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The Lollards

Or Some Account of the Witness for the Truth in Great Britain, Between the Years 1400 and 1546; with a Brief Notice of Events Connected with the Early History of the Reformation.

The Religious Tract Society

1826 Edition (Originally published as a Series of Tracts)

Hail & Fire REPRINTS 2009

The Lollards; or Some Account of the Witness for the Truth in Great Britain, Between the Years 1400 and 1546; with a Brief Notice of Events Connected with the Early History of the Reformation (1826 Edition, The Religious Tract Society)

HAIL & FIRE REPRINTS 2009

"They were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment." Hebrews 11:35-36

"Whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation: Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever." Hebrews 13:7-8

"Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." Revelation 2:10

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The Lollards, or Some Account of the Witness for the Truth in Great Britain, Between the Years 1400 and 1546; with a Brief Notice of Events Connected with the Early History of the Reformation. (1826 Edition, The Religious Tract Society)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

PREFACE.

INTRODUCTION - giving a Brief Account of the Rise and Progress of Romanism.

PART I.

The state of true Religion in England in the Fourteenth Century.

Bradwardine.

[Wycliffe, Wyclif, or] Wickliff's Translation of the Bible.

The Lollards.

Queen Anne.

Persecutions.

Law for burning Heretics.

William Sawtree, the first English Martyr.

John Badby.

Transubstantiation.

William Thorpe.

Superstitions.

Trial and Condemnation of Lord Cobham.

PART II.

Lord Cobham escapes from the Tower.

A small company of the Lollards meet in St. Giles's Field, and are taken Prisoners, condemned, and executed.

Apprehension and Execution of Lord Cobham.

Claydon.

Taylor.

Florence.

White.

Persecutions in Norfolk.

Wickliff's Bones burned.

Bishop Pecock.

John Goose.

Canons of Archbishop Neville.

Tylsworth burned at Amersham, his daugther compelled to set fire to the Pile.

Chase, and others.

Progress of the Doctrine of Transubstantiation.

Invention of Printing.

Commencement of the Reign of Henry the Eighth.

John Brown.

Agnes Greville.

Opposition to the Scriptures.

Sweeting and Brewster.

PART III.

Dissolute conduct of the Ecclesiastics.

Contests repecting the Claims of the Clergy for exemption from the usual course of Law.

Murder of Richard Hunne.

Reformation in Germany.

Preachers among the Lollards.

Thomas Mann, and others.

Seven Martyrs burned in one Fire, at Coventry, for teaching their Children the Ten Commandments in English.

Persecutions in the Diocese of Lincoln.

Doctrines of the Lollards.

Penances inflicted on those who abjured.

Discontent at these Persecutions, and at the encroachments of the Clergy.

King Henry's Book against Luther.

Persecutions in the Diocese of London.

John Tyball.

Unfounded Accusations of the Papists against Fox's Acts and Monuments [or abridged version: Fox's Book of Martyrs].

PART IV.

Henry the Eighth.

More Persecutions.

Bishop Tonstal's Mandate against the English Testament.

Tindal.

Some Account of his Translation of the Testament, the first that was printed in the English Language.

Many copies purchased by the Bishop of London, and burned at Paul's Cross.

Proceedings against those in whose possession they were found.

Tracts against the Errors of the Church of Rome circulated.

Supplication of the Beggars.

Sir Thomas More.

Frith's Book on Purgatory.

These Tracts actively distributed.

Some of them reach the King.

Bilney.

Some account of him.

His Examination before Bishop Tonstal.

His Letters to the Bishop.

Is persuaded to recant.

His deep Sorrow and Repentance for having done so.

PART V.

Bilney laments his Recantation, and determines again to declare the truths of the Gospel.

Is apprehended and burned at Norwich, as a relapsed Heretic. Latimer, at first a zealous Papist. Converted by Bilney, preaches the Gospel.

His faithful Letter to the King.

Appointed to a Living.

Accused by the Papists.

Defends himself.

