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Never came " this abjuracyon to the hands of the lorde Cobham, neyther was yt compyled of them for that purpose, but onlye therwith to bleare the eyes of the unlearned multytude. And when they perseyved that polycye wolde not helpe, but made more and more agaynst them, then sought they out another false practyse. They went unto the kynge with a most grevouse complaynte, lyke as they did afore in his fathers tyme, that in everye quarter of the realme, by reason of Wycleaves opynions and the sayd lord Cobham, were wonderfull contencyons, rumours, tumultes, uproars, confederacyons, dyssencyons, divysyons, dyfferences, dyscordes, harmes, slaunders, scysmes, sectes, sedycyons, perturbacyons, perils, unlawfull assemblyes, varyaunces, stryfes, fyghtynges, rebellyouse ruffelynges, and daily insurreccyons. The churche (they sayde) was hated; the dyocesans were not obeyed; the ordynaryes were not regarded; the spirituall offycers, as suffraganes, archdeacons, chauncellors, doctours, commyssaryes, offycyals, deans, lawers, scrybes, and sommeners were every

where despysed; the lawes and lyberties of holye churche were troden under fote; the Christian fayth was ruynouslye declared; Gods servyce was laughed to scorne; the spirituale jurisdiccyon, auctoryte, honour, power, polycye, lawes, rytes, ceremonyes, curses, keyes, censures, and canonycall sanccyons of the churche were had in an uttre contempt: so that all in a maner was come to nought.

And the cause of this was, that the heretyques and lollars of Wycleaves opynyon, were suffered to preache abrode so boldelye, to gather conventycles unto them, to kepe scoles in mennys houses, to make bokes, compyle treatyses, and wryte balettes, to teache pryvatelye in angles and corners, as in wodes, feldes, medowes, pastours, groves, and in caves of the grounde. This wolde be (they sayde) a destruccyon to the common welthe, a subversyon to the lande, and an uttre decaye of the kynges estate ryall, yf remedye were not sought in tyme. And this was theyr polycye to cople the kynges auctoryte with that they had done in theyr former counsell of craft, and so to make yt therby the strongar: for they perseved themselves verye farre too weake els, to followe agaynst theyr enemyes that they had so largelye enter

11 Never came.] That which follows, from this place to the end, being not equally full, or well-told in Fox, is taken from Bale's Brefe Chronycle.



prysed. Upon this complaynt the kynge immedyatelye called a parlament' at Leycestre. It might not in those dayes be holden at Westmynstre, for the great fame that the lorde Cobham had both in London, and abought the cyte. In the seyd parlament the kynge made this most blasphemouse and cruell acte, to be as a lawe for ever : That whatsoever they were that shulde reade the Scripturs in the mother tonge (which was then called Wycleves learnyng) they shuld forfeit lande, cattele, bodye, lyfe, and goodes from theyr heyrs for ever, and so be condemned for heretyques to God, enemyes to the crowne, and moste errande trayters to the lande.

Besydes this, yt was enacted that never a sanyctwarye nor pryveyleged grounde within the realme should holde them, though they were styll permytted both to theves and mourtherers. And yf in case they wolde not give over, or were after theyr pardon relapsed, they shulde suffre death in two maner of kyndes. That is, they shulde fyrst be hanged for treason agaynst the kynge, and then be burned for heresye agaynst God, and yet neyther of both commytted. The begynnynge of that actes is this : Pro eo quod magni rumores, &c. Anon after was yt proclaymed through out the realme: and than had the bysshoppes, prestes, monkes, and fryers a worlde somewhat to theyr myndes. For than were many taken in dyverse quarters, and suffered most cruell death. And manye fledde out of the lande into Germanye, Boheme, Fraunce, Spayne, Portyngale, and into the wolde of Scotlande, Wayles, and Irelande, workynge there manye marvyls agaynst theyr false kyngedome, too longe to wryte.

In the Chrystmas folowynge was syr Roger Acton, knight, master Johan Brown, esqr. syr John Beverlaye“, a learned

· Called a parlament.] April 30, 1414. 1 Parl. Hist. 324.

