Richard Hunne

W. R. Cooper On Saturday, 29 March 1511, an argument developed between two men. One was a priest, Thomas Dryffeld, and the other was a merchant-tailor of London, Richard Hunne. The occasion was the funeral of Hunne's five-week-old son Stephen, who had died at the home of his nurse, Mistress Agnes Snowe, in Whitechapel. Thomas Dryffeld was conducting the funeral at the local church of St Mary Matfellon, and he demanded as his fee for burying the child the christening gown in which the body was wrapped.[1] The gown was an expensive garment which the priest could have sold. Richard Hunne was one of the wealthiest merchants of London, noted for the scale of his giving to the poor, and he could easily have afforded its price. Yet Hunne refused to give the gown to the priest. He pointed out that for his mortuary fee the priest was entitled, under Church law, to the most valuable possession of the deceased. But as neither a child nor indeed a dead person could be deemed to own anything under civil law, it followed that the priest was not entitled to it. The gown was Richard Hunne's property, not Stephen's. And so the two men parted — bitter enemies.

At first sight the argument seems petty. But behind it stood some of the most important issues of the day. The priest was claiming something to which he was entitled under ecclesiastical law. But Hunne was countering his claim with civil law. And the question, which would not have been lost on either of the two antagonists, nor indeed on any of the many witnesses to their row, was simply: which system of law was to prevail, the law of the Church or that of the king? In other words, Richard Hunne was questioning, long before Henry VIII was to do so, who held the supremacy in this land of England — the king or the pope? He was not to hear the last of it.

Mortuaries, or fees for burying the dead, had long been a cause of bitterness between the clergy and the laity, and not without reason.[2] When the item the priest claimed was the family's means of livelihood, then it could mean destitution, homelessness and ultimately starvation for those left behind. And much of Hunne's charity would have been expended upon the relief of such families. Hunne's ability to combat the abuse was severely limited. If he challenged it on theological grounds, he would open himself to the deadly charge of heresy. So instead of theology, he was to use the civil laws of England to counter the laws of Rome. And his attention was finally to focus upon one particular law — the Great Statute of Praemunire, first enacted in 1393 under Richard II, though used since that date, when at all, with little effect.[3] Hunne's challenge was to hit the London scene like a bombshell, its echoes reverberating through the distant courts of Rome itself, when Pope Leo X found it necessary to thunder timely anathemas in the Lateran against those who would suggest that the clergy should be subject to the secular power. But it was too late. Richard Hunne had set Church and state together on a collision course.

Since 1949, there have been three major contributions to studies of the Hunne affair. They are those of Ogle (see Bibliography), Dickens and Marius.[4] Ogle's study, heroic though it was, was necessarily much less informed than either he or we might have wished, for many of the documents have come to light only since his day. Dickens and Marius et al., have added considerably to our appreciation of the political background of the case, with the disadvantage of incompleteness as certain records still lay undiscovered or unappreciated.[5] This present article brings all the known documents into one cohesive study, and introduces a document of which previous scholars have beer unaware, namely a portion of the original coroner's report on the body of Richard Hunne.

Richard Hunne's clash with the Church had its real origins in earlier incidents, in particular the arrest of his neighbour, Joan Baker. Her husband Gervais was, like Richard, a merchant-tailor dwelling in Bridge Street.[6] And on Wednesday, 18 September 1510 Joan had told the local priest that she 'would do no more reverence to a crucifix in the church than she would do to a dog, for they be but stocks and stones'. A few days later, at the deathbed of Thomas Blake, another merchant-tailor of Bridge Street, Joan loudly uttered many other heresies, leaving the long-suffering priest, John Cawode, no alternative but to have her arrested and taken before Fitzjames, the Bishop of London. In May of 1511, two months after Stephen Hunne's funeral, Joan went before the bishop. The record of her examination has survived, and it makes fearful reading.[7]

Meanwhile, Hunne had teamed up with a friend of his, William Lamberd, in a minor litigation against the priest of St Michael-in-Cornhill, London, in a dispute over tenement rights.[8] Others had their own axes to grind, and Parliament itself was to sit less than a year later to debate the passing of a bill that would strip the clergy of their age-old immunity against prosecution in the secular courts.[9] It was a major crisis for the Church, and we can only guess the extent to which Hunne's activities had moved the Commons to debate such a bill.

While the bill was still before Parliament, Dryffeld, the priest of Whitechapel still looking for his mortuary, struck back. On Monday, 26 April 1512, he cited him before the spiritual court at Lambeth. In normal circumstances, such a case as Dryffeld's would have gone before the bishop's court in London. These were not ordinary circumstances: special permission would have been necessary to move the case to Lambeth. On Wednesday, 28 April Richard Hunne received a summons to appear. The court official who delivered the summons was Charles Joseph, whom we shall meet again. Presiding was Cuthbert Tunstall, the future Bishop of London, but now auditor of cases to the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Warham.

Hunne presented himself at Lambeth on Thursday, 13 May. Tunstall pronounced against him out of court and ignored Dryffeld's demand for his immediate excommunication. Instead, Tunstall admonished Hunne to either surrender the gown, or to pay its value of 6 s. 8 d., and there the matter would end. Then Tunstall let him go. Such leniency was typical of Tunstall, although it was doubtless influenced by the way things were going in Parliament just across the water from Lambeth. For in the November of that year both houses were to pass an Act that abolished clerical immunity for all those in minor orders — those below subdeacons, which included the motley collection of summoners, pardoners and bell-ringers. But it pointedly did not include bishops, priests or deacons, and this omission undoubtedly led to the following development in the Richard Hunne affair.

On 27 December 1512 Richard Hunne entered the church of St Mary Matfellon in Whitechapel. It was the feast of St John the Evangelist. What business he had in Whitechapel that day we cannot know. His own church in Bridge Street was some two miles away, and we would expect him to have attended divine service there. But what we do know is a matter of record.[10] He was seen by Henry Marshall, Dryffeld's chaplain, and Marshall took the extraordinary step of stopping the service. He then loudly denounced Hunne as accursed and ordered him to leave the church, which Hunne did, in some alarm it seems. Hunne now found himself ostracized, publicly at least, by his former business associates and friends. None dare be seen to help him or befriend him in any way, for they would have incurred a like censure.

Hunne employed the services of an attorney, Richard Hawkes, who began proceedings against Marshall for slander in the Court of King's Bench. The case opened on Tuesday, 25 January 1513, and present before the court were the culprit, Henry Marshall, and his own attorney, William Fisher. The court then heard how the defendant:

... in great anger and raging wildly ... spoke to the said Richard Hunne insultingly and in a loud voice these hateful words in English, to his physical hurt and the loss of his good reputation as follows: 'Hunne, thou art accursed and thou standest accursed. And go thou therefore out of the church. For as long as thou art in this church, I will say no evensong nor service!'[11]

We glean from Hunne's writ of slander the notable fact that he was not alone when he entered the church at Whitechapel, for Marshall's words had caused him and '...several other honest persons nearby and their respective servants', to vacate the church in fear of violence. Hunne's Lollard friends were clearly taking an active interest in his deeds, making up the 'several other honest persons'. The thrust of Hunne's complaint before the judges was the fact that Marshall had denounced him as accursed when he had not as yet been excommunicated. Under canon law, the only occasion on which divine service could be stopped was when an excommunicate entered the church. Marshall's words were therefore slanderous.

Confusion seems to have reigned on both sides concerning Hunne's status as an excommunicate or otherwise. In Hunne's later writ of praemunire, he complains how Dryffeld had caused '...various sentences of suspension from sacrament and excommunication to be brought and charged against the said Richard Hunne', and that this had occurred at Lambeth the previous May. Marshall denied this by pointing out in his own defence in the praemunire that Tunstall had pronounced against Hunne 'out of court', thus inadvertently supporting his antagonist (in the slander writ) who claimed that his excommunication had never been formally pronounced.

Richard Hunne, however, cannot have seen the danger that his complaint now placed him in. For if that were his contention, then the Church was only too willing to make up the deficiency. His attorney, Hawkes, must have sensed the danger, but by now it was too late. Henry Marshall, through Fisher, promptly requested an adjournment of the proceedings and a day for his reply. This was granted by the judges, who adjourned the case until 'Friday next after the octave of Easter', or Friday, 8 April 1513. It is between the date of the opening of the slander case and the day of its resumption that we must look for the date of Hunne's formal excommunication. The record of the event has not survived, but its occurrence would certainly explain Hunne's suddenly issuing in reply one of the deadliest writs of the age, that of praemunire.[12]

The Great Statute of Praemunire made it treasonable to appeal to any higher power than that of the king, or to try a matter in the spiritual court which should rightly have been heard in the king's court. By appealing to such a power, the appellant automatically placed himself outside the king's protection. His wealth could be stripped from him and he could be imprisoned for the rest of his natural life. By implication if not decree, the appellant could be murdered by any of the king's subjects with impunity. But what heightens the drama of Hunne's writ is not so much its dire penalties, for most penalties were dire in those days, but those public figures who were embraced by it.

Although he was to die within the month, Thomas Dryffeld is cited, for it was he who had cited Hunne at Lambeth in the first place. Henry Marshall, Dryffeld's chaplain, is also cited. As is Charles Joseph, the bishop's summoned. Cuthbert Tunstall also appears. William Warham, who was both Archbishop of Canterbury and papal legate in England, ran the court at Lambeth. Warham represented and enforced the pope's authority in the realm, which the pope always claimed was higher than any king's. Warham, however, was also Henry VIII's own lord chancellor: thus, his activities as papal legate, under the Great Statute, could be deemed treasonable indeed.

