An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 3, the History of the City and County of Norwich, Part I. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1806.
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OF THE CITY IN HENRY THE EIGHTH'S TIME.
Henry VIII. began his reign April 22, 1509, being then in the 18th year of his age, and was crowned on Midsummer day following.
This year the city was in great distraction by the late terrible fires, it being a great while before the river and streets could be cleaned; and before any one began to build, the court published an edict, and ordered the constables to take care that no one should cover any newbuilt house with thatch, but should tile them all, for the future safeguard of the city: and the executors of alderman Jewell or Jowell, deceased, paid 20l. of his gift to the city, which they agreed to lay out, and add 20l. more, to rebuild the wool-houses.
And this year, great part of the cathedral, with its vestry and all the ornaments and books, were burnt on St. Thomas's night. (fn. 1)
In 1510, John Marsham, alderman, was elected sheriff, and for a fine of 40s. was excused serving this year, by the mayor and court, on account of the death of his brother, who was his factor beyond sea, which obliged him to go over himself; but though the recorder pleaded for him, the commons would allow no excuse, but obliged him to serve, he being a man they could trust.
The King went in May to Walsingham, but was not here.
This year was Tho. Ayers, priest, of Norwich, burnt at Eccles. (fn. 2)
And the statute that coroners shall take no fee or reward for doing their office, was now made. (fn. 3)
As also the act of the office of escheator.
In 1511, the King sent his privy seal at the complaint of the Prior and convent, for imprisoning divers inhabitants and servants of the priory, dwelling in Holmstrete, and Raton-rowe, for refusing to appear at the city musters, when they ought to muster before the commissioners of Norfolk, commanding them to be set at liberty on surety given; and that the mayor or his attorney, under 500l. penalty, should appear before the privy council, to answer to the Prior's objections, upon which, Tho. Aldriche, John Marsham, and two others, were sent to the King, and had 20 marks allowed for their expenses.
'One Thomas Bingy, an old reverend man, was burnt at Norwich, because he had not received the sacrament of 14 years, and abhorred the Popish ministration.' (fn. 4)
In 1512, There was a suit between the mayor and citizens of Norwich, and the mayor and citizens of London; the collectors of the sheriffs of London having often troubled the citizens of Norwich, for a custom in London called balliage, and seized their goods, contrary to the charter of Richard I. and on a hearing had before Sir John Fyneux, Knt. chief justice of the Bench, and Rob. Rede, chief justice of the Common Pleas, it was determined that the citizens of Norwich were to pay no balliage, upon which all distresses were restored, and the charter of Richard I. and all the liberties of the citizens of Norwich, were allowed in the Gild-hall at London, and entered there.
The King had 25 soldiers well furnished, sent by the city; and at this time, the Lord Howard was treated with a grand breakfast at the mayor's, having been a great friend to the city against the Prior, he and other commissioners having made the inhabitants of Spitelond and Holmestreet, pay hede-money, and muster with the city, and not with the county.
In 1513, was an act made to avoid deceits in worsteds, and none were to be calandered wet, but only by persons bound apprentices to such craft, and their cunning and craft admitted by the mayor of Norwich, and two masters of the craft, either in Norwich or Norfolk; (fn. 5) the craft of wet calandering of worsteds having been used well and substantially in times past, and still is, in the said city.
In 1515, the Lady Mary, sister to the King, was married to the French King, with whom he lived 82 days only; after whose death he sent Sir Charles Brandon Viscount Lisle, whom he had created Duke of Suffolk, for the Queen of France, his sister, who desired to return into England, whom the said Duke, by the King's license, married; (fn. 6) in their return they visited this city, and were grandly received; (fn. 7) several of the printed accounts say, that this year the Queen of France and Duke of Norfolk were here, but it is a mistake for Suffolk.
In 1516, was a meeting at the Friars-preachers, in which the mayor, five aldermen, and five commoners, elected for that purpose, met, to treat with the Prior and convent, but could not do any thing; upon which, Cardinal Wolsey came the next year hither, and Will. Hert, and John Marsham, aldermen, were elected, 'for the hole comunalte of the cete, to geve attendaunce upon the reverent father in God, Lord Thomas Cardynall, Archbishop of York, and Chauncellor of Ingelond, for causis dependyng attwixt the citie and Prior, to doo and be ordered in the premises, as shall be considered by the said Lord Cardynall,' who ordered them to submit it to the Earl of Surrey, and Sir Humphry Conesby, one of the justices of the Bench, and Sir Tho. Windham, Knt.; and next year, Tho. Aldrich and Leonard Spencer waited on them at London, and in 11th Henry VIII. Rob. Jannys, alderman, and Leonard Spencer, appeared again before the Cardinal, the Earl of Surrey, Judge Conesby, Judge John Caryel, Sir Tho. Windham, and the privy council; and after treaty had with them, the mayor rode up to London, and five horses and four men to attend him, and was allowed for expenses for himself 2s. a day, and each servant 12d.; with him, went John Marsham, alderman, who had three horses and two men allowed him, Edw. Rede, alderman, and his servant, and Leonard Spencer and his servant, when the whole affair was debated, but could not be finished till the Cardinal came again; and at last an agreement was made by the said Cardinal, which was of great advantage both to the church and city, both sides being well satisfied.
In 1518, the Earl of Surrey being at the Minor Friars, and the Abbot of St. Bennet of Holm, there was an agreement made between the Abbot and the city, on which occasion the Earl presented the city with venison, and there was great cheer made between them; they had their breakfast at the Chapel in the Field, and the Bishop was with them.
In 1519, on St. Leonard's day, happened a flood, which overflowed great part of the city, and broke down Cringleford bridge: it was called St. Leonard's flood.
In 1520, on the 2d day of March, Catherine Queen of England came to Norwich, (fn. 8) at which time the Cardinal was here also, and all the companies went to meet her, 'in puke and dirke tawney liveries,' and the city presented her with 100 marks.
At this time rose a contention between the mayor, citizens, commonalty and sheriffs, about choosing their officers, but it was agreed, that for the future the sheriffs should choose such as they would answer for, to be under-sheriff, clerks, and bailiffs, and the mayor, aldermen, and common council, should for the future choose yearly a discreet lawyer, into the office of steward (fn. 9) of the court of the sheriffs of the city, and for his service in the court, such steward shall receive of the sheriffs 40s. for his fee, for his execution of the office of steward of the city, and for his advice constantly to be given to the common council, and if they neglected to pay the fee, the city should not pay them the 30l. per annum towards the fee-farm, and such a steward should be constantly elected and paid; and accordingly the assembly elected Francis Moundford, steward, this year,
And now, '20 abill bowmen (or archers) sufficiently harnesed,' were sent to the King, who was then preparing a grand show of soldiers and gentlemen, to meet the French King with.
In 1521, Isabell Prioress of Carrow conveyed Butter-hills to the city.
In 1522, several of the brass and iron cannon belonging to the city, with a great many balls cast for them, gunpowder bought, and their wheels all mended, were sent to Waborn Hoope, the French being designed to land there.
This year also, the Emperour Charles the Fifth came to England, and as all our printed accounts say, was at this city, but I cannot find any records that induce me to think so: the mistake seems to come from Nevile's Index being misunderstood, which does not say he was here, but only, that he was in England: and the same Index also says, that Christian King of Denmark was in England in 1523, which is true, but that he and his Queen (as our printed accounts say) were here, I believe is wrong, for they stayed only 22 days in England, and landed and took shipping again at Dover. Indeed it is not impossible but it might be, though highly improbable.
On consideration of the many vexatious suits in the sheriff's court, for words and trifling debts, it was agreed that four aldermen should be named, one out of each of the great wards, to sit by themselves or deputies, every Wednesday in the year, being court days, from 8 to 9 in the morning, to adjust all debts under 2s. and all actions on words, for the ease and peace of the city, which institution was of great service, it answering then, in the same manner as the court of conscience doth now.
In 1523, the city granted Mr. Tho. Aldriche his request, not to serve the office of mayor, till seven years were expired from his last mayoralty, he having been at great costs in serving twice already, and in going often to London about the contest between the church and city, upon which he agreed to go next term to London again, about that business; and John Clerk had a like grant for seven years on the same account.
In 1524, by means of the Cardinal, a composition and final agreement was sealed between the Prior and City, in the common Gildhall at Norwich, on the 2d of Sept. 'by the hole assent of the 'assemble,' the indentures bearing date the 26th of August last, and Reginald Litprowe, alderman, and Tho. More, were elected to ride to London, to testify the approbation of the same to the Cardinal and privy council. (fn. 10)
By this composition, the city resigned all jurisdiction within the walls of the priory, and acknowledged it to be part of the county of Norfolk, in the hundred of Blofield, and the church resigned all jurisdiction whatever without their walls, and within the walls of the city, to the said city, viz.
