Page images


go about


the summons and censures

3 RICHARD 2, STAT. 2, CAP. 5.-An act against preachers of heresy.-Item, forasmuch as it is openly known, that there be divers Many heretievil persons within the realm, going from county to county, and

cal preachers from town to town, in certain habits under dissimulation of great preaching holiness, and without the licence of the ordinaries of the places, or licence, other sufficient authority, preaching daily, not only in churches and churchyards, but also in markets, fairs, and other open places, where a great congregation of people is, divers sermons containing heresies and notorious errors, to the great emblemishing of the christian faith, and destruction of the laws and of the estate of holy church, to the great peril of the souls of the people, and of all the realm of England, as more plainly is found and sufficiently proved before as bath been the reverend father in God, the archbishop of Canterbury, and the Deportes bishops and other prelates, masters of divinity, and doctors of archbishop,

c. canon and of civil law, and a great part of the clergy of the said realm specially assembled for this cause: which persons do also preach divers matters of slander, to engender discord and dissension between divers estates of the said realm as well spiritual as temporal, in exciting of the people, to the great peril of all the realm : which preachers cited or summoned before the ordinaries of the and despise places, there to answer of that, whereof they be impeached, will not obey to their summons and commandments, nor care not for of the church their monitions nor censures of the holy church, but expressly despise them: and moreover by their subtle and ingenious words do draw the people to hear their sermons, and do maintain them in their errors by strong hand and by great routs : it is ordained and the prelates assented in this present parliament, that the king's commissions be such preachmade and directed to the sheriffs and other ministers of our sovereign ers, the lord lord the king, or other sufficient persons learned, and according to shall issue the certifications of the prelates thereof to be made in the chancery from time to time, to arrest all such preachers, and also their fautors, maintainers, and abettors, and to hold them in arrest and strong prison, till they will justify them according to the law and reason of holy church. And the king will and commandeth, that the chancellor make such commissions at all times, that he by the prelates or any of them shall be certified, and thereof required as is aforesaid.

2 HENRY 4, CAP. 15.-An act touching heresies.—Item, whereas The catholic it is shewed to our sovereign lord the king on the behalf of the pre- beenhitherto lates and the clergy of his realm of England in this present parliament, preserved, that although the catholic faith builded upon Christ, and by his apostles and the holy church sufficiently determined, declared, and approved, hath been hitherto by good and holy and most noble progenitors of our sovereign lord the king in the said realm amongst all the realms of the world, most devoutly observed, and the church of England by his said most noble progenitors and ancestors, to the honor of God and of the whole realm aforesaid, laudably endowed,

commissions to arrest them.

but now a new sect of heretical

and in her rights and liberties sustained, without that the same faith or the said church was hurt or grievously oppressed, or else perturbed by any perverse doctrine or wicked, heretical or erroneous opinions : yet nevertheless divers false and perverse people of a

certain new sect, of the faith of the sacraments of the church, and preachers is the authority of the same damnably thinking and against the law of

God and of the church usurping the office of preaching, do perversely and maliciously in divers places within the said realm under the colour of dissembled holiness, preach and teach these days openly and privily divers new doctrines and wicked heretical and erroneous

opinions, contrary to the same faith and blessed determinations of who promote the holy church. And of such sect and wicked doctrine and opinions sies, to the they make unlawful conventicles and confederacies, they hold and disturbance of the public

exercise schools, they make and write books, they do wickedly peace, instruct and inform people, and, as much as they may, excite and

stir them to sedition and insurrection, and maketh great strife and division among the people, and other enormities horribly to be heard daily do perpetrate and commit, in subversion of the said catholic faith and doctrine of the holy church, in diminution of God's honor, and also in destruction of the estate, rights and liberties of the said church of England, by which sect and wicked and false preachings,

doctrines, and opinions of the said false and perverse people, not to the great only most greatest peril of the souls, but also many more other men's souls, hurts, slanders, and perils, (which God prohibit) might come to this

realm, unless it be the more plentifully and speedily holpen by the king's majesty in this behalf, namely whereas the diocesans of the said realm cannot by their jurisdiction spiritual, without the aid of the said royal majesty, sufficiently correct the said false and perverse people, nor refrain their malice, because the said false and perverse people, do go from diocese to diocese, and will not appear before the

said diocesans, but the same diocesans and their jurisdiction spiritual, and contemn and the keys of the church, with the censures of the same, do utterly jurisdiction, contemn and despise, and so their wicked preachings and doctrines

do from day to day continue and exercise, to the hatred of right and The prayer reason, and utter destruction of order and good rule. Upon which lates, clergy, novelties and excesses above rehearsed the prelates and clergy afore

said, and also the commons of the said realm being in the same the king's parliament, praying our sovereign lord the king, that his royal

