly said, That after the consecration at the altar, there remaineth material bread, and the same bread which was before; notwithstanding, said he, it is a sign or sacrament of the living God.

"Also, when the second article was expounded unto him, That it is impossible for any priest, &c., to this article he answered and said, That it could not sink into his mind that the words are to be taken as they literally lie, unless he should deny the incarnation of Christ.

"Also, being examined of the third article, concerning Jack Rakier, he said, that if Jack Rakier were a man of good living, and did love and fear God, he hath as much power so to do, as hath the priest; and said further, that he hath heard it spoken of some doctors of divinity, that if he should receive any such consecrated bread, he were worthy to be damned, and were damned in so doing.

"Furthermore he said, That he would believe the omnipotent God in Trinity; and said moreover, that if every host being consecrated at the altar were the Lord's body, that then there be twenty thousand gods in England. But he believed (he said) in one God omnipotent; which thing the aforesaid archbishop of Canterbury denied not.

"And when the other conclusion was expounded, That Christ sitting with his disciples at supper, &c., to this he answered and said, That he would greatly marvel, that if any man had a loaf of bread, and should break the same, and give to every man a mouthful, that the same loaf should afterwards be whole.

"When all these things were thus finished, and all the said conclusions were often read in the vulgar tongue, the aforesaid archbishop demanded of him, whether he would renounce and forsake his opinions and such-like conclusions or not, and adhere to the doctrine of Christ and catholic faith? He answered, That, according to that he had said before, he would adhere and stand to those words, which before he had made answer unto. Then the archbishop oftentimes required the said John, in the bowels of Jesus Christ, that he would forsake those opinions and conclusions, and that henceforth he would cleave to the Christian faith; which thing to do, in the audience of all the lords and others that were present, he expressly denied and refused.

"After all this, when the aforesaid archbishop of Canterbury and the bishop of London had consulted together, to what safe keeping the said John Badby, until the Wednesday next, might be committed, it was concluded, that he should be put into a certain chamber or safe house within the mansion of the Friars Preachers, and so he was; and then the archbishop of Canterbury said, that he himself would keep the key thereof in the mean time. Andwhen the aforesaid Wednesday was expired, being the fifteenth day of March, and that the aforesaid archbishop of Canterbury, with his fellow brethren and suffragans, were assembled in the church of St. Paul in London, the archbishop of Canterbury, taking the episcopal seat, called unto him the archbishop of York, Richard London, Henry Winchester, Robert Chichester, Alexander Norwich, and the noble Prince Edmund the duke of York, Ralph, earl of Westmoreland, Thomas Beaufort, knight, lord chancellor of England; and the Lord Beamond, with other noblemen, as well spiritual as temporal, that stood, and sat by, whom to name it would be long; before whom the said John Badby was called personally to answer unto the articles premised in the aforesaid instrument: who when he came personally before them, the articles were read by the official of the court of Canterbury, and by the archbishop, in the vulgar tongue, expounded publicly and expressly; and the same articles, as he had before spoken and deposed, he still held and defended, and said, that whilst he lived he would never retract the same. And, furthermore, he said, specially to be noted, that the lord duke of York, personally there present, as is aforesaid, and every man else for the time being, is of. more estimation and reputation, than the sacrament of the altar, by the priest in due form consecrated."

And whilst they were thus in his examination, the archbishop considering and weighing that he would in no wise be altered, and seeing, moreover, his countenance stout, and heart confirmed, so that he began to persuade others, as it appeared, in the same: these things considered, the arch-prelate, when he saw that by his allurements it was not in his power, either by exhortations, reasons, or arguments, to bring the said John Badby from his constant truth to his catholic faith, (executing and doing the office of his great Master,) proceeded to confirm and ratify the former sentence given before by the bishop of Worcester against the said John Badby, pronouncing him for an open and public heretic. And thus, shifting their hands of him, they delivered him to the secular powers, and desired the said temporal lords then and there present, very instantly, that they would not put the same John Badby to death for that his offence, nor deliver him to be punished or put to death, in the presence of all the lords above recited.

These things thus done and concluded by the bishops in the forenoon, in the afternoon the king's writ was not far behind, by the force whereof John Badby, still persevering in his constancy unto the death, was brought into Smithfield, and there, being put in an empty barrel, was bound with iron chains fastened to a stake, having dry wood put about him. And as he was thus standing in the pipe or tun, (for as yet Perillus's brazen bull was not in use among the bishops,) it happened that the prince, the king's eldest son, was there present, who, showing some part of the good Samaritan, began to endeavour how to save the life of him, whom the hypocritical Levites and Pharisees sought to put to death.

In this mean season, the prior of St. Bartholomew's in Smithfield brought, with all solemnity, the sacrament of God's body, with twelve torches borne be.fore, and so showed the sacrament to the poor man being at the stake. And then they demanding of him how he believed in it, he answered, That he knew well it was hallowed bread, and not God's body. And then was the tun put over him, and fire put unto him. And when he felt the fire, he cried, Mercy! calling belike upon the Lord; and so the prince immediately commanded to take away the tun, and quench the fire. The prince, his commandment being done, asked him if he wouldforsake heresy, to take him to the faith of holy church? which thing if he would do, he should have goods enough; promising also unto him a yearly stipend out of the king's treasury, so much as should suffice his contentation.

But this valiant champion of Christ refused the offer of worldly promises, being no doubt more vehemently inflamed with the Spirit of God than with any earthly desire. Wherefore, when as yet he continued unmovable in his former mind, the prince commanded him straight to be put again into the pipe or tun, and that he should not afterward look for any grace or favour. But as he could be allured by no rewards, even so was he nothing at all abashed at their torments, but, as a valiant champion of Christ, he persevered invincible to the end, not without a great and most cruel battle, but with much greater triumph; the Spirit of Christ having always the upper hand in his members, maugre the fury, rage, and power of the whole world. For the manifestation of which torment, we have here set forth the picture of his burning, in such manner as it was done.

Illustration -- The description of the horrible burning of John Badby, and how he was used at his death

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