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still both the all but universal belief of the people, says Fox, “a disciple of Wyckliffe, whom she ac. and the yet unmodified religion of the law. As 'counted for a saint, and held so fast and firmly often happens with institutions in the last stage eight of his ten opinions, that all the doctors of of their existence, the power and glory of the London could not turn her from one of them." Church of Rome, in England, seemed to blaze She was burned in Smithfield on the 28th of out afresh immediately before its downfall
. It April.' Mrs. Boughton was mother to the Lady is enough to remark that this was the age of Young, who was also suspected of holding the Wolsey, the most gorgeous and puissant prelate same opinions, and who afterwards suffered the that had arisen since Becket. All the highest same death. In the course of the next two or and most influential offices of the state were still, three years a few old men and priests went with for the most part, in the hands of churchmen, like heroism to the stake; but in general the perwho, while they monopolized, of course, the man- sons charged with heresy at this time, when there agement of ecclesiastical affairs, were generally was as yet little general excitement to animate both the ministers of the crown at home, and its and sustain them, shrunk from that dreadful ambassadors and most trusted agents abroad. death on a mere view of it, and purchased, by a This preference, which they had formerly de- recantation, the privilege of satisfying the law manded as their right, was now accorded to them by an exposure to the fagots without the fire. on the more reasonable ground of their superior The venerable historian of our martyrs has some qualifications, a ground which the ablest and curious notices of the fashion in which this cereFrisest kings—those from whom they would have mony was performed. On other occasions, howexperienced the most determined resistance to ever, the commuted punishment was not entirely their pretensions of a more absolute kind--were formal. In 1506, at the same time that William the readiest to admit. Thus, the politic, circum- Tylsworth was burned in Amersham-his only spect, and acquisitive character of Henry VII. daughter being compelled to set fire to him with made him a favourer both of the church and of her own hands—this daughter, with her husband, religion, without being either really religious or and, according to one account, more than sixty superstitious. This great king was a distin- persons besides, all bore fagots, and were afterguished upholder of the authority of the laws in wards not only sent from town to town over the ordinary cases. Among his other legal improve county of Buckingham to do penance with certain ments, Henry attempted at one time “to pare a badges affixed to them, but were several of them little," as Bacon expresses it, “ the privilege of burned in the cheek, and otherwise severely clergy, ordaining that clerks convict should be treated. “Divers of them,” says Fox, “ were enburned in the hand, both because they might joined to bear and wear fagots at Lincoln the taste of some corporal punishment, and that they space of seven years, some at one time, some at might carry a brand of infamy." But all his another."3 known favour for, and patronage of the church, Among others who suffered in this reign was did not prevent this innovation from being de- one Laurence Ghest,“ who was burned in Salisnounced as a daring infringement of the rights bury for the matter of the sacrament.' He was of the ecclesiastical order. The very circum- of a comely and tall personage, and otherwise, as stances of the time that in reality and in their appeareth, not unfriended, for the which the ultimate result tended to bring down the ancient bishop and the close (that is, the canons), were church, had the effect for the present of raising the more loath to burn him, but kept him in priit to greater authority and seeming honour. The son the space of two years. This Laurence had a unaccustomed murmurs of irreverence and oppo- wife and seven children.” sition with which it was assailed afforded a pre- Some notion of the peculiar opinions which text for suffering it to exercise its recognized were commonly held by the English heretics of rights with a high hand, and even for endowing this age may be gathered from the charges against it with some new powers :—the laws against her- some of those apprehended and examined by esy, for instance, were now stretched to a degree John Arundel, Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, of severity never before known, and the church from 1496 to 1502, as recorded in the registers of added to its ancient assumptions that of holding that diocese. They were for the most part the snen's lives in its hands, and actually putting to same with the leading doctrines soon after prodeath those of whose opinions it disapproved. claimed by Luther and the other Protestant ReThese fires of martyrdom were more easily lighted formers, embraciug a denial of the merit of good than quenched.
