Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 12 Part 1, January-May 1537. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1890.
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IT was a new experience to Henry VIII. that he had been, even for a time, completely checkmated by his own subjects. But this was the state of matters at the end of the year 1536. He had not been able to bring the North of England back into subjection without entrusting Norfolk with a large authority to make concessions, and Norfolk had been obliged almost to exceed the actual instructions given him—certainly to exceed further instructions which were on the way—by dispensing the pardons without even the reservation of a few notable offenders to satisfy the King's vengeance. With what feelings Henry endured such a rebuff the events of the next six months enable us to judge without misgiving. But at present he could not afford to give ready vent to his anger. The duke of Norfolk's weakness might well be pardoned in consideration of his ample promises to serve the King in future at the expense of his own honour. And, indeed, the King saw no hope of avoiding an inglorious surrender without adopting or imitating the policy of Norfolk himself.
He accordingly wrote to Aske, as we have seen, on the 15th December, to come up and confer with him in person, assuring him that all promises would be performed, and that he had great hopes that Aske by his plainness and frankness would deserve reward. But he must not make anyone privy to the royal summons. A safe-conduct was sent for him to come and return before Twelfth day; but he must obey with the strictest secrecy. (fn. 1) He went, and he was detained in London to the extreme limit of the term of his safe-conduct; but his conferences with the King appeared to have led to the most satisfactory results. What man in Aske's position could easily have resisted the personal influence of a Sovereign deigning to confer with him as a most reasonable master (for no one understood diplomacy so well as Henry) and to recognise him as the exponent of grievances of which that Sovereign was doubtless ill-informed and for which he seemed most anxious to find a remedy? We do not know the details of those conferences; but on the 5th January Archbishop Lee, at Cawood, who was deeply interested in ascertaining their probable results, wrote to Darcy that it was understood that Aske had met with a favourable reception; that the Queen would be crowned at York at Michaelmas, and that a Parliament would be held there at the same time, in which it was only natural to infer that fuller consideration would be given to the wishes of the people. (fn. 2)
That same 5th January—the last day to which his safe-conduct extended—Aske rode again Northwards. (fn. 3) But everything connected with his mission was still kept as secret as possible until he reached Yorkshire, where, having arrived on the 8th, he wrote to Darcy and informed other friends as well that the King had been very gracious, and confirmed the general pardon to him by word of mouth; that he was sending the duke of Norfolk once more into the North (it was presumed on a conciliatory mission); and that all reasonable petitions would be discussed in a parliament held at York, when the Queen would also be crowned. He added—what was by no means a superfluous assurance—that the King had also granted perfect freedom of election of knights and burgesses, "and like liberty to the spiritualty to declare their learning." (fn. 4)
If Aske was not really satisfied of the King's good faith he certainly acted like one who was so. But it was by no means clear that he could inspire such confidence in others. In Lancashire it was reported that lord Derby had "kept a great Christmas" at Lathom, taking care to repair the walls and fortify the place with guns and shot, and that lord Monteagle had ridden to him in Christmas week, warning him that all the country about Blackburn, Kendal, and Craven would rise at once on any attempt to turn out the monks of Sawley. Further North the earl of Cumberland and the commons distrusted each other, and Cumberland's son, lord Clifford, had to make a hasty retreat from Giggleswick where he went to hear a mass. Moreover the bailiff of Kendal had barely escaped with his life, when he attempted to read the King's pardon in Kendal church on New Year's Eve. (fn. 5) Why should the commons require a pardon? They felt they had done no wrong.
Nor were matters one whit better on the East coast than on the West. Even as Aske was on his way home a disquieting rumour was spread at Beverley that ordnance had been sent by night to Hull, and that the King intended to lay garrisons there and at Scarborough. One John Hallom was prepared to lead a rising, in which it was expected that all Holderness would join. (fn. 6) Aske at once set himself to prevent the outbreak,—first by writing; then going himself he declared the King's gracious intentions in the common hall. This at once stopped the movement, at least for a time. Sir Marmaduke Constable wrote to congratulate Aske on his success, but even while doing so desired him to use his influence in the same way further North; for a rumour had got abroad that he had been beheaded at London, and there were new commotions threatened about Ripon and Fountains. (fn. 7) Aske could hardly be in several places at once; he seemed to be wanted everywhere. People were not satisfied about the Parliament; it would not be "in convenient time." They observed that the King "had written for most of the worshipful men"—a sign that he did not trust entirely to conciliation. Doubts were raised also about his Majesty's pardon "by reason of a late book answering to the first five Articles;" and it was supposed a general fortification of strongholds was resolved upon. The duke of Norfolk, it was said, would occupy Hull; the levying of the tenth was pressed upon the clergy in violation of one of the stipulations at Doncaster; and Cromwell, the arch-enemy, was in as great favour as ever. (fn. 8) It was doubted whether Aske himself had not been won over to betray the commons; and ere long the "pilgrimage for grace" was again proclaimed as a thing of urgent necessity for the general safety."2
Thanks to the severe and searching examinations afterwards held, we can trace both the new and, the old disturbances to their sources with the utmost precision. We must limit ourselves, however, to the former, leaving the student to amplify what has been shown in the last volume by the fresh information here about last year's outbreak. Monday, the 8th January, was "a plough day"—a festival always observed on the first Monday after Epiphany; and John Hallom, who had been drinking with two companions, William Horsekey and Hugh Langdale, at Watton, turned in along with them and the vicar to the parish church to say a paternoster. He called his friends to Our Lady's altar and said, "Sirs, I fear me lest Hull do deceive us the commons, for there is ordnance daily carried in thither by ships, and they make prie yates (privy gates?), and Scarborough shall be better fortified, the gentlemen will deceive us the commons, and the King's grace intends to perform nothing of our petitions. Wherefore I think best to take Hull and Scarborough ourselves betimes." He accordingly proposed that his two companions should go, the one to Sir Robert Constable, and the other either to William Levenyng and Robert Bulmer, or else to William Constable, while he himself repaired to Hull to make inquiries, the result of which was to be considered at a further meeting between them on Wednesday following. But on Tuesday night Hallom received a letter from Aske, who had just come home, desiring him to come and meet him next day at Arros and go with him to Beverley. The previous arrangements were then set aside, and the three friends accompanied Aske into Beverley, where he declared before the whole town the King's willingness to grant all the petitions of the commons, and to hold a parliament at York, where the Queen was to be crowned. He added that the duke of Norfolk would shortly be there and bring with him evidences of the King's benignity under the Great Seal. (fn. 9)
"How happens it then," asked Hallom, "if this be true, that the tenths be gathered?" For the Archbishop of York had received a letter from the King to collect them. Aske said he knew nothing of that, but supposed it must be for the subsidy which the clergy had granted freely; and Aske's message was, on the whole, so tranquillising that the company at Beverley urged Hallom to stay the country in his neighbourhood. But, on Wednesday night Sir Francis Bigod came and paid a visit to him at Watton, where he remained till Friday morning; and he informed Hallom that all Wensleydale, Swadale, and all the dales were up, and Sir Thomas Percy (the earl of Northumberland's brother) was coming forward with them, so that there was no choice but they must rise too. Bigod therefore proposed that Hallom and his friends should take Hull, while he himself with his company took Scarborough, and then they should make a joint advance on Beverley; after which they could go on and take Pomfret. (fn. 10)