Reasons why he had rather be in Purgatory than in Lollard's Tower!

Brought before the Archbishop.

Allowed to explain.

Dr. Hubberdin, a warm Advocate for Popery.

Martyrdom of Hilton and Bayfield.

Patmore.

Tewkesbury.

Bennett.

Form of a Curse pronounced against him at Exeter.

Is apprehended, and burned.

PART VI.

Bainham.

His dying words.

Petit.

The Festival.

Notice of the Legends which it contans.

Tracy's Testament.

His body is dug up and burned.

Phillips.

Canons.

Death of Watham.

The King appoints Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury.

False assertions of the Papists respecting him.

His Protest against the power of the Pope.

Sums of money annually remitted to Rome.

Gardiner, Stokesly, Bonner, and others, oppose the Pope's Supremacy.

Preaching at Paul's Cross.

PART VII.

Harding is detected reading a New Testament, and burned.

Frith.

His arguments repecting the Sacrament.

Refuses to escape.

Is burned with Hewet.

Henry's Marriage with Ann Boleyn.

The Pope's Supremacy set aside.

The Maid of Kent.

More, Fisher, and others, executed as Traitors, for refusing to admit the King's Supremacy.

Cranmer preserves the Princess Mary.

Latimer appointed Bishop of Worcester.

Cromwell appointed Vicegerent.

First edition of the whole Bible printed in English.

Ann Boleyn beheaded.

Joy of the Papists on that occasion.

Tindal put to death.

The smaller Monasteries suppressed.

PART VIII.

Proceedings in the Convocation.

Articles agreed upon, to conciliate the Papists and the Reformers.

Unsatisfactory to both parties.

Purgatory.

Insurrections excited by the Romish Clergy.

Cranmer completes his translation of the Bible.

The Pope's Supremacy.

Dissolution of the larger Monasteries.

The frauds and vices of the Monastic orders.

Thomas a Becket's Shrine.

Relics.

Modern Relics.

Pilgrimages.

Images destroyed.

Three men hanged for burning an image a few years before.

Blood of Hales.

Friar Forrest.

Observations on the late Bull of the Pope.

Jubilees.

Some particulars respecting them.

PART IX.

The Pope excommunicates Henry, and orders his subjects to rebel against him.

An account of the Pope's Bull on this occasion.

Lambert opposes Transubstantiation.

Appointed to dispute on this subject before the King.

Henry orders him to be burned.

His cruel sufferings.

The Sacrament of the Mass.

Assassination of Packington.

Two madmen burned.

Peke, German, and two others, burned.

Frebarne troubled for having a Pig in Lent.

The Law of Six Articles.

Cranmer's bold opposition.

The Act is passed, and received with much joy by the Papists.

PART X.

The Act of the Six Articles.

Cranmer's book against it.

Fox's allegations against these errors of Popery.

Five hundred persons in London sent to prison.

Bonner's cruelty to Mekins.

Melancthon's letter to Henry.

The Scriptures permitted to be read in private families.

Cromwell, his execution and dying words.

Cranmer's earnestness that the children of the poor should receive the benefits of education.

Barnes, Garret, and Hierome, burned in Smithfields, as heretics; and three Papists executed at the same time for denying the King's Supremacy.

PART XI.

Persecutions renewed.

Bonner.

Eagerness of the people to read the Bible.

Porter, his cruel treatment and death in Newgate.

Malden ill-treated by his father for objecting to the adoration of the cross.

Bernard and Morton.

Evil life of Queen Catherine Howard.

Papists endeavour to hinder the circulation of the Bible.

An Act of Parliament restricting the perusal of the Scriptures.

Account of the translations of the Bible.

Coverdale.

The King's Book.

Cranmer's hospitality and charity.

Prayers in English.

Cranmer opposes the proceedings of his Popish Clergy.

Their conspiracies against him.

The King protects him.

PART XII.

Persecution of Testwood, Filmer, and others.

Marbeck.

The first English Concordance.

Clark and Kirby burned in Suffolk.

Dr. Crome recants.