Tombland, with the fairs kept thereon, and all things belonging to the fairs. (fn. 11)
Holmstreet, Spitelond, and Raton-rowe, and the leets thereto belonging, (fn. 12) with full power to join and hold them with the other city leets,
All which places now were made part of the county of the city of Norwich.
The city exempted the Prior and convent and their successours, from all tolls, customs, and exactions, whatsoever, by water and land, in the whole city, or county of the city, and its liberties, for all goods and chattels bought or sold, for the use of the Prior and convent, their households, and families.
And as to the right of commonage out of St. Stephen's gates, by joint consent, they exemplified the fine which was levied thereof, in the 6th of King John, (fn. 13) between William de Walsham Prior of Norwich, petent, and the citizens of Norwich, tenents, of the right of commonage in all that pasture in the suburbs extending towards Lakenham, and so to Herford Bridge, and so to Eaton, the whole being of the Prior's fee; the agreement was this, that all the citizens, for the future, might common there, paying to the Prior for every ox or cow feeding thereon, or any where in Lakenham or Eton, singly, 1d. a year each, or if they fed in both those parishes, 2d. a year each, to his manors of Lakenham-hall, and Eton-hall; and also 1d. or 2d. for every five sheep, according as they fed in one or both parishes saving right in the said pasture for all the Prior's tenants in those towns, to feed and common at their own pleasure, as heretofore, and saving to the Prior and his successours right of bruery, as broom, furse, fodder, and digging turfs, and flags.
And for this grant, the citizens agreed, that the Prior and his successours should enclose 40 acres of the said pasture for arable land, to his own use; and from that time to this, there had been many contentions about it, the citizens being loath to pay the acknowledgment; but now,
The city resigned to the church all right and prescription of commonage in Eton and Lakenham, and the Prior's lands in those towns; and the King to settle it firmly, licensed the city to receive, and the Prior and convent to convey to the City forever, 80 acres of ground and pasture, parcel of the said common (which is now called the townclose (fn. 14) ) and six feet of ground round the said 80 acres, to make a ditch upon, and enclose it; all which, was set out by Sir Thomas Brudnell, Knt. and Sir Richard Broke, Knt. justices of the assize for the said county; the citizens are to have liberty to pass and repass to and from the said 80 acres, with all beasts in the highway, and to and from Herdford bridge in the highway, and to water them there; and this was confirmed both by letters patents, (fn. 15) dated at Westminster, Oct. 4, in the 16th year of this King's reign; and "by authority of "parliament."
In 1525, the King granted this city another charter, (fn. 16) dated at Westminster, the 17th of June, which was also confirmed "by authority of parliament," in which he recites and confirms all the former composition and agreement made between Rob. Catton Prior of the cathedral, and the city, at the mediation of Thomas (Wolsey) by divine permission Cardinal of St. Cecilia beyond Tyber, cardinal priest of the church of Rome, Archbishop of York, and Legat a Latere from the Pope, and Chancellor to the King, sole arbitrator, allowed and appointed for settling all differences; and then proceeds to grant the following new privileges to the city, viz.
That if a mayor or sheriff dies in his office, or be lawfully removed or displaced, that then the sheriffs, citizens, and commonalty, by assembly in the Gild-hall, may choose an alderman that hath not been mayor for three years before, to be mayor and escaetor for the rest of the year, who shall be sworn immediately after his election, in like manner as other mayors are, and in like manner a sheriff, if in case of death or removal.
And further, the recorder and steward of the said city, and their successours, and all that have born the office of mayor of the said city, so long as they continue aldermen, shall be always justices of the peace, in the city and liberties, and have cognizance of all felonies, &c. and hold their sessions before four, three, or two of them, provided the mayor, recorder, or steward, or one of them be always present, as justices, and have all other privileges belonging to justices of the peace, and shall make all ordinances, provisions, and laws for the peace and well government of the city, as far as concerns the office of justice of the peace, and no justices of the county shall enter the said city; and all fines and forfeitures, shall be applied towards repairing the bridges and other city burthens, without any account given to the King or his officers for any thing, but the fee farm rent.
It seems the mayor and commonalty gave the Prior and convent their manor of Wulterton's and Gibbe's in Field Dawling, on account of this agreement, for in 18th Henry VIII. at an assembly then held, was an indenture, sealed, between the city on the first part, the Duke of Norfolk, as lord of the fee, on the second part, and the Prior and convent on the third part, by which the city, with the Duke's license of mortmain, granted those manors to the Prior and convent.
Things being thus settled and easy, the city ceased going the bounds of Trowse Milgate, as they used annually to do, to justify their right against the church, at which time, great disorders often happened.
About this time there was a rebellion in Suffolk, at Lavenham, Hadley, Sudbury, &c. and the people began also to rise here, and in Norfolk, on account of the heavy taxes, and the general decay of work, the clothiers and farmers being unable to employ them; Holingshed says, (fn. 17) that the Duke of Suffolk, who had a commission to raise the subsidy in Suffolk, persuaded the rich clothiers to assent thereto; but when they came home, and turned off their workmen, they assembled in companies, though their harness were taken from them by the Duke's order, and openly threatened to kill the Cardinal, the Duke, and Sir Robert Drury; and having got together at Lanham about 4000 strong, they rang the bells to alarm the neighbourhood, upon which the Duke broke down the bridges to hinder them joining, and sent to the Duke of Norfolk, who raised what men he could here, and in Norfolk, being a great force, and went and communed with them himself, demanding to know what they would have, John Green, a man of about 50 years of age, in the name of them all, assured him, that they meant no hurt to the King nor his laws, to whom they would be obedient, affirming that poverty was their captain, the which, with his cousin necessity, had brought them thus to do, telling him, that they, and all the inferiour sort of poor lived not upon themselves, but the substantial occupiers and traders, and now, that they, through such payments as were demanded of them, were not able to maintain them in work, they must of necessity perish for want of sustenance.
The Duke hearing this, was right sorry, and promised if they would go home quietly, he would get their pardon; which he honours ably performed after their departure; for he and the Duke of Suffolk, came to Bury, where the country people came in their shirts with halters about their necks, begging him to remember his promise, and there the two Dukes so wisely managed themselves, that all was at peace, and they had the good word of the commons, and the exactions of the subsidy ceased; the leaders of these rebels were sent to the Fleet, but soon after pardoned and dismissed.
In 1527, "was so great scarsenes of corne, that abowte Christemas "the comons of the cyttye, were redy to ryse upon the ryche men." (fn. 18) And soon after, there was a rising in the county, and another here, headed by one Young, who would have persuaded the commons to have taken the corn by force from the sellers in the cross; but he could not have his purpose executed, the people well considering that it was enough to starve them all, if such as openly brought them corn to sell, were injured. It was 26s. 8d. a quarter, an extravagant price for that time; and it continued so dear, that next year the women rose on that account, as did the men at Yarmouth, but not with intent to injure any one at first, but only to hinder its exportation. But it went so far, that divers young men that joined with them were executed for it.
In 1529 died Thomas Spencer, son of Leonard Spencer of Norwich; he was born in this city, became a Carthusian monk in the monastery of Hinton in Somersetshire, where he was buried, and a good scholar; he wrote Commentaries upon St. Paul's Epistles, and being a strenuous Papist, and holding correspondence with the monks of this place, he got intelligence of all that had passed between Mr. Bilney, Latimer, and Repps, and published a book of it, intitled, The Trialogue. (fn. 19)
And this year the Duke of Suffolk, and the French Queen, his wife, kept their Christmas at Norwich; and another insurrection on account of corn began to arise here and at Yarmouth, but was happily stopped by the Duke and the city, before it came to any head.
In 1530, a blazing star was seen in the west, and next year was one in the east, (fn. 20) and the King at this time was declared supreme head of the church, which was established by Act of Parliament in 1535. (fn. 21)
This year was an act passed to hinder lands, tenements, &c. being settled in trustees for the use of churches chapels, gilds, fraternities, &c. as was then usually done, to evade the act of mortmain, in which there is a special provision, 'That this act, ne any thing therein contained, shall extend or be in any wise prejudicial to hinder or impair any such ordinances, devices, or declarations of uses as shall hereafter be made, and declared in writing, by the executors of the testaments and last wills of Rob. Jannis and John Terry, late aldermen of the city of Norwich, now deceased, or by the executors or survivor of the executor of either of them, of any lands, tenements, or hereditaments, not above the clear yearly value of forty pound, to be employed and converted to, and for the discharge of tolls and customs, within the said city, and at the gates of the same, for the discharge of the poor people within the same city, of taxes and talliages, hereafter to be assessed and levied, and for the cleansing of the streets in the same city, or for any of the said good purposes, according to the true intents and meanings of the said last wills and testaments, and either of them, so that the same ordinances, devices, and declarations be had, made, and certified in writing into the King's Court of Chancery, within two years next ensuing the Feast of Easter next coming.' (fn. 22) And in pursuance of this, in 1534, the King granted license (fn. 23) of mortmain to Nic. Sywhat, William Roger, Edward Wade, and John Trace, executors of the said Jannis, to convey divers lands and tenements to the city, on consideration that all persons coming and going to the city, or any port or stath there, to buy and sell, in the times of the fairs or marts, and at all other times, to pay no toll nor custom there, nor at the city gates to the use of the city, as formerly; the said Jannis having given the said estates to the city, to take off all such tolls and customs.