Descended of a family illustrious in English history, Sir Francis Bigod had succeeded his grandfather, Sir Ralph, as a Yorkshire landowner in 1530. (fn. 11) He had probably then just attained his majority, and is spoken of in 1533 as a young man who had been in cardinal Wolsey's service. (fn. 12) His education was superior to that of most of the gentry; and he had by this time given the world some fruit of his learning in the shape of a book on monastic impropriations, the preface to which was, a century later, reprinted by Spelman as an appendix to his larger treatise upon tithes. Church questions and theology occupied much of his attention. He was a friend of Latimer, Barnes, Crome, Rastell, and all the men of the new learning. Not only in his own district of Yorkshire, but at Bristol also, where theological strife was specially vehement, he had zealously befriended preachers of the new school. He reports himself in various letters as hearing sermons in London, supporting preachers at his own cost, anxious that the royal supremacy should be maintained, and the Word of God set forth "sincerely." (fn. 13) If the Archbishop of York would not preach "sincerely" he had a chaplain who was ready to preach instead of him, —nay, he was anxious to preach himself, if he could only be admitted to take orders, or if Cromwell would give him a dispensation to do so as a layman. He was, however, under obligations to Cromwell in another way, for he was deeply in debt, and had turned naturally to the great money-lender who had been in Wolsey's service along with him, my lord Privy Seal. (fn. 14)
How came such a man as this, who had lost his father and a brother fighting for the King in his Scotch wars, (fn. 15) and whose peculiar religious bent seemed so much in accordance with the Church policy of his Sovereign—how came he of all men to take a leading part in a new rebellion? It was not wonderful that Hallom did so, for he had already done something dangerous. It was he who, "during the truce at Doncaster," had taken a ship at Scarborough with 100l. of the King's money, had seized the master, Edward Waters, by the beard, and threatening to cut off his head if he did not tell the truth, made him confess that the King intended to fortify Scarborough and Hull, so as to bring the country into complete subjection. (fn. 16) But Bigod, so far as we know, had taken no active part, even in the risings of October; (fn. 17) still less is he likely to have been responsible for the violation of the truce which followed. Yet it was by his instigation apparently more than that of any other person that Hallom was led to make a new commotion; for it would seem that he paid Hallom a visit, (fn. 18) one great object of which at least was to point out that the pardon proclaimed at Doncaster was of no validity, as it did not run in the King's name. He believed that it had been drawn up by Cromwell. A change, moreover, seems to have come over his religious opinions, or else the King's notion of royal supremacy went considerably beyond his own. For he read to Hallom a book made by himself showing what authority belonged to the Pope, what to a bishop, and what to a King, and maintained that while a spiritual person like the Archbishop of Canterbury might very well be head of the Church of England, it was a position quite unsuitable for the Sovereign, whose duty was to defend the rights of the spiritualty with the sword. (fn. 19)
Bigod possibly was not aware that he was aiming at a combination of spiritual and temporal power himself, or something like it. At Watton, where, as we have seen, he stayed two days with Hallom, was a monastery, of which the prior, an intruder put in by Cromwell, who had before been prior of St. Katharine's near Lincoln, (fn. 20) had been expelled by the commons during the insurrection. Bigod told the brethren that the prior had not been lawfully put in, urged them to send to Beverley for a notary, and drew up a formal instrument for the election of a new prior, to which business Hallom commanded them to proceed at once on pain of losing all they had. (fn. 21) A few days later, on Monday 15 January, Hallom received a letter from Bigod, telling him that the commons of the Bishopric of Durham and Richmondshire expected him to assemble his men immediately and march upon Hull. (fn. 22) He obeyed and entered the town next day with a company of twenty men—not a very large force certainly to take a seaport. But they went in by twos unarmed to avoid suspicion and had an understanding with about three score men within, (fn. 23) who were at once to come to their assistance. They had also sent for further aid from Holderness, of which they were disappointed. But they expected doubtless that many besides their three score confederates would join them within the town itself as soon as it suited them to declare their object. (fn. 24)
Unfortunately for them, there were too many in the secret. Their design had already been revealed to the mayor of Hull, by John Folbery of Newbold, servant of the earl of Surrey, who when Hallom was within the gates on horseback pointed him out to John Eland, one of the aldermen, as the chief of the conspiracy. Eland at once took by the arm another alderman named William Knolles and they both made up to Hallom, one on one side and one on the other, seized his bridle and demanded his name. He said, "Hallom." "Then thou art the false traitor that I look for," answered Knolles, and they both attacked him with their daggers. He wore, however, a concealed coat of fence, and had a hand-to-hand struggle with Eland, while Knolles was thrown to the ground by some of his adherents. The latter, however, soon regained his feet and captured several of his assailants, while Eland after a brief conflict succeeded in taking Hallom himself. When taken a letter from Bigod was found upon him, urging him to endeavour by stratagem to take Hull while Bigod would make an attempt on Scarborough. (fn. 25)
The attempt on Scarborough seemed at first more hopeful, but was not in the end more successful than the attempt on Hull. Very early that Tuesday morning gentlemen were called out of their beds in the East Riding by intelligence that beacons had been burned in the night, and a muster ordered that day at Settrington. There, when about 30 or 40 persons had been gathered in obedience to the summons, Sir Francis came among them with a hundred horse or more, and mounting to the top of a hillock told the people to take good heed or they should be destroyed. "The gentry," he said, "have deceived the commons. But the Bishopric (i.e., the men of Durham) and Cleveland are up for their articles, and I trust you will not desert them. My lord of Norfolk is coming with 20,000 men to take Hull, Scarborough, and other haven towns unless we take them before, and so I and my fellow Hallom purpose to do; for we meet this night at Beverley to raise the country and take Hull." (fn. 26)
It looks rather as if Bigod here practised a slight deception on his hearers; for if the date of this harangue was Tuesday as stated in the deposition (and no other date is so plausible) he must have reckoned upon Hallom entering Hull that very day, and doubtless long before nightfall. He was anxious also, and not unnaturally, to share his responsibility with others, and he saw an opportunity at this moment of throwing the principal burden on more dignified shoulders. George Lumley, son and heir of lord Lumley, was among those who obeyed the summons to his muster, and before he addressed the people had endeavoured to have a word with him in private. This, however, did not suit Bigod's purpose, and he declared that he would have no communications with him that all were not privy to. By his mere presence at the muster Lumley was already committed to some extent, and Bigod made an appeal to him which he felt unable to resist. "I think," continued the orator, "you should command Mr. Lumley here to go with you to take Scarborough Castle and town, and keep the port there. I have written to the bailiffs of Scarborough to aid you." And with this he handed the letter to Lumley, with another to the old countess of Northumberland desiring her to stir up her son Sir Thomas Percy to come forward, and the commons would put him in possession of the family estates, which the unthrifty Earl, his brother, had surrendered to the King.
