Foxe's Book of Martyrs
Account of William Minge and James Trevisam -- Examinations and Martyrdom of John Bland -- Account of Sheterden, Frankesh, and Middleton -- Story of Hall , Waid, and Margery Polley.
The day after master Bradford and John Leaf did suffer in Smithfield, William Minge, a priest, died in prison at Maidstone, being there confined for religion, and would, had he lived a little longer, doubtless have suffered the fury of his adversaries, whose nature was to spare and favour none that favoured Christ's pure gospel. William Minge, with as great constancy and boldness yielded up his life in prison, as other good and godly men had done before at the stake, being of the same spirit with them, and having the same glorious hope. Had it pleased God to spare him for the same fate, judging by his spirit and conversation, he would have been equally triumphant over the flames and over death in that apparently dreadful form.
The next individual was James Trevisam, of the parish of St. Margaret in Lothbury. Being impotent and lame, he kept his bed a long time. He had a servant named John Small, who was reading in the Bible, when Berd the promoter came to the house, and would needs go up stairs, where he found four persons besides him and his wife; namely, the young man that read, and two men and a woman. Berd apprehended and carried them all to the Compter, where they remained about a fortnight, notwithstanding all the friends they could make. Not only so, but Berd intended to carry the poor lame man to Newgate in a cart, but the neighbours, who had a little more humanity, prevented that barbarous design. Nevertheless, the poor man was obliged to have two sureties for his forthcoming; for he could not go out of his bed, being not only impotent, but also very sick the same time. So within a few days the said James lying in extremity, the parson of the church, master Farthing, came to him, and had communication with him, and agreed well and so departed. It happened after the priest was come down into the street, there met him one Toller, a founder. "Yea," saith he, "be ye agreed? I will accuse you, for he denieth the sacrament of the altar." Upon that the parson went to him again, and then the priest and he could not agree. So the parson went to the bishop of London, and told him. The bishop answered, that he should be burnt; and if he were dead, he should be buried in a ditch. And so, when he died, the parson was against his wife as much as he could, neither would let her have the coffin to put him in, nor anything else, but was fain to bear him upon a table to Moorfield, and there was he buried on the 3rd of July, 1555. The same night the body was cast up above the ground, and his sheet taken from him, and he left naked. After this the owner of the field, seeing him, buried him again. A fortnight after, the sumner came to his grave, and summoned him to appear at Paul's before his ordinary, to answer to such things as should be laid against him! But what more befell upon him, I have not certainly to say.
On the 12th of July, John Bland, John Frankesh, Nicholas Sheterden, and Humphrey Middleton, were all burned at Canterbury together of one cause. Frankesh and Bland were ministers and preachers of the word of God, the one being parson of Adisham, and the other vicar of Rolvendean. Mr. Bland was a man so little born for his own advantage, that no part of his life was separated from the common and public utility of all men. His first doings were devoted to the bringing up of children in learning. Under him were trained up several young men, who afterwards flourished. In this number was Dr. Sands, a man of singular learning and worthiness, as may well become a scholar for such a tutor.
After this coming to the ministry in the church of God, or rather being called thereto, he was inflamed with incredible desire to profit the congregation; which may appear by this, that whereas he was twice cast into Canterbury prison for preaching the gospel, and delivered once or twice from thence at the intercession of his friends, yet he would preach again, as soon as he was delivered. Being the third time apprehended, his friends yet once again would have found means to deliver him, if he would promise to abstain from preaching; but he stood in to earnestly, that he would admit no such condition, notably well expressing unto us the manner and example which we read in the apostle St. Paul--"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Tribulation, or anguish, or hunger, or nakedness, or persecution, or the sword?" But to express the whole life and doings of this godly martyr, seeing we have his own testimony concerning the same, it shall be best to refer the reader to his own report, writing to his father of the whole discourse of his troubles, from the beginning almost to the latter end, in order and manner as followeth:
"Dearly beloved father in Christ Jesus, I thank you for your gentle letters. And to satisfy your mind as concerning the troubles whereof you have heard, these shall both declare unto you all that has happened to me since you were with me, and also since I received your last letters. God keep you ever.
"First, on Sunday the 3rd of September, after the service was ended, ere I had put off my surplice, John Austen came to the Lord's table and laid both his hands upon it, saying, `Who set this here again?' Now they say they took the table down the Sunday before, which I knew not, neither do I know who set it up again. The clerk answered that he knew not. Then said Austen--`He is a knave, that set it here.' I was then going down the church, wondering what he meant, I said--`Goodman Austen, the queen's highness hath set forth a proclamation that you move no sedition.' Before I could speak any more, he called me a knave, repeating that by God's soul, I was a vary knave. Then my clerk spoke to him, but what I am not sure. He called us both heretic knaves, and said we had deceived too long already, and if we said any service here again, he would turn our table upside down. In that rage he, with others, took the table and laid it on a chest in the chancel, and set the tressels by it. Soon after, I rode to Mr. Isaac, and declared unto him how seditiously Austen had behaved himself. Mr. Isaac directed a warrant to the constable, which was immediately served, so that he was brought before him the same night, and was bound by recognizance, with sureties, to appear if he were called. But then we agreed so well, that it was never called for: and the table was brought down, and was permitted as before.
"On Sunday the 25th of November, Richard Austen and his brother Thomas came again to the table after the communion, and wished to speak with me. I said, `What is your will?' He said, `You know that you took down the tabernacle wherein the rood did hang, and such other things: we would know what recompence you would make us: for the queen's proceedings are that such things must be put up again.' Quoth I, `I know no such proceedings as yet; and as for that I did, I did it by commandment.' `No,' said Thomas Austen, `ye will not know the queen's proceedings.' `Yes,' said I, `I refuse not to know them.' Then said Richard, `Ye are against the queen's proceedings; for you say there are abominable uses and devilishness in the mass.' `Goodman Austen,' said I, `if I so said, I will say it again; and stand to the proof of it.' `Masters all,' said he, `bear record of these words;' and went his way.
"Quoth Thomas Austen, `Thou wilt as soon eat this book as stand to them.' `No,'quoth I, `not so soon.' `Tell us,' quoth he, `what that devilishness is that is in the mass.' `I have often preached it unto you,' said I, `and ye have not believed it, nor borne it away, nor will now either, though I should tell you.' `Thou art a heretic,' said he, `and hast taught us nothing but heresy.' And at the last he said, `Ye pulled down the altar: will ye build it again?' `No,' quoth I, `except I be commanded; for I was commanded to do that I did.' `Well, if you will not,' said he, `then will I; for I am churchwarden.' `I charge you,' said I, `that you do not, except you have authority.' `I will,' said he, `nor let for your charge. For we will have a mass here on Sunday, and a preacher that shall prove thee a heretic, if thou dare abide his coming.' `God willing,' quoth I, `I will; for he cannot disprove any doctrine that I have preached.' `Yes,' said Thomas, `and that thou shalt hear, if thou run not away ere then.' `No, goodman Austen, I will not run away.' `Marry, I cannot tell,' said he. With many other words, we departed out of the church.