Master Thomas Bilney, the famous martyr, (fn. 24) though his chief residence was at Cambridge, and his first apprehension for preaching the pure Gospel was at London, yet the bloody scene of his death being here, is properly reckoned among the martyrs of this city, where he had been many years conversant, and (as I am apt to believe) if not a native of it, yet at least of some part of the adjacent country.
This holy man, and excellent scholar, was admitted very young in Trinity-hall at Cambridge, (fn. 25) where he profited "in all kind of liberal science, even unto the profession of both lawes;" he was first converted to the genuine doctrines of Christ, by reading of Luther's writings against the Popish corruptions, and like the man who lost his sheep, and called his neighbours to rejoice with him when he had found it, so Bilney, when he had found the truth, spared not to impart it to his friends in the University; by which means he converted several of his acquaintance, and among them, Tho. Arthur and Hugh Latimer, who then, for his zeal, was Cross-keeper of the University, and by his office, was to bring it forth on procession days.
After some time, his zeal stirred him up to a further communication of his knowledge, thinking he ought not to hide his talent, or put his light under a bushel; and therefore, he and Arthur, went preaching up and down in divers places, till at last they came to London, where they preached some months, inveighing against the haughtiness, negligence, and vanity, of the Bishops and clergy and the abominable usurpation and pride of the Pope and Cardinals. Cardinal Wolsey, who was then at the height of his grandeur, perceiving that in a little time the hypocrisy and deceit of the Romish church would be detected by the preaching of the Gospel, caused both of them to be imprisoned. Arthur was tried upon the common articles, and convicted, and submitted to the punishment of the church, but Bilney utterly refused to return to the church of Rome: whereupon, he was brought to a more formal trial before the the Cardinal and other Bishops, in the Chapter-house at Westminster, before whom, certain articles were produced out of two sermons that he preached, one at the parish church of St. Magnus, in Whitsun week, Ao. 1527, &c. and the other at Christ's church in Ipswich, in which he (rightly) said,
1. That our Saviour Christ is our mediatour between us and the Father: what should we need then to seek any Saint for remedy? wherefore it is great injury to the blood of Christ to make such petitions, and blasphemeth our Saviour.
2. That man is so imperfect of himselfe, that he can in no wise merite by his own deedes.
3. That the coming of Christ was long prophesied before, and desired by the Prophets: But John Baptist being more than a prophet, did not only prophecy, but with his finger shewed him, saying, Behold! the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. (fn. 26) Then if this were the very Lamb which John did demonstrate, that taketh away the sinnes of the world, what injury is unto our Saviour Christ, that to be buried in St. Frances cowle, should remit four parts of penance, what is then left to our Saviour Christ, which taketh away the sinnes of the world! This I will justify to be a great blasphemy to the blood of Christ.
4. That it was a great folly to go on pilgrimage, and that preachers in times past have been Antichristes, and now it hath pleased God somewhat to shew forth their falsehood and errors.
5. That the miracles done at Walsingham, at Canterbury, and there in Ipswich, were done by the devill, thorow the sufferaunce of God, to blinde the poore people: and that the Pope hath not the keys that Peter had, except he follow Peter in his living.
6. That Christian people, should set up no lights before the images of sayntes, for sayntes in heaven need no lights, and the images have no eyes to see. And therefore as Ezechias destroyed the brasen serpent that Moses made, by the commaundement of God, even so should Kinges and Princes now a dayes destroy and burne the images of sayntes set up in churches, &c.
Moreover it was deposed against him, that he was notoriously suspected as an heretick, and twice pulled out of the pulpit at St. George's in Ipswich, as also, that in the church of Willisden he exhorted the people to put away their gods of silver and gold, and leave off offering to them either candle, wax, money, or any thing else, and that when he said the Litany, he said, Pray you only to God, or to no saints; and when he came to Sancta Maria, &c. or, O Saint Mary pray for us, he said, Stay there.
These and many other articles of the like nature being proved, on the 4th of Dec. 1529, the Bishop of London admonished him to abjure, and recant, but he answered he would stand to his conscience. Then the Bishop caused the depositions to be read to him, which done, he bad him deliberate, whether he would forsake his opinions or no? but he answered, Fiat justicia et judicium in nomine Domini, i. e. Let justice and judgment be done in the name of the Lord; and being divers times admonished to abjure, he answered as before, adding, Hœc est dies quam fecit Dominus, exultemus et lætemur in eâ. i. e. This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it. (fn. 27) Which when the Bishop heard, and saw he would answer no otherwise, he pulled off his cap, and making a cross on his forehead and breast, by the counsel of the other Bishops, he gave sentence on Master Bilney thus:
'I by the counsel and consent of my bretheren here present, do pronounce the Thomas Bilney, who hast been accused of diverse articles, to be convict of heresy, and for the rest of the sentence, we will take deliberation till to-morrow.' (fn. 28)
The next day the Bishops assembled again, and Bilney was brought before them, then the Bishop of London asked him again and again, whether he would recant, and return to the unity of the church? To which Bilney said, he would not slander the Gospel, and trusted he was not separated from the church, but however, desired a day or two, to deliberate with himself and with his friends, whether he might abjure the heresies wherewith he was defamed, or no? which being at length granted, he appeared before the Bishops, and said, that he was persuaded by Master Farmar and Master Doncaster, and other friends, to submit himself, trusting that they would deal mildly with him, both in the abjuration and penance, which was thus performed: he subscribed his abjuration, and being absolved, his penance was, to bear a faggot, at the procession at St. Paul's, bare-headed, and to stand before the preacher all the sermon, and remain in prison till he was released by Cardinal Wolsey, which was done soon after.
After this abjuration, Bilney was so vehemently affected with sorrow for what he had done, that he was near the point of utter despair, as Bishop Latimer tells us in his seventh Sermon, (fn. 29) 'I knew a man my selfe, Bilney, little Bilney, that blessed martyr of God, what time he had borne his fagotte, and was come agayne to Cambridge, had such conflict within himself, beholding this image of death, that his friendes were afraid to let him bee alone: they were faine to be with him day and night, and comforted him as they could, but no comfortes would serve: as for the comfortable places of Scripture, to bring them unto him, it was as tho' a man would runne him thro' the heart with a sword. Yet afterward for all this, he was revived and took his death patiently, and dyed well against the tyrannicall sea of Rome. Who will [may] be that Bishop, that had the examination of him, if he repented not. Here is a Godly lesson for you my friends: if ever you come in danger, in durance, in prison for God's quarell, and his sake, (as he did for purgatory matters, and put to beare a fagott for preaching the true word of God, against pilgrimage and such like matters,) I will advise you, first, and above all things, to abjure all your friends, all your friendshippe, leave not one unabjured: it is they that shall undoo you, and not your enimies. It was his very friends that brought Bilney to it.'
And in another Sermon preached in Lincolnshire, he says much the same of this good man, and in his first Sermon preached before Katherine Dutchess of Suffolk, (fn. 30) he hath this,
'Here I have occasion to tell you a story which happened at Cambridge, Master Bilney, or rather Saint Bilney, that suffer'd death for Gods word sake, the same Bilney, was the instrument whereby God called me to knowledge, for I may thank him next to God, for that knowledge that I have of the word of God. For I was as obstinate a papist as any was in Englande. Insomuch that when I should be made bachelor of divinity, my whole oracion went against Philip Melancthon, and against his opinions. Bilney heard me at that time, and perceaved I was zelous without knowledge, and came to me afterwards in my study, and desired me for God's sake to hear his confession. I dyd so, (and to say the trueth) by his confession, I learned more than afore in many yeres: so that from that time forward, I began to smell the word of God, and forsake the school doctors, and such fooleries, &c.' By all which it appears, how vehemently this good man was pearced with sorrow and remorse for his abjuration, for above a year together. But at last, by God's grace and good counsel, he came to some quiet of conscience, being resolved to give up his life for the confession of that truth, which he had before renounced; and thereupon at ten o'clock at night, took his leave in Trinity-hall of some of his friends, and departed immediately for Norfolk, where he preached first, privately in houses, to confirm the brethren and sisters, and the Anchoress of Norwich, whom he had formerly converted to Christ: afterwards he preached openly in the fields, confessing his fault, and inculcating the doctrines he had abjured, as the very truth; desiring all men to take warning by him, and never trust their carnal and worldly friends, in matters of religion. Then he came to Norwich to the Anchoress there, to whom he gave 'a New Testament of Tindal's translation,' and 'the Obedience of a Christian Man,' whereupon he was apprehended and carried to the Gild-hall, there to remain till the blind Bishop Nix sent up for a writ to burn him. And in the mean time, Doctor Call, provincial of the gray-friars, Doctor Stokes an Austin friar, Friar Byrde, provincial of the white-friars, and a black-friar named Hodgekins, endeavoured to persuade him to recant, but to no purpose, though Sir Tho. Moore, Chancellor of England, and Mr. Cope, gave it out that he again recanted his opinions; which slander Mr. Fox confutes at large.