Wilmot and Fairfax scourged.

Anne Askew, her boldness for the truth.

Her cruel sufferings on the rack.

She is burned with Lassels, Belenain, and Adams.

PART XIII.

Leland.

Libraries of Monasteries - remarks respecting them.

Designs of Gardiner and his Associates against Queen Catherine Parr.

Her conversations with Henry.

She promotes the Gospel.

At Gardiner's instigation the King consents to her arrest.

These designs providentially disappointed.

Writings of Queen Catherine Parr.

Sir George Blage.

Gardiner loses the King's favour.

Increasing infirmities of the King.

His death.

Reflections.

PART XIV.

Scotland.

Early Christians.

Culdees.

Christianity not introduced into Britain by the Church of Rome - encroachments of that Church - prevails over the Culdees.

Persecutions of the followers of Wickliff, in Scotland.

Risby.

Craw.

The Lollards of Kyle.

Corruptions of the Church of Rome in Scotland.

Partrick Hamilton - his treatise on faith and works - is persecuted and burned.

Forrest.

Gourlay and Stratton.

Dean Forrest, and others.

Russel and Kennedy.

Cardinal Beaton.

Four men and a woman put to death for eating a goose on a fast day.

Wishart, his zeal and usefulness - accusations against him - condemned and burned.

Reflections.

Conclusion.

EXCERPT: "Although many others are passed by, we cannot close this list, without mentioning John Eaton, who was punished for saying,'That the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ hath made satisfaction for sin, and there was no necessity for going on pilgrimages;' and that 'it was casting away money to buy pardons, for the Pope could not help any man's soul; but if we ask pardon of the Lord Jesus, he will give it us freely.' We may also notice John Algar; when Dr. Aglonby argued with him for the authority of the Pope, by quoting Matt. xvi. 'Thou art Peter,' &c.' he referred to the following verses, 'Get thee behind me, Satan,' as at once destroying this argument for the pretended infallibility of the Apostle.'

We cannot but observe that these poor men had become wiser, from simply perusing the Scriptures, with prayer for divine teaching, than their learned persecutors, who wilfully rejected the light of truth. This remark is not made with a design to undervalue human learning, but to notice that, agreeably to the words of the Apostle; 'God hath made foolish the wisdom of this world,' and that it availeth not, unless its possessor also 'become wise unto salvation.'

In 1526, Tonstal, the Bishop of London, directed an especial prohibition against several books, but particularly noticed the New Testaments in English, which, as he asserted, contained 'pestiferous and most pernicious poison,' and were dispersed, through his diocese in great numbers, to 'the peril of souls, and the offence of God's divine majesty;' and concluded by directing his Arch-deacons to proceed, with increased activity, in suppressing the Testament, and all such works.
"One circumstance appears plain from the Registers of their persecutors, and is well worthy of being noted: that these martyrs do not appear to have held a variety of doctrines and opinions, as the Roman Catholics contend is always the consequence of leaving that communion; their doctrines were uniform; and scarcely one that is not now held by every true Protestant."

These books were chiefly written by Tindal1, Joye, and a few others, who, having been driven from England, resided at Antwerp, and were busily employed in writing and printing works against the corruptions of the Church of Rome. Tindal was principally engaged in preparing a translation of the New Testament, the first that was printed in the English language. As it excited violent enmity, arid the greatest alarm in the minds of the Romish Prelates, we may notice the history of the translator somewhat particularly.

WILLIAM TINDAL1, called 'the Apostle of England in the time of the Reformation,' and ever to be remembered as one of the earliest translators of the Bible into our language, was born on the borders of Wales; and, although the date of his birth is uncertain, it was probably about the year 1490. He had the advantage of a learned education, and was brought up from a child in the University of Oxford, where he was remarkable for a godly and virtuous life, and close application to the study of the Scriptures; and on account of his learning, was appointed a Canon of Christ Church. From thence he removed to Cambridge, probably from being suspected of holding heretical opinions; and after some time went to reside with Sir -- Welch, a Knight of Gloucestershire, as tutor to his children. This gentleman was noted for his hospitality, and frequently had many Ecclesiastics and other learned men at his table, with whom Tindal used to converse freely, and dispute upon the doctrines of the Reformation, and the controversies of the day, pointing out the different passages of Scripture which confirmed the opinions he maintained.

