The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe/Volume 3/The History of John Claydon, Currier, and of Richard Turming, Baker

The History of John Claydon, Currier, and of Richard Turming, Baker.[1]

John Claydon examined.The seventeenth of August one thousand four hundred and fifteen, did personally appear John Claydon, currier of London (arrested by the mayor of the said city for the suspicion of heresy), before Henry archbishop of Canterbury, in St. Paul's Church; which John (it being objected to him by the archbishop, that in the city of London, and other places of the province of Canterbury, he was suspected by divers godly and learned men for heresy, and to be contrary to the catholic faith and determination of the church) did openly confess, and denied not, but that he had been for the space of twenty years suspected both about the city of London, and also in the province of Canterbury, and especially of the common sort, for Lollardy and heresy, and to be contrary to the catholic faith and determination of the church of Rome, and defamed of the same all the time aforesaid: Claydon first imprisoned by Robert Braybrook, bishop of London.insomuch, that in the time of Master Robert Braybrook, bishop of London deceased, he was, for the space of two years, commanded to the prison of Conway for the aforesaid defamation and suspicion, and for the same cause also he was in prison in the Fleet for three years; out of which prison he (in the reign of king Henry IV.) was brought before the lord John Scarle, then chancellor to the king, and there did abjure all heresy and error. And the said John Claydon, being asked of the said archbishop whether he did abjure the heresy of which he was suspected before any other, did confess, that in a convocation at London in Paul's Church before Thomas Arundel, late archbishop deceased, Claydon had before abjured.he did abjure all such doctrine, which they called heresy and error, contrary to the catholic faith and determination of the church; and that he had not only left such articles and opinions, wherein he was defamed, but also did abstain from all company that were suspected of such opinions, so that he should neither give aid, help, counsel, nor favour unto them.

And moreover, the said John was asked by the said archbishop, whether he ever had in his house, since his abjuration, in his keeping, any books written in English. English books.Whereunto he confessed, that he would not deny, but that he had in his house, and in his keeping, many English books; for he was arrested by the mayor of the city of London for such books as he had, which books (as he thought) were in the mayor's keeping. The judgment of the mayor of London.Upon which the mayor did openly confess, that he had such books in his keeping, which in his judgment were the worst, and the most perverse, that ever he did read or see; and one book that was well bound in red leather, of parchment, written in a good Endish hand: and among the other books found with the said John Claydon, the mayor gave up the said book before the archbishop. Claydon had bestowed much money upon English books.Whereupon the said John Claydon, being asked of the archbishop if he knew that book, did openly confess that he knew it very well, because he caused it to be written at his own costs and charges; for he spent much money thereupon since his abjuration. Then was he asked who wrote it? He did answer: "One called John Grime."

And further, being required what the said John Grime was, he answered, he could not tell. Claydon could not read.Again, being demanded whether he did ever read the same book, he did confess, that he could not read, but he had heard the fourth part thereof read by one John Fullar. And being asked, whether he thought the contents of that book to be catholic, profitable, good, and true, he answered, that many things which he had heard in the same book, were both profitable, good, and healthful to his soul; and as he said, he had great affection to the said book, for a sermon preached at Horsleydown, that was written in the said book. Richard Turming, baker.And being further asked, whether, since the time of his said abjuration, he did commune with one Richard, a baker, of the city aforesaid, he did answer, yea; for the said Richard the baker did come often unto his house to have communication with him. And being asked whether he knew the said Richard to be suspected, and defamed of heresy, he did answer again, that he knew well that the said Richard was suspected and defamed of many men and women in the city of London, as one whom they thought to be a heretic.[2]

Which confession being made, he did cause the said books to be delivered to Master Robert Gilbert, doctor of divinity, William Lindewood, doctor of both William Lindewood, doctor of both laws, and other clerks, to be examined; and in the mean time, David Beard, Alexander Philip, and Balthasar Mero, were taken for witnesses against him, and were committed to be examined to Master John Escourt, general examiner of Canterbury. This done, the archbishop continued his session till Monday next in the same place. Which Monday being come, which was the twentieth of the said month, the said Master Escourt openly and publicly exhibited the witnesses, being openly read before the archbishop, and other bishops; which being read, then, after that, were read divers tractations, found in the house of the said John Claydon; out of the which being examined, divers points were gathered and noted for heresies and errors, and especially out of the book aforesaid, which book the said John Claydon confessed by his own costs to be written and bound, which book was intituled, 'The Lanthorn of Light;' in which, and in the other examined, were these articles underwritten contained:

Articles contained in an English Book, entitled, 'The Lanthorn of Light.'

I. First, Upon the text of the gospel, how the enemy did sow the tares, there is said thus: That wicked Antichrist, the pope, hath sowed among the laws of Christ his popish and corrupt decrees, which are of no authority, strength, or value.

II. That the archbishops and bishops, speaking indifferently, are the seats of the beast Antichrist, when he sitteth in them, and reigneth above other people in the dark caves of errors and heresies.

III. That the bishops' license, for a man to preach the word of God, is the true character of the beast, i. e. Antichrist; The head and tail of Antichrist.and therefore simple and faithful priests may preach when they will, against the prohibition of that Antichrist, and without license.

IV. That the court of Rome is the chief head of Antichrist, and the bishops be the body; and the new sects (that is, the monks, canons and friars), brought in not by Christ, but damnably by the pope, be the venomous and pestiferous tail of Antichrist.

V. That no reprobate is a member of the church, but only such as be elected and predestinated to salvation;[3] seeing the church is no other thing but the congregation of faithful souls, who do, and will, keep their faith constantly, as well in deed as in word.