Again continuing his oration—"You are deceived," Bigod added, "by a colour of a pardon, which is but a proclamation," and reading it, he added: "It is as if I should say the King will give you a pardon, and I bade you go to the Chancery for it. You are there called rebels, and if you accept it you will acknowledge yourselves to have acted against the King. A parliament, too, is promised, but neither place nor time appointed; and the King claims to have the cure both of your bodies and souls, which is against the Gospel. If you take my part I will not fail you; and who will do so, hold up your hands." Immediately all held up their hands with a great shout; and Bigod departed towards Hull, leaving Lumley with a company of 40 to march upon Scarborough. (fn. 27)
Lumley yielded to the pressure put upon him, but was anxious to slip out of the business as soon as possible. He therefore did not care to increase his slender following, and being compelled by the commons to warn the constable of Seamer to raise Pickering Lithe, told him that he would come from Scarborough and join the muster next day at Spittels. In spite of these devices he entered Scarborough with six or seven score instead of forty; and he made proclamation that his men should pay for their food and not quarrel with the men of young Sir Ralph Evers, the keeper of the castle, who at that time happened to be absent. He, however, set a watch round the castle, and sent warning at midnight to old Sir Ralph Evers, that if his grandson (fn. 28) came he should not attempt to enter the castle that night, for Lumley would find means ere long to withdraw the company. Next day, he swore the officers of the town, according to instructions given him by Bigod; and after interfering to prevent some of Evers's men being put to death, got one John Wyvel appointed as captain in his place and left, as he said, to see to some business at home, taking away the soldiers who came with him and promising to send Wyvel more. He arrived at Spittels so late that the muster had dispersed, and next day wrote to Wyvel advising him to disband his company and go home, for the King was coming to York at Whitsuntide when a parliament would be held and the Queen would be crowned and all grievances would be redressed; and meanwhile the duke of Norfolk would soon be in the North to pacify the country. (fn. 29)
It was not wonderful, certainly, that Wyvell and his fellow captain, Ralph Fenton, abandoned the siege of the castle as soon as they knew of Sir Ralph Evers's coming. (fn. 30) All Bigod's energies were engaged in the fruitless effort to repair the failure at Hull, and he never reached Scarborough at all. He had been writing for aid to the men of Durham, Auckland, Staindrop, and Richmondshire; but the bailiff of Durham brought his letter unopened to the countess of Westmoreland, and wrote back at once that the men of Durham had sworn to the Earl her husband to rise at no man's bidding but his or the King's. (fn. 31) Nevertheless, Bigod appears to have received favourable replies from other districts, and he wrote to Sir Robert Constable to join him in an attempt to rescue Hallom from the custody of the mayor of Hull. He said that the commons who had formerly viewed him with distrust, and from whom he had stood in danger of his life at Pomfret, had now the utmost confidence in him, and were all strongly urging him to go forward. (fn. 32) Sir Robert Constable, in reply, said he was unable to stir from gout, but wondered that Bigod would assemble the people after the assurances given by the King. If any doubted about the pardon Aske could get them full confirmation of it under the King's hand and seal, which he believed the duke of Norfolk was actually bringing with him; and he advised Bigod to stay the people. (fn. 33)
Sir Ralph Evers accordingly entered Scarborough peaceably, and put the two captains left by Lumley into confinement. He gave the people "comfortable words," seeing they had been seduced by what Bigod and Hallom had told them of the insecurity of their pardon, and pointed out the danger of rebellion; so that the commons about Scarborough promised obedience, in token of which they agreed each man to wear a cross of St. George. (fn. 34) Meanwhile, Aske and Sir Robert Constable, whatever sympathy they may have felt towards Bigod personally, had been carefully pouring cold water everywhere on the fire that he had been endeavouring to stir up. On the 18th he wrote to Sir Robert from Bainton, 10 or 12 miles north of Beverley, that he was going to the latter place, (fn. 35) and he entered it at four o'clock that afternoon with 300 or 400 men. This move on Beverley was the first step to a final advance on Hull, and he had sent on three messengers beforehand to the latter place to demand the immediate release of Hallom and the other prisoners taken by the townspeople. Sir Ralph Ellerker the younger took two of the messengers and placed them in custody, sending the third back to Bigod with an answer which he did not relish. Ellerker's father, the elder Sir Ralph, was in Beverley when Bigod entered the town, but he thought right to send to Hull before taking action to expel him. Young Sir Ralph promised to be there next day by 12 o'clock with a muster from the neighbouring lordships; but, the town being altogether loyal, his father ventured next morning to attack the rebels before daybreak without waiting for the promised aid. Bigod soon gave up the struggle as hopeless, and fled in the dark with most of his company, leaving 62 prisoners in the hands of the townsmen. (fn. 36)
Such a complete collapse of rebellion and such loyalty shown in repressing it might well have satisfied the most exacting sovereign. It did not entirely satisfy Henry VIII. He wrote, indeed, to Sir Ralph Ellerker the elder and those who had assisted him, commending highly the faithful service they had done; but he could not understand the indulgence they had shown to Bigod's followers whom, after some discussion, they had released upon surety to appear before the King's lieutenant (Norfolk) when called on. Some indeed, would have kept them all in prison, but it was generally considered that the poor fellows had been made to serve against their wills, and that their detention was unnecessary to secure the peace of the country. But the King insisted that if it could be done without danger everyone of them should be re-arrested, arraigned at Hull before a commission of oyer and terminer, and executed in divers parts of the country. At all events the priests and principals were to be executed without delay. (fn. 37) Nothing but the most signal vengeance in such cases could appease Henry's anger, and the manner in which he anticipated judicial sentences is significant as to the mode in which justice was then administered.