The Knight and his Lady, having been one day invited to a feast where some of these Doctors were present; on their return home began to reason with Tindal upon these points, quoting the arguments they had just heard. He replied by stating the truth, and shewed the fallacy of such opinions; when Lady Welch silenced him by the following brief argument, which, in substance, has often been used by others since that day! 'Well,' said she, 'there was Dr. --, who

Bishop Tonstal's burning of William Tyndale's English New Testaments at Cheapside in London, The Lollards

Bishop Tonstal's burning of William Tyndale's English New Testaments at Cheapside in London

"In 1526, Tonstal, the Bishop of London, directed an especial prohibition against several books, but particularly noticed the New Testaments in English, which, as he asserted, contained 'pestiferous and most pernicious poison,' and were dispersed, through his diocese in great numbers, to 'the peril of souls, and the offence of God's divine majesty;' and concluded by directing his Arch-deacons to proceed, with increased activity, in suppressing the Testament, and all such works.

... to forward his design, he adopted the following singular expedient. He consulted one Packington, a mercer and merchant of London ... how he might get all these Testaments into his hands, and burn them. ... Packington, it is said, was a secret friend of Tindal's [Tyndale's]; and knowing his want of money, and that a great many copies of this Testament were still on hand, this appeared a fair opportunity to assist the Reformer; he therefore told the Bishop, that if his Lordship pleased, he would endeavour to purchase all that remained unsold. To this the Bishop consented; Tindal had the money, Packington many thanks, and the Bishop the books, which were sent to England, and hurned in Cheapside, to the great surprize and grief of many; while the crowd, excited by the Priests, probably joined in outcries against the heretics and their books, as the rabble that lately dispersed a Bible Meeting in Ireland, not only threatened the lives of its supporters, but also vociferated, 'Down with the Bible!'

The Bishop now thought all was safe, but soon discovered that he was mistaken; for the printers in Holland, finding the books were eagerly sought after, immediately printed another edition, and by the next year they came over in greater numbers than before."

can spend a hundred pounds, Dr. --, who spends two hundred, and Dr. --, who can spend three hundred pounds a year, they said, as we have told you; and is there any reason, think you, why we should believe you before them?' Tindal did not attempt to reply to this notable argument; but being engaged in translating a work written by Erasmus, called 'The Christian Soldier's Manual,' he put it into the hands of his patrons; who, having carefully perused its contents, were convinced, in some measure, of the absurdities of Popery; and the Priests and Friars no longer found themselves such welcome guests as formerly, which soon caused them to discontinue their visits.

The Ecclesiastics easily guessed the cause of this alteration, and agreed to accuse Tindal of heresy. He was accordingly summoned to appear before the Bishop's Chancellor, and went with a heavy heart; but while on the way, he cried earnestly to God to give him strength to stand to the truths of his word. The Lord did not forsake his servant, but preserved him for the great work which he was appointed to perform; and, although false witnesses were not wanting, they were at that time restrained, and this good man was allowed to return home in safety. The Clergy, however, did not leave him in peace; and one day disputing with a learned man, one of their number, and refuting all his arguments in a forcible manner by reference to the Scriptures, the Priest blasphemously exclaimed, 'It would be better to be without God's laws, than the Pope's.' Tindal, filled with godly zeal, replied, 'I defy the Pope and all his laws;' adding, 'that if God spared his life, before many years were gone by, a plough-boy should know more of the Scriptures than he did, although learned, and a Priest.'

