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twe partes, nam tunc sua res agitur paries cum prowimus ardet. Thes premysses consyderyd, I trust ye wyll thinke hym not worthe to be visitour of hys religion ony longer by the kinges auctorite. And in thys cause of the abbot of Riwaxe, the other commyssionars hathe precedide according to the lawe, and yowr credence by me to theyme relatyde, and condignlie hathe remowyd hym from the rewlle of hys abbacie and admynistracion of the same. With my slawe wryting I besiche yow to tak no displesur, and of the cause therof I shall at my cummyng to London make trve relacion unto yow. Wrytten in hast, the fyrst day off Septembar, from Belver. By your servand, THoMAs I (?) LEGH.
I pray yow noote there presumptuose myndes, most alienat from religion, hawing nothing of ther own, ne may have ther accomptes made, whiche oonly to be calyd an abbatte will contende contrare to ther obediencie with the kinges highnes, the fownders, and all other, to the great slandar of the religion, disqwiettnes and extreme costes and charges of ther howse.
To the ryght worshypfull master
Thomas Crumwell, oon of the kinges
most honorable councell, thys be delyverde wythe spede.
In the following letter we find the Abbot of Glastonbury, one of the greatest abbeys in England, petitioning against some of the visitatorial injunctions. We shall find him afterwards acting more decidedly in opposition to the wishes of the court, for which he was at last brought to the scaffold.
My singuler gode master, after moste humble recommendacion, with like thanckes for your great payne of late taken with me to my great comforte, this shal be to advertyse your saide gode mastershipp that I have spoken with my lorde abbot of Glaston concernynge suche injunccions as weer yeven hym and his covent by your deputie at the last visitacion there. Wherof there be foure articles * in this papar here ynclosede, and as to too the first articles extendyth generally to every moncke yn the howse, but to suche as be exceptede in the seccound article, to infourm your mastershipp of the trothe, ther be certen officers brodirs of the howse whiche have allway be attendaunt apon the abbot, as his chapleyn, steward, celerer, and on or too officers moo; if they schuld be bounde to the firste too articles, it schuld muche disapoynt the order of the howse, whiche hathe longe ben full honorable. Wherfore if it may pleas your saide gode masterschipp to licence the abbot to dispence with thoo too firste articles, yn my mynde ye schall doo a verie gode dede, and I dare be suertie he will dispence with none but with suche as schalbe necessarie. And to the thirde article they have used allwayes to make ther leesses by on of the religion and ceculer men appoynted to hym, whiche leesses have comenly be made at a courte and letten by copie of the courte roll, and the covent never made previe to the leese, and if they schuld make no leese but by assent of the more parte of the covent, it schuld be verie tedyous bothe to them and to ther tenauntes. Wherfore, if it may pleas your gode masterschipp to discharge that thirde article, the abbot weer muche bounde to your gode masterschipp. And to the iiijth article, peraventure there be sume of his brodirs would be gladd to be abrode, and to make untrew surmyse, so the abbot may paye for ther costes. Wherfore, it may pleas yow to ordre that clawse to be spared to tyme the abbot may wayte on your gode masterschipp the next terme, or elles to make it if the complaynaunt prove his complaynt to be trew than to have his costes, or elles not, the abbot weer muche bounde to yowe. Other articles ther be whiche they thincke verie strayt; howbeit they will sue to your gode masterschipp for that at more leyser, and yn the meane tyme I dowte not they will kepe as gode religion as any howse of that order withyn this realme, as knowith God, who longe preserve your saide gode masterschipp. At Redliche, the ijnd, day of Septembre. Your humble daylye oratour, as he is moste bownd, John FFIT JAMEs.
* The paper containing these four articles appears to be lost, and a slip with four articles in no point answering to the description given in the letter is attached to it in the letter. One of the injunctions of the visitors was, “that no monke or brother of this monastery by any meanes goo forthe of the precynct of the same.” Another injunction, which appears to be that alluded to by the abbot of Glastonbury in his third article, was, “Also that the abbot and president of this house shall make no waste of the woodes pertayning to this house, nor shall set out unadvisydly any fermes or reversions without the consent of the more parte of the convent.” See the draught of the visitatorial injunctions in the Cottonian MS. Cleop. E. Iv. fol. 21.