" When the Sunday came, I looked for our preacher, and at the time of morning prayer I said to the clerk, `Why do ye not ring? Ye forget that we shall have a sermon to-day.' `No,' quoth he, `master Miles's servant hath been here this morning, and said his master hath letters from my lord chancellor, that he must go to London, and cannot come.' That day I did preach a sermon to them in his stead; and on making an end thereof I desired all men to conform the gospel, and to depart quietly in peace.
"Upon the Innocents' day, being the 28th of December, they had procured the priest of Stodmarsh to sat them mass. He had nigh made an end of matins ere I came; and, when he had ended, he said to me, `Master parson, your neighbours have desired me to say matins and mass; I trust ye will not be against the queen's proceedings.' `No,' quoth I, `I will offend none of the queen's majesty's laws, God willing.' `What say ye?' quoth he; and made as he had not heard. And I spake the same words to him again, with a higher voice; but he would not hear, though all the chancel heard. So I cried the third time, (that all in the church heard,) that I would not offend the queen's laws. Then he went to mass; and when he was reading the epistle, I beckoned the clerk unto me, and said unto him, `I pray you desire the priest, when the gospel is done, to tarry a little; I have something to say to the people.' And the clerk did so.
"Then the priest came down and sat in the stall; and I stood up in the chancel-door, and spake to the people of the great goodness of God, always shewn unto his people, unto the time of Christ's coming; and in him and his coming, what benefit they had; and among others I spake of the great and comfortable sacrament of his body and blood. And after I had briefly declared the institution, the promise of life to the good, and damnation to the wicked, I spake of the bread and wine, affirming them to be bread and wine after the consecration, as yonder mass book, saying--`Holy bread of eternal life, and the cup of perpetual salvation. As our bodily mouths eat the sacramental bread and wine, so doth the mouth of our souls, which is our faith, eat Christ's flesh and blood.' When I had made an end of that, I spake of the misuse of the sacrament in the mass; so that I judged it in that use no sacrament, and shewed how Christ bade us all eat and drink; and in the mass one only eateth and drinketh, and the rest kneel, knock, and worship. After these things ended, as briefly as I could, I spake of the benefactors of the mass, and began to declare who made the mass, and recited every man's name: but before I had rehearsed them all, the churchwarden and the constable his son-in-law, violently came upon me, took my book from me, pulled me down, and thrust me into the chancel, with an exceeding noise. Some cried, Thou heretic! some, You traitor! some, Thou rebel! and when every man had said his pleasure, and the rage was somewhat past, I asked them to be quiet, and let me speak to them quietly.
"But they would not hear me, and pulled me, one on this side, and another on that. Then Richard Austen said, `Peace, masters, no more till mass be done;' when they ceased. Then I said to the church warden and constable, each holding me by the arm; `Masters, let me go into the church-yard till your mass be done.' Said the churchwarden, `Thou shalt tarry here till mass be done. Thou shalt tarry, for if thou go out thou wilt run away.' Then I said to the constable, `Lay me in the stocks, and then you will be sure of me,' and turned my back to the altar. By that time Richard Austed had devised what to do with me, and called to the constable and churchwarden, and bade them put me into a side chapel, and shut the door on me, and there they kept me till mass was ended; when they came into the chapel to me, and searched what I had about me; and found a dagger, and took it from me. They brought me out of the church, and without the door they railed on me without pity or mercy; but anon the priest came out of the church, and Ramsey, who of late was clerk, said to me, `Sir, where dwell you?' Therefore Thomas Austen took him by the arm, and said, `Come on, sirrah, you are of his opinion,' and took his dagger from him, and said he should go with him.
"By this time John Gray, of Wingham, servant to John Smith, came in at the church-style, and seeing them hold Ramsey by the arms, said to him, `How now, Ramsey, have you offended the queen's laws?' Therewith Thomas Austen took him, and said, `You are one of their opinion, you shall go with them for company,' and took his dagger from him, and then demanded what he did there? but afterward they let him go. They carried me and Ramsey to Canterbury, guarded by eighteen persons. The next day they made a bill against me, but it served not their purpose, which was to have me in prison. But James Chapman and Bartholomew Joyes were bound in twenty pounds each for my appearance at the next general sessions, or in the mean time to appear, if I was sent for, before the queen's majesty's council, or any other commissioners sent by the queen's authority. Ramsey was bound to the peace, and to be of good behaviour till the next sessions. On the 23rd of February, Sir Thomas Finch, knight, and Mr. Hards, sent for me and my sureties to Finch's place, took me from my sureties, and sent me to the castle of Canterbury, where I lay ten weeks, and then was bailed and bound to appear at the next sessions at Canterbury: but after, they changed it to be at Ashford on Thursday in Witsun-week, being the 19th of May; but in the mean time the matter was exhibited to the spiritual court."
The first examination of John Bland in the Spiritual Court, before Harpsfield and Collins, May 18, 1554, as recorded by the said John Bland:
The 18th day of May, as aforesaid, master Harpsfield, archdeacon of Canterbury, made the mayor's sergeant to bring me before him and master Collins, commissary, into Christ's-church; and they went with me into a chamber, in the suffragan of Dover's house.
Then the archdeacon said, `Art thou a priest?' And I said, `I was one.' And he said, `Art thou a graduate of any university?' And I said, `Yea.' `What degree hast thou taken?' said he. `The degree of a master of arts,' I said. `The more pity,' quoth he `that thou shouldest behave thyself as thou hast done. Thou hast been a common licensed preacher, has thou not? And what hast thou preached?'
Bland. God's word, to the edifying, I trust, of his people.
Harps. No, no! to the destroying of their souls and thine both, except the mercy of God be all the greater. I pray thee, what hast thou preached: what one matter to the edifying of the people? I only desire to win thee from the heresies thou art strap in, and hast infected others withal. Thou hast preached, as I am informed, that the blessed sacrament of the altar is not the real body and blood of Christ after the consecration. Tell me, hast thou not thus preached; and is not this thy opinion?
Bland. Sir, I perceive that you seek some matter against me. But seeing that I am bound in the sessions to my good behaviour for preaching, which may be broken with words, and I know not with what words; and also both mine authority to preach, and my living taken from me, I think I am not bound to make you an answer.
Collins. Do you not remember that St. Peter biddeth you make answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the faith that is in you?
Bland. I know that, and am content so to answer as that text biddeth: but I am not asked after that manner, but rather to bring me into trouble.
Then they said, "No, ye shall not be troubled for anything ye say here."
Bland. For knowledge' sake I will commune with you, but not otherwise.
And so they reasoned more than an hour, of the sacrament, both against me. At the last, Collins said, "Master Bland, will ye come and take in hand to answer such matter on Monday next, as shall be laid to you?"
Bland. Sir, ye said I should not be troubled for anything said here.
And they said, "Ye shall not; but it is for other matters."