The Reformer now found there was no safety for him in that part of the country; and taking leave of his patron, he went to London, where he preached occasionally, at St. Dunstan's, in Fleet Street; and endeavoured to obtain admission into the family of Bishop Tonstal, who was esteemed both for his learning, and the excellence of his character. Tindal's application was unsuccessful; but he soon found that this disappointment was a providential interference in his favour, for it would have been impossible to have pursued his translation of the Scriptures had he been admitted into the Bishop's family. He also speedily ascertained that this work could not safely be undertaken in England; and being assisted with some money by Alderman Humphrey Monmouth, a respectable citizen, and a lover of the truth, in whose house he lived while in London, he departed for the Continent.

After passing some time with Luther, and other Reformers, in Germany, Tindal settled at Antwerp, where he finished a translation of the New Testament, from the original Greek, and printed a large edition in the year 1526. Many copies were immediately brought to England, and anxiously sought for, which occasioned Bishop Tonstal's mandate already noticed.

Tindal mentions the following causes as inducing him to engage in this work: he perceived, by experience, that it was not possible the Laity should be established in the truth, unless the Scriptures were given to them in their mother tongue, that they might themselves plainly see the context and meaning of the different passages; for in whatever manner the truth might be taught, the enemies of the Gospel could hide and obscure the arguments by false reasonings and sophistry, unless the plain expressions of the text, and their connection with other passages, could be traced. He also clearly saw that the doctrines and practices of the Church of Rome were so completely opposed to the Scriptures, that the Romish Clergy never would allow the Bible to be read, if they could prevent it, but would keep people in ignorance, to the peril of their souls, well knowing that, if the word of God was freely perused by their flock, their antichristian and evil doings could not be suffered.

We have noticed Bishop Tonstal's anxiety to suppress this Testament; to forward his design, he adopted the following singular expedient. He consulted one Packington, a mercer and merchant of London, who traded to Antwerp, how he might get all these Testaments into his hands, and burn them. We may give Bishop Tonstal the credit of devising this plan, from a wish to prevent their dispersion, without resorting to those cruel measures, which he, differing from most of the Prelates, abhorred to put in practice.

Packington, it is said, was a secret friend of Tindal's; and knowing his want of money, and that a great many copies of this Testament were still on hand, this appeared a fair opportunity to assist the Reformer; he therefore told the Bishop, that if his Lordship pleased, he would endeavour to purchase all that remained unsold. To this the Bishop consented; Tindal had the money, Packington many thanks, and the Bishop the books, which were sent to England, and hurned in Cheapside, to the great surprize and grief of many; while the crowd, excited by the Priests, probably joined in outcries against the heretics and their books, as the rabble that lately dispersed a Bible Meeting in Ireland, not only threatened the lives of its supporters, but also vociferated, 'Down with the Bible!'

The Bishop now thought all was safe, but soon discovered that he was mistaken; for the printers in Holland, finding the books were eagerly sought after, immediately printed another edition, and by the next year they came over in greater numbers than before. His Lordship, finding this to be the case, sent for Packington, and blamed him for not buying up all the Testaments according to his promise.
"'The public burning of the word of God excited much attention; most people concluded that there must be; something in that book very different from the doctrines of the Clergy, who were so eager to destroy it; and all the arguments of Sir Thomas More, and others, who wrote against it, could not remove these suspicions, which were confirmed by the perusal of the Scriptures. The demand for the Testaments, therefore, increased, although ... those who imported these Testaments, or purchased them, were prosecuted with severity. Among others, one John Raimund, a Dutchman, was punished for 'causing fifteen hundred to be printed at Antwerp, and bringing five hundred of them into England.' John Tindal, the brother of the translator, also was punished for 'sending five marks to his brother, and receiving letters from him;' and was condemned with Thomas Patmore, another merchant of London, to do penance, by riding to the standard in Cheapside, with their faces to their horses tails, having the Testaments hung thickly round them, fastened to their gowns, they were then compelled to cast the books into a fire kindled on purpose to consume them."
Packington assured the Bishop that he had bought all that remained unsold, adding, that 'he believed they had printed more since, and that he really did not see how this was to be stopped, unless his Lordship would also buy the types and presses!' The Bishop, however, having bought experience, only smiled at this proposal, and so the matter ended.