When the writ was come, he was brought again before Doctor Pelles, the Bishop's chancellor, and being after a short examination condemned by him, was degraded by Suffragan Underwood, according 'to the custom of their Popish manner, by the assistance of all the fryers and doctowrs of the same sute,' and was then committed to the lay power, namely, to Nic. Sotherton and Tho. Necton, sheriffs of Norwich.
This Necton was Bilney's special friend, and therefore was very sorry to accept him for such execution as followed; but so great was the tyranny of the time, and dread of the chancellor and friars, that he was forced to receive him; yet notwithstanding he could not bear in his conscience himself to be present at his death, for the time he was in his custody, he caused him to be more friendly looked unto, and more wholesomely kept as to his diet, than he was before, affording him all friendly usage to the time of his death. The day before, many of his friends resorted to him in the prison at the Gild-hall, (fn. 31) where he was kept, and one of them finding him eating of an albrew (fn. 32) with such cheerful heart and quiet mind as he did, said, that he was glad to see him at that time, so shortly before his heavy and painful departure, so heartily to refresh himself; whereunto he answered; Oh! said he, I follow the example of the husbandmen of the country, who having a ruinous house to dwell in, yet bestow cost so long as they may, to hold it up; so do I now with this ruinous house of my body, and with God's creatures, in thanks to him, refresh the same, as you see. Some of his friends in such Godly talk as passed between them, reminded him by way of comfort, that though the heat of the fire would be painful to his body, yet the comfort of God's spirit would cool it to his everlasting refreshing; at which words he put his finger to the flame of a candle as it burned before them, (as he often did,) and feeling the heat, said, I feel by experience, and have known it long by philosophy, that fire by God's ordinance is naturally hot, but yet I am persuaded by God's holy word, and by the experience of some, mentioned in the same, that in the flame they felt no heat, and in the fire no consumption, and I constantly believe, that though the stubble of this my body shall be wasted by it, yet my soul and spirit shall be purged thereby; a pain for the time, whereon notwithstanding followeth joy unspeakable. And then he treated on the first verses of the 43d chap. of Isaiah, Fear not, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by my name, thou art mine, when thou passest thorow the waters I will be with thee, they shall not overflow thee, when thou walkest thorow the fire thou shalt not be burnt, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee, for I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel thy Saviour. Which words he comfortably applied to his own case, and to the particular use of his friends then present, which so much fixed them in their thoughts, that some wrote them in their books, and others on tables, that the comfort of this discourse was never forgotten to their dying day.
Saturday, August the 19th, 1531, (fn. 33) being St. Magnus's day, the sheriff's officers came to the prison with their halbards, and receiving him there, led him through the city to the place of execution, which was out of Bishop-gates, in a valley, commonly called Lollard's Pit, (fn. 34) under St. Leonard's hill, which place was chosen on purpose that the people might see the execution quietly, it being surrounded with hills large enough to hold a great multitude; when he came out of the prison door, one of his friends spake in few words to him, to be constant, and take his death as patiently as he could: to whom he answered in a quiet and mild countenance, ye see when the mariner is entered his ship to sail on a troublous sea, how he for a while is tossed in the billows of the same, but yet in hope that he shall once come to the quiet haven, he beareth in better comfort the perils which he feeleth: so am I now, towards this sailing, and whatsoever storms I shall feel, yet shortly after shall my ship be in the haven, as I doubt not thereof by the grace of God, desiring you to help me with your prayers to the same effect. He disposed of much in alms by one of his friends, as he went in the streets; and being accompanied by Dr. Warner, rector of Winterton, his old acquaintance, whom he had chosen for his ghostly comfort, he came at last to the place of execution, in a layman's gown, with his sleeves hanging down, and his arms out; his hair was piteously mangled at his degradation; little in stature he was, but always of an upright pleasant countenance. The stake being prepared, while they were getting ready the fire, he made confession of his faith in the words of the Apostle's Creed, and at the words, I believe—in the holy catholick church, he paused, and said, Good people, I must here confess to have offended the church, in preaching once against the prohibition of the same, at a poor cure belonging to Trinity-Hall in Cambridge, where I was fellow, earnestly entreated thereunto by the curate, and other good people of the parish, showing that they had no sermon there of a long time before, and so in my conscience moved, I did make a poor collation unto them, and thereby ran into disobedience of certain authority of the church, by whom I was prohibited. Howbeit, I trust at the general day, charity that moved me to this act, shall bear me out at the judgement seat of God.' And then he proceeded without any manner of words of recantation, or laying his death to any man's charge. This done, he put off his gown and went to the stake, and kneeling upon a little ledge coming out of the stake, whereupon he should afterwards stand to be better seen, he made his private prayer, with such earnest elevation of his eyes and hands to heaven, and in so good quiet behaviour, that he seemed not much to consider the terrour of his death, ending his prayers with the 43d Psalm, in which he repeated this verse thrice, Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord, for in thy sight shall no man living be justified, and so finishing the Psalm, he concluded. Then turning to the officers, he asked if they were ready! who answered yea. Whereupon he put off his jacket and doublet, and stood in his hose and shirt, and then went to the stake, and stood upon the ledge, and the chain was cast about him; and as he stood there, Dr. Warner came to bid him farewell, but spake but few words for weeping. Bilney smiled on him, and bowed his body to thank him, and lastly said, O! Master Doctor, feed your flock, feed your flock, that when the Lord cometh he may find you so doing; farewell, good Master Doctor, pray for me; upon which he departed without any answer, sobbing and weeping: while he stood thus, certain friars, doctors, and priors, of the frieries of Norwich, being then present, (as they were uncharitably and maliciously present at his examination and degradation, some of them, as Julles, Hogekyns, and others, being witnesses against him,) came to him and said, O! Master Bilney, the people are persuaded that we are the causes of your death, and that we have procured the same, and thereupon it is like they will withdraw their charitable alms from us all, except you declare your charity towards us, and discharge us of the matter. Whereupon he spake with a loud voice to the people and said, I pray you good people be never the worse to these men for my sake, as though they should be the authors of my death. It is not they.
Then the officers put reed and faggots about his body, and set fire to the reed, and made a very great flame, which sparkled and deformed his visage, he holding up his hands and knocking upon his breasts, crying some times Jesus, and sometimes Credo, or I believe, &c. which flame was blown away from him by the violence of the wind, which was that day and two or three days before, exceeding high, and so for a little while he stood without the flame, the flame going and coming three times before the wood took sufficient fire to consume him, after which he yielded up the ghost, and his body bowed down upon the chain; then an officer smote the staple out of the stake with his halbard, and his body fell into the bottom of the fire, and then throwing wood on it, it was quite consumed.
Thus was the martyrdom of this good man, who by his preaching and exhortations, left no small fruit behind him, in Norwich, Norfolk, and Cambridge; so exemplary was his life and conversation, that when Nix his persecutor was constantly told how holy and upright he was, he said, he feared he had burnt Abel, by which confession he proved himself a Cain, that slew him, as Fox rightly observes.
In 1531, there was a statute made, that in all cities, boroughs, and towns corporate, all felons may be tried by jurors, though they have no freehold, so that they be worth 40l. in goods, and be freemen, or dwell in the city or borough, it being sometimes difficult to find freeholders for jurymen. (fn. 35)
In 1532, at a court held the day before St. Thomas, it was alleged, that whereas for time immemorial, till very lately, the mayor, sheriffs, &c. on the Feast of St. Mary Magdalen, did always ride in procession to Magdalen fair, having the city watch before them in their harness and armour, to the honour and praise of the city, and to the great preservation of the city arms, which for want of it were decayed; it was now ordered, that such procession, unless the weather be exceeding bad, should be yearly made, under ten pounds penalty to be forfeited by the mayor; the sheriffs and aldermen, and the constables of every ward, with all their watchmen in arms, shall be at the mayor's gate by one in the afternoon of St. Mary Magdalen's day, and shall ride in procession from thence to the fair, as heretofore, and shall all go and do their devotion in St. Mary Magdalen's chapel there, and after that, shall pass their time in the wrestling place, at the mayor's cost, and shall return thence in due form; and this was continued till 1538, when it was agreed, that as St. Mary Magdalen's feast was abrogated and not hallowed by the King's command, they should not ride to the fair any more, and the next year it was 'ordened and enacted, that yerly from hensforth shal be had the Tuysday in Pentecost weke, alike watche, withyn the citie, to be ordered in such wyse as the mayor for the tyme beyng, and his bretheren aldermen shall think most convenyent and semeyng, for the honor and worship and defence of the citie and country adjoining.' (fn. 36)
In 1533, the statute of the 5th of Henry VIII. touching calendering of worsteds, was made perpetual; and it was further enacted 'for the common wealth of the city of Norwich, and maintenance, supportation, and upholding of the houses, tenements, and habitations of the same,' that no dyer thould be a calenderer, under penalty of forfeiting 40s. for every piece that is calendered by or for the use of the persons that died it. (fn. 37)
This year was settled the order of the procession of the occupations, crafts, or companies, to be made on Corpus Christi day, from the common-hall, by Cutler-row, and so round the market, to the hall again, which order the said companies are to go in, at the riding of the mayor, (fn. 38) and at all times when summoned, to attend the court, for the worship and honour of the city.