The long-expected return of the duke of Norfolk into the North was now near at hand. It had been promised before Christmas that he should be sent again as the King's lieutenant to pacify the country, and the people at that time were generally disposed to welcome him in the belief that he came to do justice. (fn. 38) What sort of pacification he really intended we have already seen in the last volume. (fn. 39) Opposed as he was well known to be to the policy the King was pursuing under Cromwell, and having actually made a compact with the rebels and declared the King's pardon to them at Doncaster, he was supposed to be the best friend the commons could well have. But whatever he thought of the King's policy it was a matter of vital importance to him to secure the King's favour, and he knew very well the temper of the master whom he was thus bound to serve. He had distinctly promised Henry to observe no compact with the rebels which he found himself strong enough to violate; and he proceeded now on his mission with the full intention of glutting the royal appetite for judicial slaughter.
Henry saw that he was an admirable tool; but he did not trust him entirely. It was all very well for appearance' sake to send the Duke into the North with the name of his lieutenant, just as if he were to wield the full power of royalty. But the whole government of the North was certainly not to be under his control otherwise than the King should direct; and while Norfolk was free to give his best advice, he found almost invariably that his advice was overruled. The King, in fact, had already formed a plan of his own for the government of the North before the Duke left Kenninghall upon his mission; and it was quite a different project from what the Duke himself would have proposed. Nor could the latter understand when he reached Lincoln on the 30th January and was informed that Sir Anthony Browne had just been sent to the North in advance of him, how a mission independent of his own should thus have been set forward and nothing said of it to him. (fn. 40)
The business on which Sir Anthony was sent was partly to establish a new rule on the borders of Scotland, partly to ascertain by secret inquiry the degree of loyalty or disaffection entertained everywhere towards the King, and who were the authors of the late rebellion. Henry was persistently endeavouring to find out the causes of all the recent commotions, and had drawn from Aske, when he was with him, a written statement of the whole history of his connection with the movement. (fn. 41) But the state of the Borders was a matter of grave anxiety at a time when allegiance everywhere was so unsteady. The king of Scots fortunately was in France, but would soon be home with his new French wife, to whom he had been married in Paris on New Year's day; (fn. 42) and if it was true, as some said, that Henry's own subjects were ready now to welcome their old enemies within the kingdom, his throne stood in serious peril. It was absolutely necessary at all events to remove the earl of Northumberland, who was dangerously ill, (fn. 43) from the office of Warden of the East and Middle Marches. But in doing so care must be taken that his two brothers, Sir Thomas and Sir Ingram Percy, who had just been raising disturbances at Morpeth, (fn. 44) should be withdrawn from that part of the country and prevented from doing further mischief. The King therefore resumed into his own hands the office of Warden, appointed Sir William Evers deputy warden of the East Marches and Sir John Widdrington of the Middle Marches; and under them Roger and George Fenwick were to be keepers of Tynedale and Reedsdale, the two most troublesome districts in Northumberland. Sir Anthony Browne was to carry down their commissions and instal them in their offices. At the same time Sir Thomas and Sir Ingram Percy were ordered to repair to the King's presence, and if they made any attempt to evade or resist the demand, Ralph Sadler, who at the same time was sent on a message to Queen Margaret in Scotland, took with him secret instructions to apprehend them and send them to Grimsby by sea. (fn. 45)
In the middle of January Norfolk was still at Greenwich. (fn. 46) On the 23rd he was at his family seat of Kenninghall in Norfolk, preparing for the journey; for he had only promised to be in Yorkshire before Candlemas. (fn. 47) But that same 23rd January, while he was at Kenninghall, Sadler had arrived at York; from which place he reported to Cromwell all the news he had heard on the way about the most recent disturbances (including Bigod's attempt and failure at Hull) and all that he had seen himself indicative of the temper of the people. Everywhere north of Doncaster bills had been stuck on church doors urging the commons to stick together, for the gentlemen had deceived them. People said they would not have risen but that reports were spread that no two parish churches would be allowed to stand within five miles of each other, and that marriages, christenings, and burials would be taxed, and the gentlemen had promised to lead them in their remonstrance. "Why," exclaimed Sadler, "the gentlemen were taken by the commons and compelled to be their captains." He was answered that they might have stayed the people well enough, but that they really winked at the matter. Indeed, the host at whose house he lodged at Tadcaster made some pointed remarks on a case that the King had long been watching attentively. "How say ye," he said, "to my lord Darcy? Did he not turn to the commons as soon as they came to Pomfret and take their part? And yet being within the castle he might have resisted them if they had been ten times as many." (fn. 48) This was quite the King's opinion, and indeed not far from the truth; but for the present it was not declared officially.
Five days later Sadler arrived at Newcastle, and reported that he had found the country he had passed through not so wild as reported, though there had been some stir made in "the Bishopric" (Durham) and in Cleveland just before, owing to bills posted on church doors suggesting that Norfolk was coming with a great army "to hang and draw from Doncaster to Berwick," notwithstanding the King's pardon. Sadler was indeed in some danger at Darlington, and the people would hardly take his assurance that he was only sent on a mission to Scotland, as the king of Scots was in France. But he managed at length to gain their confidence and replied to their inquiries about Norfolk that he was to be at Doncaster on Candlemas Eve and bring only his household servants with him. (fn. 49)
Sadler remained some time at Newcastle waiting for a safe conduct from Scotland; and before he closed his letter he was able to report in a postscript the arrival of Sir Thomas Clifford, captain of Berwick, who was to execute the King's orders touching the two Percies. Clifford undertook to have the King's letters delivered to them and would see himself to the carrying out of the King's commands; but he told Sadler that notwithstanding all injunctions to secrecy, the matter had got wind, for he had heard of it nearly a week before. However, the Percies, it was said, were going to meet Norfolk at Doncaster. They were not the men to fly from danger. (fn. 50)
Norfolk at length set out upon his journey. He arrived at Lincoln on the 30th January, where he received a letter from bishop Tunstall urging him to come to Durham, and though he thought the bishop over timid, he determined to go to Newcastle. (fn. 51) On Candlemas day (2 Feb.), having learned the scope of Sir Anthony Browne's commission, he wrote from Doncaster both to him and to the Council expressing general approval of a plan for giving fees to various gentlemen of the Borders, but taking strong exception to certain names included in the list. There were, he declared, no more arrant thieves and murderers in the district, and they deserved hanging better than being pensioned. (fn. 52) But Norfolk did not understand the King's mind as he learned it by return of the post. The Council wrote to him that his Grace marvelled he should be more strongly opposed to retaining such as had been murderers and thieves than such as had been traitors. The men had rather done good than otherwise in the commotion, though they acted only for their own profit, and if they could now be made good men the King's money would be well spent. The annuities granted to them were not pardons and they were still responsible. (fn. 53)
Norfolk's ideas, however, differed materially from the King's even on the very object of Sir Anthony's mission. The Duke had a high opinion of his own order and believed that the Borders could not possibly be placed under good rule without the aid of the nobility. (fn. 54) Henry took exactly the opposite view and intended that not only on the East and Middle Marches but on the West Marches also, he should be served by noblemen no longer. The feuds between the earl of Cumberland and lord Dacre in the West were almost as great a source of weakness as the attitude of the Percies in the East; and the King believed that he was now well able to do without either of them. Dacre, of course, had been under a cloud ever since his trial in 1534, and although he had been then acquitted it was contrary to the King's policy to let any man suppose that he was indispensable to his service. As for Cumberland he managed to get rid of him gracefully by conferring on him the Order of the Garter; and the earl in gratitude for so great a favour, resigned his wardenship of the West Marches with very great good will. (fn. 55) Thus the entire rule of the Borders passed into the hands of men who, having no hereditary influence, owed their appointments solely to the King and knew that they retained them only so long as they should give him satisfaction.