highness would vouchsafe in the said parliament to provide a convenient remedy: the same our sovereign lord the king graciously considering the premises, and also the laudable steps of his said most noble progenitors and ancestors, for the conservation of the said catholic faith, and sustentation of God's honor, and also the safeguard of the estate, rights and liberties of the said church of England, to the laud of God, and merit of our said sovereign lord the king, and prosperity and honor of all his said realm, and for the eschewing of such dissensions, divisions, hurts, slanders, and perils, in time to come, and that this wicked sect, preachings, doctrines and opinions should from henceforth cease and be utterly destroyed, by the assent of the states and other discreet men of the realm, being in the said parliament, hath granted, stablished, and ordained from henceforth firmly to be observed : that none within the said

and com

mons, and

resolution to




all heretical

against this act shall be

the diocesan,

realm or any other dominions, subject to his royal majesty, presume Enacted, to preach openly or privily, without licence of the diocesan of the shall preach same place first required and obtained: curates in their own churches, without liand persons hitherto privileged, and other of the canon law granted, only except. Nor that none from henceforth any thing preach, hold, nor preach or teach or instruct openly or privily, or make or write any book con- the catholic trary to the catholic faith, or determination of the holy church, nor of such sect and wicked doctrines and opinions shall make any conventicles, or in anywise hold or exercise schools. And also that nor favor none from henceforth in anywise favor such preacher, or maker of any such and like conventicles, or holding or exercising schools, or making or writing such books, or so teaching, informing or exciting the people, nor any of them maintain or anywise sustain. And that but deliver all and singular having such books, or any writings of such wicked books to the doctrine and opinions, shall really with effect deliver or cause to be bishop. delivered all such books and writings to the diocesan of the same place within forty days, from the time of the proclamation of this ordinance and statute. And if any person or persons, of whatsoever Offenders kind, estate, or condition that he or they be, from henceforth do or attempt against the royal ordinance and statute aforesaid in the pre- arrested by mises or in any of them, or such books in the form aforesaid do not deliver, then the diocesan of the same place in his diocese, such person or persons in this behalf defamed or evidently suspected, and every of them, may by the authority of the said ordinance and statute cause to be arrested, and under safe custody in his prisons to be detained, till he or they of the articles laid to him or them in this behalf, do canonically purge him or themselves, or else such wicked sect, preachings, doctrines, and heretical and erroneous opinions do abjure according as the laws of the church do require, and proceed80 that the said diocesan by himself or his commissaries do openly according to and judicially proceed against such persons so arrested, and remain the canous, ing under his said custody to all the effect of the law, and determine that same business according to the canonical decrees within three months after the said arrest, any lawful impediment ceasing. And

any person, in any case above expressed, be before the diocesan of the place or his commissaries canonically convict: then the same and being diocesan may do to be kept in his prison the said person so convict Contact shall for the manner of his defaut, and after the quality of the offence prison, according and as long as to his discretion shall seem expedient, and moreover to put the same person to the secular court (except in cases where he according to the canonical decree ought to be left) to pay to our sovereign lord the king his pecuniar fine, according as and fined at the same fine shall seem competent to the diocesan, for the manner tion of their and quality of the offence, in which case the same diocesan, shall be diocesan. bound to certify the king of the same fine in his exchequer by his letters patents sealed with his seal, to the effect that such fine by the king's authority may be required and levied to his use of the goods of the same person so convict. And if any person within the Any person said realm and dominions, upon the said wicked preachings, doc- abjure, so trines, opinions, schools, and heretical and erroneous informations relapsing, or any of them be before the diocesan of the same place or his com- vered to the missaries sententially convict, and the same wicked sect, preachings,

shall be deli

secular arm,





doctrines and opinions, schools and informations, do refuse duly to abjure, or by the diocesan of the same place or his commissaries after the abjuration made by the same person pronounced fall into relapse, so that according to the holy canons he ought to be left to the secular court, whereupon credence shall be given to the diocesan of the same place, or to his commissaries in this behalf, then the sheriff of the county of the same place, and mayor and sheriffs or sheriff, or mayor and bailiffs of the city, town and borough, of the same county next to the same diocesan or the said commissaries, shall be personally present in preferring of such sentences, when they by the same diocesan or his commissaries shall be required:

and they the same persons and every of them, after such sentence and barrut for promulgate, shall receive: and them before the people in an high

place do to be burnt, that such punishment may strike in fear to the minds of other, whereby no such wicked doctrine and heretical and erroneous opinions, nor their authors and fautors in the said realm and dominions against the catholic faith, christian law, and determi. nation of the holy church (which God prohibit) be sustained or in anywise suffered, in which all and singular the premises concerning the said ordinance and statute, the sheriffs, mayors and bailiffs, of the said counties, cities, boroughs, and towns, shall be attending, aiding and supporting, to the said diocesans and their commissaries.