works, of the warrantableness of the worship of It was in 1494, the ninth year of Henry VII., images, of the efficacy of penance and pilgrimage, that the first English female martyr suffered. of the duty of praving to the saints or the Virgin, This was a widow named Joan Boughton, a
"Fox, Acts and Monuments, p. 671 (edition of 1570). woman of above eighty years of age. “She was,"
3 Ibid. p. 710. * Ibid. p. 711
of the claims of the pope as successor of St. Peter, mendation of residence; but the burden of the of purgatory, and of the transformation of the exhortation was spent upon these matters of mere bread and wine in the sacrament. In some cases, show and profession. Considerable alarm, howhowever, we find, as might be expected, the con- ever, was also excited at this time in the heads tempt for the old belief breaking out with a curi- of the church by either the actual increase of imous acerbity or irreverence of expression in the
morality among the enunciation of the new. There were of course
clergy, or the sharper varieties of faith, or want of faith, among the
eyes and more earnest dissenters from the church ; some went farther
inquisition with which than others; and some seem to have stopped at
the people now began the rejection of image-worship, without advanc
to look into what had ing so far as to question the worshipping of the
monks, or regular clerThe internal history of the established church
gy, were to the full as in the period immediately preceding the downfall
much as their secular of the ancient religion is marked by few events.
brethren, the parish The successive Archbishops of Canterbury during
priests, the objects of the reign of Henry VII. were, Cardinal Bourchier,
this popular outcry. whose long primacy of thirty-two years termin
A bull was issued br ated in 1486; John Morton, the active and useful
Pope Innocent VIII
. friend of Henry before he came to the crown, who
in 1490, in which, after was also invested with a cardinal's hat, and who
setting forth - apparsurvived till 1502; Henry Deane, who was arch
ently without any doubt
PRIEST WEARING LIRIPOOP AND bishop only for a few months; and, lastly,
EMBROIDERED GIRDLE. 3 of its truth the inforWilliam Warham, whose translation from Lon
mation he had receiv. don appears not to have taken place till towards ed respecting the reprobate lives led by all the the close of the year 1504, more than two years English monastic orders, he directed Archbishop after the death of Deane.' The admonitory Morton to admonish the heads of all the conmurmur of the coming storm of reformation now vents in his province to reform themselves and made itself heard, among other ways, in the those under them, and gave him authority, if louder popular outcry that arose against the dis- his admonitions were neglected, to proceed to solute lives of many of the clergy; and the church more decided measures. In consequence of the authorities were led to make some efforts both Papal edict Morton appears to have sent letters to put down the outcry and to correct the evil. to the superiors of all the religious houses in his At a synod or council of the province of Canter- province, of which one that has been preserved, bury, held in St. Paul's, in February, 1487, com- addressed to the abbot of St. Alban's, describes plaints having been made that the preachers of the monks of that abbey as notoriously guilty, the order of St. John of Jerusalem were accus- not only of libertinism in all its forms, but of tomed, in their sermons at Paul's Cross, to in- almost every other kind of euormity.' veigh against their secular brethren in the hear- There is no reason to suppose that either Papal ing of the laity-who, it was affirmed, all hated or episcopal admonitions produced any amendthe clergy, and delighted to hear their vices ex- ment of this state of things during the reign of posed—the prior of St. John was, on the one Henry VII. The date of the accession of Henry hand, directed to prevent this great abuse for the VIII. was marked in the history of the church future, and, on the other, a severe reprimand by the termination of a fierce controversy, which was administered to certain of the London clergy, had long raged between two great bodies of who were accused of not only spending their whole ecclesiastics on a very delicate point of doctrine. time in taverns and alehouses, but even imitating The Franciscans, or Gray Friars, maintained that the laity in their dress, and allowing their hair the Virgin Mary had been conceived and born to grow long, so as to conceal their tonsure. The wholly without original sin; their rivals, the censure of the convocation was followed by a pas- Dominicans, or Black Friars, on the contrary, toral letter of the primate, in which the clergy held that she had been conceived in the same were solemnly charged not to wear liripoops, or manner with every other child of Adam, although hoods, of silk, nor gowns open in front, nor embroidered girdles, nor daggers, and to keep their
The hood and liripoop (the long tail or tippet of the hood!
was worn by the laity of both sexes as well as by the clergy. hair always so short that everybody might see the above figure
, from the Royal MSS. 14. E. 4, represents the their ears.? A few words were added in recom- ordinary walking dress of a monk about the end of the fifteenth
century; and shows, besides the liripoop, the purse suspendel Nicholas, Synopsis of Peerage, p. 820.
at the girdle, and the inkhorn and penner for holding writing 2 Wilkins, Concilia.