Norfolk, however, went on his way tolerably well pleased with himself; while Sir Anthony went on his way determined to execute his charge in the manner prescribed to him. To Norfolk everything appeared in the best possible light. He found the gentlemen altogether loyal; they had stood in the greatest dread of the people and hailed his coming as that of a deliverer, knowing that if the commons were not brought into thorough subjection they would lose their lives and goods. (fn. 56) Sir Anthony, on the other hand, having reached Berwick and conferred with the bishop of Durham, who had been all the while staying at Norham, afraid to go further South, wrote to the King that he had found the North country marvellously out of order. The feuds between the Greys and the Carrs, the Fosters, the Ogles and the Halls were violent and deadly; and though they all agreed to be friends in the King's name, and all Northumberland was ready to serve the King, the whole country sought to be revenged on the men of Tynedale and Reedsdale who had spoiled and harassed them till many were weary of their lives. (fn. 57)
It must be confessed that Norfolk was right in his opinion that the King's shameful plan of governing the Borders by the aid of thieves and murderers was as impolitic as it was immoral, and though he submitted to superior orders, he was justified in hinting, as he did, that the King would find out his mistake. While the Duke was at York, news came that an attempt by Thomas Clifford, bastard son of the earl of Cumberland, to take two rebels at Kirkby Stephen had proved a disastrous failure. The rebels had got possession of the steeple and the townsmen no doubt wished them well. But Clifford's horsemen, "in great part strong thieves of the Westlands," began to spoil the town till the inhabitants rose in defence alike of themselves, their goods, and the rebels. The result was a regular skirmish in which Clifford and his company got the worst of it, and were forced to retire to Brougham Castle on the road back to Carlisle. Animated by the success of the townsmen, the whole country round about rose to the number of 4,000 or 5,000, and sent messages to other districts to promote a general rising. The insurgents advanced upon Carlisle, which stood in serious danger. But Sir Christopher Dacre attacked them vigorously and took 600 or 700 prisoners; and Thomas Clifford, burning to wipe out his disgrace, burst out of the city and pursued them for at least 12 miles. Those that were caught alive were hung on every bush. (fn. 58)
Possibly the King felt the force of a remark make by Norfolk in writing to Cromwell, that the disaster at Kirkby Stephen would never have occurred if Thomas Clifford had not brought with him the thieves of Esk and Line. (fn. 59) But the same moral was enforced from another quarter at precisely the same time, even by those whom the King specially trusted. Evers and Widdrington, the new deputy wardens of the East and Middle Marches, with the captain of Berwick and others in authority there, who formed a council for the Borders, were obliged to report that after much discussion among themselves, they disapproved of granting annuities to the King's nominees, Cuthbert and Edward Charlton of Tynedale. (fn. 60) These men had been the chief stirrers of commotion; they had taken part with the house of Hexham in their rebellion, and had insisted on special conditions of pardon before taking oath to the King; they had refused to give pledges for the restitution of stolen goods, and they had made a confederacy with the misruled persons in Liddisdale, Jedworth Forest, and elsewhere on the Scotch side of the Border. Instead of being pensioned, they should be apprehended and punished. On the other hand, instead of arresting John Heron, whom the King had ordered them, by Sir Anthony, to send up a prisoner by sea, they said they had thought it sufficient to make him give a bond of 200 marks for his appearance. Further, they had advised Sir Anthony to stay the King's patents giving the keepership of Reedsdale to George Fenwick, as the lieutenant of the Middle Marches could not hope to do his duty without complete control of the men of Reedsdale. (fn. 61)
Even the most imperious of kings could not rule a country like the Scotch Borders by orders from headquarters; and it was not long before the fact was still more clearly demonstrated. Sir Anthony Browne was obliged to protract his stay in the North to complete the proposed settlement, binding the inhabitants of the different districts to obey the new authorities. On the 2nd March he believed his task had been practically accomplished. Tynedale and Reedsdale were the most difficult districts to deal with; but those of Reedsdale had put in sufficient pledges, and those of Tynedale had agreed to come in next Monday. Five days later he wrote that the new keeper of Tynedale, Roger Fenwick, on being sent to receive the pledges of the country at Bellingham had been murdered for old grudges. (fn. 62) The disaster confirmed Norfolk in his opinion that none but a nobleman and, if possible, a member of the King's Council, would have a hand strong enough to rule the Borders, and in this view he found a general concurrence among those of the King's Council who were with him in the North. (fn. 63) But it received no support from the King, who, however he might find it necessary to modify, could not think of radically altering his plan. (fn. 64)
Another matter in which the King did not choose to take Norfolk's advice (although it was one on which he specially asked for it) was with reference to a request made, not by, but on behalf of, king James of Scotland, that he might pass into his own realm from France through England. Norfolk thought it could do no harm to allow him, except merely the expense it would involve, but James should write to ask for a safe conduct himself. If he carried "an enemy's heart in his body," what he saw in passing through England would abate his pride. The King, however, did not take such an easy-going view of the matter. Even the expense was a serious consideration; and if the King fulfilled his promise of going to York in the summer, two royal progresses through the country would be a heavy tax on the nobles. Indeed, the King himself would find a difficulty in the barren North in victualling his own train. But further, it was not for the King's honour to receive the king of Scots in his realm otherwise than as a vassal; and James, by breaking (as Henry alleged) a positive pledge for an interview with himself, and pretending that he would be betrayed if he kept it, had lost all claim upon him for the favour of a safe conduct. Such were the grounds on which Henry justified his churlish refusal, and compelled James to return from France to Scotland by sea. (fn. 65)
