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please your highnes of your most gracious benignitie and naturall goodnes to extende your superaboundant grace uppon hym, he should have a thousande tymes more cause to lawde, magnyfie, observe, love, and praye for your grace, then they which never offended, acording to the wordes of the gospell, Cui plus dimittitur, plus diligit. Whose temeritie, furious zele, and malicious blynde affection, went aboute, most gracious king, not onely to compase and imagene to let, stoppe, impedite, and sclaunder your gracis mariage and lawfull matrimonye which ye now enyoye to Goddis pleasure, but also, as well before as after your said mariage was concluded and consumate, hath travailed to bring us all into gret suspicion of your highnes, so that we by infection and corrupcion of hym might have bene likewise noted of untowarde myndes contrarie to your gracis saide mariage. Of which note of suspicion we be moche desirous to be purged and clered to your highnes; for we thinke verelye that none of us (the said doctour Bocking onelie excepted) hath by wey of preching, teching, or by secret or open communycacion, moved, exhorted, or excited any persone to sey, thinke, or do any thing contrarie to your gracis mariage, afore it was concluded or after. Nevertheles it can not be denyed but that some of us, not many in nombre, and specially suche as were brought into our religion by doctour Bocking, beyng of the yonger sorte, have bene enfourmed by the said doctour of certen counterfeyted, false, and most malicious revelacions, as well concernyng your gracis said mariage, as also otherwise imagened and fayned by the most lyeng and false nonne, late of Saynt Sepulcres in Canterburie, agenst your majestie. And where that any of us have harde, beleved, or conceled the said false revelacions, or any of theme, we be right pensyve and inwardelie sorye, most humbly beseching your grace of your remyscion and most mercyfull pardon therfore, promytting unto your majestie that none of us shall never hereafter in worde or dede openlie or pryvatelie do any thing that may sounde or be judged prejudiciall, hurtfull, or contrarie to your gracis said mariage, or the noble issue proceeding of the same; but shall oblige our selffes, our monasterie, and successours, at all tymes hereafter to be of consonant myndes, wordes, and deades, to the mayntenaunce, supportacion, and determynacion allredy passed by the clergie of both the provynces of your gracis realme, and to the sentence of our most reverend hed, spirituall father, and ordynarie, the archebisshope of Canterburie, pronounced for the strenght, valedite, and liefulnes of the said mariage, acording to the lawe of God, as we of dutye ar bounde to doo; for gret folie it were, most gracious soveraigne, to be imputed unto us, that we being poore simple religeous men, of small lernyng and judgement, shoulde presume to thinke or sey any thing contrarie to the determynacion of so many singuler and notable lerned men, not onlie of your gracis said clergie of this realme, but also of the most famous clerkes of Cristynde, or contrarie to the diffynytyve sentence of our said spirituall hedd and father, to whose judgement we gyve full feith and credence, as membres conforme to our said hedd, and to the body of your gracis said convocacions. Which we holy promyse to observe, and for our powers mayntayne and defende, and also contynuallie praye to God Almightie that his goodnes graunte unto your grace long lyf to his pleasure and your hertis desire, and sende your highnes in your said mariage prosperous and desiderate yssue, to succede in your realme and to reigne in the same, as many hundreth yeres to come, in honour and felycitie.
The next letter on this subject is from Roland Lee (afterwards bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, and Lord President of the principality of Wales), and Thomas Bedyll, who was afterwards a very active visitor of the monasteries. It appears that they had been sent to Canterbury to pursue there the examinations relating to the proceedings of the “holy maid.”
