« AnteriorContinuar »
(7.) THOMAS CAUSTON. (8.) THOMAS HIGBED, are here brought in by Fox, before the three which remain of those who were condemned with William Hunter, and I follow his order. He says that they were “two worshipful gentlemen in the county of Essex,
," the one of Horndon on the Hill, the other of the parish of Thundersley, and therefore clearly in Bonner's diocese. How soon they were questioned I do not find; but Fox says that they were zealous "and could not long lie hid and obscure ;” and, in fact, they were committed to Colchester Castle. In that place Bonner (I suppose on his visitation) accompanied by “Master Fecknam and others," visited them, “thinking to reclaim
them to his faction and fashion; so that great labour and diligence was taken therein, as well by terrors and threatenings, as by large promises, and flattering, and all fair means to reduce them again to the unity (as they termed it) of the mother church. In fine when nothing could prevail to make them assent to their doings, at length they came to this point”—the reader of course expects that Fox is going on to tell how the fire was instantly lighted, and the prisoners put into it;-but instead of that, “they [that is the said prisoners) "came to this point, that they required certain respite to consult with themselves what
best to do. Which time of deliberation (what it was he does not say] being expired, and they remaining still • constant and unmoveable in their professed doctrine, and
setting out also their confession in writing, the bishop seeing no good to be done in tarrying any longer there, departed thence and [left them for execution ? Not at all carried them both with him to London."
When they got to London they were committed to • strait prison, and there attempted sundry ways by the • bishop and his chaplains to revoke their opinions : at • length, when no persuasions would serve, they were brought to open examination at the Consistory in Paul's, the 27th day of February, 1555"," where they were asked by the
was condemned, and sent to be burnt near his father's house, where he suffered on the 20th of March."—Hist. Ref. Part II. B. ii. p. 286. Good reader, would you rather be known among your friends as the man who proffered the forty pounds, or the man who thus records it?
3 It seems as if the 17 and 18, which stand in some editions, should be 27 and 28 for two reasons--one that Fox says (p. 731, bottom), “the
say that I
bishop of London, the bishop of Bath and others, whether they would recant, and on their refusal they were remanded till the next day.
February 28. They appeared accordingly and “among many other things there said and passed,” Articles were ministered to them, which they were required to answer the next day. There is no need to notice any but the first, and that only because so much has been said of Bonner's going out of his bounds. It was, I presume, to be found in the articles of every prisoner brought into that court, “First,
that thou Thomas Causton (or Thomas Higbed) hast been • and art of the diocese of London, and also of the jurisdic'tion now of me, Edmund, bishop of London.”
March 1. They were brought up and exhibited their answers ; after which the bishop said to them, Because shall not be suddenly trapped, and that men shall not about to seek snares to
ut you away, I have hitherto respited you, that you should weigh and consider with yourself your state and condition, and that you
should while ye have time and space, acknowledge the • truth, and return to the unity of the catholic church." After further examination, they were ordered to appear on the next Wednesday; but it seems that they did not in fact appear again for a week; but
next brought up
Friday, March 8. The Bishop, Fecknam, and Dr. Stempe, appear to have reasoned with Causton, and notwithstanding his refusal to make any recantation, “the bishop still persuaded with him to recant.” But in vain. Then, “the bishop leaving master Causton calleth for master Higbed, using with him the like persuasions that he did with the other.” But equally in vain, and both were again remanded till the next day.
Saturday the 9th of March, they were brought up, the bishop caused Causton's articles to be read openly and then “persuaded with him to recant and abjure his heretical opinions and to come home now, at the last, to their mother the catholic church, and save himself.” Causton answered
next day was assigned them," &c., and then goes on (over leaf) " Upon that day, being the first day of March," &c.—The other reason is, that the 17th, said to be the day of their first appearance, was a Sunday.
the bishop, that he came there with no such purpose ; and producing a long confession of faith in the name of himself and Higbed, "required leave to read the same ; which, after great suit, was obtained. And so he read it openly in the hearing of the people.” Fox gives it with a title which states, that it was "delivered to the Bishop of London, before the Mayor and Sheriffs, and in the presence of all the people there assembled.” How far the proceeding was quite regular, I do not know; but I suppose it was a matter of indulgence, as it is said to have been granted only after “great suit.” And we may very well believe that the suit was granted on the Confession being previously looked at, and found to be (for such it really was) temperate, and free from those personal insults to the bishop, and those attacks on his faith, which he considered blasphemies, but in which too many of his prisoners were apt to indulge “in the presence of all the people.” At the same time it cannot be denied, that the bishop might be influenced by the consideration, that it was so bold, plain, and uncompromising, that it would clear him, and show “the people” that unless he should set aside all law there was but one course which he could pursue.
