Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bainham, James

BAINHAM, JAMES (d. 1532), martyr, was, according to Foxe, a son of Sir Alexander Bainham, who was sheriff of Gloucestershire in 1497, 1501, and 1516, though his name does not occur in any of the pedigrees of the family. He was a member of the Middle Temple, and practised as a lawyer. He married the widow of Simon Fish, author of the 'Supplication of Beggars.' In 1531 he was accused of heresy to Sir Thomas More, then chancellor, who imprisoned and flogged him in his house at Chelsea, and then sent him to the Tower to be racked, in the hope of discovering other heretics by his confession. On 15 Dec. he was examined before Stokesley, Bishop of London, concerning his belief in purgatory, confession, extreme unction, and other points. His answers were as far as possible couched in the words of Scripture, but were not satisfactory to the court, and his approval of the works of Tyndale and Frith was evident. The following day, being threatened with sentence, he partially submitted, pleading ignorance, and was again committed to prison. In the following February he was brought before the bishop's chancellor to be examined as to his fitness for readmission to the church, and after considerable hesitation abjured all his errors, and, having paid a fine of 20l. and performed penance by standing with a faggot on his shoulder during the sermon at Paul's Cross, was released. Within a month after he repented of his weakness, and openly withdrew his recantation during service at St. Austin's church. He was accordingly apprehended and brought before the bishop's vicar-general on 19 and 20 April. One of the articles alleged against him was that he asserted Thomas Becket to be a thief and murderer, an opinion which the king adopted within a very few years. He was sentenced as a relapsed heretic and burned in Smithfield on 30 April 1532. In the 'Calendar of State Papers of Henry VIII' (v. app. 30) there is a notice of a contemporary account of an interview between him and Latimer, the day before his death.

[Foxe's Acts and Monuments, iv. 697; Harl. MS. 422, f. 90.]

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