1. The company of Masons, Tilers, Lime-burners, and Smiths, with their two banners, before them; which company keeps their gild-day on the 5th Sunday after Trinity.
2. The Carpenters, Gravours, Joiners, Sawers, Seive-makers, Wheelwrights, Fletchers, (or Arrow-makers,) Bowers, and Turners, with their banner; which company holds their gild on the 12th Sunday after Trinity.
3. The Reders, Thaxsters, Rede-sellers, Cleymen, and Carriers, with their banner; whose gild-day is the Sunday before Michaelmas.
4. The Butchers, Glovers, and Parchment-makers, with their banner; whose gild is on the 8th Sunday after Trinity.
5. The Tanners, with their banner; whose gild is the 10th Sunday after Trinity, when they always go in procession and hear mass, and offer at St. Swithin's.
6. The Cordwainers, Coblers, Curriers, and Collar-makers, with their banner; whose gild is on the 4th Sunday after Trinity.
7. The Shermen, (or Cloth-cutters,) Fullers, Woollen and Linenweavers, and Wool Chapmen, with their two banners; whose gild is on the 11th Sunday after Trinity.
8. The Coverlet-weavers, Darnick-weavers, and Girdlers, with their banner; whose gild is the 7th Sunday after Trinity.
9. The Combers, Tinmen, &c. with their banner. They hold their gild on the 3d of Feb. being Bishop Blase's day.
10. The Vintners, Bakers, Brewers, Inn-keepers, Tiplers, Coopers, and Cooks, with their banner. This company keeps no gild, but pays to their priest for a certeyn (fn. 39) 4s. 4d.
11. The Fishmongers, Fresh-Water-Fishers, and Keelmen, with their two banners; whose gild is the 9th Sunday after Trinity.
12. The Waxchandlers, Barbers, and Surgeons, with their banner; this company keeps no gild, but pays their priest 40d. for a certeyn.
13. The Cappers, Hatters, Bagmakers, Paint-makers, Wier-drawers, and Armourers, with their banner. They keep no gild, but pay for a certeyn.
14. The Pewterers, Brasiers, Plombers, Bell-founders, Glaziers, Steynors, and other occupations, with their banner. This is called St. Luke's gild, and is kept in St. Luke's chapel in the cathedral, every 2d Sunday after Trinity, where they hear mass.
15. The Tailors, Broiderers, Hosiers, and Skinners, with their banner; who keep their gild the 3d Sunday after Trinity.
16. The Goldsmiths, Diers, Calenderers, and Sadlers, with their banner. They keep their gild the Sunday after St. Luke.
17. The Worsted-weavers, and Irlonderes, with their banner. They hold their gild and hear mass, every Whitsunday at the cathedral.
18. The Grocers and Raffmen (fn. 40) (or Timber Masters) with their banner. They keep no gild, but pay xs. for a certeyn.
19. The Mercers, Drapers, Scriveners, and Hardware men, with their banner; they hold their gild on Corpus Christi day.
20. The Parish Clerks, and Sextons, with their banner, wayts, and minstrels, hold their gild on Thursday before Whitsunday.
These twenty companies, with their several banners, on which their patron saints were painted, and each company in their livery of one suit, with the several masters (fn. 41) of the crafts going before them, with musick, &c. made fine processions on their gild-days, and at the swearing of the mayor; they being then managed in the same manner as those in the city of London.
In 1534, was an act passed for re-edifying of void grounds in the city, which sets forth, that "where by infortunat chance of fire, a great number of houses of habitation within the citie of Norwich, about 26 years past, were burned and utterlie consumed, to the great heavinesse, discomfort, losse, and hinderance of the inhabitants of the same citie, by reason of which burning, divers and many void grounds, whereupon before the same fire, good and substantiall houses of habitation, were standing, remain now at this daie unre-edified, and not only unre-edified, but also lie as desolate and vacant grounds, many of them nigh adjoining to the high streets, replenished with much uncleaness and filth, to the great annoiance of the said inhabitants, and other the King's subjects, passing by the same," (fn. 42) for which reason it was enacted, that if the owners of such grounds within two years next following the proclamation made by the mayor, for all persons to build or enclose their grounds, should neglect to rebuild such grounds, or else sufficiently enclose the same with walls of mortar and stone; from thenceforth it shall be lawfull for the mayor, sheriffs, citizens and commonalty, of the said city, to enter upon such vacant grounds, and hold and retain them to them and their successours for ever, clearly discharged of all rents, as well of those due to the lords of the fee, as all others, on condition that within two years after such entry they either rebuild or enclose them as aforesaid; and if they do not, the several owners may then re-enter; and if they do not rebuild or enclose in two years, the chief lords of the fees may enter upon them, and rebuild or enclose them in one year's time, or else the mayor, &c. may re-enter, on condition he rebuilds or enclose them, according to the tenor of the act.
This year, the council-chamber at the Gild-hall, and the prisons underneath, were rebuilt at the expense of 208l. 10s.; Augustine Steward, then mayor, was a great promoter of the work.
Mr. Aleyn Persy, clerk gave a messuage and tenauntrye annexed, late of Henry Scolehouse, alderman, to the city for ever, to be settled for such uses as the mayor should fix upon, (fn. 43) by whose advice it was sold for 100l. which was to be laid out in purchasing lands and tenements within the city, the profits of which should be employed about fying of the river, or repairing of the city walls, as the mayor for the time being shall think most needful.
The city about his time, gave certain lands in Monks-toft, Aldeby, and Hadesco, which were late John Tebolds and Tho. Fuller's, to the Prior and convent of Norwich, which in 1539 were sold by the convent, and confirmed by the city to Tho. Kene. (fn. 44)
In 27th Henry VIII. was an act passed for re-continuing liberties in the Crown, by which all cities, boroughs, and towns corporate, had all their liberties thereby confirmed,
And in this parliament was an act made, (fn. 45) that all mayors, governours, and head officers of every city, borough, and town corporate, and the church-wardens, or two other of every parish, shall in good and charitable wise, take such discreet and convenient order, by gathering and procuring of such charitable and voluntary alms of the good Christian people within the same, with boxes every Sunday, holiday, and other festival days, or otherwise among themselves, in such good and discreet wise, as the poor, impotent, lame, feeble, sick, and diseased people, being not able to work, may be provided, holpen, and relieved, so that they, nor none of them, be suffered openly to beg, upon pain that all and every the mayors, governours, aldermen, &c. shall forfeit, for every month that it is omitted, 20s. with several other ways mentioned in the act for taking care of the poor, by gathering from house to house, &c.; and by this act there was obliged to be a poors box in every church, to keep the money of such collections in; and for the avoiding all such inconveniences and infections as oftentimes have, and daily do, chance among the people by open and common doles, and as commonly many persons resort unto such doles as have no need of the same, it was enacted that nobody should make any such common doles, or give any ready money in alms, otherwise than to the common boxes, or gatherings, made as aforesaid, and all preachers, parsons, vicars, and curates, in their sermons, collations, bidding of the beads, and in time of all confessions, and at the making of all wills and testaments, are enjoined to exhort, move, stir, and provoke people to be liberal and bountiful, and to extend their arms and contributions to such poor people: and at the close of it, there is provision, that the act shall not extend to the prejudice of friars mendicants, nor be hurtful or prejudicial to any abbots, priors, or other persons of the clergy, that by any means are bound to give yearly, weekly, or daily alms, in money, victual, lodging, clothing, or other thing, in any monasteries, alms-houses, hospitals, or other foundations, or brotherhoods, by any good authority or ancient custom, established for that purpose: by this it seems, as if this act was made on purpose to make way for the dissolution, by which of consequence great numbers of poor, which were maintained at those religious places, must otherwise have wanted bread; and it is worth observing, that the exception made for the abbots, &c. to continue their charity, might as well have been omitted, it being no great while, before many of those that were bound to be so charitable to others, were forced to ask it for their own support, for in this very parliament all the monasteries, which had not lands above the value of two hundred pounds a year, were given to the King, his heirs and assigns for ever, to do and use therewith his and their own wills," (fn. 46) and the religious thereof were ejected, and forced to live any way they could, either by alms or daily labour; indeed there is a clause in the act to keep up hospitality, that all persons and bodies corporate, having the site and demean lands of such houses, shall be bound under the penalty of 6l. 13s. 4d. a month, "to keep, or cause to be kept, an honest continual house and household, in the same site or precinct, and to occupy yearly as much of the demeans in plowing and tilling of husbandry," &c. as the abbots or their farmers occupied for 20 years before the act, all which was little minded, that part of the act being seldom if ever complied with.
