Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bayfield, Richard

BAYFIELD, RICHARD, alias Somersam (d. 1531), martyr, was professed a monk of the Benedictine abbey of Bury St. Edmunds in 1514, took priest's orders in 1518, and was chamberlain of the abbey about 1525. He imbibed the opinions of William Tyndale from a copy of the English Testament and other works given him by Dr. Barnes and some of his friends, when on a visit to the monastery, and was in consequence imprisoned and punished, but through Barnes's influence was allowed to go to Cambridge. Thence he went to London, and in 1528 was tried before Tunstall, bishop of London, for denying worship to saints, and the necessity of preaching licenses. He abjured these opinions, but instead of returning to his abbey he fled to the Low Countries, and assisted Tyndale in disposing of his books in England, some of which he landed at Colchester and some at St. Katharine's. In the autumn of 1531 he was arrested in Mark Lane, and imprisoned in the Lollard's Tower at St. Paul's. On 10, 11, and 16 Nov. he was examined by Stokesley, bishop of London, and Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, and on the 20th sentenced as a relapsed heretic, and for importing forbidden books. On 4 Dec. he was publicly degraded in the choir of St. Paul's Cathedral, and burned in Smithfield (Wriothesley, Chron. i. 17); Foxe says ‘the Monday following’ the sentence, which was 27 Nov., but Wriothesley's authority is the better.

[Foxe's Acts and Monuments, ed. Townsend, iv. 680; Strype's Eccl. Mem. i., ii. 63; Wriothesley's Chronicle, i. 17.]

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