Bland. Sir, I am bound to appear, as some tell me, on Thursday next at Ashford: I am in doubt whether I can or no; yet I have purposed to be there, and so to London to master Wiseman for certain money owing, to pay my debts withal. But I can sustain no great loss if I go not. I pray you let me have a longer day; I cannot well come on Monday.
Harps. Wilt thou not come, when he so asketh where he may command?
Bland. Sir, I perceive it shall be for this or like matters: will it please you or master Collins, for God's sake, to confer Scriptures privately with me in this matter, seeing ye say ye would so gladly win me?
Harps. With all my heart will I take the pains, and I will also borrow what books thou wilt from the bishop's library.--And thus they departed.
Now the 17th of May, at Ashford, I could not be released, but was bound to appear at the sessions held at Cranbrook July 3rd. On the 21st of May I appeared in the Chapter-house, where was a great multitude of people; and Harpsfield said, "Ye are come here according as ye were appointed; and the cause is, that it hath pleased the queen's highness here to place me, to see God's holy word set forth, and to reform those that are here fallen into great and heinous errors, to the great displeasure of God, and the decay of Christ's sacraments, and contrary to the faith of the Catholic church, whereof thou art notably known to be one that is sore poisoned with the same, and hast infected and deceived many with thy evil preaching. This if thou wilt renounce, and come home again to the catholic church, both I and many others would be very glad: and I, for my part, shall be right glad to shew you the favour that lieth in me, as I said unto you when you were appointed hither, because you then refused to satisfy the people that you had deceived. And whereas it is feigned by you, that I should openly dispute the matter with you this day; although I did neither so intend nor appoint, yet I am content to dispute the matter with thee, if thou wilt not without disputation help to heal the souls that are brought hellward by thee. What sayest thou?
Bland. I do protest before God and you all, that neither is my conscience guilty of any error or heresy, neither that I ever taught any error or heresy willingly. And where you say that I have feigned an open disputation with you, it is not true, as I can thus prove. On Saturday I was at Ugden's, and there Mr. Bingham laid it to my charge that such an open disputation as you have here offered, should be this day between you and me. Whereat I much marvelled, and said to him, that before that present I never heard any such word; neither would I answer nor dispute. And to this masters Vaughan, Oxenden, Seth, and Ugden witness; and further, that I never spake to you of any disputation, nor you to me. Now, if you have anything to say to me, I will answer.
Harps. Hear ye what he saith? His conscience is clear. I pray thee whereon groundest thou thy conscience? Let me hear what thy faith is.
Bland. I know not why ye should more ask me a reason of my faith, than any other man in this open audience.
Harps. Why, thou heretic, art thou ashamed of thy faith? If it were a Christian belief, thou needest not be ashamed of it.
Bland. I am not ashamed of my faith: for I believe in God the Father, in Jesus Christ his only Son, and all the other articles of the creed; and I believe all the holy Scriptures of God. I will declare no more than this.
Harps. Well, I will tell thee whereon I ground my faith: I do believe and ground my faith and conscience upon all the articles of the creed, and upon all the holy Scriptures, sacraments, and holy doctors of the church, and upon all the general councils. Lo, hereupon ground I my faith!
When he could get no other answer of me than I had said before, he called for a scribe to make an act against me. And after much communication I said, "By what law and authority will you proceed against me?"
Master Collins said, "By the canon law."
Bland. I doubt whether it be in strength or no. Yet I pray you let me have a counsellor in the law, and I will make answer according to the law.
Harps. Why, thou heretic, thou wilt not confess thy faith to me, that have authority to demand it of thee; and yet I have confessed my faith to thee before all this audience. As concerning the blessed sacrament of the altar, thou hast taught, that after the consecration it is bread and wine, and not the body and blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ. How sayest thou, hast thou not thus taught?
Bland. Sir, as concerning this matter of the sacrament, when I was with you and Mr. Collins, you said then it was for other matters that I should come hither: and further, that you would be content at my desire to confer on the scriptures with me, to see if you could win me; and you said, you would borrow my lord of Dover's library, that I should have what book I would; and now you require me thus to answer, contrary to your promise, before any conference be had, and seek rather to bring me into trouble, than to win me.
Harps. I will, as God shall help me, do the best to thee that I can, if thou wilt be anything conformable; and I hope to dissolve all thy doubts, if thou be willing to hear. And I also will desire these two worshipful men, my lord of Dover and master Collins, to hear us.
Bland. No, you shall pardon me of that: there shall be no such witness, but, when we agree, set to our hands.--Hereat made the people a noise against me, for refusing the witness: and here had we many more words that I can rehearse. But at the last I said, "Sir, will you give me leave to ask you one question?" And he said, "Yea, with all my heart; for in that thou askest anything, there is some hope that thou mayest be won."
Bland. Sir, when it pleased Almighty God to send his angel unto the Virgin Mary to salute her, and said, `Hail, full of grace,' etc., came any substance from God our Father into the Virgin's womb to become man?--Whereat the archdeacon, as my lord of Dover and master Collins, stayed. But my lord spake first, and said, "The Holy Ghost came to her;" and ere he had brought out his sentence, Harpsfield added, "It was the power of God, sent by the Holy Ghost." But I said, "Sir, shall I ask one other question: Is there in the sacrament, after the consecration, Christ's natural body, with all the qualities of a natural body, or no?"
Harps. Hark! hear you this heretic? He thinks it an absurdity to grant all the qualities of Christ's natural body to be in the sacrament. But it is no absurdity: for even that natural body that was born of the virgin Mary is glorified, and that same body is in the sacrament after the consecration. But perceive you not the arrogancy of this heretic, that will put me to answer him, and he will not answer me? He thought to put me to a pinch with his question; for I tell you, it is a learned one.
Bland. If you be so much disconcerted with me, I will say no more; yet I would all men heard, that you say the glorified body of Christ is in the sacrament after the consecration.
Harps. I may call thee gross ignorant. Thou gross ignorant, is not the same body glorified that was born of the virgin Mary? Is it then any absurdity to grant that to be in the sacrament?--And while he spake many other words, I said to master Petit, that the sacrament was instituted, delivered, and received of his apostles, before Christ's body was crucified; and it was crucified before it was glorified; which saying Petit partly recited to master archdeacon.
Harps. Thou art without all learning. Was not Christ's body given to his apostles, as in a glorified act? And yet no inconvenience, although his natural body was not crucified; for when he was born of the Virgin Mary without pain, was not that the act of a glorified body? and when he walked on the water, and when he came into the house to his apostles, the doors being shut fast, were not these acts of a glorified body?--Then my lord of Dover helped him to a better place, and said, "When Christ was in Mount Tabor, he was there glorified in his apostles' sight."
Harps. Ye say truth, my lord; he was glorified in the sight of three of his apostles.
Bland. This methinks is new doctrine.