Hunne's contemporaries must have been astounded. But amongst those contemporaries were the judges of King's Bench, themselves subordinates of Warham as lord chancellor and perhaps even his appointees. They were also servants of the king. Richard Hunne claimed rightly that the Church, in the persons of those named in the writ, had transgressed the royal prerogative as defined in the Great Statute, and all 'prosecutors, maintainers, abettors, supporters and counsellors' of such traitors, 'should be placed outside the Lord King's protection and should forfeit their lands and tenements, goods and chattels ... and should be arrested in person', and so on.[13] This presented the judges with the following dilemma.

If, as servants of the king, they upheld Hunne's undeniably lawful claim, then they would be seen to take from the Church its alleged right and authority to try cases in the spiritual court. They would, moreover, be denying the pope's authority as head of the Church in England, which would also place the pope's authority beneath that of a secular prince. Further, they would be aiding and abetting a pronounced excommunicate of the Church, and under canon law would themselves be excommunicate. Yet if, as good children of holy Church, they upheld the pope's cause, then they would be guilty of treason under the Great Statute for allowing that it was lawful to appeal to a higher authority than that of the king, thus denying the royal prerogative and placing the king's authority beneath that of the pope, himself a foreign prince.

It was an unenviable position to be in. It may be that Hunne and his attorney had hoped to force the judges into a quick decision in their favour: but it backfired badly. What they had failed to anticipate was the tendency of a compromised judiciary to prevaricate and delay judgement indefinitely. For if the judges decided neither for the king nor for the pope, then they could avoid all danger. What followed, therefore, was a series of adjournments. Perhaps the judges shaded the clergy's hope that an interminable litigation would ruin Hunne financially and thus fizzle out of its own accord. But if so, then they reckoned without Richard Hunne's dogged determination to see his case through at any cost.

Then, as if to make his own voice heard in the matter, the pope thought it expedient to pronounce in the Lateran Council against any who sought to bring the spiritual power under the heel of the secular. The date was Friday, 5 May 1514, and the pope was Leo X, the same pope who was to thunder so ineffectually against Martin Luther three years later. No doubt the bill recently passed by Parliament depriving the lower clergy of their immunity from prosecution was in his mind. But news of the Hunne case also must have reached him, for it challenged his authority in a novel and dangerous way.

The following month, on Thursday, 22 June, the Convocation of Canterbury opened to discuss the implications of the parliamentary bill, only to hear unexpectedly, on the fourth day, a defence of it given by one of their own, Dr John Taylor, speaker of the Lower House of Convocation. But the clergy had one cause for optimism: the clause in the bill that stated it would run only until the next Parliament. And then, they could be assured, Richard Fitzjames, Bishop of London and as such a member of the Upper House of Parliament, would have something to say on the matter.

Hunne's slander case was re-presented before King's Bench on the same day the Convocation opened, and the by now predictable answer of the judges was to adjourn the case once again, this time to the 'Monday next after the octave of St Michael', or until Monday, 13 November 1514. But Richard Hunne was not to attend that hearing, for it was in October of that year according to Arnold, that he was arrested on a charge of heresy and imprisoned in the Lollards Tower adjoining old St Paul's.[14] Perhaps the king had got to hear of his arrest, for on 23 November Henry VIII summoned Parliament to assemble. It did so in an atmosphere that was becoming more electric by the day. Its task was to debate whether to make the clerical immunity bill of 1512 a permanent feature of English law. Hunne's fate, it must have seemed to many, depended on the outcome, which may be why the following sequence of events occurred as quickly as it did.

What follows is a reconstruction of events as given in the document cited in Appendix I. The importance of the reconstruction lies in its chronological order, which the original document (a haphazard collection of papers) lacks.

The events begin in Eastcheap, just around the comer from Bridge Street. There, between the hours of eight and nine in the morning of Friday, 1 December 1514, John Spalding, alias Bellringer, fell into conversation with John Enderby. Enderby was a barber and a friend of Richard Hunne.[15] John Spalding was one of Hunne's jailers. On being asked how Richard Hunne fared, Spalding replied, 'There is ordained for him so grievous a penance that when men hear of it they shall have great marvel thereof.' His words were overheard by John Rutter, a scrivener, and William Segar, an armourer, two more friends of Hunne's, no doubt. The same day, James, a cook in the bishop's household, was heard to tell five women elsewhere in London that Richard Hunne 'would die before Christmas, or he would die for him'.

The following day, Saturday, 2 December, Richard Hunne was taken from his cell to the bishop's palace at Fulham, there to be examined on certain charges of heresy.[16] The articles laid against him are cited by Foxe, and include the charges that he denied the clergy's right to tithes, had called them Pharisees, stated that they took all and gave nothing, had defended the damnable opinions of Joan Baker, saying that the bishop was more worthy of punishment than she, and, worst of all, had kept certain English books such as Wycliffe's damnable works and the Apocalypse and Gospels in English containing infinite errors, which he read and studied daily.[17]

Of more note than what is contained in the charges, however, is what is omitted from them. No mention is made of mortuaries, and none of the far more serious challenge Hunne had laid against the Church in the praemunire. Nor is mention made of his holding temporal law to be superior to spiritual. Events in Parliament were clearly making the bishop cautious, for even he could not predict which way things might go. The charges, therefore, must be worded carefully.

Foxe possessed the loose leaves from the bishop's register on which Hunne's examination was recorded (we shall see later how he came by them), and he tells us that Hunne had admitted the charges in a general sense and had placed himself under the bishop's correction.[18] Hunne was seeking an escape. He knew that if he recanted, the bishop would be compelled to release him after certain penances. But the bishop knew that, once released, Hunne could continue his pursuit of the praemunire. This could not be allowed to happen. The normal course of events would have seen an abjuration signed by Hunne prior to his release, but no such abjuration was allowed. His submission notwithstanding, he was returned to his cell at St Paul's. He was a prisoner still, and his fate was sealed.

Hunne re-entered his cell in the Lollards Tower at four that afternoon. John Spalding, who had announced his prisoner's impending death only the previous day, took charge of him. He had done so on the instructions of William Horsey, the bishop's chancellor, who had warned him not to allow anyone to communicate in any way with the prisoner without his prior knowledge and consent. Moreover, the prisoner was to have but one meal a day and was to be denied any clean linen. There was a significance to this last order that will become evident later.

At five o'clock Spalding took a piece of fresh salmon to the prisoner along with his own knife, which he retrieved later on the instructions of the bishop's commensary, Dr Head, who had presided at Joan Baker's examination. Hunne gave Spalding what was left of the salmon to take home to the jailer's wife, and that is the last incident that is recorded for that night.

At six the following morning, Sunday, 3 December, Charles Joseph, the bishop's summoner, took horse and rode out of London to a place called Neckhill. He had a cousin there called Barrington, a brothel-keeper. His noisy departure at such an hour, together with his cloak of orange tawney upon a grey horse, was intended to catch the eye of the city's gate-keepers, useful witnesses to have for the alibi he was building. At nine o'clock, Richard Hunne was asked what he wanted for his dinner that day. The prisoner, understandably enough, lacked all appetite. Since his return from Fulham the previous evening, Dr Horsey had entered his cell and fallen on his knees before the prisoner, begging his forgiveness for all that he had done and must yet do. That morning the penitentiary had come to him to 'say a gospel' and administer 'holy water and holy bread'. Richard Hunne, it seems, had been given the last rites.

At noon, once the penitentiary had left the cell, Spalding gave Hunne his dinner and locked Peter Turner, Joseph's son-in-law, in with him. Turner was another who had announced Hunne's coming death only forty-eight hours previously, to a wax-chandler's wife dwelling next to the church of St Mary Spital in Shoreditch, saying that, 'before this day seven-night, Hunne should have a mischievous death'. (He and his father-in-law lived at Shoreditch, as later events were to show.) Then, at one o'clock, Spalding unlocked the cell door and told Turner not to return until noon the next day. He now locked Hunne in the stocks. Later, at six that evening, he unlocked the door again to admit one William Sampson, an assistant jailer. Sampson gave Hunne a quart of ale and stayed in the cell and conversed with him. Was his brief to persuade Hunne to drop the praemunire, and offer him his life in return? Who knows? Then Spalding and Sampson released Hunne from the stocks in which he had been locked all day, and bound his wrists behind him, leaving him lying on his bed. Then they both left the prison. Spalding was subsequently to claim that he did not return to the Lollards Tower until the following day, but that claim was shown to be false. For the next morning he met Enderby again, this time by the conduit in Gracechurch Street, and told him a different story.

Shortly before midnight Charles Joseph returned to London. He did not ride in on his horse, but left it at the Bell in Shoreditch. Turner was waiting for him, and, as Joseph left the inn on foot, Turner ordered the landlord to leave the horse saddled and ready, even though it was sweating and 'all bemired'. Joseph made his way to the Lollards Tower where he met with Spalding and Horsey, the bishop's chancellor. Spalding had the keys hanging on his arm and a candle to light the way. Joseph followed him up to the cell and Horsey trailed behind. On entering the cell, Horsey cried, 'Lay hands on the thief!' and together Spalding and Joseph attacked the still bound and defenceless prisoner.

We know what happened next from the later testimony of Charles Joseph himself (see Appendix I), and a statement concerning the manner of Hunne's death that was made in another case under Bishop Bonner.[19] Joseph had taken into the cell a long wire or needle. The plan was to bring it to red heat in the candle flame and thrust it hard up into Hunne's nose, thus penetrating the brain whilst leaving no visible sign of violence. The result, however, after several attempts, was merely a violent haemorrhage from the nose, leaving Hunne's jacket drenched in blood. Perhaps in an attempt to stop the prisoner struggling, Spalding gripped his head. But the violence of the assault broke the prisoner's neck, and Richard Hunne died. All that remained was to tidy up the cell and make it appear that the prisoner had taken his own life.