2 Both to theves.] Thus Wickliffe complains, “ that great houses of religion, as Westminster, Beverly, and other chalengen, usen and maynteynen this priviledge, that whatever thief or felon come to this holy house of religion, he shall dwell there all his lyfe, and no man impeach him, though he owe poor men much goods, and have enough to paye it; and though he rob and slay every night many men out of the franchises, and every day come agen, he shall be meynteyned thereto by virtue of this open heresie.” Lewis's History of Wickliffe, p. 351. Compare Works of Sir Thomas More, p. 47.

. Blackstone's Commentaries, b. iv. c. 26.

3 The begynnynge of that acte.] The Act is printed intire by Fox, p. 524, 525. But, in several particulars, it does not correspond with this description.

Syr John Beverlaye.] “Such priests as have the addition Sir (says Fuller,


preacher, and dyverse other more attached for quarrellynge with certen prestes and so impresoned. For ale menne at that tyme coude not pacyentlye suffre theyr blasphemouse bragges.

The complaynte was made unto the kynge of them, that they had made a great assemblye in saynct Gyles felde at London, purposynge the destruccyon of the lande, and the subversyon of the common welthe. As the kynge was thus informed, he erected

banner (sayth Walden) with a crosse thereupon (as the pope doth commonlye by his legates, when he pretendeth to warre agaynst the Turke) and with a great numbre of menne entred the same felde, whereas he founde no soche companye; yet was the complaynt judged true, bycausse the bysshoppes had spoken yt at the infourmation of theyr prestes. All this hath Thomas Walden in dyverse of his workes, whych was at the same tyme a whyght or carmelyte fryre, and the kyngs confessour : and partlye it is touched both by Robert Fabyane, and by Polydorus Vergilius, in theyr Englyshe chronycles, but not in all poyntes rightlye. In the meane season, syr Johan Oldcastele, the lorde Cobham, escaped out of the Tower of London in the nyght, and so fledde into Walys ", where as he continued more than four years

after. Some wryters have thought this escape to come by the seyd syr Roger Acton, and other gentylmenne in dyspleasure of the prestes, and that to be the chefe occasyon of theyr deathes, which myght well be, but Walden doth not so uttre yt, which regned the same selfe tyme. In Januarye next followynge was the afore named syr Roger Acton, master Johan Browne, syr Johan Beverlaye, and thirty six more (of whom the more parte were gentyll menne of byrthe), convicted of heresye by the byshoppes, and condemned of treason by the temporalte, and

in his History of Abbies, p. 352) before their Christian name, were men not graduated in the university, being in Orders but not in Degrees.” But according to other authorities, Sir was “a common title given formerly to clergymen of all degrees. See Rymer's Fædera, vol. vi. p. 86; and the Dramatis Personæ of many of Shakespeare's plays.” Lowth's Life of William of Wykeham, p. 132. edit. 2d. Of a more recent date it has usually been appropriated to the degree of Batchelor. “Sir Barwick (to give him the stile of his degree) was deputed by the rest of his collegians.” Barwick's Life of Dr. John Barwick, p. 12.

5 Fledde into Walys.] Where, as we have seen, he had been chiefly employed before his marriage with Dame Joane Hawberk, and where in all probability his personal influence was great.

accordinge to the acte, were first hanged and then brente in the seyde saynct Gyles Felde. In the same yeare also was one Johan Claydon, a skynner, and one Richard Turmyne, a baker, both hanged and brente in Smythfelde by that vertuouse acte; besydes that was done in all other quarters of Englande, which was no small nombre yf yt were now thoroughlye knowen.

The latter Empresonynge and Death of the Lorde Cobham. In the yeare of oure Lorde one thousand four hundred and fifteen, died Thomas Arrundell, which had beene archebyshoppe of Canterburye more than thirty two years, to the great destruccyon of Christen beleve. Yet dyed not his prodygyouse tyrannyeo


6 His prodygyouse tyrannye.] We borrowed above from Lewis, a recital of archbishop Arundel's achievements of this nature. (See note on Thorpe’s Examination, p. 272, 3.) The narrative will not be complete without subjoining in this its proper place, the description of his successor Chicheley's performances, intended to supply what was found wanting to the complete efficiency of the work of Arundel.

