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true surmised articles falsely contrived by the blacke freere of Haverfordwest, whiche though I presented to your maistershipe as thacte of his onely doing, yet was hit the mayntenans of the busshope and his ungostly spirituall officers, whiche is evident by the rewarde of the busshope to the freere at his departyng, also by his letters directed to Mr. dean of tharches and to doctoure Huys, diligently to sollicite that I myght be suppressed in my just matter. And where they sithe perceive that (praise be to God!) under the favour of your righteouse equite they cannot prevaile agenst me as they wilfully wulde, yet cesse they not wrongfully to vex suche as pertayne to me, troblyng them with tyranny for my sake, no suche cruelte deservyng; as where of late I sent a servaunt home about certen busynes, immediatly aftre his commyng the busshops officers ascited hym to apperans, and ransacking his house forced hym to delyver suche bokes as he had, that is to saye, an Ynglysshe Testament, thexposicion of the iiijth, vih, and vith chapters of Mathewe, the Ten Commaundementes, and the Epistelle of Saynt Johan, violently withholding them with vehement reproches and clamarouse exclamacions agenst heretikes, as if to have the Testament in Ynglysshe were horrible heresie, to no litle dismaying and ferefull discomfort of the sincere favorers of Godes word. Moreover, they charged in the kynges name the maire of Tynby, in payne of fyve hundreth merckes, to puttin warde the said poore man, his wiff, and a certen honest widowe of inculpable fame, with whom they were at host, laying certen articles to theyre charge whiche they never thought nor spake; and aftre most shamefull rumors raysed uppe to theyre dyffamacion, with slaunderouse wonderment of the towne, alle crafty meanes assayde to bryng in false witnes, when no accuser wuld appere openely, as a true certificat undre the townes seale largely dothe testifie, the above mencyoned officers, without any charitable satisfaction to the said parties wrongfully imprisonede, badd the maire do with them as he lusted, and so thens departyng made ther advaunt * in places where they came
* Their boast.
of theire valyaunt actes agenst heretikes, meanyng therby the favorers of Christes gospell. In consideracion wherof hit may please your singuler goodnes to provyde a redresse, that from the terroure of suche tyrannes the kynges faythfulle subjectes youre poure oratours maye peaceably lyve according to Goddes lawes, without any suche unchristen empeschement and combrouse vexacyons. Furthermore, unfaynedly to assertayne your maistershipe, in what petious case gretely lamentable the kynges faithfull subjectes the poore resians” in the dioces of saynt David your suppliaunt oratours ar miserably ordred undre the clergye, requyreth a farre larger processe then here maye conveniently be comprised; for though we have semblably to other dioceses in outwarde auctorite and exterior ceremonies a busshop, a suffrigan, archdeacons, deans, commissaries, and other busshoplyke officers intitled with spirituall names, also a multitude of mounckes, chanons, ffreers, and secular pristes, yet among them all, so many in nombre and in so large a dioces, is ther not one that sincerely prechithe Goddes word, nor scarce any that hertely favorithe hit, but all utter enemyes theragenst, whose stubburne resistence cannot be without froward rebellion agenst the kynges graciouse actes establisshed uppon the verite of Goddes word. And concernyng the enormyouse vices, the frawdulent exactions, the mysordred lyvyng, and hethyn idolatry, shamefully supported undre the clergies jurisdiction, whiche by sequele of theyre blynd wilfull ignorans do consequently folowe, no dioces I suppose more corrupted nor none so farre out of frame, without hope of reformacion, except your maistershipe shall see a redresse, in whom under the kynges grace the trust of all those that meane well onely consistyth. Fynally theyrabused fasshions at lengithe to discover, at your commaundement, I shalbe redy with suche certente of truthe, that no adversary shalbe able to make contrary denyall; whiche so performed, hit may then please youre good maistershipe to licence me for to departe, under the laufull favour of youre protection, without the whiche nether can I without parell repaire home, nor ther in saffte contynue among so odiouse adversaries of Christes doctrine, by whose tyranny that I may not be unjustly oppressed, I most humbly beseche your assistent ayde, howbeit no farder then the verity of Scripture will justifie my cause, nether for no carnall commodite of any worldly preferment, but alle onely for thavauncement of Christes gospell, to the honor of God, who evermore graciously preserve your maistershipe in honorable felicite. Your humble oratour, WILLIAM BARLo, prior of Haverfordwest.
* Inhabitants, residents.
To the right honorable maister Thomas Crumwell, chief secretary to the kynges highnes.