But things had gone horribly wrong, and the culprits were not thinking calmly. The body was washed and dressed in a clean shirt, no doubt made available by Horsey's earlier ban on the prisoner having clean linen. Then Hunne's girdle was made into a loop through which his head was passed and the three assailants lifted his body up to a hook or staple in the wall. As a touch of authenticity, which in the event fooled no one, they combed Hunne's hair, closed his eyes and placed his cap neatly upon his head.

In their haste, however, the three overlooked the many signs of violence that the cell yet contained. Hunne's jacket drenched in blood still lay on the floor, unnoticed in the gloom. In a corner of the cell was a great pool of blood which again the darkness concealed. The stool, on which it was to be pretended that Hunne stood to hang himself, was left inadvertently upon the bed. They forgot moreover to leave the candle burning as they left the cell. As was noted later, a hanging man cannot blow out a candle. And as if all that were not enough, one of them, most likely the chancellor Horsey, left his expensive furred murrey gown draped over the stocks.

The length of time it had took for Richard Hunne to die can be gauged by the fact that the murderous assault began at midnight, yet it was not until 7.15 a.m. that Charles Joseph was seen leaving St Paul's in an agitated and nervous condition. He was seen by at least three people, and they all observed his nervousness. They were able to note the time accurately enough by the great clock of St Paul's which struck the quarters. One of the witnesses was Thomas Chitcheley, a tailor, who encountered Joseph at the north door of the church. Chitcheley greeted him, saying, 'Good morrow, Master Charles.' Joseph replied, 'Good morrow,' as he scurried past. But once he was clear of the door he turned and 'looked upon' the said Chitcheley, in some despair no doubt.

Thomas Symondes and his wife also saw him. Symondes was a stationer (Stationers Hall still stands close to St Paul's) who was setting up his stall in the churchyard. Charles Joseph hurried past him, trying to effect an air of normality by greeting him first. But because of the 'deadly countenance' and 'hasty going' of Joseph, Symondes bade his wife watch him to see where he went. But all she could tell in the gloom of the winter dawn (the sun did not rise until eight o'clock that day) was that he either entered an alehouse next to the alley that joined Paternoster Row, or he went down the alley itself. Evidently he had used the alley, for by eight o'clock he appeared at the Bell again, booted and spurred. He leapt upon his horse and told the landlord to let him out the back way, whence he rode to Stratford-at-Bow some miles to the east of London.

At that very hour his son-in-law Peter Turner was at the Lollards Tower looking for Spalding. But Spalding had already left and was to meet, at nine, with Enderby again in Gracechurch Street. Once more Enderby asked him how Master Hunne fared, to which Spalding replied that he had been alive and well between five and six that morning. Howbeit, Spalding was sorry for him for no one could come to him till Spalding returned. He was careful to show Enderby the prison keys that hung on his girdle. (Spalding may have rejoiced in the truth of his statement of Hunne's being alive and well at such an hour. Which sheds some light at least on the length of time it had taken his assailants to kill him.)

Shortly afterwards, Turner met Sampson after Mass, and Sampson gave him a set of keys to the cell. But he would not accompany him there. Turner rightly suspected that Hunne was now dead, and, in order to provide himself with witnesses as to his own innocence, persuaded two summoners to accompany him to the Lollards Tower. There they discovered, as expected by all no doubt, the body of Richard Hunne hanging from the staple, his face to the wall. Turner then fetched Horsey, who, together with a dozen or so others, went to see the prisoner hanging. Later that day, Monday, 4 December 1514, Peter Turner again met the wax-chandler's wife at Shoreditch, and he said to her, 'What told I you?'

Within only hours perhaps, London was buzzing with the news, and the Church found it expedient to put out the rehearsed announcement that Richard Hunne had hanged himself. Predictably, it was not believed, and the coroner, Thomas Barnwell, was ordered to set up an inquest. The sheriffs and jurors were summoned and sworn, and the following day they made their way to the cell where they found Hunne's body undisturbed. And there they began to undertake a most detailed and painstaking investigation. (What they found there, together with the depositions of witnesses, is to be seen in Appendix I). It seems that nothing escaped their notice.

The strength of the Londoners' reaction to the news of Hunne's death shocked the bishop, Fitzjames. It was clear that none believed the Church's claim, and that the city's civic officers were determined to bring all to light. Fitzjames therefore decided to attack rather than defend, and he immediately instigated proceedings against Hunne's dead body for heresy. Hunne's corpse was to be subjected to all the indignities of a quite illegal postmortem trial. The proceedings were begun on Sunday, 10 December 1514, by giving notice at Paul's Cross of Hunne's English Bible (see Appendix II), with an open invitation to anyone who wished to come and read its Prologue for themselves. There they might see the 'other great articles and damnable points and opinions of heresy' contained therein. The articles of heresy previously alleged against Hunne at Fulham were read out (with not a word of his submission), to which was added the warning that if anyone had seen or heard Hunne reading from this Bible, or if they themselves owned one like it, then they were to come forward between that day and Candlemas next following (i.e., Friday, 2 February 1515), when the bishop would receive them mercifully and they would be charitably dealt withal. But if they did not voluntarily come forward, then they may expect nothing but the full rigour of the law to be executed upon them.[20]

The very same day, Fitzjames called a convocation of the clergy, where a tribunal was set up to examine witnesses and all the articles of heresy alleged against Hunne, presided over by Fitzjames himself, Bishop Longland of Lincoln and Bishop Young. (As members of the Upper House, these and many other bishops would have been present in London for the Parliament that was about to sit.) A summary of the witnesses's depositions has survived, and its contents bear repeated reading.[21] Set out in chronological order (which in the original they are not) the depositions reflect something of the determination of Fitzjames to stamp his authority upon the citizens of London and to quash finally all talk of murder.

The first witness on the opening day of the tribunal (Monday, 11 December) was Thomas Brooke, Richard Hunne's servant, and the tribunal heard from him that ' the commandment of his master of late, he fetched to him being in the tower at Paul's, 4 books, that is to say A book of the Bible in English, a book of the 4 evangelists, a book of the Prick of Conscience, and a book of the 10 commandments, which the said Richard Hunne was wont to keep under lock and key in his own keeping &c.'

Thomas's words can have done the bishop's cause little good. Were the Londoners of the day seriously meant to believe that whilst Hunne was held in close confinement in the Lollards Tower, where not even food or clean linen could reach him without Horsey's consent, he had his servant bring him such incriminating (and irreplaceable) books, and sat in his cell cheerfully reading them under the watchful eye of his captors? That Richard Hunne possessed such books we need not dispute. Lollards such as he commonly kept them and studied them avidly. Indeed, the charge of keeping and reading these books arises time and again against Lollards in registers up and down the land. They may indeed have read them in the privacy of their homes, but not in ecclesiastical prisons. Thomas's deposition, primed no doubt by threats from the bishop or his officers, made Fitzjames look foolish even to his sympathizers. But it appears that nothing was too silly to be said about a heretic.[22]

The second witness to be heard that day hardly improved matters. He was Thomas Hygdon, who '...said and deposed that he heard one Roger, the parish clerk of St Botolph's, say that the English Bible which Hunne had was one Thomas Downe's, and that the said Roger said also to him this day that the said book was wont to lie in St Margaret's church in Bridge Street sometimes a month together when he was clerk there.'

The embarrassing element for the bishop in Hygdon's deposition was the fact that this Downe was apparently one of the bishop's own officers, whom he refers to approvingly as 'pervenerabilem virum magistrum Johannem Downam' in his sentence definitive against Hunne.[23] Moreover, Hygdon's testimony not only suggested that the Bible was not Hunne's after all, but Hygdon had compromised, in his eagerness to please the bishop, one of his own parish priests, the long-suffering and much misunderstood John Cawode, whose church St Margaret's was. Fitzjames must have despaired, for Hygdon's deposition dictated that the following morning it would be Cawode's turn to vindicate the integrity of the proceedings.

The next morning, the day on which the members for London were returned to Parliament, Cawode took his place before the tribunal. He informed its members that 'the said Richard (Hunne) had a book called the Apocalypse, to his sight and knowledge, and other books such as the Bible in the mother tongue, namely a great book that he showed him at the time of his examination'. This was, perhaps, more than the tribunal wanted to hear, for, like that of Thomas Brooke, Cawode's deposition was unlikely in the extreme. The Bible concerned is a large and bulky volume, and how Hunne was supposed to have secreted it about his person whilst under examination was not explained. It is moreover unlikely that Cawode was even present at Hunne's examination. He was not one of his accusers, and his presence would not have been required. But Cawode went on to tell the tribunal that Hunne was wont to read this Bible out loud in the doorway of his own house, though he did not explain why this had never been reported, as Joan Baker's words had been. It was all very awkward.