These last editions were printed by the booksellers of Holland; meanwhile, Tindal and his companions continued their exertions in promoting the truth; and, among other employments, engaged in a translation of the Old Testament. Sir Thomas More, then Lord Chancellor, was very bitter against all the Reformers, and their writings, particularly against the translation of the New Testament; and from the records of those times, it appears that he was very strict in examining all heretics supposed to be in any manner connected with Antwerp. At length, George Constantine, who had been beyond sea, was brought before him; and the Chancellor, after many questions, told him that he would be favourable to him, if he would but truly say from whom Tindal and his companions had received the money on which they lived. 'My Lord,' said Constantine, 'I will tell you truly; it is the Bishop of London that hath assisted us; for he bestowed among us a great deal of money for the New Testaments which he burnt, and that has been, and still is our only support.' 'Now, by my troth,' said the Chancellor, 'I think this is the truth, for I told the Bishop it would be so before he went about it!'

A Roman Catholic historian has accused Tindal of defrauding Bishop Tonstal in this matter. This assertion, however, is unfounded; for, besides that the Bishop had all he bargained for, namely, the unsold copies, Tindal did not himself print another edition till eight years afterwards; during which time he was engaged in translating the five books of Moses, and in other religious works. The editions with which England was supplied during this interval, were printed by the booksellers in Holland, as a matter of gain, and without reference to Tindal, who had no concern whatever therein. For more particular information respecting these circumstances, the reader is referred to Lewis's History of the English Bible, and 'the Fathers of the English Church,' a valuable collection of the writings of our Reformers, by the Rev. L. Richmond, which contains, several of the tracts and other pieces above mentioned, written by Tindal and his companions.

The public burning of the word of God excited much attention; most people concluded that there must be; something in that book very different from the doctrines of the Clergy, who were so eager to destroy it; and all the arguments of Sir Thomas More, and others, who wrote against it, could not remove these suspicions, which were confirmed by the perusal of the Scriptures. The demand for the Testaments, therefore, increased, although the Bishop preached at St. Paul's Cross, declaring that there were two thousand texts wrong translated; and those who imported these Testaments, or purchased them, were prosecuted with severity. Among others, one John Raimund, a Dutchman, was punished for 'causing fifteen hundred to be printed at Antwerp, and bringing five hundred of them into England.' John Tindal, the brother of the translator, also was punished for 'sending five marks to his brother, and receiving letters from him;' and was condemned with Thomas Patmore, another merchant of London, to do penance, by riding to the standard in Cheapside, with their faces to their horses tails, having the Testaments hung thickly round them, fastened to their gowns, they were then compelled to cast the books into a fire kindled on purpose to consume them.

It appears that several other persons in London sold these Testaments; the price of them wholesale, in large quantities, was about thirteen pence each; but singly, by retail, from twenty-eight to thirty pence; reckoning the difference of the value of money, we may consider these sums as equal to ten times the amount in our days. Notwithstanding all the exertions of the Prelates, three large editions were sold before 1530. We may here remark, that although this translation was in some respects faulty, as always must be the case with a first edition, yet the number of errors above mentioned was an absurd exaggeration, even including mere typographical faults, such as broken letters, and words spelt amiss."

_____________
1 William Tindal:
Usually "William Tyndale," 1494-1536ad. Tyndale was an English Reformer and the translator of the first English New Testament from the Greek (1526). Tyndale was martyred for his translation work and his writings in the defense of Biblical Christianity. Tyndale was hunted as a heretic, taken and imprisoned under the laws of the Church; after being condemned for heresy, he was formally stripped of his priesthood, strangled and then burned at the stake. Tyndale's English Translation is read yet today as the greater part of the King James Bible, first published in 1611. (H&F)

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Excerpt from the book "The Lollards, or, Some Account of the Witness for the Truth in Great Britain, between the Years 1400 and 1546."

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"These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended [skandalizo]. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them." John 16:1-4 KJV
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