Harps. Well, seeing he will by no other way be reformed, let the people come in and prove these matters against him.--And therewith he brought forth a copy of the bill that was put against me at Christmas. Then he rose up and said, "See ye, good people that know this matter, that ye come in, and prove it against him. Whereunto answered Thomas Austen, "I pray you, let us be no more troubled with him." The master archdeacon departed, and left master Cooins to command me to appear the next day. Howbeit, for certain other urgent business that I had, I did not appear, but wrote a letter to master commissary, desiring him to respite the matter till my coming home again; and if he would, I would be content to submit myself to the law when I came home.
Now about the 28th day of June I came to master commissary to show him of my return, and offered myself to satisfy the law, if it were proceeded against me, before master Cox of Surrey, and Marks the apparitor; but he gently said, that he had done nothing against me; and so appointed me to appear before him the Friday seven-night after.
In the mean time was the sessions holden at Cranbrook, where I was bound to appear; and carrying surety with me to be bound again, (for I looked for none other,) did appear the 3rd of July. Then sir John Baker said, "Bland, ye are, as we hear say, a Scot; where were ye born and brought up?" And I said, "I was born in England." He said, "Where?" and I said, "In Sedberg, and brought up by one Dr. Lupton, provost of Eton college." "Well," said he, "I know him well. Remain to your bond till afternoon." Then said sir Thomas Moyle, "Ah, Bland, thou art a stiff-hearted fellow. Thou wilt not obey the law, nor answer when thou art called. Master sheriff, take him to your ward:" and the bailiff set me in the stocks, with others, and would not hear me speak one word. So we remained in the goal of Maidstone till a fortnight before Michaelmas, or thereabouts; and then were we carried to Rochester, to the assize holden there, where we, among the prisoners, remained two days. And when we were called, and the judges of assize asked our causes, when my cause was rehearsed, master Barrow, clerk of the peace, said that I was an excommunicate person.
Then master Roper of Linsted talked with the judges, but what I am not able to say: but the judges of assize said, "Take them to Maidstone again, and bring them to the sessions that shall be holden next at the town of Malden." Howbeit, the sheriff did not send for us; so we tarried at Maidstone till the sessions holden at Greenwich the 18th and 19th of February, [1555.] I and others, being within the bar amongst the felons, and irons upon our arms, were called out the latter day by the jailer and bailiffs, and eased of our irons, and carried by them into the town to sir John Baker, master Petit, master Webb, and two others whom I knew not.
Baker. Bland, wherefore were you cast into prison?
Bland. I cannot well tell. Your mastership cast me in.
Baker. Yea, but wherefore were you in before that time?
Bland. For an unjust complaint put upon me.
Baker. What was the complaint? (I told him as truly and briefly as I could.) Let me see thy book; (and I took him a Latin Testament.) Will ye go to the church, and obey and follow the queen's proceedings, and do as an honest man should do?
Bland. I trust in God to do no otherwise but as an honest man should do. Will it please your mastership to give me leave to ask you a question: May a man do anything that his conscience is not satisfied in to be good?
Baker. Away, away:--and threw down the book, and said, "It is no Testament." And I said, "Yes." Then master Webb took it up, and said, "Master Bland, I knew you when you were not of this opinion; I would to God ye would reform yourself:" with other words. I said, "If ye have known me of another opinion, it was for lack of knowledge."
Baker. Yea, sayest thou so? By St. Mary, and thou hold thee there, I will give six fagots to burn thee withal, ere thou shouldest be unburned: hence, knave, hence!
And so were we reprieved into our place again within the bar; and at night, when judgment of felons and all was done, we were called, and the judge said to the jailer, "Take them with you, and deliver them to the ordinary; and if they will not be reformed, let them be delivered to us again, and they shall have judgment and execution." And one of our company said, "My lord, if we be killed at your hands for Christ's sake, we shall live with him for ever."
Then came we to the castle of Canterbury, and there we remained till the 2nd of March, on which day we were brought into the chapter-house of Cree-church, where were set the suffragan of Canterbury, master Collins, master Mills, with others; and then went to them masters Oxenden, Petit, Webb, and Hardes, justices. And when I was called, Webb said, "Here we present this man to you as one vehemently suspected of heresy."
Bland. Mr. Webb, you have no cause to suspect me of heresy. I have been a prisoner this whole year, and no matter has been proved against me. I pray you, what is the reason that I have been kept so long in prison?
Webb. Leave you arrogant asking of questions, and answer to that which is laid to your charge.
Bland. I do so; for I say you have no cause to suspect me of heresy.
Webb. Yes; you denied to Sir John Baker, to be conformable to the queen's proceedings. Moreover, you were cast into prison, because you fled away from your ordinary.
Bland. Then have I had wrong: for I never fled nor disobeyed mine ordinary, nor did anything contrary to the law. Let them now say if I did.
But they said nothing; and when I saw they held their peace, I said, "Master commissary, have you been the cause of this my imprisonment? "No," said he. "Ye know that when ye went from me, ye were appointed to appear the Friday after the sessions." Here I was suffered to speak no more, but was shut up in a corner till my companions were presented; and then we were sent to Westgate into prison, and were put into several close holds, no man being permitted to come to us. We were four at this appearance: but one they dispatched, by what means I cannot tell, whose name was Cornwall, a tanner.
And thus hitherto passed the talk between Bland and the justices, and certain gentlemen of the shire. Now followeth the reasonings between him and the clergymen before whom he was examined. Let us hear his own report of his appearance before the commissary and others in the Spiritual Court, in the Chapter-house of Cree-church, March 9, 1555:
Collins. Master Bland, ye know that ye are presented unto us as one suspected of heresy. How say ye? Be ye contented to reform yourself to the laws of this realm, and of the holy church?
Bland. I deny that I am suspected justly of heresy; and this ye heard when I was presented, that I denied the suspicion to be just, but to defend the unjust punishment that I have suffered: neither can ye prove that any occasion hath been given by me, whereby any man should suspect me therein. But if ye have a law or authority to proceed against me for anything done for a whole year ago and more, I will answer to it.
Col. Ye were convented before master archdeacon and me, and matter of heresy laid to your charge.
Bland. That matter was done and said a whole year ago, for I have been in prison this year and more. If ye have anything against me by any law, I desire you to let me know the law and the matter, and I will answer according to the law.
Then said my lord suffragan, "But that I am one of the judges, I would rise, and stand by thee, and accuse thee to be a sacramentary, and bring witness to prove it; yea, that thou hast called the mass an abominable idol."
Bland. You, my lord, never heard me say so; but I heard you once say, that in your conscience ye had abhorred the mass three years.
"Thou liest," quoth he "I never said so."
Bland. My lord, if they might be heard, I can bring witness to approve it, with the day, time, and place; and I once did hear master Collins say, at a visitation in Wingham, that Christ was a full satisfaction for all sin, present, past, and to come; contrary to that he saith now.
Col. This is but a drift. You had better answer now; else you shall go to prison again, and be called on Monday, and have articles laid to you, and if ye then answer not directly, you shall be condemned as a heretic, and that will be worse for you.
Bland. Sir, I do not now, nor will then, deny to answer anything that you can lay to my charge by the law: wherefore I trust ye will let me have the benefit of the law.