VI. That Christ did never plant private religions in the church, but, while he lived in this world, he did root them out. By which it appeareth that private religions be unprofitable branches in the church, and to be rooted out.

VII. That the material churches should not be decked with gold, silver, and precious stones sumptuously; but the followers of the humility of Jesus Christ ought to worship their Lord God humbly, in mean and simple houses, and not in great buildings, as the churches be now-a-days.

Two causes of persecution.VIII. That there be two chief causes of the persecution of the Christians: one is, the priests' unlawfid keeping of temporal and superfluous goods; the causes of other is, the unsatiable begging of the friars, with their high buildings.

IX. That alms be given neither virtuously nor lawfully, except it be given with these four conditions: Four conditions in giving alms.first, unless it be given to the honour of God: secondly, unless it be given of goods justly gotten: thirdly, unless it be given to such a person as the giver thereof knoweth to be in charity; and fourthly, unless it be given to such as have need, and do not dissemble.

X. That the often singing in the church is not founded on the Scripture, and therefore it is not lawful for priests to occupy themselves with singing in the church, but with the study of the law of Christ, and preaching his word.

That bread remaineth in the sacrament.XI. That Judas did receive the body of Christ in bread, and his blood in wine; in which it doth plainly appear, that after consecration of bread and wine made, the same bread and wine that was before, doth truly remain on the altar.

XII. That all ecclesiastical suffrages do profit all virtuous and godly persons indifferently.

XIII. That the pope's and the bishops' indulgences be unprofitable, neither can they profit them to whom they be given by any means.

XIV. That the laity is not bound to obey the prelates, whatsoever they command, unless the prelates do watch to give God a just account of the souls of them.

XV. That images are not to be sought to by pilgrimages, neither is it lawful for Christians to bow their knees to them, neither to kiss them, nor to give them any manner of reverence.

For the above articles, the archbishop with other bishops, and divers learned men communing together, first condemned the books as heretical, The books of Claydon burned.and burned them in fire; and then, because they thought the said John Claydon to be forsworn and fallen into heresy, the archbishop did proceed to his definitive sentence against the said John, personally appearing before him in judgment (his confessions being read and deposed against him) after this manner:

The sentence and condemnation of Claydon.In the name of God, amen. We, Henry, by the grace of God archbishop of Canterbury, primate of all England, and legate of the apostolic see, in a certain cause of heretical pravity, and of relapse into the same; whereupon John Claydon, layman, of the province of Canterbury, was detected, accused and denounced, and in the said our province of Canterbury publicly defamed (as by public fame and common report notoriously to us hath been known), first, sitting in judgment-seat, and observing all things lawfully required in this behalf, do proceed to the pronouncing of the sentence definitive in form as followeth. The name of Christ being invocated and only set before our eyes, forasmuch as by the acts and things enacted, producted, exhibited, and confessed before us, also by divers signs and evidences, we have found the said John Claydon to have been, and to be, publicly and notoriously relapsed again into his former heresy, heretofore by him abjured; according to the merits and deserts of the said cause, being of us diligently searched, weighed, and pondered before, to the intent that the said John Claydon shall not infect others with his scab: by the consent and assent of our reverend brethren Richard, bishop of London, John, bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, and Stephen, bishop of St. David's, and of other doctors, as well of divinity as of both laws, and also of other discreet and learned men assisting us in this behalf, we do judge, pronounce, and declare the said John Claydon to be relapsed again into his heresy which he before did abjure; finally and definitively appointing him to be left unto the secular judgment, and so do leave him, by these presents.

Claydon committed to the secular power. The law 'de comburendo' insufficient.
The death and martyrdom of Claydon.
Thus John Claydon, receiving his judgment and condemnation of the archbishop, was committed to the secular power, and by them secular unjustly and unlawfully was committed to the fire, for that the temporal magistrates had no such law sufficient for them to burn any such man for religion condemned of the prelates, as is above sufficiently proved and declared. But to be short, 'quo jure, quaqua injuria,' John Claydon notwithstanding, by the temporal magistrates not long after, was had to Smithfield, where meekly he was made a burnt offering unto the Lord, a.d. 1415.

Robert Fabian, and other chronologers who follow him, add also, that Richard Turming, baker, of whom mention is made before in the examination of John Claydon, Claydon, Turming, both martyrs according to Fabian.was likewise the same time burned with him in Smithfield. Albeit in the Register I find no sentence of condemnation given against the said Turming, neither yet in the Story of St. Alban's is there any such mention of his burning made, but only of the burning of John Claydon aforesaid: wherefore the judgment hereof I leave free to the reader. Notwithstanding, concerning the said Turming this is certain, that he was accused to the bishops, and no doubt was in their hands and bands. What afterwards was done with him, I refer it unto the authors.

A.D.1416.The next year after the burning of these two aforesaid, and also of John Huss, being burnt at Constance, which was A.D. 1416, the prelates of England seeing the daily increase of the gospel, and fearing the ruin of their papal kingdom, were busily occupied, with all their counsel and diligence, to maintain the same. Wherefore, to make their state and kingdom sure, by statutes, laws, constitutions, and terror of punishment, as Thomas Arundel and other prelates had done before, so the before-named Henry Chichesley, archbishop of Canterbury, in his convocation holden at London, maketh another constitution (as though there had not enough been made before) against the poor Lollards; the copy and tenor whereof he sendeth abroad to the bishop of London, and to other his suffragans, by them to be put in strait execution, containing in words as followeth.

  1. Ex Regist. Cant.
  2. This Turming, belike, was then in prison.
  3. This is true, speaking of the invisible church.