After our moost hertie commendations, theis shalbe to advertise yow that, God willing, we entend shortly to retorne homeward, for we fynd not so greate maters here as we thought we shuld have doen. The crafty nunne kept herself very secrete here, and shewed her marchaundise more openly when she war far from home; and if she had been as ware in other places as she hath been here, we suppose she had continued in her falshede lenger than she hath doen, whiche was to long. The greatest cause of demore here now, is to accomplisshe certen practises whiche we have devised with the frere observantes of Canterburie, and we trust to bring thaim to some good effect. We tarry also to examine the priour of Hortone,” whiche is detected as a participant of the nunnys revelations concernyng the kinges grace reigne and his marriage. We have wreten unto yow that we fere that in caas we shall carry the parson of Aldingtone to Londone agayne now shortly, he wol miscary by the wey, or sone after; whereupon we desire you to send us your advise. We beseche you to be good maister to John Antony, for he hath shewed as muche kyndnes unto us as a man of his behaviour myght do, and hath always beene diligent to further our causes as myche as he myght. As towching the monkes of Christes churche whiche bee detected in this mater, whiche be but v. or vi. yong men, whiche have red part of Bokkinges boke of the nunnys revelations, my lord of Cauntrebury, now being in his visitacion, wol examine thaim at his leysure, and therfore we think it shal not be nede for us to tarry upon thair examination, onles ye send us contrary word by this berer, wherin and in other the premisses we desire you to send unto us your mynd at lenght. from Cauntrebury, the xth day of December. Yower owne, Roland LEE. Evyr your awne, Thomas BEDYLL.
* At Monks' Horton, five miles from Hythe, was a cell of the priory of Lewes. Richard Gloucester, alias Brisley, was its last prior.
CAMD. SOC. E
Stoffe receyvyd the xvi. day of Februare, of dame Elysabeth Barton, by the handes of the priores of sayent Sepulcres withowt Canterbury, into the handes of John Antony of Canterbury, as her after foloeth. ffyrst, a coschyn blade, and one old coschyn, ij. carpettes, whereof one ys cut in to pecys. A old matteres, vij. corsse schettes, a kyverlet and a peyer of blanckettes, with ij. pyllos, and a bolster. ij. platers, iiij. dysches, ij. sausers, and a lyttell basen, wayyng xijob. at iiijd a lb. wyche my laydy priores hath and payed iiij". A whyet corter, wych my lady priores hath, and payed xijd. A lyttell old dyaper towell. iij. pylloberes. ij. canstyckes. A coet, wyche dame Kateren Wyttsam hath, payed vs. A pece of a plancke for a tabyll. A lyttell chyst.
Stoffe wyche remayneth in the nonnere pertaynyng unto dame Elysabeth Berton, at the request of my lady priores. ffyrst, ij- nyew coschyns, gyven unto the churche. A old mantell, and a kyrtell, unto the yongest nonne. A Yrysche mantell, a colere, with ij. grett
chystes, and ij. stolys, and a canstycke, to my lady priores.
A kyverlet, and a old kyrtell, to dame
It has been already stated that Sir Thomas More and Bishop Fisher were involved in the affair of the “holy maid of Kent:” they were committed to the Tower about the time of her execution, and were both condemned to the scaffold. Fisher was be— headed on the 22nd of June, 1535, and Sir Thomas More suffered on the 6th of the following month. The following is the draught of a letter written by Cromwell to Fisher, before his imprisonment.
My lord, in my right hertie wise I commende me to your lordship, doing you to understand that I have receyved your lettres dated at Rochester the xviijth day of this moneth, in whiche you declare what craft and cunnyng ye have to persuade and to set a good countenaunce upon all that mater, drawing som scriptures to your purpose whiche, wel weyed acording to the places whereof they be taken, make not so muche for your purpose as ye allege thaim for. And where in the first lefe of your letters, ye write that ye doubt nothing, neither before God nor before the worlde, if nede shal that require, so to declare your self, whatsoever hath beene said of you, that ye have not deserved suche hevy wordes or terrible thretes as hath beene sent from me unto you by your brother.
How ye can declare your self affore God and the worlde when nede shal require, I can not tell; but I think verely that your declaration made by thes lettres is far insufficient to prove that ye have deserved no hevy wordes in this behalf; and to sey playnly, I sent you no hevy wordes, but wordes of great comforte, wylling your brother to shewe you how benigne and merciful the princewas, and that I thought it expedient for you to write unto his highnes and to recognise your offence and desire his pardon, whiche his grace wold not denye you now in your aige and sikkenes. Whiche my counsel I wold ye had folowed, rather than to have writen thes lettres to me, excusing your self as thoughe there were no maner