The attack on Carlisle compelled Norfolk to defer his intention of going to Durham as Tunstall had requested. When he first heard of it, he had got as far as Barnard Castle, and was actually within twenty miles of bishop Tunstall's cathedral; but though aware that he was much wanted in Northumberland he at once made all possible haste for the Western city, which he reached on the second day. (fn. 66) Carlisle, however, was already safe; Sir Christopher Dacre, who, as Norfolk himself said, had fully atoned for his first blunder, had already repelled and punished the assault; moreover Bigod, who had fled thither from Yorkshire, had been captured there about a week before. So Norfolk had really little to do except to arrange for some further butcheries and terrify all the other malcontents into the most abject submission. The wretched country people—"poor caitiffs," as he himself said they might well be called, having lost their horses, harness, and everything in their flight,—flocked into Carlisle to submit to the King's mercy. The duke's answer was to select 74 of the chief insurgents and lock them up in prison till they should be sentenced by martial law and hanged, letting the rest go home without any promise of pardon. "Dreadful execution" was the one great object with Norfolk. (fn. 67) It had been insinuated that some old feeling of regard for those monastic establishments now being remorsely overturned would make him less zealous in the execution of the King's orders; and he was anxious to clear himself of any such imputation. (fn. 68) His only regret was that he could not find iron chains enough in the country to hang the prisoners in; ropes must serve for some. He flattered himself, however, that so great a number put to death at a time had never yet been heard of. (fn. 69)
That business settled, he proceeded once more towards Durham, but not before examining Bigod closely to see what he could get out of him. The result does not seem to have been satisfactory; but the work was presently taken out of his hands by orders from the King to send up not only Bigod but a friar of Knaresborough recently taken, Dr. Towneley, late chancellor to the bishop of Carlisle, Dr. Pickering, a canon of Bridlington, the vicar of Penrith, and one Leche if he could be taken. (fn. 70) After reaching Newcastle he received orders from the Privy Council to have a special eye on Sir Robert Constable whom the King had summoned to his presence, lest he should escape by sea. The duke was to advise him as a friend to repair to the King willingly, and if he did not to send him up by a serjeant-at-arms. This Norfolk readily promised, and no doubt took care to perform by deputy; for Constable was about Flamborough while he was on his way North to Durham, where he proceeded to indict offenders, and was greatly perplexed, after charging the grand jury, to find that the bishopric of Durham was not named in his commission. He discreetly kept secret his lack of authority, while thirteen persons were indicted, whose trial and condemnation had to be deferred till the error was repaired. The King, however, expressed approbation of his conduct and sent him a more sufficient commission with instructions as to further proceedings against various persons, including the abbots of Jervaux and Sawley and the quondam abbot of Fountains. (fn. 71)
With all his subservience to the King, even Norfolk was beginning to think that moderation now might be good policy. He was to return from Durham to Newcastle "for the quieting of those wild parts" and then go on to York to see further executions done there. He asked for instructions how many new victims the King desired put to death, but suggested that "folks thought the last justice at Carlisle great," and that if more than 20 suffered at Durham and York it would be talked about. (fn. 72) Possibly the remonstrance was not without effect, for we hear nothing of a bloody assizes at York, although there was certainly another cause to which the fact may be attributed. As soon as he reached York the duke did his best to discover who were the chief devisers of "the Acts concerning the spiritualty" at Doncaster, and sent up information on which Cromwell might examine the prisoners in the Tower. He also wrote that he had successfully lured Robert Aske into his toils, whom he had persuaded to ride with him in his Northern journey. Aske seemed confident that he stood well with the King and that, as he had spies over all the North, no sedition could be mooted but he should be able to give Norfolk immediate warning. Norfolk did not value his information and gave his opinion to the King that Aske was the real cause of all the rebellion, but he affected to treat him with perfect confidence, and got him to ask his leave to ride up to London; which the Duke granted, promising to write to Cromwell in his favour. He, however, warned Cromwell privately to attach no value to the letter as it was only intended to lull the bearer into false security, and he recommended the King to pursue the same policy, affecting to repose great trust in him till he had wormed out all his secrets. For his private opinion was that it would be good for the common weal that neither Darcy, Aske, Constable, nor Sir Thomas Percy ever came into the North country again. (fn. 73)
It was rather superfluous work to teach Henry double-dealing. From the time of his previous conference with Aske he had been constantly studying how to get both him and all the other leaders entirely within his power, and have them judicially convicted of offences committed since the pardon, or such as the pardon did not cover. He had been examining all the evidence sent up to him in the spirit of a detective policeman, and writing marginal comments thereupon for the instruction of Norfolk. As a specimen of these it may be worth while to note the observation made upon the first information about the friar of Knaresborough:—"This knave is to be taken, and, well examined, to suffer," (fn. 74) the fate of the victim, it will be observed, being quite decided by the King himself before any judicial investigation. How to satisfy his thirst for blood and save appearances as regards the law might sometimes be a problem; and little more than a fortnight after advising the King not to insist on too many executions, Norfolk was thrown into serious perplexity by the acquittal of one William Levenyng of Acklam, who was tried at York on the 23rd and 24th March for complicity in Bigod's rebellion. (fn. 75) Sir Ralph Ellerker was his chief accuser, and five of the jurors upon his evidence were ready to have found the prisoner guilty. But the other seven, who were well acquainted with Levenyng as a neighbour, believed that Ellerker had given evidence against him out of malice, having had a promise of his lands from the King. One of the jury, who reports their consultations, maintained stoutly that the King would give away no man's lands till he was attainted; but apparently he was not believed. The jury suffered themselves to be locked up from 9 on Friday morning until Saturday night, and in spite of urgent pleadings for a conviction from one of their own body, brought in an acquittal at last. Shortly after noon on Saturday the duke of Norfolk had sent his gentleman usher to know if they were agreed, and the majority answered that they were, but the minority still held out, and as a more effectual way of promoting unanimity they were deprived of all means of warmth. At night the Duke sent to them again, and they all fell to prayer; after which they returned their verdict. (fn. 76)
Norfolk, having a too sure foreboding that the King would not be satisfied, sent for Levenyng himself next morning, and hoped to make out something more by examining him after acquittal as to the reasons of his absence from home nine or ten days after Bigod had fled from Beverley. But he gave a perfectly clear explanation on this point, and Norfolk could only offer to send him up if desired to London, for Cromwell to examine further. (fn. 77) A few days later we find the Duke promising to ascertain for Cromwell the names of the grand juries who found indictments in Yorkshire, and who apparently had disappointed expectations by finding so few; but he cannot help suggesting that if they were sent for to appear before the Council it would lead to rumour "that men should be compelled to pass otherwise than their consciences should lead them." He himself, he said, if he could have leave to come up (which he was now earnestly pleading to be allowed to do, for he was very ill in health and was anxious besides to see to his own private affairs at home), could tell many things and bring up with him besides those jurymen who had done best service in urging that the indictments should pass. (fn. 78) The King appears to have taken Norfolk's warning not to send for more jurymen than would willingly come up, but he did not mean to allow the Duke to come up himself, however inconvenient he might find it to remain in Yorkshire. As to Levenyng, however, the King insisted on knowing the names of the jury and the whole circumstances of his acquittal, as his guilt appeared to him perfectly obvious, and the matter, if investigated, would probably lead to further disclosures. (fn. 79)
