cellor of his own university, and he was present on 24 May, when the report of the commission was presented to the king, and the list of mischievous books and errors contained in them was ordered to be proclaimed by preachers in their sermons.
An animated letter to the king in favour of the free circulation of an English Bible on 1 Dec. 1530 has been erroneously attributed to Latimer by Foxe. Neither of the two manuscript copies of this letter in the Public Record Office bears the date appended to it in Foxe or the name of the writer, who seems to be a layman, and accuses the clergy of tyranny in suppressing 'the Scripture in English,' i.e. Tyndale's Bible, one of the books disapproved by Latimer and his fellow-commissioners.
Latimer was now in high favour, and by the influence of Cromwell and Dr. (afterwards Sir William) Butts [q. v.] was presented to the benefice of West Kington, or West Kineton, in Wiltshire, on the border of Gloucestershire. Although in a remote and solitary district, the living was valued four years later at 17l. 1s. (Valor Ecclesiasticus, ii. 134), then a good clerical stipend. He was instituted 14 Jan. 1531. Soon afterwards a sermon preached by him (probably, as the text indicates, on 30 May 1531) at the neighbouring parish of Marshfield in Gloucestershire provoked a remonstrance from William Sherwood, the rector of Dyrham. He was reported to have said that almost all the clergy, bishops included, instead of being shepherds entering by the door, were thieves, whom there was not hemp enough in England to hang. Sherwood not unnaturally stigmatised it as a 'mad satire.' Latimer, in a long and angry reply, said that he only referred to 'all popes, bishops, and rectors who enter not by the door,' not to all clergy without qualification (Foxe, Martyrs, ed. Townsend, 1838, vii. 478–84).
Meanwhile Latimer's preaching had been censured for other matters in convocation, and articles were drawn up on 3 March against him, Edward Crome [q. v.], and Bilney. Within a year Crome recanted, Bilney suffered at the stake, and Bainham, another martyr, had declared that he knew no one who preached the pure word of God except Latimer and Crome. But Latimer seems to have remained almost a twelvemonth unmolested. He had friends at court, and Sir Edward Baynton, a Wiltshire gentleman in high favour with Henry VIII, wrote to warn him of the complaints made against him. Before he left London he had preached at Abchurch, it was said in defiance of the bishop, but with the consent of the incumbent, at the request of certain merchants, and he said he was not aware of any episcopal inhibition. But the sermon was certainly open to misinterpretation; for he suggested the possibility of St. Paul, had he lived in that day, being accused to the bishop as a heretic, and obliged to bear a fagot at Paul's Cross. His object was to advocate freedom of preaching, the great cure, in Latimer's opinion, for the evils of the time. He told Baynton that the Bishop of London himself would be better employed in preaching than in trying to interrupt him in that duty by a citation.
The citation, however, could only be served on him by Dr. Hilley, chancellor to the Italian bishop of Salisbury, Cardinal Campeggio, and Hilley, as Latimer insisted, could himself correct him if necessary, without compelling him to take a journey up to London in a severe winter. Latimer had declared his mind to the chancellor, in presence of Sir Edward Baynton, upon purgatory and the worship of saints, the chief points on which he was accused of heresy. Hilley, however, thought best to serve him with a citation (10 Jan. 1532) to appear before the Bishop of London at St. Paul's on the 29th. He obeyed, and the bishop brought him before convocation, where, on 11 March, a set of articles, much the same as those subscribed by Crome, were proposed to him. These he refused to sign, and he was committed to custody at Lambeth, but was allowed an opportunity of going to see Archbishop Warham. He was prevented by illness, but wrote complaining of being kept from his flock at the approach of Easter. He declared his preaching to be quite in accordance with the fathers, and said he did not object to images, pilgrimages, praying to saints, or purgatory. He only considered these things not essential, and there were undeniable abuses which he might appear to sanction by a bare subscription. Ultimately he consented to sign two of the articles, and on 10 April he made a complete submission before the assembled bishops; whereupon he was absolved, and warned to appear on 15 April for further process.
Unluckily, he immediately gave new offence by a letter to one Greenwood, in which he denied having confessed to any error of doctrine, but only to indiscretion. For this he was ordered to appear again and make answer on the 19th, when he appealed to the king, whose supremacy over the church convocation had been obliged to acknowledge in the preceding year. Henry, however, remitted the decision of his case to convocation, and on the 22nd Latimer confessed that