That these hated and persecuted men might no where be sheltered, but that all persons might deny them succour, archbishop Chicheley two years after the act of 2 Henry V.” (described in the same note above-mentioned,) “in a convocation held at London, made a constitution, which he sent to the bishop of London, and his other suffragans to be put in execution; wherein he enjoined all suffragans and archdeacons in the province of Canterbury, with their officials and commissaries in their several jurisdictions, diligently to inquire twice every year after persons suspected of heresy ; that where any reputed heretics were reported to dwell, three or more of that parish should be obliged to take an oath that they would certify in writing to the suffragans, archdeacons, or their commissaries what persons were heretics, or who kept private conventicles, or who differed in life and manners from the common conversation of the faithful, or who asserted heresies or errors, or who had any suspected books written in the vulgar English tongue, or who received, favoured, or were conversant with any persons suspected of errors or heresies. That the diocesans, upon information, should issue out process against the accused persons, and deliver them over to the secular court, or commit them to perpetual or temporary imprisonment, as the nature of the case required, at least until the sitting of the next convocation.

“This was a most effectual way to ruin the poor Wickliffites. For now an inquisition was set up in every parish, and men were set at variance against their own fathers and mothers, and nearest relations : so that often a man's greatest foes were those of his own household and blood. Accordingly we find too frequent instances upon record, of the brother detecting the brother and sister, the husband the wife, the sons their own father and mother, the

with him, but succeded with his office in Henry Chycheleye, and in a great sorte more of that spightfule spiritualte. For theyr malyce was not yet setled agaynst the goode lorde Cobham. But they confedered with the lorde Powys' (which was at that tyme a great governour in Walys), fedynge him with lordlye gyftes and promyses to accomplyshe theyr desyre. He at the last thus monyed with Judas, and outwardlye pretendynge him great amyte and favour, most cowardlye and wretchedlye toke him, and in conclusyon so sent him up to London, where as he remayned a

, moneth or two imprysoned agayne in the Tower. And after longe processe they condemned him agayne of heresye and treason by force of the afore named acte, he renderynge thankes unto God, that he had so appoynted him to suffre for his names sake.

And upon the daye appoynted, he was broughte out of the Tower with his armes bounde behynde him, havynge a verye

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servants their mistresses, and parents their own children.” Lewis's Life of Wickliffe, p. 134, 5. edit. 1820, chap. 7.

And what, may we not now well ask, could be the prospects and condition of a country, in all the mighty interests of truth, religion, virtue, and piety, in public or private life, so long as these things were to bear sway in the land ?

7 The lorde Pouys.] Edward de Cherleton de Powys, Lord Cherleton, who died in 1422, leaving two daughters his heirs, amongst whose descendants the barony is contested to this day.

8 Sent him up to London.] Of this part of the story the account is told more fully in Fox. Being committed to the Tower, he escaped afterwards, and was in Wales about the space of foure yeares. In the which mean time a great summe of money was proclaimed by the king to him that could take the said Sir John Oldcastle, either quicke or dead. About the end of which foure yeares being expired, the Lord Powes, whether for love and greedinesse of the money, or whether for hatred of the true and sincere doctrine of Christ, seeking all maner of waies how to play the part of Judas, at length obtained his bloodie purpose, and brought the Lord Cobham bound up to London ; which was about the yeare of our Lord 1417, and about the month of December ; at which time was a parliament assembled at London. The records of which parliament doe thus say: that on Tuesday the 13th day of December, sir John Oldcastle, of Cowling, in the countie of Kent, knight, being outlawed in the King's Bench, and excommunicated before by the archbishop of Canturburie for heresie, was brought before the Lords, and having heard his said convictions, answered not thereto in his excuse. Upon which record and processe, it was adjudged, that hee should be taken as a traitor to the king and the realme; that he ould be carried to the Tower of London, and from thence drawen through London unto the new gallowes in Saint Giles without Temple Barre, and there to be hanged, and burned hanging." Fox's Acts, p. 591.

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