Col. Well, on Monday, at nine of the clock, you shall see the law, and have articles laid unto you.
The following Monday we were brought to the same place again; but, as I did before, I demanded what they had to lay to my charge, and to see the law, which they said before I should see. Then they brought forth a decretal, a book of the bishop of Rome's law to bind me to answer, which my heart abhorred to look upon. The effect was, that the ordinary had authority to examine, and that those whom they so examined must needs answer. But I said that it meant such as were justly suspected, as I was not. And here we had much communication; for I charged them with unjust imprisonment, which they could not avoid.
Col. Are you willing to confer with some of us? It will be better for you; now we offer it, because you would not desire it.
Bland. As I did not refuse before, no more will I now. I expected Dr. Faucet would have come to me without desiring, if any profit to me had been in conference; for though I was never able to do him good, yet once I was his tutor.
Col. Will you come to his chamber in the afternoon?
Bland. Sir, I am a prisoner; and therefore it is meet that I obey, and come whither you will.--And so he departed.
Here followeth a certain confutation of master Bland against false and manifest absurdities, granted by master Mills, priest of Christ's church in Canterbury; which is also given as recorded by Bland himself:--
Mills. We say, that Christ is in or under the sacrament really and corporally, which are the forms of bread and wine, and that there is his body contained invisibly; and the qualities which we do see, as whiteness and roundness, be there without substance by God's power, as quantity and weight be there also by invisible measure.
Bland. This is your own divinity, to make accidents the sacrament, and Christ's real body invisibly contained in them, and so to destroy the sacrament altogether. And yet the doctors say, the matter of the sacrament is bread and wine. And God by his power worketh no miracles with "Hocest corpus meum," so to change the substance of bread and wine into his body and blood, in that he maketh accidents to be without their substance by invisible measure. I am ashamed to see you so destroy Christ's sacrament, contrary to your own doctors, and trifle so with God's work.
Mills. We eat Christ's flesh and blood spiritually, when we receive it with faith and charity; and we also do eat it corporally in the sacrament. And the body that we so receive hath life; for the Godhead is annexed thereto: which, although it be received with the body of Christ, yet it is not visible after a gross sort. And the flesh of Christ that we receive is lively; for it hath the Spirit of God joined to it. And if a man be drunken, it is not by receiving of the blood of Christ; for it is contrary to the nature of Christ's blood. If he be drunken, it is by the qualities and quantities, without substance of blood.
Bland. I am glad that you are so much against all men, to say that Christ's body is alive in the sacrament: it may fortune to bring you to the truth in time to come. Me thinketh it is evil to keep Christ's body alive in the pix; or else must ye grant, that he is alive in receiving, and dead in the pix. And ye say truth, that it is not the natural receiving of Christ's blood that maketh a man drunken, for it is the nature of wine that doth that; which ye deny not. And a more truth ye confess than ye did think, when ye said, "If a man be drunken, for it is the nature of wine that doth that; which ye deny not. And a more truth ye confess than ye did think, when ye said, "If a man be drunken, it is by the qualities and quantities, without the substance of blood;" for indeed blood hath no such qualities with it: by which it is evident that there is no natural blood. If a man be drunken with wine consecrated, it must be a miracle, as I think you will have it, that the said accidents should be without their natural substance, and work all the operations of both substance and accidents: and so it followeth, that a man may be drunken by miracle. The body that ye receive, ye say, is alive, because it is annexed to the Godhead; and the flesh that ye receive is lively, because it hath the spirit of God joined to it. This division is of your new inventions, to divide the body and the flesh; the one alive by the Godhead, the other lively by God's Spirit, and both one sacrament: ye make of it a thing so fantastical, that ye imagine a body without flesh, and flesh without a body; as ye do qualities and quantities without substance, and a living body without qualities and quantities.
Mills. If case so require, and there be a godly intent in the minister to consecrate, after the consecration thereof, there is present the body and blood of Christ, and no other substance but accidents without substance, to a true believer.
Bland. You grant three absurdities, that in a tun of wine consecrated is nothing but accidents: and to increase it withal, you have brought in two inconveniences; first, that it is not the word of God that doth consecrate, but the intent of the priest must help it. And if that lack, ye seem to grant no consecration, though the priest speak the word; and yet your doctors say, that the wickedness of the priest minisheth not the sacrament. And to an unbeliever ye seem to say, that it is not the same that it is to the true believer; and then must the believer have something to do in the consecration. "Incidit in Scyllam, qui vult vitare Charibdim."
Mills. The substance of Christ's body doth not fill the mouse's belly; for although he doth receive the outward forms of bread and wine, yet he doth not receive the substance inwardly, but without violation. And a mouse doth not eat the body of Christ, to speak properly; for it doth not feed him spiritually or corporally, as it doth man, because he doth not receive it to any inducement of immorality to the flesh.
Bland. Ye make not your doctrine plain to be understood: we must know how a mouse can receive the substance inwardly and outwardly. Ye say he doth not receive the substance inwardly, but without violation: ergo, with violation he receiveth the substance inwardly. Ye say that the mouse cannot violate Christ's body; but he violateth the substance that he eateth. And this your proper speech doth import as much as that the mouse should eat the sacrament to as great effect, and the same thing, as doth the unworthy receiver; for, if that be the cause that he properly eateth not the body of Christ, because he doth not feed upon it spiritually nor corporally, nor receiveth it to any inducement of immortality, as ye say; then it followeth that the unbeliever and the mouse receive both one thing. And yet it cannot be denied but the mouse will live with consecrated bread; and then ye must grant the absurdity, that a substance is nourished and fed only with accidents.
Mills. Men's bodies be fed with Christ's body, as with immortal meat, by reason of the Godhead annexed to eternal life; but men's bodies be corporally nourished with qualities and forms of bread and wine: and we deny that, by the sacramental eating, any gross humour turned into blood is made miraculously in the body.
Bland. Whereas it cannot be denied that a man may live, and be nourished in his natural body with the sacramental bread and wine consecrated, you cannot avoid that: but then you turn to the spiritual nourishing of man's body, by Christ's body and Godhead annexed, which is not to put away the absurdity, that either a man's natural body should be fed naturally with accidents, or else to have them changed into gross humours.
Mills. If the forms of bread and wine be burned, or worms engendered, it is no derogation to the body of Christ, because the presence of his body ceaseth to be there, and no substance cometh again.
Bland. Ye grant here, that a substance may be made of accidents, as ashes or worms; but I think you will have it by your miracles. And this I count a more absurdity than the other, that Christ's body should cease to be there, and no substance to come again; for no word in all the Bible seems to serve you for the ceasing of his presence, though we granted you, (which we do not,) that it were there. God Almighty open your heart, if it be his will and pleasure, to see the truth. And if I thought not my death to be at hand, I would answer you to all the rest, in these and all other my doings. I submit myself to our Saviour Jesus Christ, and his holy word, desiring you in the bowels of Christ to do the same.