Fitzjames next set before the tribunal on Wednesday, 13 December one Hugh Saunders, in the hope no doubt that if enough mud is thrown, then sufficient is bound to stick for a conviction. Saunders deposed '...that the said Richard told him that he had a beautiful Bible in English with a Prologue'. And that seems to have been the sum of that day's testimony. But it seems that Fitzjames was trying to make a point, namely that the Bible's Prologue matched exactly the further articles of heresy that were shortly to be laid against Richard Hunne (or his dead body) once the trial proper had got under way. Because Hunne owned the Bible, it was to be supposed that he held all the views expressed in its Prologue, which doubtless he did. The Prologue was on trial rather than its owner, the charges being compiled as an afterthought. The whole purpose of the proceedings was to establish that Richard Hunne not only held the damnable view that 'poor men and idiots have the truth of the holy scripture more than a thousand prelates', but also and especially that he defended 'the translation of the Bible and holy scripture into [the] English tongue, which is prohibited by the laws of our mother, holy church'.[24]

All of which was furthered by the testimony of a man who does not appear in the witness-box until two days after Saunders' somewhat inadequate deposition, namely Bishop Young, who was also one of the three judges. In a court where one's judge is also a witness for the prosecution, anything can happen: we hear Young deposing that Hunne had once argued with him 'agreeably and reasonably' that the Bible should be translated into the English tongue. The likelihood of a Lollard holding a conversation with such an irascible and conservative bishop as Young is only slightly greater than the bishop allowing such a heretic to go unmolested. But the vital point had been established by whatever means possible, and the timely jogging of Bishop Young's memory was corroborated by the testimony of that day's other witness, John Davis, who merely repeated the bishop's allegations.

With the day's depositions now safely on record, Fitzjames either thought that he had enough evidence to proceed, or he feared what might become of his credibility should more such evidence be heard. Thus on Saturday, 16 December, the post-mortem trial for heresy began. The proceedings were held in the Lady Chapel of old St Paul's with Hunne's body undoubtedly present. A series of thirteen articles were read out against him (these appear in Appendix II). These articles also bear repeated reading, for it is instructive to consider how, with legal sleight-of-hand, the articles begin with the book, then Hunne's book, then with Hunne himself stating all the damnable heresies listed. Whatever its shortcomings, the evidence would do very well for Fitzjames's purpose, and once the four-day proceedings were over, there remained nothing further to do but hand over the body to the secular arm for its ritual burning.

The secular arm was represented at the trial, as it was at all heresy trials within the city, by the sheriffs of London (for this year Munday and Yarford), who were ironically still busying themselves in the hunt for Hunne's murderers. But perhaps Fitzjames was being subtle in a crude sort of way. After the reading of the sentence of burning, the body as tied to a stake and burnt at Smithfield on Wednesday, 20 December.[25] On that same day, having witnessed the burning, its work of righteousness now complete, the convocation was prorogued. Fitzjames must have thought it a job well done. Of especial importance, he had managed to cow the sheriffs into complying with the order to bum Hunne both as an heretic and as a suicide, which would, he hoped, have repercussions upon the jury of the inquest and their coroner. The hope was forlorn. Two days after the burning, on Friday, 22 December, Charles Joseph returned to his house. His purpose was to retrieve his goods and go into hiding. He left his goods in Stratford and proceeded thence to the village of Good Easter in Essex, where he registered as a sanctuary man. However, by early January he had been found and was locked up in the Tower of London where the king's own council were waiting to interview him. The Tower was not the place where lowly criminals like Joseph were normally thrown. Its use could only be procured by royal assent or command, which, added to the presence of the king's own council, tells us something of the interest Henry VIII was taking in the case. The breaking down of Joseph's alibi and his confession to the murder of Richard Hunne can be read in Appendix I, and it must have been general knowledge in the city by Sunday, 4 February. For on that day, Richard Kidderminster denounced at Paul's Cross the 1512 Clerical Immunity Act as being contrary to the law of God and the liberties of the Church.

The following day, and with Kidderminster's words ringing in its ears, Parliament sat to reconsider the 1512 Act, which would have retained the culpability under law of men like Joseph but which was to expire at this present sitting. But those who hoped for its continuance had reckoned without the intervention of Fitzjames. He stood in the Lords and said that there was a bill before the House that sought to declare that the jury who were inquiring into Richard Hunne's death were true men. He denounced the jury as 'false perjured caitiffs', and said that if the Upper House did not look into the matter then he himself dare not keep his own house for heretics. Richard Hunne's death, he declared, was his own deed and no man's else, and he followed this with a silly story about a man who had recently called to see him. But the story worked, and Fitzjames's speech was enough to tilt the balance in his own favour. Within five days of its first sitting. Parliament threw out the bill, and with its demise both crown and Church were saved (temporarily at least) from an embarrassing and damaging collision.

News of Parliament's decision travelled fast, for on Monday, 12 February 1515. Pope Leo X obligingly denounced all those who had become clergymen simply to escape the law's retribution for their crimes. It is interesting to speculate whom he would have denounced had Parliament retained the bill. However, notwithstanding the pope's statement and all the politics of the case, the jury pressed ahead with their inquest, examining Joseph's maidservant, Julian Littel, in her sanctuary at the Bethlehem Chapel of Paul's on Wednesday, 14 February 1515.

Added to the jury's political indifference was that of the city's aldermen who, Tuesday, 17 April, found themselves up in arms over yet another impolitic remark by Fitzjames. The bishop had written a letter (see Appendix I) to Wolsey, in which he had slandered the good citizens of London, saying that they were so maliciously set in favour of heresy that they would condemn his chancellor, Horsey, out of hand for Hunne's murder, though he were as innocent as Abel. Fitzjames's remarks were accompanied by plea to Wolsey to get the king to intervene in Horsey's indictment for murder, although it is ironic that he should now plead for secular intervention in a matter concerning ecclesiastical immunity from prosecution. Moreover, the inquest had not yet delivered its verdict, so Fitzjames's anticipation of its findings is a telling point against him and his chancellor. However, a delegation of aldermen were despatched to speak with the bishop for certain perillous and heinous words ... spoken of the whole city touching heresy, specified in a copy of a letter supposed to be written by the said bishop'[26] The wording of the record allowed Fitzjames the diplomatic loophole of denying having written any such letter. What is lacking is any record that might have informed us of the bishop's reply t, the aldermen, whose company again included that of the two sheriffs, Munday and Yarford.

Less than a month after the delegation to Fitzjames, the last hearing occurred of Hunne's writ of slander in the Court of King's Bench. The date was Tuesday, 15 May 1515. Not that anything could now be judged of it, for the plaintiff was dead. The praemunire went the same way, and Fitzjames must have thought that it was all over. Or Monday, 12 November that year, however, Parliament reassembled for a second session, and Archbishop Warham found it necessary to reconvene the convocation of Canterbury to discuss the further erosion of clerical privileges. A fortnight later, on Tuesday, 27 November, Henry VIII decided to lend the clergy a helping hand. The occasion was Horsey's indictment before the Court of King's Bench for the murder of Richard Hunne. And Henry's action in this was to issue written instructions to his attorney, Sir John Earnley, to find Horsey not guilty.[27]

There is clearly much in this affair we have not been told. As the Bishop of London's chancellor, Horsey was entitled even after the act of 1512 to claim immunity from prosecution, guilty or not. Yet here we see him arraigned before King's Bench like any common layman on a charge of murder. Moreover, it takes a written instruction rather than a behind-the-scenes whisper from the king himself to get Horsey off. Had Bishop Fitzjames, in an uncharacteristic moment of political sensitivity, instructed Horsey not to claim his immunity from prosecution as a cleric? That would have required a great but unlikely confidence in the outcome of the trial, a confidence that Fitzjames had previously lacked. Perhaps Horsey's acquittal, without the hearing of any further evidence, was merely a string-pulling response by Wolsey to Fitzjames's earlier plea. Perhaps also the judges of King's Bench (no doubt the same judges who had heard Hunne's writs) were not in a mood to acquit Horsey in spite of the cardinal. Indeed, perhaps they had let it be known that they would ignore even the royal behind-the-scenes whispers, and Horsey's presence before them threatened to drive an embarrassing wedge between the king and his clergy should Horsey be found guilty as the judges intended. Only the promise of a major royal embarrassment could have provoked such an extraordinary intervention on the part of the king. Henry VIII possessed a very long memory when it came to those who embarrassed him, and he was yet to have the last word concerning Dr Horsey.

That came on Monday, 4 May 1523, some seven and a half years later, when Parliament passed a bill for the restitution of Richard Hunne's property to his children.[28] Because Richard Hunne had been excommunicated, as well as declared a heretic and a suicide, his property had gone to the king. However the inquest jury had found that he was no suicide, and that fact, coupled with Horsey's scandalous acquittal of Hunne's murder on royal instructions some years previously, had become a political boil both in Parliament and the country that needed urgent remedy. The king had benefited substantially from what had been an unlawful deed. He agreed with Parliament that justice would best be served by the immediate restitution of Hunne's property. However, it was also only just, in the king's eyes at least, that that restitution should be made, not from the royal coffers, but out of the pocket of the man responsible for the unlawful deed, Dr Horsey.

The king duly wrote to Horsey commanding him to restore the full value of Hunne's property, and his letter, like so much else in the Hunne affair, bears repeated reading. In it the king states his awareness of Horsey's guilt in the crime, his instructions to Earnley to acquit him notwithstanding, and then adds what appears to be a new condition: 'We then supposed and intended your amendment, and restitution to be made by you ... as well for his death as for his goods, embezzled, wasted and consumed by your tyranny and cruel act so committed...'[29] Going on to threaten Horsey with 'our high displeasure', the king warns him that he will be 'further advertised of our mind' should the matter go unattended.

No doubt this was news to Horsey, who by now had taken a living in Exeter. He found himself with a crippling debt, for the value of Hunne's property had been sizeable. It took six years for Horsey to be able to carry out the king's command.

Thus, in Easter of 1529, we read that Roger Whaplod, who had married Richard Hunne's daughter Margaret, and who had successfully petitioned Parliament for restitution of Hunne's goods, employed one Thomas Norfolk to convey a bill to Dr Goderidge, the incumbent of St Mary Spital in Shoreditch. The bill announced that if anyone wished to contribute towards the repair of the water-conduit in Fleet Street, then he would receive from Hunne's estate the sum of £6 13 s. 4 d. towards the same.[30] And further, the bill called down mercy upon the Christian soul of Richard Hunne.