These things were not liked by the commons, nor by the regular clergy, (fn. 47) who took occasion to speak evil of the late proceedings of the King, touching matters of religion; (fn. 48) and divers of the nobility did what they could to stir up a rebellion, faithfully promising them aid and succour against the King, insomuch that 20,000 persons assembled together in Lincolnshire, against whom the King with all expedition intended to march, as soon as he could get an army together, by writing to the principal cities of the kingdom, as he did to this, which immediately granted him 24 soldiers to go against the rebels, which he did, and they soon submitted to him, but the soldiers continued some time with the Duke of Suffolk, who was ordered to go as the King's lieutenant, with an army, to see that the country kept the peace; and
In 1537, was an insurrection at Walsingham in Norfolk, upon the inhabitants finding that the dissolution of the religious houses, and the suppression of pilgrimages to the Virgin at that town, would in a great measure be the decay of it; but they were soon quieted; and in September, (fn. 49) (fn. 50)
1538, by the special motion of the Lord Cromwell, all the remarkable images to which particular pilgrimages and offerings were made, were utterly taken away, as the images of our Lady at Walsingham, Ipswich, Worcester, the Lady of Willsdon, with many others, and likewise all the shrines of the saints, as Tho. Becket's and others.
And all the orders of the friars and nuns were suppressed.
As for the images of our Lady of Walsingham and Ipswich, they were brought to London with all the jewels that hung about them, and with divers others were burnt at Chelsey.
And on Trinity Sunday, the monks of the cathedral changed their monkish apparel, for the apparel of prebends and secular canons.
In October, on St. Edward's even, which falls on the 12th of that month, at Hampton Court, the Queen was delivered of Prince Edward, who was afterwards King Edward VI. for whose birth there was great joy and thanksgiving throughout the kingdom, and a "grete tryumphe and procession" was made here, with pageants, hangings, bonfires, shooting, &c. the mayor, court and companies, being in their gowns, suits, and liveries.
And this year, Mr. Rob. Hemmyng, alderman, gave the city two acres of land, lying out of St. Giles's-gates, to lay muck upon, for the ease of the inhabitants. (fn. 51)
At this time was invented the art of casting lead pipes, for the conveyance of water under ground, without soldering the same, by Rob. Brock, clerk, then one of the King's chaplains, a necessary invention for saving expense, two men and a boy being able to do as much in one day, as several men could do in many; (fn. 52) Robert Cooper, goldsmith, was the first that made the instruments, and put this invention in practice.
In 1538, Thomas Cromwell, Lord Privy Seal, Vicegerent, to the King's Highness, sent injunctions to all bishops and curates throughout the realm, charging them to take care, that in every parish church, a Bible of the largest volume, printed in English, should be placed openly for all men to read in: This was the first order that I have seen authorising the Scripture to be publickly read in the English tongue, which excellent institution soon dissipated the ignorance that then abounded among the common people, and may be deservedly reckoned as it were, a new promulgation of the Gospel, which till this time was wickedly concealed from the laity, in a language wholly unknown to the greater part of them; and this same time produced another injunction, for parish registers, which were now instituted, the use of which hath long ago appeared so evident, that nobody need to say any thing more in their commendation.
At this time also, the King by letters patents (fn. 53) dated at Westminster the 6th of April, in the 30th year of his reign, confirmed "by authority of parliament," sets forth that by other letters patents, dated the 28th May, in the 19th year of his reign, he had made the precinct within the priory walls exempt from the city, as part of Blofield hundred in Norfolk, and that by other letters patents he had changed the Prior and convent, into a dean and chapter, and the monks into prebendaries and secular canons, and appointed William Castleton the first dean, and incorporated them, and given them every thing that belonged to the Prior and convent, to have, use, and enjoy, in the same manner the late Prior and convent, enjoyed them, and now the dean and chapter desiring to give up their letters patents of incorporation to the county of Norfolk, and hundred of Blofield, the King, by the mutual consent and good liking of the dean and chapter, and of the mayor, court, and commons of the city, (fn. 54) accepted the surrender thereof, and by these presents, the precinct was made part of the city and county thereof, and such liberties were to be used by the city, in the precinct, as were not contradictory to the ancient liberties of the Prior and convent, used in the same; all which liberties were reserved to the dean and chapter, in as ample a manner as ever they were enjoyed by the Prior and convent, and their predecessors.
And therefore to hinder all disputes for the future, there was a composition and final agreement made, on the 10th of April, between the church and city, settling their different rights and jurisdictions; one indenture of which, under the seal of the dean and chapter, remains in the Gild-hall, and the other under the city seal, in the archives of the church; by which it was agreed,
That if any affray, quarrel, or misdemeanour against the King's peace, happens in the precinct or close, in the presence of the mayor or any other justice of peace of the city, or any vagabond or sturdy beggar comes into their presence in the precinct, or if any opprobrious or contemptuous words be spoken to the mayor or justices of the peace within the precinct, the mayor or justices of the peace may take up every such offender, and carry him to the common city gaol, so that it be not the dean himself, or any of the prebendaries or canons, or any of their officers or servants.
Also if any plaint or action, real or personal, be commenced, levied, or entered, in any court of the city, the process shall be awarded to the bailiff of the dean and chapter's liberty, there to be served and executed, and every such mandate, process, &c. shall be delivered to the said dean, or to one of the prebendaries there, and if they all be absent, to one of the canons, or to the bailiff of the liberty, 24 hours at least before the return of the same process, mandate, or precept, and the officer that delivered it shall certify upon oath, in the Gildhall, the delivery thereof to some of the said persons, before any process of non omittas, to enter into the said liberty, shall be awarded by the mayor, justices of the peace, sheriffs, or any of them.
And neitheir the dean, prebendaries, or canons, nor their servants, inhabiting in the precinct of the said close, not being free of the city, shall be called before the mayor, &c. in any city court, to be sworn on any juries, inquests, &c.; neither shall they have any manner of custom, amerciaments, fines, or pains, for any cause or offence committed or done within the precinct, levied upon them, otherwise than such as before the date hereof have been used accustomably to be paid, by the said dean, prebendaries, canons, or their servants and officers.
Furthermore, no warrant is to be granted by any persons whatever belonging to the city, to be executed in the close or precinct against any of the members of the cathedral, their servants or officers, inhabiting in the said precinct, " before that the said maier, or justice of peace hath gevyn knowleage unto the said deane, or to oon of the said prebendaries there resident, by whom, or by what persone any such request (for a warrant) is unto them so made."
And thus peace and amity was settled between the church and city, which from the time of the city's first charter had never been done effectually till now, and that it was now is evident from the mutual good offices that immediately followed on both sides, by which their several interests were much advanced.
Robert Brown, mercer, alderman of St. Stephen's ward, gave to the city, all his close and tenements lying together in the parishes of St. Michael, and St. Bartholomew in Norwich, on condition they discharged him of his aldermanship and of all other offices hereafter to be laid upon him by the City; (fn. 55) these premises were ordered to be sold to James Marsham, grocer, and the money applied to the use of the city.
This year also, John Lambert, alias Nicholson, who was born and brought up in Norfolk, being first converted by Mr. Bilney, was burnt in Smithfield: (fn. 56) and about the same time, Will. Layton or Leyton, a monk of Eye in Suffolk, was burnt here, for speaking against a certain idol, which was accustomed to be carried about in processions at Eye, and for holding that the sacrament ought to be administered in both kinds. (fn. 57)
In the 31st year of this King's reign was the general dissolution of religious houses, which were all, by an act then made, vested in the Crown, (fn. 58) by which many towns were not only spoiled of their beauty, (those fine buildings with their elegant churches being demolished,) but grew into great decay for want of the resort to them, and the hospitality that usually was kept up in them.
The next year was an act made to take the privilege of sanctuaries from all places whatever, except parish-churches, and their churchyards, cathedral churches, hospitals, and churches collegiate, and all chapels dedicated and used as parish churches, and the sanctuaries to them belonging, and except such places as shall be appointed to be places of tuition and privilege by this act, by which Norwich, among others, is appointed for a sanctuary or place of privilege for term of life, so that persons who had taken sanctuary in any church, for any crimes, so it was not murder, wilful ravishing of women, burglary, robbery on the high-way, &c. might abjure to this place, if it was not full of the number allowed by the statute, namely twenty persons, and all such persons were to be registered, and every day called over by the governours of such privileged places, and the bounds and limits of all such places were to be appointed by the Chancellor of England; and the governours of each by the King; and if any more were brought by their abjuration to a privileged place that had already twenty such persons in it, such person was to be delivered to the constable of the next parish, with a certificate of the privileged place, certifying that it was full: and in pursuance of this act, among the expenses of the chamberlains of this city in 1541, is this, 'payd to Tho. Bosewell paynter, for correctyng of a platte that was sent up at this terme (in February) for the establyshing of the Seyntwary, within the cyte, accordyng to the statute, 6s. 8d.'