At last on the 13th day of June this blessed and faithful servant of God was brought before Thornton, bishop of Dover, Robert Collins, the commissary, and Nicholas Harpsfield, the archdeacon, at Canterbury. Under these a great sort of innocent lambs of Christ were cruelly entreated and slain at Canterbury, among whom this aforesaid master Bland was the first. To whom it was objected by the commissary, whether he believed that Christ is really in the sacrament, or no, ect. To this he answered and said, that he believed that Christ is in the sacrament, as he is in all other good bodies: so that he judged not Christ to be really in the sacrament. Whereupon, the day being Monday, he was bid to appear again upon Wednesday next; and from thence he was deferred again to Monday following, being the 20th of June, in the same chapter-house, then to hear further what should be done, in case he would not relent to their mind. The which day and place he, appearing as before, was required to say his mind plainly and fully to the foresaid articles, being again repeated to him: which articles, commonly and in course, they use to object to their examinates which be brought before them, and which need not again to be repeated. These articles being ministered, and his answers taken, respite was given him yet a few days to deliberate with himself. So, on the 25th day of the same month of June, he making his appearance again in the said chapter-house, there openly and boldly withstood the authority of the pope; whereupon his sentence was read, and so he was condemned and committed to the secular power. Touching the form and tenor of the sentence, because all their sentences of course agree in one, read before in the history of other godly martyrs.
Having now passed over the examinations of master Bland, let us proceed to his fellow-captives, being joined the same time with him in the like cause and like affliction; the names of whom were Nicholas Sheterden, John Frankesh, Humfrey Middleton, Thacker, and Cocker, of whom Thacker only gave back. The rest constantly standing to the truth, were altogether condemned by the suffragan of Canterbury the 25th day of June; touching whose examinations I shall not need long to stand. Forasmuch as the articles ministered against them were all one, so in their answers they little or nothing disagreed. And because Nicholas Sheterden had most talk with the archdeacon and the commissary, I will first begin with the same as recorded by himself.
First, the archdeacon and commissary affirmed, that the very bare words of Christ, when he said, "This is my body," did change the substance, without any other interpretation or spiritual meaning of the words.
Sheterden. Then, belike, when Christ said, "This cup is my blood," the substance of the cup was changed into his blood, without any other meaning; and so the cup was changed, and not the wine.
Arch. Not so; for when Christ said, "This cup is my blood," he meant not the cup, but the wine in the cup.
Shet. If Christ spake one thing and meant another, then the bare words did not change the substance; but there must be a meaning sought as well of the bread as of the cup.
Arch. There must be a meaning sought of the cup otherwise than the words stand. But of the bread it must be understood only as it standeth.
Shet. Then do you make one half of Christ's institution a figure, and the other half a plain speech; and so ye divide Christ's supper.
Arch. Christ meant the wine, and not the cup, though he said, "This cup is my blood."
Shet. Then show me whether the words which the priests speak over the cup change the substance, or whether the mind of the priest doth it.
Arch. The mind of the priest doth it, and not the words.
Shet. If the mind of the priest doth it, and not the words, if the priest then do mind his harlot, or any other vain thing, that thing so minded was there made, and so the people do worship the priest's harlot instead of Christ's blood. And again, none of the people can tell when it is Christ's blood, or when it is not, seeing the matter standeth in the mind of the priest; for no man can tell what the priest meaneth but himself; and so are they ever in danger of committing idolatry. Then was the archdeacon somewhat moved, and sat him down, and said to the commissary, "I pray you, master commissary, speak you to him another while: for they are unreasonable and perverse answers, as ever I heard of" Then stood up the commissary, and said--"Your argument is much against yourself; for ye grant that the bread is a figure of Christ's body; but the cup can be no figure of his blood, nor yet his very blood; and therefore Christ did not mean the cup, but the wine in the cup."
Shet. My argument is not against me at all; for I do not speak it to prove that the cup is his blood, nor the figure of his blood, but to prove that the bare words being spoken of the priest, do not change the substance no more of the bread, than they do change the cup into blood. It still remaineth for you to answer my question to the archdeacon--whether the mind of the priest when he speaketh over the cup, doth change it into blood, or the bare words?
Com. Both together doth it, the words and the mind of the priest together; yea, the intent and words together do it. Shet. If the words and intents together do change the substance, yet must the cup be his blood, and not the wine, forasmuch as the words are--"This cup is my blood," and the intent, ye say, was the wine; or else the words take none effect, but the intent only.
Com. It was the intent of the priest before his went to mass, without the words;f or if the priest did intend to do as holy church had ordained, then the intent made the sacrament to take effect.
Shet. If the sacraments take effect of the intent of the priest, and not of God's word, then many parishes having a priest that intendeth not well, are utterly deceived both in baptizing, and also worshiping that thing to be God which is but bread, because for lack of the priest's intent, the words do take none effect in it; so that by this it is ever doubtful, whether they worship Christ, or bread, because it is doubtful what the priests do intend. Then the commissary would prove to me, that Christ's manhood was in two places at one time, by these words of Christ in the third chapter of John; where he saith, "No man ascendeth up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven; that is to say, the Son of man which is in heaven." By this he would prove that Christ was then in heaven and no earth also, naturally and bodily.
Shet. This place and other places of scripture must needs be understood of the unity of the person, in that Christ was God and man; and yet the matter must be referred to the Godhead, or else ye must fall into great error.
Com. That is not so; for it was spoken of the manhood of Christ, forasmuch as he saith, the Son of Man which is in heaven.
Shet. If ye will needs understand it to be spoken of Christ's manhood, then must ye fall into the error of the Anabaptists, who deny that Christ took flesh of the Virgin Mary; for if there be no body ascended up, but that which came down, where is then his incarnation? for then he brought his body down with him.
Com. Lo, how you seek an error in me, and see not how ye err yourself! For it cannot be spoken of the Godhead, except ye grant that God is passable; for God cannot come down, because he is not passable.
Shet. If that were a good argument, that God could not come down, because he is not passable; then it might be said by the like argument, that God could not sit, and then heaven is not his seat, and then say as some do, that God hath no right hand for Christ to sit at. Com. It is true that God hath no right hand indeed.
Shet. Oh, what a spoil of Christ's religion will this be, that because we cannot tell how God came down, therefore we shall say, that he came not down at all; and because we cannot tell what manner of hand he hath, to say that he hath no hand at all; and then he cannot reach the utmost part of the sea. O misery! at length will it come to pass, that God cannot sit, and then how can heaven be his seat; and if heaven be not his seat, then there is no heaven; and then at length I doubt ye will say there is no God, or else no other God but such as the heathen gods are, which cannot go nor feel.
Com. Why, doth not the scripture say, that God is a spirit? and what hand can a spirit have?
Shet. Truth it is, God is a spirit, and therefore is worshiped in spirit and truth; and as he is a spirit, so hath he a spiritual power, so hath he a spiritual seat, a spiritual hand, and a spiritual sword; which we shall feel, if we go this way to work. Because we know not what God hath, therefore if we say he hath none, then it may as well be said there is no Christ.