Goderidge was to regret having read the bill out, for Whaplod's choice of venue was no accident. St Mary Spital, standing in Shoreditch, was Charles Joseph's parish church, and Whaplod seems to have been rubbing Joseph's nose in the matter of Richard Hunne's good name being officially recognized at last, with all the implications that that carried with it. Inevitably the Bishop of London, now Tunstall, was given knowledge of the affair, and Whaplod, Norfolk and Goderidge were all 'troubled' before him, the incumbent Goderidge being forbidden to say Mass for a time and compelled to read out a humiliating recantation at Paul's Cross.[31]

Whaplod, whose appearance before the bishop is undated in the official register, was fortunate to have appeared before Tunstall, who was about to be translated to Durham, and not his successor Stokesley.[32] He was, however, to run foul of the authorities (Stokesley amongst them) again before long. And the episode sheds a most interesting light upon the closing stages of the Richard Hunne affair.

At some time in the late 1530s, perhaps 1537-8, Richard Hunne's daughter, Margaret, wrote to Thomas Cromwell, whom she addresses as the Lord Privy Seal. Her letter is a most dignified appeal for help for herself, her husband and their seven small children. who are reduced to 'extreme indigence and poverty'.[33] They have been appealing to the king's grace for aid and succour for some years, but to no avail. She compliments Cromwell on being the setter forth, under God and the king's highness, of the Scriptures, but pointedly avoids mentioning the very reason for her writing. It is as if Cromwell is by now so familiar with her case that mentioning it is superfluous. Hence it has often been assumed by scholars that Margaret Hunne was still appealing for restitution of her father's property as late as the late 1530s in spite of the Parliamentary bill restoring that property some fifteen years previously, and in spite of the bill read out in 1529 which announced the dispersal of some of that property in deeds of charity. Clearly her father's property was not the cause of her writing, and we must look elsewhere for the subject of her appeal.

Her husband, Roger, had been in prison for some years. The occasion was his part in a riot that had occurred in 1531 at St Paul's, which had begun with the levying by the king of the sum of £100,000 from the clergy. The sum was an expression (according to the king) of the clergy's gratitude for having such a monarch reign over them.

It fell to Stokesley, Tunstall's successor as Bishop of London, to raise the sum, and his gratitude was such that he decided that the lower clergy should pay out of their small benefices. Therefore, on Friday, 1 September 1531, he announced his intention to call a meeting at St Paul's for the 26th of that month, of a select few of the London clergy, hoping thereby that he would be able to cow just a few of them into accepting the burden. Later this could be represented as an acceptance by all the London clergy. But, unluckily for Stokesley:

...the matter was not so secretly carried, but that all the clergy about the city hearing of it, went thither. They were not a little encouraged by many of the laity, who thought it no unpleasant diversion to see the clergy fall out among themselves. So when they came to the chapter house on the day appointed, the Bishop's officers would only admit some few to enter; but the rest forced the door, and rushed in, and the Bishop's servants were beaten and ill used. But the Bishop, seeing the tumult was such that it could not be easily quieted, told them all, That as the state of men in this life was frail, so the clergy, through frailty and want of wisdom, had misdemeaned themselves towards the King, and had fallen in a praemunire, for which the King of his great clemency was pleased to pardon them, and to accept a little, instead of the whole, of their benefices, which by the law had fallen into his hand: therefore he desired they would patiently bear their share in this burden.[34]

It is interesting to see the now older and wiser Henry VIII using praemunire to subdue the Church. We learn from the official report of the riot made at the time by Sir Christopher Hales to the king's council what part Roger Whaplod, Richard Hunne's sonin-law, had to play in all this.[35] In that report, which was addressed principally to Sir Thomas More as Lord Chancellor, Hales endeavours to provide the names of both clergy and laity involved in the riot, or at least the names of their ringleaders. Due to the haste of the investigation, most of the names are incomplete with either surnames or Christian names missing. Spaces were left for their later inclusion should they be discovered, but the only missing name that was eventually discovered is that of Whaplode, with Roger being supplied by a noticeably later hand in the space provided. It is the only example in the report of the full name later becoming known to the authorities, and it is likely that a special effort had been made to discover it. Why that effort was made is apparent from the following sequence of events.

According to Hales, Roger Whaplod and others had assembled themselves at Greyfriars on Wednesday, 30 August 1531 to plan the riot. (The fact that their planning preceded the bishop's announcement of the meeting at St Paul's by two days speaks of someone on the bishop's staff leaking information.) The riot occurred, as planned, on Tuesday, 26 September, and reading both Hales and Burnet we learn that the riot was conducted in two distinct phases, with the main body rioting at the cathedral's chapter house whilst a smaller contingent (of laymen it seems) broke away and raided the now unattended bishop's palace situated on the other side of the cathedral.

It is here that we encounter the reason behind the urgency with which Roger Whaplod was finally run to earth by the authorities. For it appears to be at this time that certain pages had been cut from the episcopal register of Stokesley's predecessor but one, Fitzjames. They turned up years later in the hands of John Foxe, who was busy compiling his Actes and Monuments, wherein he informs us that he was given the pages that dealt with Richard Hunne by none other than Dunstan Whaplod, the son of Margaret Hunne and Roger Whaplod.[36] Whether Foxe kept the pages or returned them after copying is unclear, but he does refer to them as 'remaining in the custody of Dunstan Whaplod'.

Stokesley, we read, had calmed the storm at St Paul's by promising that he would review the matter of the £100,00 and see to it that none of the rioters would be punished for their participation: 'Yet he was not so good as his word; for he complained of it to the Lord Chancellor (Sir Thomas More], who was always a great favourer of the clergy; by whose order fifteen priests and five laymen were committed to several prisons.[37] Evidently Roger Whaplod, whom the authorities had been at such pains to trace, was amongst them. Whether Margaret ever obtained his release we do not know. But we do know that by Thursday, 8 August 1560, Roger was dead, and had been for some time. For on that date Margaret appears in the will of one John Hulson as 'Margaret Whapplett, widow', living in rented property in 'Snowrehilstrete', today's Snow Hill off Holborn.[38]

Richard Hunne's male line seems to have died with him. Apart from his son Stephen, who had died some three and a half years before him, the only other Hunne I have found in London's history is John Hunne. He was an ordained priest, though perhaps a Lollard also, who, in 1441, was sentenced to death on a trumped-up charge of complicity to cause the death through witchcraft of Henry VI. He escaped punishment by 'showing his charter', but it is interesting to speculate that Lollardy, along with its inherent hatred of the established Church, ran in the Hunne family from at least John's time. What ruins speculation, however, is the lack of any record that would tell us that Richard Hunne descended from him.

The Whaplods are better represented in the records, the earliest occurrence of the name that I can find being in the Account Book of the Merchant-Taylors Company 1439 (Guildhall Library). Evidently the family had originated in the Norfolk village Whaplod, which lies, ironically, close to that of Spalding and not too far from the village of Horsey. Hugh Whaplod, perhaps one of the seven children of Margaret and Roger joined the Worshipful Company of Scriveners some time before 1 July 1561. But the family name appears for what I believe is the last time in the Vintners Company record of 1679, where a Whapplett of Fetter Lane applied to the company for help in rebuild ing his house after the Great Fire of London. And there the line seems to end.

The case of Richard Hunne is rich in documentation. But what has always been lacking is any original document from the inquest on his body. However, at my instigation, in 1988 the Public Record Office searched for such a document, and eventually found almost illegible document that might have something to do with the coroner's report.[39] Only the first few words could be made out due to the fact that the ink had at one time been washed off the parchment, perhaps when the records were doused and evacuated from Chancery Lane during the Great Fire of London. Infra-red photographs were made of both sides of the document, and what emerged has cast not a little light upon the inquest. On the reverse side is an inscription in Latin, which reads in English:

Delivered by the hands of Richard Broke, recorder of London, in the name of William Boteler, knight, mayor of the said city and one of the king's justices for the gaol of Newgate, on Monday next after the octave of the Purification of the Blessed Mary in this same term, to be determined &c.[40]

The date translates as Monday, 11 February 1516.[41] Given the inquest's opening date of Tuesday, 5 December 1514, that means that the inquest lasted 433 days. I am not aware of any inquest in England's history lasting longer than that, but its extraordinary length was doubtless due to the complex political issues involved rather than the settling of any knotty forensic problems. Further, the hitherto lost report vindicates a good many authorities on the Hunne affair whose integrity has lately been impugned by certain scholars. Foxe is one of those vindicated, of course, and another is a remarkable pamphlet that lies today in the Parker Library, Cambridge the text of which is reproduced in Appendix I.[42] For the last section of that pamphlet is a translation into English of the obverse of the newly discovered coroner's report.

In the Appendix I have omitted the pamphlet's Preface, for this is merely a general complaint against the abuses of the Church. However the preface does help us to date the pamphlet to 1537, for it mentions the recent betrayal and execution of William Tyndale, which occurred on Friday, 6 October 1536.[43] Moreover, and in spite of its anonymity, we know that it comes from the workshop of Peetersen van Middelburch of Antwerp, for he had already issued in 1535 an edition of Tyndale's revised New Testament using the same typeface.[44]

* One of the more surprising, and least appreciated, aspects of the Hunne affair, is the influence that Richard Hunne exercised upon the mind of Henry VIII. Many people influenced, or tried to influence, the king's mind over the years, and their remains now litter the history books as they once littered the scaffold. But Richard Hunne's fight against the Church and his cases at law, seem to have grasped the king's imagination in a way that few others did. Hunne's writ of praemunire must have been one of the first things to awaken the king's mind to the folly of having as one's lord chancellor a prelate who was sworn to uphold the claims of a foreign prince, namely the pope. Warham's successor, Wolsey, was greatly to enlarge the king's doubts. The king appointed, after Wolsey, the first layman in centuries to hold down the office of lord chancellor, namely Sir Thomas More, who was no friend of Lollards like Richard Hunne.

