The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe/Volume 3/The Trouble of John Barton and Robert Chapel, for Religion


During the time of this convocation in the year above-said, two priests were presented and brought before the bishops, noted and defamed for heretics; one named John Barton, unto whom it was objected by Philip, bishop of Lincoln, that he had been excommunicated about six or seven years before, upon articles concerning religion; and yet neither would appear, being cited, nor would seek to be reconciled again to the church. Which things being so proved against him, he was committed to the custody of the aforesaid Philip,[1] bishop of Lincoln, and so to be holden in prison, till he should hear further what should be done.

The other was Robert Chapel, otherwise named Holbech, chaplain some time to the lord Cobham; unto whom likewise it was objected, that he, being under the sentence of excommunication about three or four years, yet notwithstanding, to the contempt of the keys, did continue saying mass, and preaching, and sought not to be reconciled; Chapel denying that he did know any such excommunication given out against him. Then was the copy of his excommunication, first made by the bishop of Rochester, afterwards denounced by the bishop of London at Paul's Cross, brought and read before him; and so that done, that session broke up for that time, which was about the latter end of May, A.D. 1416.

Chapel abjureth.The twelfth day of the month of July next following, the said Chapel appeared again before the archbishop and the prelates. To whom when it was objected as before, how he had preached without the bishop's license in divers places, as at Cobham, at Cowling, and at Shorne; at length, he, confessing and submitting himself, desired pardon. Which although it was not at the first granted unto him, yet at the last the bishop of Rochester, putting in his hands the decree of the canon law,[2] and causing him to read the same, made him to abjure all his former articles and opinions as heretical and schismatical, never to hold the same again, according to the contents of the aforesaid canon. Whereupon the said Robert, being absolved by the authority of the archbishop (save only that he should not intermeddle with saying mass, before he had been dispensed from the pope himself, for irregularity), was enjoined by the archbishop himself for his penance, standing at Paul's, to publish these articles following unto the people, instead of his confession given him to be read.

  1. This Philip seemeth to be Philip Repington before mentioned, in the story of Wickliff.
  2. 1 q. 7 cap. 'Quoties,' &c.