Then the commissary said, he would talk no more with me; and so departed. And also he was compelled grant, that Christ's testament was broken, and his institution was changed from that he left it: but he said they had power so to do.
My first answering, after their law was established; written from Westgate by me, Nicholas Cherterden: Because I know that ye will desire to hear from me some certainty of my state, I was called before the suffragan, and seven or eight of the chief priests, and examined of certain articles; and then I required to see their commission. They showed it to me, and said, "There it is, and the king and queen's letters also." Then I desired to have it read: and so in reading I perceived, that on some notable suspicion he might examine upon two articles: Whether Christ's real presence were in the sacrament; and whether the church of England be Christ's catholic church. To that I answered, that I had been a prisoner three quarters of a year, and as I thought wrongfully: reason would, therefore, that I should answer to those things wherefore I was imprisoned.
The suffragan said, his commission was, I must answer directly yea or nay. This commission, said I, was not general to examine whom ye will, but on just suspicion. He said I was suspected, and presented to him. Then I required that the accusation might be showed. He said he was not bound to show it; but he commanded me in the king and queen's name to answer directly.
Shet. And I, as a subject, do require of you justice. for that I have done I ask no favour.
Suff. Thou wast cast into prison because thou wast suspected.
Shet. That was a pretty suspicious, because I suffered imprisonment contrary to God's law and the realm, that therefore I must now, for amends, be examined of suspicion without cause, to hide all the wrong done to me before. For when I was cast into prison, there was no law but I might speak as I did; therefore, in that point, I could be no more suspected than you, who preached the some yourself not long before. All men shall know, that as ye suspect and prove no cause, so shall ye condemn me without a matter, and then shall all men know ye seek my blood, and not justice.
Suff. No, we seek not thy blood, but thy conversion.
Shet. That we shall see. For then shall you prove my perversion first, before you condemn me on your suspicion without proof of the same: and by that I shall know whether you seek blood or no. If you could prove that men might wrongfully imprison before a law, and in the meanwhile make laws, and then, under that, hide the first offence, then you say true, or else not.---(From Westgate, in haste: Nicholas Sheterden.)
The next examination of Nicholas Sheterden before the bishop of Winchester, then lord chancellor, as recorded by himself:--I was called into a chamber before the lord chancellor, the suffragan, and others--priests, I think, for the most part. He standing to the table, called me to him, and because I saw the cardinal was not there, I bowed myself and stood near. Then said he, "I have sent for you, because I hear you are indicted for heresy; and, being called before the commissioners, ye will not answer nor submit yourself." I said, " If it like you, I did not refuse to answer; but I did plainly answer, that I had been in prison long time, and reason it was that I should be charged or discharged for that, and not to be examined of articles to hide my wrong imprisonment; neither did I know any indictment against me. If there were any, it could not be just, for I was not abroad since the law was made."
Winchester. If thou wilt declare thyself to the church to be a Christian, thou shalt go, and then have a writ of wrong imprisonment.
Shet. I have no mind to sue now, but require to have justice: make a promise I will not; but if I offend the law, then punish me accordingly. For it might be that my conscience was not persuaded, nor would be, in prison: seeing these things which I have learned, were by God's law openly taught and received by the authority of the realm.
Win. It was not a few that could be your guides in understanding, out the doctors and the whole church; now, whom wouldst thou believe? either the few or the many?
Shet. I did not believe for the few or for the many, but only for him that bringeth the word, and shewed it to me to be so, according to the process thereof.
Win. Well, then, if an Arian come to thee with scripture, thou wilt believe him, if he shew this text--"My Father is greater than I."
Shet. No, my lord, he must bring me also the contrary place, and prove them both true, where he saith--"My Father and I are one."
So, after many words, Winchester came to the church's faith, and comely orders of ceremonies and images. And then I joined to him again with the commandments. He said, that was done that no false thing should be made, as the heathen would worship a cat, because she killed mice. I said that it was plain that the law forbade not only such, but even to make an image of God to any likeness. He asked, where find ye that?
Shet. Forsooth, in the law where God gave them the commandments: for he said, "Ye saw no shape, but heard a voice only:" and added a reason why, "lest they should after make images, and mar themselves."
Winchester said, I made a goodly interpretation. I said, no, it was the text. Then was the Bible called for; and when it came, he bade me find it, and I should strait be confounded with mine own words; so that if there were any grace in me, I would trust mine own wit no more. And when I had read it aloud, he said, "Lo, here thou mayest see; this is no more to forbid the images of God, than of any other beast, fowl, or fish," (the place was Deut. iv.) I said it did plainly forbid to make any of these an image of God, because no man might know what shape he was of. Therefore might no man say of any image, "This is an image of God."
Win. Well, yet by your leave, so much as was seen we may; this is, of Christ, of the Holy Ghost; and the Father who appeared to Daniel.
Shet. That is no proof that we may make images contrary to the commandment; for though the Holy Ghost appeared like a dove, yet was he not like in shape, but in certain qualities; and therefore when I saw the dove, I might remember the Spirit to be simple and loving, ect.
With that Winchester was somewhat moved, and said I had learned my lesson; and asked me who taught me, with many more words. And he said he would prove how good and profitable images were to teach the unlearned, ect. At the last I said, "My lord, although I were able to make never so good a gloss upon the commandments, yet obedience is better than all our good intents:" and much ado we had. At last he saw, he said, what I was, and how he had sent for me for charity's sake to talk with me, but now he would not meddle; and said my wrong imprisonment could not excuse me, but I must clear myself. I said that was easy for me to do; for I had not offended. Winchester said, I could not escape so; there I was deceived. I said, "Well, then I am under the law," ect. The archdeacon was there called in for me, and he laid to me, that with such arrogancy and stoutness as never was heard, I behaved myself before him; whereas he was minded with such mercy towards me, ect. I declared that herein he falsely reported me, and brought in the queen's proclamation that none should be compelled, till the law were to compel. "And I did use him then," said I, "as I use your grace now, and no otherwise."
Winchester said that I did not use myself very well now. I said, I had offered myself to be bailed, and to confer with them, when and where they would.--Winchester said, I should not confer, but be obedient. I said, let me go, and I will not desire to confer neither; and when I offended, let them punish me: and so departed.--By your brother, Nicholas Sheterden.
And thus much concerning the examinations of Nicholas Sheterden and master Bland. Now to touch something of the other martyrs, which were the same time examined, and suffered with them together; to wit, Humfrey Middleton, of Ashford, and John Frankest, vicar of Rolvendean, in the diocese of Kent. Here first should be declared the articles, which publicly, in their last examinations, were jointly and severally ministered unto them by the foresaid Thornton, bishop of Dover. But forasmuch as these are already expressed in the story of master Bland, it shall not be needful.