2 HENRY 5, Cap. 7.-An act for reformation of heresy and lollardy. Lollards sub-— Item, forasmuch as great rumours, congregations and insurrections, the

here in the realm of England by divers of the king's liege people, as faith, and the well by them which were of the sect of heresy commonly called government

lollardy, as by other of their confederacy, excitation, and abetment, now of late were made, to the intent to annul, destroy, and subvert the christian faith, and the law of God and holy church within the same realm of England, and also to destroy the same our sovereign lord the king and all other manner of estates of the same realm of

England, as well spiritual as temporal, and also all manner of policy, against

and finally the laws of the land: the same our sovereign lord the whom there is a necessity king, to the honor of God, and in conservation and fortification of of more effec- the christian faith, and also in salvation of his royal estate, and of tual remedies

the estate of all his realm, willing against the malice of such heretics and lollards to provide a more open remedy and punishment than hath been had and used in the case heretofore, so that for fear of the same laws and punishment, such heresies and lollardies may the rather cease in time to come, by the advice and assent aforesaid, and

at the prayer of the said commons, hath ordained and established: Enacted that, that first the chancellor, treasurer, justice of the one bench and of at their ad- the other, justices of peace, sheriffs, mayors, and bailiffs of cities and mission shall towns, and all other officers, having governance of people, which to destroy

now be or hereafter for the time shall be, shall make an oath in lollardy, taking of their charges and occupations, to put their whole power

and diligence, to put out and do to be put out, cease, and destroy all manner of heresies and errors, commonly called lollardies, within the

places where they exercise their offices and occupations from time to and to assist time with all their power, and that they assist the ordinaries and

their commissaries, and them favor and maintain as often as they or any of them to that shall be required by the same ordinaries or their

of church and state,

take an oath

the ordinaries therein.

commissaries, so that when the said officers and ministers travel or ride to arrest any lollard, or to make assistance at the instance and request of the ordinaries or their commissaries by virtue of this statute, that the same ordinaries and commissaries shall pay for their costs reasonably. And that the king's services, to the which the same officers be first sworn, be preferred before all other statutes for the liberty of holy church and the ministers of the same, and in especial for the correction and punishment of the heretics and lollards before this time made and not repealed being in their force. And Heretics also that all persons convict of heresy, of what estate, condition or forfeit their degree that they be, by the said ordinaries or other commissaries lands, left to the secular power according to the laws of holy church, shall lose and forfeit all their lands and tenements, which they have in fee simple in the manner as followeth, that is to say, that the king have all the lands and tenements, which the said convicts have in fee simple, and holden of him immediately as forfeit, and that the other lords, of whom the lands and tenements of such convicts be holden immediately, after that the king is so seized and answered of the Fear the day and the waste, have livery out of the king's hands of the lands and tenements aforesaid of them so holden, as it hath been ised in the case of attainder of felony, except the lands and tenements which be holden of the ordinaries or their commissaries, before whom any such persons impeached of heresy be convict, which lands and tenements entirely shall remain to the king as forfeit. And and goods moreover that all the goods and chattels of these persons so convicted, be forfeit to our sovereign lord the king, so that no person convict of heresy, and left to the secular power after the laws of holy church, shall forfeit his lands before that he be dead. And if any such person so convict be infeoffed, be it by fine, by deed, or without deed, in lands or tenements, rents, or services in fee or otherwise, or hath any other possessions or chattels by gift or grant of any person or persons to another's use, then to the use of such convicts, that the same lands nor tenements, rents nor services, nor such other possessions, nor chattels shall be forfeit to our sovereign lord the king in no wise. And moreover that the justices of the king's bench, and The justices justices of peace, and justices of assize, have full power to inquire of phall have all them which hold any errors or heresies, as lollards, and which Inquire of be their maintainers, receivers, favourers and sustainers, common against this writers of such books, as well of the sermons as of their schools, act, and to conventicles, congregations, and confederacies. And that this clause capins, be put in commissions of the justices of the peace. persons be indicted of any points aforesaid, the said justices shall have power to award against them a capias, and the sheriff shall be bound to arrest the person or persons so indicted as soon as he may them find by him or by his officers. And forasmuch as the cogni- and the of tance of heresy, errors, and lollardies belongeth to the judges of holy be delivered church, and not to secular judges : such persons indicted shall be to the ordi: delivered to the ordinaries of the places or to their commissaries, by ten days. indentures betwixt them to be made, within ten days after their arrest, or sooner if it may be, thereof to be acquit or convict by the laws of holy church, in case that these persons be not indicted of another thing, whercof the cognizance belongeth to the secular

and chattels.

And if any

« PreviousContinue »