+ Wilkins, Corcilia.
they admitted that while still in her mother's just law,” says Burnet, “yet, to make it pass womb she had been sanctified and cleansed from through the House of Lords, they added two all original sin, in the same manner as, they said, provisions to it; the one, for excepting all such John the Baptist and certain other privileged as were within the holy orders of bishop, priest, persons had been.
“ This frivolous question,” or deacon; the other, that the act should only says old Fox, “kindling and gendering betwixt be in force till the next parliament. With these these two sects of friars, brast out in such a flame provisoes it was unanimously assented to by the of parts and sides taking, that it occupied the lords on the 26th of January, 1513, and being heads and wits, schools and universities, almost agreed to by the commons, the royal assent made through the whole church, some holding one part it a law; pursuant to which many murderers and with Scotus, some the other part with Thomas felons were denied their clergy, and the law Aquinas." But besides these scandalous rival- passed on them, to the great satisfaction of the ries and quarrels among themselves, the clergy whole nation.” Neither the general popularity were imprudent or unfortunate enough about of the new statute, however, nor its manifest this time to get involved in some other contests, equity, sufficed to mitigate the aversion with both with the civil authorities and with public which it was regarded by the clergy; they saw opinion and the spirit of the age, out of which in it only an encroachment upon the privileges they did not come without still further damage of holy church, to which no consideration should to their reputations and their interests. Ever induce them to submit. It was an injury and since the abrogation of the Constitutions of Cla- an insult neither to be endured nor forgiven. rendon in the latter part of the reign of Henry II., Accordingly, not satisfied with preventing the the old clerical claim of immunity from the juris- renewal of the act at the expiration of the short diction of the civil courts had been considered as term to which their influence had caused it in settled in favour of ecclesiastical persons. But the first instance to be limited, they set themthis was deservedly the subject of great and selves to fix such a mark of reprobation upon it universal complaint; "for,” as Burnet remarks, as should, they hoped, put down any similar at
it was ordinary for persons, after the greatest tempt for ever after. crimes, to get into orders; and then not only In the year 1514, a citizen of London, named what was past must be forgiven them, but they Richard Hunne, a merchant tailor, fell into a were not to be questioned for any crime after dispute with the parson of a country parish in boly orders given till they were first degraded ; Middlesex, about a gift of a bearing-sheet, which and, till that was done, they were the bishop's the clergyman demanded as a mortuary, in conprisoners.” In fact, the difficulties which were sequence of an infant child of Hunne's having thus interposed in the way of the conviction and died in his parish, where it had been sent to be punishment of ecclesiastical persons were such nursed. Hunne made some objection to the leas to enable them, to a great extent, to commit gality of the demand; but it is probable that he crimes of all sorts, without incurring the risk of was secretly inclined to the new doctrines, and any penalty at all adequate to the offence. In that this was the true cause of his refusal. Being 1487, the fourth year of Henry VII., a statute sued in the spiritual court by the parson, he took had been passed enacting that, "whereas upon out a writ of premunire against his pursuer for trust of the privilege of the church, divers per- bringing the king's subjects before a foreign jusons lettered have been the more bold to commit risdiction, the spiritual court sitting under the murder, rape, robbery, theft, and all other mis- authority of the pope's legate. This daring prochievous deeds, because they have been continu-cedure of the London citizen threw the clergy ally admitted to the benefit of the clergy as oft into a fury, and, as the most effectual way of as they did offend in any of the premises " La crushing him, recourse was had to the terrible startling enough exposition, it must be admitted, charge of heresy, upon which Hunne was appreof the state to which things had been brought, hended and consigned to close imprisonment in for the future, to persons not actually in holy the Lollards' Tower at St. Paul's. After a short orders, clergy should be allowed but once, and time, being brought before Fitzjames, Bishop of those convicted of murder should be marked London, he was there interrogated respecting with an M upon the brawn of the left thumb, certain articles alleged against him, which imand those convicted of any other felony with a puted to him, in substance, that he had denied T. In this state the law remained till the fourth the obligation of paying tithes—that he had read year of Henry VIII., when a bill was brought and spoken generally against bishops and priests, into parliament, carrying out the principle of the and in favour of heretics-and, lastly, that he late act so far as to ordain that the benefit of had “in his keeping divers English books proclergy should be wholly denied to all murderers hibited and damned by the law, as the Apocaand robbers. “But though this seemed a very lypse in English. Epistles and Gospels in English,