The priory of Bridlington, situated on the coast of Yorkshire, was founded early in the reign of Henry I. by Walter de Gaunt, whose father (Gilbert de Gaunt) had received a grant of the manor from William the Conqueror. The second Gilbert de Gaunt, eldest son and heir of the founder, confirmed his father's charters, and added liberal donations of his own. The following letter has been printed by Mr. Prickett, in his History of Bridlington, but with a wrong date. The writer was William Wode, the last prior, who in the year following (1536) took an active part in the insurrection commonly called the “Pilgrimage of Grace,” and was executed along with the abbots of Fountains, Rievaulx, and Jervaulx, also implicated in that rebellion.
THE PRIOR OF BRIDLINGTON TO CROMWELL.
Right wourshipfull, my dewtie in my moste humble maner remembred, I recommende me to your gude maistershipe, and for somuche as your sayd maistershipe by your last lettres to me directed advised me, and in like maner counselled me, to recognishe the kynges highnes to be our patrone and founder, forasmuche as noe article, worde, sentence, or clause in our originall graunte to hus mayde by sir Gilbert de Gaunte, cosyne to our originall founder, appered to the contrarie whie of equitie his highnes owght not so to be, or elles to appere before your maistershipe and other of his graces counsell the laste day of Octobre, as I wolde awoide his graces highe displeasour. In this matter, even so humblie as I canne, I shall besuche your gude maistershipe to be gude maister to me and your poour and cotidiall oratours my bretheren; for notwithstondinge the kinges grace his noble progenitours titles and clames hertofore mayde to our said patronage and foundershipe (thoghe all we ar and ever will be at his moste graciouse commaundement and pleasour), yet we have ever benne dimissed clere withowt any interruption in this behalfe nighe this two hundreth yeres, as shall appere before your gudnes under substanciall evidence of recorde. And so I besuche your maistershipe we may be at this tyme, for in your maistershipe our holle truste in all our gude causes remaneth. And where as I ame detenede withe diverse infirmities in my body, and in lyke maner ame feble of nature, so that withowt great yeopardie of my liffe I cannot nor ame not hable to labour in doinge of my dewtie to appere before your [gude] maistershipe, I shall right humblie besuche your gudnes to have [me] excused, and in lyke maner to accept this berar my brother as my lauful deputie in this behalfe, who shall mayke your maistershipe aunswer as concernynge thes premisses, to whome I besuche your maistershipe yeve firm credence, of whome also ye shal resave a poour token frome me whiche I eftsones besuche your gude maistershipe to accept, thankfullie with my poour hert and cotidiall prayers, of whiche ye shall be assured enduringe my liffe, as is my dewtie, Gode willinge, who ever preserve your gude maistershipe, in muche wourshipe longe to endure. Frome our monasterie of Bridlingtone, the xxiijrd day of Octobre, by your humble and cotidiall oratour, WILLIAM, prior of the same.
The next letter relates to the priory of Fordham, in Cambridgeshire. This house, which Tanner calls “ Fordham alias Bigynge,” is said to have been founded by Robert de Fordham, for canons of the order of Sempringham.
D.R. LEGH TO CROMWELL.
[From MS. Cotton. Cleop. E. Iv. fol. 229.]
My hartye recommendatyons presupposid, pleasith yt your mastership to undrestand, that ther ys a pryory namyd Byggyn in the towne of Fordham, in the dyocesse of Norwyche, wher asys but the prior and his moncke, and the moncke is in extreme age and at dethes doore, and my lorde of Northehumberlandysfownder ther, of whom I suppose ye maye very easely opteyne his title and interest. Yt is a propre howse, and yt stand commodyously and pleasauntly, and yt maye spend xxx". by the yere in temporall landes, besyde spyrytualtyes, whyche ys a benefyce of xvil. by the yere. Also I desyre you to send me worde, what shall be doon with thes relygyous persons whiche knelyng on ther knees, howldyng up ther handes, instantly with humble petycyon desyre of God, the kyng, and you, to be dymyssyd from ther relygyon, sayyng they lyve in yt contrary to Goddys lawe and ther conscyens, trustyng that the kyng of hys gracyous goodnes and you wyll set them at lybertye owte of this bondage, which they ar not able lenger \ to endure (as they saye), but shuld fall into dysperatyon or elles ronne awaye, with many other lamentable petycyons whiche war now to long to wryte, but yt war a dede of charyte that they myght lyve in that kynd of lyvyng whiche myght be moste to the glorye of God, the quyetnes of ther conscyens, and most to the commonwelthe, who so ever hathe informyd you to the contrary, for your harte wold lamente to here them as I doo, as thys berer your servauntecan shewe you. As consernyng thes thynges, I shall desyre your mastershyp of farder knowlege what I shall doo, and I shalle be redy to accomplyshe your mynde in thes and