In the 33d of Henry VIII. an act was made concerning the worsted yarn in Norfolk, which says, that among other cities, shires, and towns, having private commodities, the city of Norwich, with divers other and many towns in the county of Norfolk, hath always heretofore kept, preserved, and maintained, and the poor men and other dwellers, and inhabitants, godly, honestly, and virtuously brought up in the same, occupied and exercised, by a commodity growing and rising only within the said city, that is to say, by the making and weaving of worsteds, and other cloths, which hath been made and woven of the yarn called worsted yarn, spun of the wool growing and coming of the sheep bred only within the county of Norfolk, and in no place elsewhere: and forasmuch as the said commodity of making and weaving of worsteds within the said city of Norwich, and county of Norfolk, by the deceit and crafty practices of the great multitude of regrators and buyers of the said yarn called worsted yarn, is wholly decayed and taken away from the said dwellers and inhabitants in the said city and shire, that is to say, in that, that the said regrators do buy the said yarn by small parcels of many men, and when by little parcels they have got a great quantity, they do not cause it to be woven or otherwise wrought in the city or county, but do sell, send, or carry it away out of the realm, into France, Flanders, and other places beyond the sea, with which yarn, strangers not born under the King's dominions do make and weave sayes, russels, worsteds, and other cloths, and bring and sell them to the English, to their great advantage, and the clear decay and destruction of the said commodity, by reason whereof the city of Norwich, and other towns in Norfolk, are not only most likely to be brought to utter ruin and decay, but the inhabitants to be destitute of any way to get an honest living by: for which reason it was enacted, that nobody should buy any worsted yarn in Norwich or Norfolk, but only such weavers or other artificers as shall work or weave it, or cause it to be wrought or woven within the city of Norwich, or some other market town in Norfolk, on 40s. forfeiture for every pound of yarn so bought, and not wrought as aforesaid, one half to the King, and the other to the informer; and none shall be carried out of the kingdom unwrought under the same penalty. This act was to continue at first till the last day of the then next parliament only, but by the 1st of Edward VI. cap. VI. it was made perpetual. (fn. 59)
This year the city sent the King 18 arches, 22 billmen, and 40 soldiers, to go against the Scots.
In 1542, was a statute made confirming the liberties of cities, and corporate towns, whereby the recoveries, fines, deeds enrolled, and releases acknowledged by women covert, are made valid and good.
In 1543, the first cannon of cast iron that ever was made in England was cast at Bucksteed in Sussex, by Ralf Hogg and Peter Bawd. (fn. 60)
And this year there was a new cross, with a crucifix carved on one side, and the city arms on the other, painted and carried to Hardley, and there set up in the presence of the sheriffs, in the place where "the shrevys of Norwyche yerely do kepe a court." (fn. 61) And this place was the extent of liberties of the city on the river Wensum, as at this time: and at an assembly held on the 24th of Oct. upon a representation made, that divers kinds of victuals, leather, tallow, &c. have been carried by water to Yarmouth to be exported contrary to the law, and divers things coming up the river, as salt, coals, corn, &c. have been sold by unlawful measures, and herrings unlawfully packed both in cades and barrels, for lack of a water-bailiff to search and look after such things, they then ordained and chose Will. Corbet water-bailiff, and ordered that he should have half the forfeited goods, 20s. per annum stipend from the commons, and meat and drink from the sheriffs, and that hereafter such a water-bailiff should be yearly elected at the assembly every St. Mathew's day.
In 1544, the King directed a commission, dated at Greenwych, January 5, to Thomas Duke of Norfolk, Treasurer of England, Henry Earl of Surrey, Henry Earl of Sussex, the Mayor of Norwich, Sir Richard Southwell, Sir Roger Townesend, Sir William Paston, and Sir John Heydon, Knts. and the recorder of the city, to raise a benevolence according to the resolution of parliament, upon every person according to their ability, toward the defence and security of his subjects, and the support of the French wars; (fn. 62) upon which they levied the benevolence, and sent him 40 soldiers as he requested. (fn. 63)
And this year the mayor's feast began to be kept at the New-hall, or the friars-preachers church, which, with the site of that religious house, was conveyed to the city.
In the 37th Henry VIII. was an act made, to vest all colleges, free chapels, chantries, their lands and goods, in the King, which not being executed before his death, this last morsel was left to his successour, who seized it by virtue of another act made in the first year of his reign.
In 1545, Dr. Repse or Rugge, Bishop of Norwich, incited the old Duke of Norfolk against one Rogers of Norfolk, who was this year condemned, and suffered martyrdom for the six articles; (fn. 64) and it was this year that Robert Rugge the mayor, and Dr. Rugge the Bishop, both persecutors alike, would have condemned Dorothy, wife to John Bale, the learned author of "the Centuries of the English Writers," of which affair he gives us the following account, in his book "of English Votaryes," (fn. 65) part ii. page 82, in the chapter entitled, Prestes Marryage at Norwyche, praysed and scorned," the former part of which chapter you may see at p. 27, 28, and the rest follows in these words:
"A v yeares ago, which was the year of our Lord a M. D. and xlv.  upon the xxv day of June, a cruel justice, (fn. 66) and as wicked a mayre, (fn. 67) within the cytie of Norwych, enprisoned a faythfull woman, and sought to put her to most shameful and cruell death; hauynge none other matter agaynst her, but only that she had bene the wyfe of a preste, whych had bene (wele bestowed) a preacher amonge them. (fn. 68) But God in conclusion prouyded a learned lawyer, and a ryghteouse judge, for her delyueraunce to both their confusyons. A wonderfull thyng, that thys should be cryed lawfull in their cathedrall church, with ryngyng, syngynge, and sensyng, and in their Gelde-halle condempned for felonye and treson. There ded they worshyp it in their scarlet gownes with cappe in hande, and here they improved it with scornes and with mocks, grennyng upon her like termagauntes in a playe: but lete them no more loke to be forgotten of their posteryte, than were Judas and Pylate whome the worlde yet speaketh of. Beastly bussardes and ignorant asseheades, more fit to kepe swyne, than to rule God's people.
"The tyrannye of those wicked minsters of Antichrist.
Her comming to that cytie was to se, as became a mother, an ordre for her chylde, whych had undyscreetly bound hymselfe prentyse within yeares, to one whych was neyther honest nor godly. As this false justyce and as frantic a mayer, had knowledge of her being there, they sought not to rectifye her just cause, beynge a desolate woman, but they convented her afore them, as (if) she had bene an yll doar, and layed unto her charge both fellonye and treason. They strayghtly first examyned her, where and whan she was marryed, and what they were whych were at that marryage. And whan she had made them a true and honest answere, they lawhed, toyed, and scorned, demaundynge of her, if she were not ashamed of that doing. But lete them be ashamed of synne, of oppressyon, brybery, ydolatry, and tyranny, whyche they have largely used, for there belongeth no shame to the holy instytucion of God, sanctyfyed to him for mannys use, though the great devyl of Rome hath made them beleve so. Then as wyse as ij wyspes and as godly as ij goselynges, they examined her, what her believe was in the sacrament, to brynge her into more depe danger of death, callynge her husbandes doctryne erroneouse, heretycall, and sedicyouse doctrine. But this I protest unto them, which am her husbande in dede, that I will be able to defende my doctryne, whan they shall not be able to justifye their most cruell and wycked example, in defendynge of the Byshopp of Romes tyrannye. I am depely in their bokes, men saye, therefore lete them not blame me, if they be in my bokes agayne. It is the nature alwayes of an historye to declare the goodnesse and malyce of tymes by the dyverse actes of men, to the warnynge of others, whyche I (John Bale) in my writings have decreed to follow. I have known their citie in my tyme grenously plaged, with fire, (fn. 69) water, (fn. 70) pestylence, (fn. 71) and warre, (fn. 72) above all other cyties within this realme. Lete them therfore repent their wyekednesse, least the latter plage be most grevouse of all."
This John Bale was born at Cove in Suffolk, entered in the Carmelite or white friars monastery in Norwich, at 12 years of age, and spent his youth here and at Cambridge; he was a great instrument of the reformation, by his many writings against the superstitions of the Romish church; he married Dorothy his wife, and fled, on account of his religion, into Germany, where he continued near eight years, and returned when Edward VI. came to the crown; he was 53 years old in 1548, when he printed his 'Centuries,' in quarto, at Ipswich, it being the only book of note ever printed at the press there, which was first erected by order of Cardinal Wolsey.