Not that Richard Hunne was the first to turn to the Great Statute for legal succour. What made his use of it so notable at the time was the viciousness of the Church's reaction and its determination to make of Richard Hunne an example before the king's own subjects of what would follow if they likewise challenged the Church's authority. This, done in the name of a foreign prince who claimed supremacy over all the kings of the earth, can have done their cause little good, for it focused the king's attention upon not just the nefarious deeds of the Church, but upon some of its legal claims. That his fears and interest were aroused by these events is evidenced not only by his allowing the extraordinary use of the Tower of London and his own council in investigating Hunne's murder, but in his later use of the same laws that Hunne invoked to bring down Wolsey and the papacy. Other reformers, Tyndale amongst them, held the king's attention only fleetingly. But Richard Hunne's influence remained, and was to bear its ripest fruit in the Reformation Parliament of 1534.

Appendix I

The enquiry and verdict of the quest panelled of the death of Richard Hunne which was found hanged in Lollards Tower.[45]

The 5th and the 6th day of December, in the 6th year of the reign of our sovereign Lord King Henry the VIII. William[46] Barnwell, Coroner of London, the day and year abovesaid, within the ward of Castle Baynard of London, assembled in a quest whose names afterward do appear, and hath sworn them truly to enquire of the death of one Richard Hunne, which lately was found dead in the Lollards Tower within Paul's church of London. Whereupon, all we of the inquest together went up into the said tower, where we found the body of the said Hunne hanging upon a staple of iron, in a girdle of silk, with a fair countenance, his head fair combed, and his bonnet right sitting upon his head, with his eyes and mouth fair closed, without any staring, gaping or frowning. Also without any drivelling or spurging in any place of his body. Whereupon, by one assent all we agreed to take down the body of the said Hunne, and as soon as we began to heave the body, it was loose. Whereby, by good advisement, we perceived that the girdle had no knot above the staple, but it was double cast, and links of an iron chain which did hang on the same staple were laid upon the same girdle whereby he did hang. Also, the knot of the girdle that went about his neck, stood under his left ear, which caused his head to lean toward his right shoulder. Notwithstanding, there came out of his nostrils 2 small streams of blood to the quantity of 4 drops. Save only these 4 drops of blood, the face, lips, chin, doublet, collar and shirt of the said Hunne was clean from any blood. Also. we find that the skin both of his neck and throat beneath the girdle of silk, was fret and phased away with that thing which the murderers had broken his neck withal. Also, the hands of the said Hunne were wrung in the wrists, whereby we perceived that his hands had been bound.

Moreover, we find that within the said prison was no mean whereby any man might hang himself, but only a stool, which stool stood upon a bolster of a bed so tickle that any man or beast might not touch it so little but it was ready to fall. Whereby we perceived that it was not possible that Hunne might hang himself, the stool so standing. Also, all the girdle, from the staple to his neck, was too little for his head to come out thereat. Also, it was not possible that that soft silken girdle should break his neck or skin beneath the girdle. Also, we find in a corner, somewhat beyond the place where he did hang, a great parcel of blood. Also, we find that upon the left side of Hunne's jacket, from the breast downward, be great streams of blood. Also, within the flap of the left side of his jacket, we find a great cluster of blood, and the jacket folden down thereupon, which thing the said Hunne could never fold nor do after he was hanged. Whereby, it appeareth plainly to us all that the neck of Hunne was broken, and the great plenty of blood was shed before he was hanged. Wherefore, all we find, by God and all our consciences, that Richard Hunne was murdered. Also we acquit the said Richard Hunne of his own death.

Also, an end of a wax candle which, as John Bellringer saith, he left in the prison burning with Hunne that same Sunday at night that Hunne was murdered. Which wax candle we found sticking upon the stocks fair put out, about 7 or 8 foot from the place where Hunne was hanged. Which candle, after our opinion, was never put out by him for many likelihoods which we have perceived. Also, at the going up of Master Chancellor into Lollards Tower, we have good proof that there lay on the stocks a gown, either of murrey or crimson ingrain, furred with shanks. Whose gown it was, we could never prove, neither who bare it away. All we find that Master William Horsey, chancellor to my lord of London, hath had at his commandment both the rule and guiding of the said prisoner by all the time of his imprisonment. Moreover, all we find that the said Master Horsey, chancellor, hath put out Charles Joseph of his office, as the said Charles hath confessed, because he would not deal and use the said prisoner so cruelly, and do to him as the chancellor would have had him to do. Notwithstanding the keys' deliverance to the chancellor by Charles on the Saturday at night before Hunne's death, and Charles riding out of the town on the Sunday in the morning ensuing, was but a convention made betwixt Charles and the chancellor for to colour the murder. For the same Sunday that Charles rode forth, he came again to town the same Sunday night and killed Richard Hunne, as in the depositions of Julian Littel, Thomas Chitcheley, Thomas Symondes. and Peter Turner doth appear.

After colouring of the murder betwixt Charles and the chancellor conspired, the chancellor called to him one John Spalding, bellringer of Paul's, and delivered to the same bellringer the keys of the Lollards Tower, giving to the said bellringer a great charge, saying, I charge ye to keep Hunne more straitly than he hath been kept, and let him have but one meal a day. Moreover, I charge ye, let nobody come to him without my licence. Neither bring shirt, cap, kerchief, or any other thing, but that I see it before it come to him.

Also, before Hunne was carried to Fulham, the chancellor commanded to be put upon Hunne's neck a great collar of iron, with a great chain, which is too heavy for any beast to wear and long to endure.

Moreover, it is well proved that before Hunne's death, the said chancellor came up into the said Lollards Tower, and kneeled down before Hunne, holding up his hands to him, praying him of forgiveness for all that he hath done to him, and must do to him. And on the Sunday following, the chancellor commanded the penitentiary of Paul's to go up to him and say him a Gospel, and make for him holy bread and holy water, and give it to him, which so did. And after the chancellor commanded that Hunne should have his dinner. And the same dinner time Charles' boy was shut in prison with Hunne, which was never so before. And after dinner, when the bellringer fetched out the boy, the bellringer said to the same boy, Come no more hither with meat for him until tomorrow at noon, for Master Chancellor hath commanded that he shall have but one meal [a] day. And the same night following, Richard Hunne was murdered, which murder could not have been done without consent and licence of the chancellor, and also by the witting and knowledge of John Spalding, bellringer. For there could no man come into the prison but by the keys being in John Beliringer's keeping. Also, as by my lord of London's book doth appear, John Bellringer is a poor innocent man. Wherefore, all we do perceive that this murder could not be done but by the commandment of the chancellor, and by the witting and knowing of John Bellringer.

Charles Joseph, within the Tower of London, of his own free will and unconstrained, said that Master Chancellor devised and wrote with his own hand all such heresies as were laid to Hunne's charge. Record John God, John True, John Pasmere, Richard Gibson, with many other.

Also, Charles Joseph saith that, When Richard Hunne was slain, John Bellringer bare up the stairs into the Lollards Tower a wax candle, having the keys of the doors hanging on his arm. And I, Charles, went next to him, and Master Chancellor came up last. And when all we came up, we found Hunne lying on his bed. And then Master Chancellor said, Lay hands on the thief! And so all we 3 murdered Hunne. And then I, Charles, put the girdle about Hunne's neck. And then John Bellringer and I, Charles, did heave up Hunne, and Master Chancellor pulled the girdle over the staple. And so Hunne was hanged.