Wyckliffe's damnable works, and other books , had asserted the clainis of the civil power in a containing infinite errors, in the which he hath debate before the king, and put him upon his been long time accustomed to read, teach, and defence for what he had said on that occasion ; study daily.” It appears that Hunne was fright- and an appeal was made to the conscience of ened into a qualified admission of the truth Henry, that he would not interpose to shield the of these charges; he confessed that although he delinquent from justice, as he regarded his corohad not said exactly what was asserted, yet he nation oath, and would himself escape the cenhad “unadvisedly spoken words somewhat sound-sures of holy church. Henry's headstrong and ing to the same; for the which,” he added, “I despotic character had scarcely yet begun to deam sorry, and ask God mercy, and submit me velope itself; his pride as a true son of the church unto my lord's charitable and favourable correc- had received no check from coming into collision tion." He ought upon this, according to the with any of his other selfish and overmastering usual course, to have been enjoined penance, and passions: when the convocation, therefore, asset at liberty; but, as he still persisted in his sailed him in this manner on the one hand, and suit against the parson, he was the same day the parliament, on the other, likewise addressed sent back to his prison, where, two days after, him “to maintain the temporal jurisdiction, acnamely, on the 4th of December, he was found cording to his coronation oath, and to protect suspended from a hook in the ceiling, and dead. Standish from the malice of his enemies," he was The persons in charge of the prison gave out that thrown into great perplexity. So, to free bis he had hanged himself; but a coroner's inquest conscience, he commanded all the judges, and the came to a different conclusion. According to the members both of his temporal and his spiritual account in Burnet, the jury“ did acquit the dead councils, together with certain persons from both body, and laid the murder on the officers that houses of parliament, to meet at Blackfriars, and had the charge of that prison; and, by other to hear the matter argued. This was done acproofs, they found the bishop's sumner and the cordingly; and the discussion was terminated by bell-ringer guilty of it. The excited feelings and the unanimous declaration of the judges, that all strong prejudices of the coroner's jury had per- those of the convocation who had awarded the baps as much share as the weight of circumstan- citation against Standish had made themselves tial evidence in winning them to the belief of liable to a premunire. Soon after, the whole this not very probable story. While the inquest body of the lords spiritual and temporal, with all was still going on, the Bishop of London and his the judges and the king's council, and many clergy began a new process of heresy against members also of the House of Commons, having Hunne's dead body. The new charges alleged been called before the king at Baynard's Castle, against Hunne were comprised in thirteen arti- Cardinal Wolsey, in the name of the clergy, huncles, the matter of which was collected from the bly begged that the matter should be referred to prologue or preface by Wyckliffe to the English the final decision of the pope at Rome. To this Bible that had been found in his possession. He, request, however, Henry made answer, with or rather his dead body, was condemned of heresy much spirit, By the permission and ordinance by sentence of the Bishop of London, assisted by of God, we are King of England; and the Kings the Bishops of Durham and Lincoln, and by of England in times past had never any superior many doctors of divinity and the canon law; but God only. Therefore, know you well that and the senseless carcass was actually, on the we will maintain the right of our crown, and of 20th of December, committed to the flames in our temporal jurisdiction, as well in this as in all Smithfield. This piece of barbarity, however, other points, in as ample a manner as any of our shocked instead of overawing the public senti- progenitors have done before our time.” The inent. The affair now came before the parliament, renewed solicitations of the Archbishop of Canand a bill, which had originated in the commons, terbury, that the matter might at least be respited was passed, restoring to Hunne's children the till a communication could be had with the court goods of their father, which had been forfeited of Rome, had no effect in moving the king from by his conviction. This, however, did not put his resolution; and Dr. Horsey, the Bishop of an end to the contest. When the Bishop of Lon- London's chancellor, against whom warrants were don's chancellor and sumner had been charged, out, on the finding of the inquest, for his trial as on the finding of the coroner's jury, as both prin- one of the murderers of Hunne, seemed to be left cipals in the murder, the convocation, in the hope to his fate. At this point, however, the clergy, probably of drawing off attention to another part or perhaps both parties, saw fit to make advances of the case, called before them Dr. Standish, who ! towards an accommodation : it was agreed that
Horsey should surrender to take his trial; that 1 Fox, p. 737 ? Or summoner, the officer employed to cite parties before the
he should not stand upon his benefit of clergy, ecclesiastical courts, more commonly called the apparitor. but plead not guilty: and that, satisfied with
this concession, the attorney-general should ad- / in being merely begun, was already more than mit the plea, and the prisoner be discharged. half finished. Henry, in having set as it were This form was goue through, and Horsey im- the wheel of change in motion, is justly esteemed mediately left London, where, it is said, he never the true author of the whole mighty result, of again showed his face. Dr. Standish, however, that part of it which he resisted or did not conwas also, by the king's command, dismissed from template at all, as well as of that which he urged his place in the court of convocation, so that the on and actually saw realized. The Reformation issue of the business by no means went altogether in England was his doing, infinitely more than against the clergy. But, besides the augmented that of any other person who in any way took popular odium to which they were exposed, from part in the work-of his successors Edward and the strong suspicion which was entertained that Elizabeth, for instance, who built upon the ground Hunne had been murdered, a heavy blow had that he had cleared and the foundation that he been undoubtedly dealt at their favourite pre- had laid—or even of such men as Wyckliffe, who tension of exemption from the jurisdiction of the helped, by their preachings and writings, to draw civil courts in criminal cases.