This is the second letter from Dr. Legh on the subject of that part of the injunctions which confined the monks and their superiors to their houses. His coadjutor Dr. Leighton appears to have been inclined to more indulgence on this head, to which Cromwell seems to have been not unfavourable.
After my dewe commendations to your good maistershipp, please it you to be advertised that I have receyved youre gentill and loving lettres, yn which ye wolde that at my discretion I may licence the heddis for their necessary busynes and affaires to go furth of theire monasteries in suyche discrete maner and fourme as no brute" may be made thereof. Sir, it was not myne ententin my lettres to have any autoritie to dispense with the saide heddes in this case, but as in tymes past so I doo yet think it very necessary that they have not libertie so sone after their injuctions, partely because it will be some occasion to think the other may as well be broke, and partely because their inferiors shall think that they have no litell injury so to be bounden, and their hed, which hath professid the same religion and shulde be in all hardemes as a lanterne and example to theym, thus to be losid. Besides this, if ye had withdrawen your hand a while herein, they shuld have had gret occasion to seke uppon the kinges favour and yours, and so it might have lyen in your handes to gratifie theym daily to their great hartys ease and your no litell commoditie. And also dyvers other causes there be, as ye shall knowe by the compertes in this visitation, why it is not expedient as yet that some of theym shuld have suych libertie. Wherfore, notwithstonding your gentill licence geven to me in this behalf, I entende to release none before that I speke with your maistership, or els that ye send me strayte commaundement so to doo. Praying you hartely that ye well consider whome ye send to the universities of Oxford and Cambrige, where other will be founde all vertue and goodnes or els the fontayne of all vice and myschief, and if all be well orderid there, no dowte both God and the king shall be well servid in these affaires, and your maistershippes office well discharged. Thus I commit you to Allmightie God. From Willton, the third daie of Septembre. Yours ever assureytt, THOMAS LEGH.
* i. e. noise, report. CAMD. SOC. K
Our next letter introduces us again to the monks of the Charter House at London, who continued obstinate in their non-conformity with the desires of the court. It is an interesting picture of the state of the house at this period.
My dewtye to your good maistershipe humbly premyside, pleasithe hit the same to understande that with this my rude letter I have sent to you a paper of suche proportyon of vyttell and other as the lay brothers hyre tellyth me of necessite muste be provydyde for them, whiche will not be borne with the revenuce of the howse, for the yerly revenuce of the howse is vio. xlijli. iiijd. ob., and the provysion in that proportyon amountythe to vio. lviiji. vijo. iiijd. And yet sythyns the makyng of that proportyon, whete is risen iiijs. in every quarter, and malte xxd. in every quarter, and comunely all other vittell rysithe therwith. I lerne her among this laye broders, that hertofore when all vittell was at a convenyent price, and allso when they were fewer persons in number than thei now be, the proctowr hath accomptyde for Mii. a yere, theyr rent of asyse beyng but as above vic.xlijl. iiijd. ob., whiche costlow fare, buyldynges, and other, was than borne of the benevolence and charyte off the citie of London. Nowe they not regarding this derthe, nether the encrease of ther superfluus nomber, nether yet the decay of the said benevolence and charyte, wold have and hathe that same fare contynuall that then was usid, and wold have like plentye of brede and ale and fyshegevyn to strangers in the butterye and at the butterye dore, and as large lyvere of bredde and ale to all ther servantes, and to vagabundes at the gate, as was than uside, wich can not be. Wherfore, under the favor of your mastershipe, hit semythe to be moche necessary to mynyshe eyther ther number or deyntye fare, and allso the superfluus lyvere of brede and ale.
These Charterhowse monkes wold be callyde solytary; but to the cloyster dore therbe above xxiiij. keys, in the handes of xxiiij. persons, and hit is lyke in letters, unprofytable tales and