This Dorothy was examined upon the six articles, as they were called, which were published in the 31st of Henry VIII. by which all were to be condemned for hereticks, and burnt, that should believe any of them; the third of which was, that no one should hold, 'that 'priests entered into holy orders might marry:' and on these articles they would have condemned her. (fn. 73)
In 1546, on the 28th day of January, died King Henry VIII. after he he had reigned 37 years, nine months, and six days, and being conveyed to Windsor, was there splendidly interred. He first styled himself, Henry by the grace of God King of England and France, and Lord of Irland. In the tenth year of his reign, he called himself Henry the Eighth, &c. In his 13th year he added; Fidei Defensor, or Defender of the Faith. In his 22d year he added, In terra ecclesle Anglicanæ et Hiberniæ supremum caput: or supreme head on earth of the church of England and Ireland. And in the 34th year of his reign, Rex Hiberniæ, or King of Ireland, was added.
His exequies (fn. 74) were celebrated with great pomp in this city, as appears from the following notes taken from the chamberlain's accounts:
Paid for all charges of an herse with 120 lyghts (fn. 78) and dyverse floryshes, hangyngs and a mortes (fn. 79) of wax 40s. To the peynter for 6 scogeons of the Kyngs armys, made with fyne gold and bice 12s. and for 6 other scogeons (fn. 80) 3s.; paid for makyng a traverse about the herse, that no man should come within it, and for raysyng an altar within the same 25s.; item gave to 13 poore men that satte about the herse at dyrygge and mass time 4s. 4d.; item to 6 prests that sang 6 masses within the traverse in the tyme of the servyce in the quire 2s. For fetchyng things borrowed, as a bere, fourms, a tabil for the altar, black hangyngs, crosse, basyn, &c. 9d. Item gaf to the clarks of Cryste-churche for many pains about the herse, hanging the altar, ryngyng the clocher bells, (fn. 81) &c. 1s.; for clenyng a peice of black fresado that went about the traverse, which was sore dropped with wax, 8d. &c.
At this time, the proclamation for the free fair on Tombland was as follows, (fn. 82)
Where our sovereign Lord King Henry the Eight, by his letters patents sealed with his great seal, hath granted to the mayor, sheriffs, citizens, and communalty of the city of Norwich, and to their successours, that they, their heirs, and successours, may hold and kepe in the said cyte of Norwich, one fayer, yerely, to be holden from the rising of the sun on the Saturday next before the feast of Pentecost, and to endure continually to the fall and going down of the same, on the Monday next after the feast of the Holy Trinity, by 10 dayes, with all rights and commodities to the right of a fayer appertaining, as in the same letters patents of our seid late sovereign lord King Henry VIII. more at large it doth appear. Wherefore all manner of persons that will come to the said fayer with their merchandrye goods and chatells, shall and may freely come to and from the same fayer, with their said merchandise, goods, and chatells, without any toll or other custom to be taken of them, or any of them for the same, during the said fayer, and that all meat, cattel, and horses, be bought and sold in the castle-ditches, and meadows there, and all sheep cattell in the streets of the city, as they have been accustomed, and all other chafery-wares and merchandise, at Tombland, and in the market of the said citie, and if any should happen to be wronged by any officer of the said fayer, that he come to Mr. Mayor of the said cittie declaryng the same, and those wrongs shall be redressed by the said mayor, according to justice, and also if any man will sue by pleynt, according to the law, for any contract or offence, or other personal action, that shall happen to be done within the time of the said fayer, let him keep his day at the Gild-hall of this cittie before the steward of the same fayr, this same Saterday at ten of the clock and he shall be heard.
God save the King.
And now finding nothing more to observe in relation to the city during this King's reign, "for a close I will tell you here, how Sir Philip Calthorp (fn. 83) purged John Drakes the shoomaker of Norwich, in the time of King Henry the Eight, of the proud humour which our people have to bee of the gentlemens cut: this knight bought on a time, as much fine French tawney cloth, as should make him a gowne, and sent it to the taylors to bee made. John Drakes a shoo-maker of that towne, coming to the sayd taylours, and seeing the knights gowne-cloth lying there, liking it well, caused the taylour to buy him as much of the same cloth and price, to the same intent; and further bade him to make it of the same fashion that the knight would have his made of. Not long after, the knight comming to the taylours to take measure of his gowne, perceiving the like gowne-cloth lying there, asked the taylour whose it was? Quoth the taylor it is John Drakes, who will have it made of the self same fashion that yours is made of; well (said the Knight) in good time be it. I will (sayd hee) have mine made as full of cutts, as thy sheers can make it; it shall be done said the taylor: whereupon because the time drew neere, he made haste of both their garments. John Drake when he had no time to go to the taylors till Christmass day, for serving of customers, when he had hoped to have worne his gowne, perceiving the same to be full of cutts, began to sweare with the taylor for making his gowne after that sort. I have done nothing (quoth the taylor) but that you bade mee to do, for as Sir Philip Calthorp's is, even so have I made yours. By my latchet (quoth John Drake) I will never weare gentlemans fashion againe." (fn. 84)
Mayors and sheriffs.
|1509, Robert Long.||Hen. Atte Mere, Rob. Jannys.|
|1510, Ric. Brasier.||John Marsham, Ralph Wilkins.|
|James Hobart, Esq. recorder.|
|1511, Rich. Aylmer.||Rob. Bell, John Stallon.|
|1512, Will. Hart.||Stephen Stallon, Rich. Corpesty.|
|1513, John Rightwise 2.||Tho. Pickarell, John Bustyng or Buskyng.|
|1514, Gregory Clerk 2.||Hen. Scolehouse or Schoolhouse, John Terry.|
|1515, John Clerk.||Rob. Barker, died, Ric. Farrour, died. Will. Broome, Thomas Wilkins.|
|1516, Tho. Aldrich 2.||Tho. Bauburgh or Bawber, Greg. Cause.|
|1517, Rob. Jannys.||Rob. Green, Tho. Cory.|
|1518, John Marsham.||Rob. Heming or Henning, Hamond Lynsted.|
|1519, Will. Hart 2.||John Brown, (fn. 85) Barth. (fn. 86) Springwell, or Springall.|
|Will. Atte Mere, deputy townclerk.|
|1520, John Clerk 2.||Nic. Sywat or Syphat, John Westgate.|
|1521, Edward Rede.||Tho. Moore, Rob. Hall.|
|Francis Moundford, steward.|
|1522, Rob. Rrowne.||Will. Russel, John Watts.|
|1523, John Terry,||Reginald Litleprowe, Will. Norfolk.|
|1524, Rob. Jannys 2.||Stephen Rainbow, Will. Crane, who was accidentally drowned the day after he was sworn.|
|1525, Tho. Pickarell.||John Swain, Rob. Leech.|
|1526, Rob. Ferrour or Farrour.||Augustine Steward, Will. Layer.|
|1527, Ralf Wilkins.||Tho. Grew, John Clerk.|
|1528, Will. Broome.||Tho. Cranck, Hen. Fuller.|
|1529, Rob. Greene.||John Curat, John Corbet, who dwelt at Sprowston when he was chosen.|
|1530, Tho. Bauburgh or Bawber.||Tho. Necton, Nic. Sotherton.|
|1531, Edw. Rede 2.||Ric. Catlyn, Will. Rogers.|
|1532, Reg. Littleprowe.||John Groot or Graunt, Will. Hast or Hart.|
|1533, Tho. Pickarell 2.||Adam Laws, Roger Cooper.|
|1534, Aug. Steward.||Will. Lynn, Tho. Greenwood.|
|1535, Nic. Sywat, Syphat, or Syfat.||Rob. Browne, Hen. Crook.|
|1536, Rob. Farror 2.||Edm. Wood, Tho. Thetford.|
|1537, Will. Layer.||Rob. Rugge, Will. (fn. 87) Palmer.|
|1538, Tho. Pickarell 3.||Nic. Osborn, John Humberston.|
|1539, Nic. Sotherton.||James Marsham; Tho. Walters died, and John Trace was elected on Holy-Rood-Day, and paid the city 20l. for it, the expenses of the greater part of the year, being born by the deceased sheriff.|
|1540, Tho. Grew.||Tho. Codde, John Spencer.|
|1541, Rob. Leech.||Felix Puttok, John Quash.|
|1542, Will. Rogers.||Tho. Cock, Rich. Davy.|
|1543, Edw. Rede 3.||Rich. Lee, Will. Morrant died, Tho. Marsham.|
|1544, Hen. Fuller.||Edm. Warden or Warren, Rob. Marlyn or Martin.|
|1545, Rob. Rugge.||Ric. Suckling, Rob. Lyng.|
|1546, Aug. Steward 2.||Rob. Mitchel or Mitchells, Bernard Utber or Udberd.|