By a letter of the 30th March, which does not appear to be now extant, the King had informed Norfolk of certain reasons why his presence in the North could not yet be dispensed with; and though the Duke chafed and endeavoured to minimise the importance of these considerations, he was told in reply that the King's orders were imperative. (fn. 80) Henry's survey of the political horizon was certainly far more complete than his; for the King did not make the mistake of under-estimating dangers which, if they had come to a head, would have been serious enough. By Norfolk's aid he had now got the North into subjection; but if foreign assistance came to his disaffected subjects, especially on the return of James V. to Scotland, the flames might break out anew. And Henry knew by this time that a legate was on his way from Rome, an Englishman, too, by birth, and of noble blood related to his own, for the very purpose of compelling him to return to his obedience to the Church, or of turning him off the throne. That Englishman was Reginald Pole, who had been created cardinal on the 22nd December preceding, (fn. 81) and legate on the 7th February, though it was only on the 31st March after he had started on his journey that the bull was issued, which gave him full powers, if necessary, to fan the flame of rebellion anew. (fn. 82)
The situation, it must be said, was none of his seeking. Educated at Henry's cost (though this was perhaps intended as some slight compensation to the family for the judicial murder of his uncle Warwick in the preceding reign) he seems to have been at the outset not only an ardent lover of letters but a warm friend and admirer of the King; so much so that in 1530, much to his regret in after years, he had allowed himself to be employed as Henry's agent in procuring opinions from the University of Paris in favour of the divorce. (fn. 83) But when Henry endeavoured to bind him further to his service by offering him the archbishopric of York on Wolsey's death, he refused the bribe, and with some difficulty got leave to go abroad again to pursue his studies in philosophy and literature. (fn. 84) He himself tells us that he was driven to this on perceiving the growing ascendancy of Cromwell and the immoral influence which he exercised in the King's Councils; (fn. 85) and even before he left England he had written a book which Cranmer noted to be "much contrary to the King's purpose." (fn. 86) But Henry loved the appearance, at least, of an independent mind if there was any hope that it would do him service in the end, and he still expected much from the personal regard which he was well aware that Pole bore to him. Years, however, passed by, and Pole remained simply a student at Venice and at Padua, cultivating the acquaintance of men like Sadolet and Contarini, and making for himself a name in letters and philosophy. If, then, the King was to have his service at all, it must be by the use of his pen; and though hitherto he had not given complete satisfaction about the divorce he might possibly be induced to write something, merely from a philosophical point of view, on the question of the royal supremacy over the Church, which the King could make use of for purposes of his own.
In the beginning of the year 1535, Henry made some inquiries about Pole's opinions from one Thomas Starkey, a man of literary tastes who had spent some time with him in Italy as a member of his household. Starkey was unable to answer for Pole's precise sentiments touching the Pope's authority, a subject on which he had always been discreetly reticent; but he was sure of his willingness to serve the King and thought he knew his mind on political subjects generally. Indeed, he went so far as to set forth Pole's ideas in an imaginary dialogue supposed to have taken place some years before between him and the deceased scholar Thomas Lupset at the family seat at Bisham. This dialogue is a composition of singular interest, exhibiting Pole as an idealist and social reformer, republican in theory and jealous of the royal prerogative and dispensing power, on which he expresses himself in a way worthy of a contemporary of John Lock. He can tolerate a monarchy, however, under a sagacious and patriotic king like Henry VIII., who never abuses his power. Such was the picture of Pole's mind that Starkey thought himself justified in painting for Henry's edification, and, as he doubtless thought, for Pole's own advancement in life. (fn. 87) Henry was not quite so easily satisfied, but he authorised Starkey to write to him that Pole would do him a service by declaring candidly what he thought about the King's divorce and the authority of the See of Rome. If he found that he could endorse the King's views on these subjects, Henry would be glad of his return to England and do much for the advancement of him and his family; if he could not, let him still return and the King would find employment for him in other ways. (fn. 88)
Enjoined thus to write his sentiments, Pole took his time to do so; and not only Starkey in England, but Harvel at Venice, who saw him daily labouring at the task, at first believed that the result when completed would give the King satisfaction. (fn. 89) The barbarous execution of the Carthusians, followed by those of Fisher and More, seems to have created some misgivings in Starkey's mind; (fn. 90) but he still hoped for the best and tried hard to assure the King. In reply to letters and messages from England, Pole still expressed himself in guarded language, declaring his great obligations to the King for his education and his desire to do him service. (fn. 91) At length the King wrote to him with his own hand; (fn. 92) but such a spur was quite unnecessary, for he had been busily at work some time before. (fn. 93) To do justice to the whole subject, however, required an elaborate treatise, and not till the 27th May in the following year did he venture to write to Henry that he had fully obeyed his wishes. Along with a letter of that date from Venice he sent him the MS. of his celebrated treatise de Unitate Ecclesiœ. (fn. 95)