The deposition of Julian Littel, late servant to Charles Joseph, by her free will unconstrained the 14th day of February in the 6th year of our sovereign lord King Henry VIII, within the chapel of Our Lady of Bethlehem, shewed to the inquest. First, Julian saith that the Wednesday of night after the death of Richard Hunne, that Charles Joseph, her master, came home into his house at 10 of the clock in the night, and set him down to his supper. Then Julian said to him, Master, it was told me that ye were in prison. Charles answered, It is merry to turn the penny. And after supper, Charles trussed [a] parcel of his goods and, with help of Julian, bare them into Mistress Porter's house to keep. And that done, Charles said to Julian, Julian, if thou wilt be sworn to keep my counsel, I will show thee my mind. Julian answered, Yea, if it be neither felony nor treason. Then Charles took a book out of his purse, and Julian swore to him thereupon. Then Charles said to Julian, I have destroyed Richard Hunne! Alas, master, said Julian. How? He was called a honest man! Charles answered, I put a wire in his nose! Alas, said Julian, Now be you cast away and undone! Then said Charles, Julian, I trust in thee that thou wilt keep my counsel. And Julian answered, Yea, but for God's sake, master, shift for yourself! And then Charles said, I had lever than 100 pounds[47] it were not done. But that [which] is done cannot be undone! Moreover, Charles said then to Julian, Upon Sunday, when I rode to my cousin to Barrington's house, I tarried there and made good cheer all day till it was night. And yet before it was midnight, I was in London and had killed Hunne. And upon the next day I rode thither again, and was there at dinner, and sent for neighbours and made good cheer. Then Julian asked Charles, Where set you your horse that night ye came to town? And wherefore came you not home? Charles answered. I came not home for fear of bewraying! And then Julian asked Charles, Who was with you at the killing of Hunne? Charles answered, I will not tell thee! And Julian saith that upon the Thursday following, Charles tarried all day in his house with great fear. And upon Friday following, early in the morning before day, Charles went forth (as he said). He went to Paul's, and at his coming in again he was in great fear, saying hastily, Get me my horse! And with great fear and haste made him ready to ride, and bade Mistress Porter's lad lead his horse into the field by the back side. And then Charles put into his sleeve his mace or masor, with other plate, and borrowed of Mistress Porter both gold and silver. But how much I am not sure. And Charles went into the field after his horse, and I brought his budget after him. Also, upon Friday in Christmas week following, Charles came home late in the night, and brought with him 3 bakers and a smith of Stratford. And the same night they carried out of Charles' house all his goods by the field side to the Bell at Shoreditch. And early on the morrow conveyed it with carts to Stratford. Moreover, Julian saith that the Saturday at night before the death of Hunne, Charles came home and brought with him a gurnard,[48] saying it was for Hunne. And Charles' boy telled to Julian that there was also ordained for Hunne a piece of fresh salmon, which John Bellringer had. Also, Charles said to the said Julian, Were not this an ungracious trouble, I could bring my lord of London to the doors of heretics in London, both of men and women, that be worth a 1000 pounds.[49] But I am afeared that the ungracious midwife shall bewray us all! Also Charles said unto Mistress Porter in like wise, and more larger, saying of the best in London. Whereto Mistress Porter answered, The best in London is my lord mayor! Then Charles said, I will not skill him quite, for that he taketh this matter hot! Whereas Charles Joseph saith he lay at Neckhill with a harlot, a man's wife, in Barrington's house the same night, and there abode until the morrow at I I of the clock that Richard Hunne was murdered. Whereupon he brought before the King's Council for his purgation that foresaid bawd Barrington's wife, and also the aforesaid harlot. Which purgation we have proved all untrue, as right largely may appear as well by the deposition of Julian Littel as of Thomas Chitcheley, tailor, and of John[50] Symondes, stationer, with other, as of Robert Johnson and Peter Turner.

The deposition of Thomas Chitcheley, tailor. The said Thomas saith [that] the same Monday that Richard Hunne was found dead, within a quarter of an hour after 7 o'clock in the morning, he met with Charles Joseph coming out of Paul's at the nether north door, going toward Paternoster Row, saying, Good morrow, Master Charles! And the said Charles answered, Good morrow, and turned back when he was without the church door and looked upon the said Chitcheley.

The deposition of Thomas Symondes, stationer. He saith [that] the same morning that Hunne was found dead, that within a quarter of an hour after 7 o'clock in the morning, Charles Joseph came before him at his stall and said, Good morrow, Gossip Symondes! And the same Symondes said Good morrow to him again. And the wife of the said Symondes was by him. And because of the deadly countenance and hasty going of Charles, the said Thomas bade his wife look whither Charles goeth. And as she could perceive, Charles went into an alehouse standing in Paternoster Row by the alley leading into the Rood of [the] North Door,[51] or into the alley, whither she could not tell.

The deposition of Robert Johnson and his wife dwelling at the Bell in Shoreditch where Charles Joseph set his horse that night that he came to town to murder Richard Hunne. The said Robert saith that Charles Joseph sent his horse to his house upon a holy day at night about 3 weeks before Christmas by a boy. Which horse was all besweat and all bemired. And the said boy said, Let my father's horse stand saddled, for I cannot tell whether my father will ride again tonight or not! And the said horse stood saddled all night. And in the morning following, Charles came booted and spurred about 8 of the clock, and asked if his horse was saddled. And the servant answered, Yea! And the said Charles leapt upon his horse and prayed the host to let him out at his back gate, that he might ride out by the field side. Which host so did. And because he was uncertain of the day, we asked him if he had heard speak of the death of Hunne at that time or not. And he answered, Nay! But shortly after, he heard of it. Nevertheless, Peter Turner, Charles' son-in-law, which brought the horse by night into the Bell, Robert Johnson's house, confessed it was the same night before that Hunne was found dead in the morning.

Moreover, the Friday before Hunne's death, Peter Turner said to an honest woman, a wax-chandler's wife dwelling before St Mary's Spital gate, that before this day seven night, Hunne should have a mischievous death. And the same day at afternoon that Hunne was found dead, the said Peter came to the same wife and told her that Hunne was hanged, saying, What told I you?

Also James, the chancellor's cook, the Friday before Hunne's death, said to 5 honest women[52] that Hunne should die or Christmas, or else he would die for him. And on the Monday that Hunne was found dead, the said James came to the same women and said, What told I you? Is he not now hanged?

And we of the inquest asked both of Peter Turner and of James Cook, where they had knowledge that Hunne should so shortly die. And they said, In Master Chancellor's place, by every man!

The deposition of John Spalding, bellringer. First, the said deponent saith that on Saturday, the second day of December, anno 1514, he took the charge of the prison at 4 of the clock at afternoon by the commandment of Master Chancellor, and so took the keys. Whereupon, he gave commandment to the said deponent that he should let no manner of person speak with the prisoner except he had knowledge of them. And so, at 5 of the clock the same day, the said deponent went to the prisoner, himself alone, and saw him and cherished him, where he gave the said deponent a piece of fresh salmon for his wife. And after that, the said deponent saith that he went to Master Commensary's[53] to supper with his fellow, where he remembered that he had left his knife with the said prisoner. Whereupon, by the counsel of Master Commensary, he went to the prisoner and fetched his knife, where he found the prisoner saying of his beads. And so the said deponent required his knife of the said prisoner And the said prisoner delivered the knife to the said deponent gladly. And so departed for that night.

And after that, on the Sunday next following, the said deponent came to the prisoner at 9 of the clock, and asked him what meat he would have to his dinner. And he answered, But a morsel. And so the said deponent departed and went to the chancellor into the choir. And he commanded that he should take the penitentiary up to the prisoner with him, to make him holy water and holy bread, and made the said deponent to depart the prison house for a while. And after that, he brought him his dinner and locket Charles' boy with him all dinner while unto the hour of 1 of the clock. And so let the lad out again and asked him what he would have for his supper. And he answered that he had meat enough. And so departed until 6 of the clock.

And then the said deponent brought with him a quart of ale. And at that time one William Sampson went with the said deponent to see the prisoner where he was, and say. him and spake together. And so from the hour of 6 aforesaid unto 12 o'clock on the morrow, the said deponent came not there. And when he came there, he met the chancellor with other doctors going to see the prisoner where he hanged.

The deposition of Peter Turner, son-in-law of Charles Joseph. First he saith that his father-in-law rode out of the town on Sunday the 3rd day of December anno 1514, at 6 of the clock in the morning, wearing a coat of orange tawney on a grizzle coloured horse, trotting.

He saith that on the Saturday next before that, one Button's wife gave knowledge to the said deponent that his father should be arrested by diverse sergeants as soon as he could be taken. And thereupon, the said deponent gave knowledge to his said father-inlaw at the Black Friars at the waterside. Whereupon he avoided. And the same night. Master Chancellor gave the keys to John Bellringer, and gave him charge of the prisoner. And on the said Sunday, the said deponent, with John Bellringer, served the said prisoner of his dinner at 12 of the clock. And then John Bellringer said to the deponent that he would not come to him unto the morrow, for my lord had commanded him that the prisoner should have but one meal's meat of the day. Notwithstanding that, the said John Bellringer, after that he had shut Paul's church doors, went to the foresaid prisoner with another with him, at 7 of the clock at night the said Sunday. And the said deponent saith that he came on the Monday at the hour of 8 of the clock in the morning, to seek John Bellringer, and could not find him, and tarried until the high mass of Paul's was done. And yet he could not find John Bellringer. And then, John Bellringer's fellow, one William, delivered the keys to [the] deponent. And so the said deponent, with 2 officers of my lord's being summoners, went to serve the said prisoner. And when they came, the prisoner (they said) was hanged, his face to the wallward. And upon that, the said deponent immediately gave knowledge to the chancellor. Whereupon the chancellor went up with the master of the rolls and Master Subdean, with other doctors unknown to the number of a dozen and their servants.

The deposition of John Enderby, barber. The said John Enderby saith, the Friday before the death of Richard Hunne, betwixt 8 and 9 of the clock in the morning, he met with John Bellringer in Eastcheap and asked of him how Master Hunne fared. The said Bellringer answered saying, There is ordained for him so grievous penance that when men hear of it they shall have great marvel thereof! Witnesses that heard John Bellringer say these words: John Rutter, scrivener, and William Segar, armourer. Also the said John Enderby saith, the same Monday that Richard Hunne was found dead, he met with the said John Bellringer at the conduit in Gracechurch Street about 9 of the clock in the morning, asking the said bellringer how Master Hunne fared. The said bellringer answered saying, He fared well this day in the morning betwixt 5 and 6 of the clock. Howbeit, I am sorry for him, for there can nobody come to him until I come. For I have the keys of the doors here by my girdle! And shewed keys to the said Enderby.

The deposition of Alan Cresswell, wax-chandler. The said Alan saith that John Granger, servant with my lord of London in my lord of London's kitchen, at such time as the said Alan was cering[54] of Hunne's coffin, that Granger told to him that he was with John Bellringer the same Sunday at night that Richard Hunne was found dead of the morrow when his keeper set him in the stocks, insomuch the said Hunne desired to borrow the keeper's knife. And the keeper asked him what he would do with his knife. And Hunne answered, I had lever kill myself than to be thus treated! This deposition the said Alan will prove as farforth as any Christian man may, saying that Granger shewed to him these words of his own free will and mind, without any question or enquiry to him made by the said Alan. Moreover, the said Alan saith that all that evening Granger was in great fear.

