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wemen, and of ij. freers, which was Rich and Risby:* as sone as the
* Hugh Rich has been already mentioned: Richard Risby was one of the nun's accomplices,
i The following letter, upon the same subject as the preceding, is from Thomas Goldwell, prior of Christ's Church, Canterbury, the oldest monastery in England, having been founded by St. Augustine. Thomas Goldwell was prior during the twenty-three years preceding the dissolution of the monastery. Warham was Archbishop of Canterbury from February 1503 to August 1532, and was succeeded by Cranmer.
THE PRIoR OF CHRIST’s CHURCH To croMwF LL.
As consernyng the knowlege of suche thynges as Elizabeth Barton, nun, hath spoken, whiche as she sayde she had knowlege of in traunces and revelaciones, thies be the thynges that I have herd and have knowlege in. At the begynnyng therof, the whiche was abowte vij. or viij. yeres past, as I thynke, my lord Warham, then being archebusshope of Caunterbury, sent his comptroller called Thomas Walle to Caunterbury, and caused me to send two of my brothern, the whiche was the selerer, Doctor Bockyng, and dompne William Hadley, bacheler of divinite, to a place called Courthopestrete, to see this woman, and to see what traunces she had. They went thider at the begynnyng, as I suppose, somewhat ageyn theire myndes, and also ageyn my mynde, except the obedience that I do owe unto my lord of Caunterbury; and he had not byn, I wold not have sent them thider. After this he caused and gave licence to the selerer to be this womannys gostely fader, and so he hath contynued ever syns, as ferre as I knowe, and resorted unto her at tymes convenyent when he wold hym silf, and that by my lord of Caunterburies licens, and most tymes not be myne. The tyme that I have ben acquaynted with her, as I thynke it past not two yeres at the most. Fader Risby, one of the observaunt friers, nowe being warden of the place of friers in Caunterbury, he was mover and chief causer that I was acquaynted with her. I suppose, and his mocyon had not be, I had never bene acquaynted with her, for my mynde was not to be framelyerly acquaynted with women. He shewed unto me that as he thought she was a persone moche in the favoure of God, and had speciall knowlege of hym in mony thynges, and he thought, and so sayde unto me, that I shuld have moche spirituall comfort in her spekyng. Sith that tyme she hath byne with me at dyner dyvers seasons, as I suppose vi. or vij. tymes at the most ; and at suche tymes as she hath ben with me she hath showed unto me that dyvers seasons she had revelacions and speciall knowlege from God in certen thynges consernyng my lord of Caunterbury that was, my lord cardynall, and also the kynges highnes, consernyng his mariage, so that she sayde if he dyd mary another woman, his grace shuld not rayne kyng past one moneth afterward; and also she sayde that she had byn with the kynges grace, and showed hym therof two tymes at the lest; and also she sayde the she had shewed the same unto my lord of Caunterbury, that was my lord Warham, as I suppose she dyd, for she was meny tymes with hym, and, as the selerer shewed unto me at dyvers seasons, he gave moche credens unto her wordes in suche thynges as she knewe, and surmysed to knowe, that she dyd shewe unto hym. She sayde also that if Almyghty God dyd suffer his grace to rayne kyng, yet he shuld nott be so accepted in the reputacion of God, as she sayde it was shewed unto her by revelacion. Also she hath reported that at the kynges grace being at Calice, a prist there being at masse, the holy sacrement was taken from the awter and brought unto her, the whiche as she sayde she dyd receyve. Also the selerer shewed unto me that she had revelacions consernyng the popes holynes; he sayde that it was shewed unto her that if the pope dyd geve sentence ageyn the quene that then was, Almyghty God wold be displeased with hym, and send plages to hym for it; what the plages shuld be I cannot tell. I do not remember that he dyd shewe any unto me. This be the thynges that they dyd speke unto me, and my answer was unto them, ‘Thies be mervelus thynges that ye speke of, if they be trewe.’ I do not remember that I made them any other answer at any tyme, and this thynges before rehersed I herd onely of them thre, that is of the nun, of the selerer, and of fader Risby; and of none other, nether by noo other meanes, but onely by theire spekyng; for as consernyng the bookes that the selerer dyd write, I dyd never rede them, nor never sawe them but onely when they were delyvered, one of them to Mr. Attorney before his last goyng to London, and the other to John Antony, when he was sent for it, at what tymes I dyd see them, but I dyd not rede apon them, as they can testyfy that dyd receyve them. Also I am suer that the selerer will testifie for me, that he dyd never showe me the booke, nor eny thyngels that he wrote for her, or consernyng the seid nun, but onely one quayer,” the whiche he willed me to rede and to loke uppon, and it was consernyng dyvers that were ded; one of them was the selerers unkyll, called Master Benet, and one other was a servaunt of our house called Stephen Villers. As he wrote in that quayer, the nun was desired to pray for them, and to knowe what case they were in ; and, as he wrote there, she had knowlege by revelacion that they were in payne, and for what offences they were there, and also what prayers and other goode dedes shuld be don for them to delyver them owte of payne. Hit was also shewed in the same quayer howe she was meny tymes trobeled with her gostely enmy, the whiche moved her to incontynency, and to unclene levyng. Other speciallties I do remember none that I red in the seid quayer; and moothynges then this that he wrote for her I never red, nor had in my kepyng at eny tyme, and that I will depose uppon my conciens. And as consernyng suche traunces as she had at Courthopestrete, or els where, I was never present at eny of them. Howbeit as the nunnes of her house do report of her, this vi. or vij. yere she hath be wunt to be sykke abowte the conception(?) of our lady, and tolye thre or iiij. dayes without mete or drynke, as they say; and the last yere when she lay so I [was] desired by the selerer and her silf also to see her, and so I dyd; but at that tyme she was nott r. . formed nor spake nothyng but as a syke body is wount to do. Other thynges then I have rehersed before I do remember none to write unto you nowe; if any other thyng come to my mynde, I will not fayle to write unto you, and to sertefie you of the same, by Goddes grace, etc. Per me, Thom As priorem Ecclesiae Christi Cantuarie.
* A quire. The monks and professed scribes wrote their manuscripts in separate pieces, each consisting of four double leaves, or sixteen pages, and hence called a quaternio, whence is derived our modern word quire. These quaternios or “quayers,” were afterwards bound into a volume. The French cahier appears to have the same origin.
The following petition to the King appears to have been written by the monks of Christ's Church, Canterbury, who feared to be compromised in the affair of Elizabeth Barton.
PETITION OF THE MONKS OF CANTERBURY TO THE KING. [From MS. Cotton. Cleopat. E. Iv. fol. 81.]
After our most humble submission and subjection to your gracis majestie, if we had not taken consolacion of the comon fame reporting your majestie to be as full of benignitie, grace, and mercy, as ever was cristened prince reignyng in Englonde, we had bene not onelie dejected into intollerable sorowe and pensifenes, but had also bene in dispaire to make any supplicacion to your hignes, or to be harde graciouslie in the same. But now, considering your gracis most benigne nature, moche more inclyned to mercy and pitie than to the rigour of justice, we be anymated and set in comforte to humyliate our selfes as prostrate afore your highnes, and to beseche the same to remytte and forget the necligences and offences commytted ayenst your grace by certen persons of our congregacion and monasterie, which causith us all most woofullie to lamente and sorow. And where the demerites of our miserable brother dan Edwarde Bocking, doctour of dyvynitie, be so highe heynous, so grevous, and so displeasaunte to your majestie, that we dare not ones open our lippes to make any prayers or supplicacion to your highenes for hym, yet if it might