The book was nothing whatever but an honest answer to the King's own request. Pole would rather not have had the duty laid upon him, but since the King himself insisted upon it, he spoke out and did not spare him. Of course it created in Henry the most intense irritation. Even Pole's friend, Contarini, to whom he showed it before sending it to England, suggested that it was too bitter in some parts. (fn. 95) But Henry had professed to ask for nothing but a sincere and candid opinion, and Pole believed that the King's character was simply growing worse and worse from the mildness of the treatment he had hitherto met with. Pole, in fact, was a little too honest, even for the best of those experienced Italian friends who would fain have maintained the authority of the See of Rome by the wisdom of the serpent, blended with a dove-like inoffensiveness towards all great potentates, even when it was necessary to reprimand them. At the very time he wrote he was disturbed by a rumour that instead of the King seeking reconciliation with the Pope, the Pope was going to seek reconciliation with the King, and he believed that an excommunication fulminated some years before would have saved Henry from pursuing so far his headlong career of crime. (fn. 96) His plain writing, however, stirred up discomfort for others even more than for himself. Starkey, of course, was shocked at his vehemence. (fn. 97) Tunstall wrote to him with a heavy heart. (fn. 98) His own mother received a bitter message from the King, which made her write to him in terms of severe reproach, charging him upon her blessing to take another way and do his duty to his sovereign. (fn. 99) Henry himself, however, hypocritically disguised his indignation, and treating Pole's opinions as a matter for friendly conference, sent him a message requiring him to return to England and discuss points of difference. Pole gave a distinct but polite refusal, reminding the King that the severity of his own laws justified him in mere prudence for not coming. (fn. 100)
Immediately afterwards he received a summons from the Pope which he could obey with less misgiving. His presence was wanted in Rome that he might give advice about the proposed General Council; and though he was too well aware that his compliance would give additional offence to the King he hastened to obey. (fn. 101) At Verona, however, he was overtaken by a messenger whom he had just before sent to England, and who was immediately re-despatched by Henry with a batch of letters, all intended to shake his resolution. Among them were some from his mother and brother threatening to disown him if he did not change his plan; and Pole, sick at heart, would have begged the Pope's indulgence to excuse his going, but that he was animated by other friends to persevere in a course which they told him was for the glory of Christ. (fn. 102) He accordingly went to Rome and was there made a Cardinal, and afterwards as we have seen, was appointed legate for England to restore the King and Kingdom to the bosom of the Church.
His speedy despatch had long been urged, especially by the bishop of Faenza, the papal nuncio in France, who had ascertained from James V. and David Beton at Paris that nothing would be so popular in Scotland as an invasion of England favoured by his Holiness to punish an excommunicated King whose doings were an abomination alike to God and man. (fn. 103) And if peace could only be made at the same time between Francis and the Emperor all would go well. The papal censures were actually placed in Beton's hands to take into Scotland as the best means of getting them ultimately published in England itself; and if Pole only came through France, and got to a place from which he could easily cross to England and arrive in the North before Bigod's rebellion was stamped out, the effect would be prodigious. (fn. 104) Unfortunately, it was the 31st March before the bull of legation was issued. Bigod's rebellion had been suppressed; peace was not yet made between Francis and the Emperor, and nothing succeeded in the way it ought to have done. Accompanied by his friend, the bishop of Verona, Pole took his way through France; but Francis, fearing to displease Henry, had sent over the bailly of Troyes beforehand to warn him that the legate was bringing money to encourage English rebels. (fn. 105) Francis also promised in conversation with bishop Gardiner that he would not give the Cardinal the honours due to a legate in passing through France. But Pole arrived in Paris while Francis was in Picardy prosecuting the war against the Emperor, and his reception there was such as Henry considered a breach of his engagement. Henry demanded his extradition as a traitor; if this were denied, he considered it would be a violation of the treaties. Sir Francis Brian was sent over to assist Gardiner in enforcing the demand; and Europe witnessed the unprecedented sight of a papal legate reluctantly ordered to quit his dominions by one of the leading princes in Christendom because another chose to consider him a traitor. (fn. 106) Pole was obliged to withdraw to Cambray and seek refuge in the Low Countries; but he failed to get a better reception there than in France. He was stopped at the frontier. The Queen Regent at Brussels pressed by Hutton said if he came that she must receive him, excusing herself by the plea that she received him only as legate. But Hutton's expostulations put her in a heat and made her change colour; and her Council, weighing the dangers of a quarrel with England, gave Pole notice that it would be very unadvisable for him to come near the Court; (fn. 107) but the cardinal of Liege was willing to receive him in his diocese if he went thither in disguise! It is hardly necessary to describe Pole's mortification, which he expressed in vigorous terms in a message to the queen of Hungary. Never, as he truly remarked, had papal legate been so used before. (fn. 108) His whole mission, in fact, had been a failure. (fn. 109)
So Henry was left to deal with his own subjects as he pleased. Space forbids us to pursue the story of his vengeance, which indeed is not fully recorded in the part of the present volume now issued; and a number of other subjects must be left to the student's own investigations. But a few leading matters may at least be briefly mentioned. First, as to what may be called supplementary proceedings taken by the earls of Sussex and Derby in Lancashire while Norfolk was laying the rest of the Northern Counties under the severity of martial law, the reader will see in No. 302 the instructions given to Sussex on his being sent down, and on which Derby was to act along with him; and he may trace their subsequent proceedings in their correspondence. (fn. 110) It will be observed that remarkably little has been preserved about the trial and execution of the abbot of Whalley, though we have a paper of the examinations of the monks. (fn. 111) We have, however, the informations and other proceedings against the monks of Furness and the surrender of that abbey. (fn. 112) We have also numerous examinations of prisoners in the Tower and elsewhere. We have, moreover, letters from Sir William Parr (the uncle of one of Henry's future queens) reporting the condemnation and execution of the abbot of Kirkstead, Thomas Moigne, and 32 other rebels in Lincolnshire; (fn. 113) his proceedings relating to their property and that of the monks of Barlings while the abbot was still in the Tower, (fn. 114) and so forth. We have also the record of the trial of that abbot in London with 11 others of those accused in Lincolnshire. (fn. 115)
Of other matters of domestic interest the most important is undoubtedly the council of bishops and divines called by the King to determine points of doctrine; (fn. 116) while abroad the General Council, actually summoned by the Pope, was meeting with unforeseen difficulties, (fn. 117) and the German Protestants were declaring to the Emperor's ambassadors and to Henry that they would not acknowledge its authority. (fn. 118) Meanwhile, the war between Francis and the Emperor gave the deputy of Calais much correspondence with both sides about violations of the English Pale or breaches of neutrality; (fn. 119) the depredations of Flemish cruisers gave rise to much diplomacy; (fn. 120) the dangers of English commerce from both belligerents justified the sending of Sir John Dudley and Sir Thomas Seymour to sea to scour the Channel; (fn. 121) and this again gave James V. some difficulty in returning to Scotland. (fn. 122)