When the confession had been read, “the bishop, still persisting sometimes in fair promises, sometimes threatening 'to pronounce judgment, asked them whether they would o stand to this their confession and other answers?” To which Causton replied, that they would; “after which answer the bishop began to pronounce sentence against him."
But the prisoner interrupted him; and insisted on his right to have the confession which had been read, answered
by the truth of God's word;” and said that as he could “not have justice” (so he called a public disputation on these points of faith, in the Consistory Court, at this stage of its proceedings) he would appeal to Cardinal Pole. On this Dr. Smith offered to answer their confession ; but “ the bishop (not suffering him to speak) willed Harpsfield to say his mind, for the stay of the people ;” and he, according to Fox's account, "taking their confession in his hand, neither touched nor answered one sentence thereof." After this the bishop pronounced sentence on Causton; and then he proceeded to the articles and answers of Higbed. It is
needless to repeat the conversation which ended by the bishop's again asking him “whether he would turn from his
error, and come to the unity of their church? To whom ' he said, “No; I would ye should recant: for I am in the • truth, and you in error.' 'Well,' quoth the bishop, if 'ye will return, I will gladly receive you.' 'No,' said
Higbed, 'I will not return as you will have me, to believe ' in the sacrament of the altar, your God.' Whereupon the bishop proceeded, and gave judgment upon him.”
They were then delivered to the sheriffs of London by whom they were kept in Newgate a fortnight; after which (on the 23rd of March) they were delivered to the sheriff of Essex, and they were burned on the 26th of the same month. (9.) WILLIAM Pygot. (10.) STEPHEN KNIGHT.
. (11.) JOHN LAURENCE. After what has been just said (p. 359) of these three martyrs, it may be sufficient to add, that as it appeared that no quick dispatch had been made in bringing them to trial, so also, no indecent haste was made in executing the sentence pronounced against them. On the 9th of February Pygot and Knight were brought before the bishop "into his great chamber in his palace, where he persuaded with them to recant, and deny their former profession.”—“The Bishop also used certain talk unto John Laurence only”-that is, I presume, he conversed with the priest apart from the butcher and the barber-after which they joined the other prisoners, Tomkins and Hunter, in the Consistory whence after talk and “other fair words and threatenings,” they were remanded until the afternoon. “At that hour they came thither again, and there, after the accustomed manner, were exhorted to recant and revoke their doctrine, and receive the faith.” But, 66 when the bishop saw that neither his fair flatterings, nor yet his cruel threatenings, would prevail, he gave them severally their judgments."
They were immediately delivered to the Sheriffs of London, and Pygot and Knight were burned on the 28th, and Laurence on the 29th of March.
(15.) WILLIAM FLOWER, alias BRANCH. Of this “rash indiscreet man“," who rushed on the officiating priest at St.
• Barnet, Hist. of Reform. ij. 290.
Margaret's, Westminster, and shed his blood upon the consecrated hosts, I have had occasion to speak already (p. 192). Immediately on the commission of his offence, which was on Easter Sunday, the 14th of April, 1555, he was committed to the Gatehouse at Westminster. On the following Friday he was as Fox states, “convented before Bonner his Ordinary ;” and “the bishop, after he had sworn him upon a book (according to his ordinary manner) ministered Articles and interrogatories to him.” The Articles and the answers having been given, Fox proceeds ;—“After this examina' tion done, the bishop began after the best sort of his fine • divinity to instruct him, and exchort him to return again to the unity of his mother the catholic church, with such • reasons as he is commonly wont to use to others, promising
many fair things if he would so do, besides the remitting • of what was past.” Flower thanked him, but told him that though he might kill his body he had no power over his soul, and that he would never go from what he had spoken concerning the sacrament whatever might be done to him. The bishop remanded him till the afternoon, willing him “in the meantime, to advise himself of his former answers, whether he would stand to the same his opinions or no:” and when in the afternoon he was again brought up, “the bishop sitting in his Consistory, spake these words : * Branch, ye were this forenoon here before me, and made
answer to certain articles; and thereupon I respited you • till now, to the intent you should consider and weigh with ' yourself your state; and to remember while you have
time, both your abominable act, and also that evil opinion • which ye have conceived, touching the verity of Christ's • true natural body in the sacrament of the altar:' to whom • the said Branch answered again, and said as followeth : • That which I have said, I will stand to; and therefore I require that the law may proceed against me.'” The notary having thereupon again read over the articles, and he having asked, and obtained, leave to make one or two alterations in his answers, not affecting the principal questions, “the bishop turning again to his old manner of • exhorting, went about with words (and words only) to ' persuade him to submit himself to the catholic church, • and to the faith therof ;” and remanded him till the next day.