men away from the old church; or as Cranmer In the unsettled state of men's minds, at this and his follow-labourers, who, by the like exertime, upon the subject of religion, the part taken tions, endeavoured to bring them over and atby any king, and especially by a king of Henry's tach them to the new. Yet in all that Henry temper, could not fail to act with powerful effect did, and all that he would not do, in the matter either in steadying for a space the tremulous of religion, throughout his reign, it is curious to mass of the popular thought and feeling, or in observe how he was acted upon by the changing swaying it in the direction of his own passions circumstances of his own personal position-how and convictions. Yet the planet that so far the despot, so potent alike to destroy, and, for ruled the tides of this great moral ocean was for the moment at least, to preserve from destrucmany years undoubtedly influenced in its own tion, was driven along the whole of his furious movements by another more lordly spirit, that and contradictory course by the pettiest of pridrew it along, perhaps without suffering it to vate interests, vanities, and passions. The hisfeel its bondage, but not on that account with tory of the English Reformation is the history of less potent control. For nearly the whole of the this king's fits of temper; of his likings and disfirst half of Henry's reign the real King of Eng- likings; of the flatteries addressed to him from land was his minister Wolsey, a man whose one quarter, and the provocations he received greatness was linked to the ascendency of the from another; of his pecuniary difficulties; of his an ient church. So long as Wolsey's favour amours, jealousies, and suspicions; of the swellasted, his royal master was wholly in his hands. lings and ebbings of his pedantry and self-conWith one at the head of affairs personally in- ceit; of the very fluctuations of his bodily disterested to so deep an extent in its support, the tempers and sores. church was secure from any attack-from any Eight years after Henry came to the throne abı idgment of its wealth or power, by the king the first movement was made, unconsciously, by or the government. Yet even the greatness of Martin Luther, in that great rebellion against Wolsey, while it thus threw a temporary protec- the ancient church which has made his name tion over the church, perhaps contributed also to immortal. It does not appear that Luther, at the basten its downfall. The ruin of this magnifi- commencement of his career, had any acquaincent ecclesiastic himself was in part brought tance with the writings of Wyckliffe, Huss, Jeabout by the arrogance and rapacity to which he rome of Prague, and the other remarkable men by gave way in the giddiness of his towering for- whom the Roman church had been assailed in trines. But if by his oppressive proceedings he the two preceding centuries; indeed, at this stage made all men his enemies, and when the support he would have felt little sympathy with the of the royal favour was withdrawn, left himself greater part of those writings, for he was as yet a without either any foundation on which to stand, good Catholic, and had not for a moment doubted or friendly arm to break his fall, we may be either the authority of the pope or any of the satisfied that so odious an exhibition of priestly commonly received doctrines of the church. He insolence could not but also have its effect in was a believer in the real presence, in purgatory, widening the general alienation from the whole in the efficacy of penances, of pilgrimages, of order to which he belonged.
prayers for the dead, of prayers to the saints, in The Reformation was very far from being the warrantableness of the adoration of the Vircompleted under Henry VIII.-indeed, the Eng- gin, of the crucifix, and of images, in the virtue lish church, as he left it, was scarcely reformed of relics, in the authority of tradition, in the duty at all except in regard to a few points of its ex- of aurựcular confession, and in all those other ternal or political constitution, but still the work, dogmas of the ancient faith which at a later