To these seven articles then being propounded to the four persons above named, first answered John Frankesh somewhat doubtfully, desiring further respite to be given him of fourteen days to deliberate with himself, which was granted. Master Bland answered flatly and roundly, as before ye heard. Nicholas Sheterden and Humfrey Middleton answered to the first and second articles affirmatively. To the third, concerning the catholic church, after a sort they granted. To the fourth, fifth, and sixth, concerning the real presence, and the sacrament to be administered in the Latin tongue, and in one kind, they utterly refused to answer. Sheterden said, he would not answer thereto, before the cause were determined why he was imprisoned, and so still remained prisoner, before the laws of parliament were known and ascertained. Middleton added moreover and confessed, that he believed in his own God, saying--"My living God, and no dead god for me!" These four, upon their answers, were condemned by the suffragan of Dover the 25th day of June, 1555.
Being delivered to the secular power, they were all burnt together at Canterbury, on the 12th of July, at two several stakes, but in one fire, were they in the sight of God and of his holy angels, and before men, like true soldiers of Jesus Christ, gave a constant testimony to the truth of his holy gospel. A few days before he suffered, Sheterden wrote affectionately to his wife and mother, and also two letters to his brother.
In the same month of July followed the martyrdoms of Nicholas Hall, bricklayer, and Christopher Waid, of Dartford, linen-weaver, which both were condemned by Maurice, bishop of Rochester, about the last day of June. The six articles administered to them were the same as others which have been mentioned: That they were christian men and professed the catholic determinations of our holy mother church: That they who maintain or hold otherwise than our holy mother the catholic church doth, are heretic: That they hold and maintain, that in the sacrament of the altar, under the forms of bread and wine, is not the very body and blood of Christ; but that the body of Christ is verily in heaven only, and not in the sacrament: That they have and do hold and maintain, that the mass, as it is now used in the catholic church, is naught and abominable: That they have been, and be amongst the people of that jurisdiction vehemently suspected upon the premises, and thereupon indicted.
To these articles they answered rather variously, and thus proved themselves to be honest men as well as christians. Hall denied to call the catholic and apostolic church his mother, because he found not this word Mother in the scriptures. Concerning the very body and blood of Christ to be under the forms of bread and wine in substance, they would not grant; affirming the very body of him to be in heaven, and the sacrament to be a token or remembrance of Christ's death. Hall adding moreover, That whereas before he held the sacrament to be but only a token or remembrance of Christ's death, now he said, that there is neither token nor remembrance, because it is now misused and clean turned from Christ's institution. Concerning the mass in the fourth article, to be abominable, Waid, with the other, answered, that as they had confessed before, so they would not now go from what they had said. To the fifth article for the people's suspicion, they made no great account nor difficulty to grant the same.
And thus much concerning the articles and answers of these good men: which being received, immediately sentence of condemnation was pronounced by the said Maurice. Nicholas Hall was burned at rochester about the 19th day of July; and Christopher Waid, about the same time, at Dartford. Furthermore, with the aforesaid Hall and Waid, three others were condemned, whose names were Joan Beach, widow, John Harpol, of Rochester,a nd Margery Polley: of which latter, touching her examination and condemnation, here followeth in story.
Margery Polley, widow of Richard Polley of Pepenbury, was accused and brought before the said Maurice, bishop of Rochester; which bishop, rising out of the chair of his majesty, in the swelling style, after his ordinary fashion, to dash the silly poor woman, began in these words:
"We Maurice, by the sufferance of God, bishop of Rochester, proceeding of our mere office in a cause of heresy against thee, Margery Polley, of the parish of Pepenbury, of our diocese and jurisdiction of Rochester, do lay and object against thee all and singular these articles ensuing. To which, and to every parcel of them, we require of thee a true, full, and plain answer, by virtue of thine oath thereupon to be given." The oath being administered, and the articles, which were the same as those against Hall and Waid, commenced against her, she so framed her answers, especially to the third and fourth article, that she neither allowed the deity of the sacrament, nor the absurdity of the mass. Upon which sentence was read against her, and she was condemned for the same. Her death followed not immediately, but took place same days after, about the time that Waid was burnt. They were brought out together, though they did not suffer at the same hour nor on the same spot.
Christopher Waid, as has been intimated, was sentenced to be burnt at Dartford. On the day appointed for his execution, which was in the month of July, there was carried out of town betimes in the morning in a cart, a stake, and therewith many bundles of reeds, to a gravel-pit, the common place for the execution of felons. Thither also was brought a load of fagots and tall wood: unto which place resorted the people of the country in great numbers, and there tarried his coming, insomuch that thither came divers fruiterers with horse-loads of cherries, and sold them. About ten of the clock came the sheriff, with a great many other gentlemen and their retinue appointed to assist him, and with them Christopher Waid and Margery Polley, riding pinioned, and both singing a psalm. As soon as Margery Polley espied afar off the multitude gathered about the place where he should suffer, waiting his coming, so said unto him very loud and cheerfully, "You may rejoice, Waid, to see such a company gathered to celebrate your marriage this day."
And so, passing by the place, which joined hard to the highway, they were carried straight down to the town, where Margery was kept until the sheriff returned from Waid's execution. And Waid being made ready, and stripped out of his clothes at an inn, had brought unto him a fair long white shirt from his wife, which being put on, he was led on foot to the foresaid place. And coming straight to the stake, he took it in his arms, embracing it, and kissed it, setting his back unto it, and standing in a pitch-barrel, which was taken from the beacon, being hard by. Then a smith brought a hoop of iron, and with two staples made him fast to the stake under his arms. Thus fixed, with his eyes and hands lifted up to heaven, he repeated with a cheerful and loud voice the last verse of the 86th Psalm--"Shew some good token upon me, O Lord, that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, Lord, hast helped me, and comforted me." Near to the stake was a little hill, upon the top whereof were set up four stays, quadrangle-wise, with a covering round about like a pulpit: into which place, as Waid was thus praying at the stake, entered a friar with a book in his hand; whim when Waid espied, he cried earnestly unto the people, to take heed of the doctrine of the whore of Babylon, exhorting them to embrace that gospel preached in king Edward's days. While he was thus speaking to the people, the sheriff interrupted him, saying, "Be quiet, Waid, and die patiently." "I am quiet," said he, "I thank God, Mr. Sheriff, and so trust to die." All this while the friar stood still looking over the coverlet, as though he would have uttered somewhat: but Waid strongly admonished the people to beware of that doctrine; which when the friar perceived, weather he was amazed, or could have and audience of the people, he withdrew immediately, without speaking any word, and went down to the town. Then the reeds being set about the martyr, he pulled them, and embraced them in his arms, and again addressed the people louder than before. His tormentors perceiving this, cast fagots at him; but notwithstanding, he still put them off, his face being hurt with the end of a fagot. Then the fire being kindled he cried unto God often, "Lord Jesus, receive my soul," without any token or sign of impatience; till at length he was no longer heard to speak, but still holding his hands together over his head towards heaven, even when he was dead, as though they had been stayed up with a pro standing under them.
--Footnote marker a--BT 4 words "in a glorified act?
How can Christ's glorified body be in the sacrament, wherin the sacrament was given before that body was crucified, and it was crucified before it was glorified? "The body unglorified was given in the sacrament, in a glorified act," quoth Harpsfield.