The deposition of Richard Horsenail, bailiff of the sanctuary town called Good Easter in Essex. The said Richard saith, the Friday before Christmas day last past, that one Charles Joseph, summoner to my lord of London, became a sanctuary man. And the foresaid Friday he registered his name, the said Charles saying that it was for the safeguard of his body. For there be certain men in London so extreme against him for the death of Richard Hunne that he dare not abide in London. Howbeit the said Charles saith he acknowledgeth himself guiltless of Hunne's death, for he delivered the keys to the chancellor by Hunne's life. Also, the said bailiff saith that Charles paid the duty of the said registering both to him and to Sir John Studeley, vicar.

The copy of my lord of London's letter sent to my lord Cardinal. I beseech your good lordship to stand so good lord unto my poor Chancellor now in ward and indicted by an untrue quest for the death of Richard Hunne, upon the only accusation of Charles Joseph made by pain and durance, that by your intercession it may please the king's grace to have the matter duly and sufficiently examined by indifferent persons of his discrete council in the presence of the parties or there be any more harm done in the cause. And that upon the innocency of my said chancellor declared, it may further please the king's grace to award a placard unto his attorney to confess the said indictment to be untrue when the time shall require it. For assured am I, if my Chancellor be tried by any 12 men in London, they be so maliciously set in favorem hereticae pravitatis, that is, are so set upon the favour of heresy, that they will cast and condemn my clerk though he were as innocent as Abel! Quare si potes beate pater adiuua infirmitate nostras et tibi in perpetuum devincti erimus! That is, Wherefore if you can, blessed father, help our infirmities and weakness, and we shall be bound to you forever! Over this, in most humble wise, I beseech you that I may have the king's gracious favour whom I never offended willingly, and that by your good means I might speak with hr grace and be favourably heard at any time it may so please his grace and you. And I, with all mine, shall pray for your prosperous estate long to continue. Your most humble orator, R. L.[55]

The words that my lord of London spake before the lords in the parliament chamber. Memorandum, that the bishop of London said in the parliament chamber that there was a bill brought to the parliament to make the jury that was charged upon the death of Hunne true men! And said and took upon his conscience that they were false, perjures caitiffs. And said furthermore to all the lords there then being, For the love of God look upon this matter. For if ye do not, I dare not keep mine own house for heretics! And sai that the said Richard Hunne hanged himself, and that it was his own deed and no man's, else. And furthermore said that there came a man to his house (whose wife was appeached of heresy) to speak with him. And he said that he had no mind to speak with the same man. Which man spake and reported to the servants of the same bishop, that it his wife would not hold still her opinions, he would cut her throat with his own hands. with other words more.

The sentence of the quest subscribed by the Coroner.[56] The inquisition indented and taken at the city of London, in the parish of St Gregory, in the ward of Baynard Castle in London, the 6th day of December, in the year and reign of King Henry VIII the 6th year, afore Thomas Barnwell, coroner of our sovereign lord the King, within the city of London aforesaid. Also, afore James Yarford and John Munday, sheriffs of the said city, upon the sight of the said body of Richard Hunne, late of London, tailor, which was found hanged in Lollards Tower. And by the oath and proof of lawful men of the same ward, and of other 3 wards next adjoining, as it ought to be after the custom of the city aforesaid, to enquire how and in what manner wise the said Richard Hunne came unto his death. And upon the oath of John Barnarde, Thomas Sterre, William Warren, Henry Abraham, John Aborowe, John Turner, Robert Allen, William Marler, John Button, James Page, Thomas Pickhill, William Burton, Robert Bridgewater, Thomas Busted, Gilbert Howel, Richard Gybson, Christopher Crofton. John God, Richard Holt, John Pasmere, Edmond Hudson, John Awncell, Richard Couper, John Tyme. The which say upon their oath that where the said Richard Hunne, by the commandment of Richard, bishop of London, was imprisoned and brought to hold in a prison of the said Bishop's called Lollards Tower, lying in the cathedral church of St Paul in London, in the parish of St Gregory, in the ward of Baynard Castle aforesaid, William Horsey of London, clerk, otherwise called William Heresy, Chancellor to Richard, bishop of London, and one Charles Joseph, late of London, summoner, and John Spalding of London, otherwise called John Bellringer, feloniously as felons to our lord the King, with force and arms against the peace of our sovereign lord the King, and dignity of his crown, the 4th day of December, the year of the reign of our sovereign lord the 6th aforesaid, of their great malice, at the parish of St Gregory aforesaid, upon the said Richard Hunne made affray, and the same Richard Hunne felonioiusly strangled and smothered, and also the neck they did break of the said Richard Hunne, and there feloniously slew him and murdered him. And also the body of the said Richard Hunne afterward, the same 4th day, year, place, parish and ward aforesaid, with the proper girdle of the same Richard Hunne of silk, black of colour, of the value of 12 pence, after his death, upon a hook driven into a piece of timber in the wall of the prison aforesaid, made fast and so hanged him against the peace of our sovereign lord the King and the dignity of his crown. And so the said jury hath sworn upon the holy Evangelist that the said William Horsey, clerk, Charles Joseph, and John Spalding, of their set malice, then and there feloniously killed and murdered the said Richard Hunne in manner and form abovesaid, against the peace of our sovereign lord the King, his crown and dignity. Subscribed in this manner. Thomas Barnwell, Coroner of the city of London.

Appendix II

The Prologue of the Wycliffe Bible Attributed to Hunne's Ownership Compared with the Post-mortem Articles of Heresy Objected Against Hunne (According to John Foxe) by Bishop Fitzjames of London[57]

Article of Heresy, as per Foxe

Corresponding sentence in MS 147

I. First, the said book damns all holy canons, calling them ceremonies and statute of sinful men and uncunning and calls the Pope Satan and Antichrist

i. ...with out kepinge of cerymonyes & statutes of sinful men ... that ben maad in the type of sathanas & of antecrist (fo lv.)

II. It dams the Pope's pardons, saying they be but leasings

ii....the pardons of the bisshopis of rome that ben only leasings (fo. 10r., i col. 1, 1. 16)

III. Item. The said book of Hunne's says that kings and lords, called Christian in name and heathen in conditions, defile the sanctuary of God, bringing clerks full of covetousness, heresy and malice to stop God's law, that it cannot be known, kept and freely preached

iii. ...sume cristen lordis in name & hethen in condisions, defoule the senctuarie of god & bryngen in symonyent clerkis ful of covertise, erresie & ypocrisie & malice to stoppe goddis lawe that it be not knowen & kept & frely prechid (fo. Mr., col. 1, 1. 30)

IV. The said book says that lords and prelates pursue full cruelly them that would teach truly and freely the law of God, and cherish them that preach sinful men's traditions and statutes, by which he means the holy canons of Christ's church

iv. ...& pursuen ful cruely hem that wolden teche treuly & frely the lawe of god and prechen, & mayntenen & cherische hem that prechen fablis (fo. 1Or., col. 1, 1. 46)

V. That poor men and idiots have the truth of the hly Scriptures more than a thousand prelates and religious men and clerks of the school

v. ...pore men & idiotis in comparison with clerkis of scole...have the treuthe of holy scripture agens many thousend prelatis & religiouse that ben geven to worldly pride & covetise (fo. Mr., col. 1, 1.59)

VI. That Christian kings and lords set up idols in God's house, and excite the people to idolatry

vi. ...specialy lordis setten idolis in goddis hous (fo. l 0r., col. 2, 1. 31)

VII. That princes, lords and prelates so doing be worse than Herod that pursued Christ, and worse than [the] Jews and heathen men that crucified Christ

vii. ...he that geveth thus the cure of soulis to onresonable men is worse than eroude that pursued crist & worse then jewis & hethen men that crucifiden crist (fo. 10r., col. 2, 1. 23)

VIII. That every man swearing by our lady, or any other saint or creature gives more honour to the saints than to the Holy Trinity, and so he says they be idolaters

viii....for comunly thei swere bi oure ladi of Walsingham, sent joon the Baptist, seint edward, sent thomas of caunterbiry & suche other sentis (fo. I I r., col. 1, 1. 24)

IX. He says that saints ought not to be honoured

ix. An al the olde ]awe it is not founde where god grauntith to swere bi eny creature but oonly bi his owne name (to. 11 r., col. 1, 1. 42)

X. He damns adoration, prayer, kneeling and offering to images, which he calls stocks and stones

x. ...& in gevying it to deed stockis and stones (fo. 11 r., col. 2, 1. 36)

XI. He says that the very body of the Lord is not contained in the sacrament of the altar, but that men receiving it shall thereby keep in mind that Christ's flesh was wounded and crucified for us

xi. ...& to kepe in mynde sweetly & profitable that cristis fleshe was woundid & crucified for us (to. 13v., col., 2, 1. 20)

XII. He damns the university of Oxford with all degrees and faculties in it, as art, civil [law], canon [law], and divinity, saying that they hinder the ture way to come to the knowledge of the laws of God and holy Scripture

xii. ...the first grete synne is geven in the universte...[there follows here a list of vices, among them the stressed and repeated charge of sodomy]

XIII. He defends the translation of the Bible and the holy Scripture into the English tongue, which is prohibited by the laws of our mother, holy Church

xiii. ...worldly clerkis axen greetly what spirit makith ydiotis hardi to translate now the bible in to englische sithen the iiii gret doctouris dursten never do this. This replication is so lewid that it nedith noon answere ... for these gret doctouris were noon englisch men, neither weren conversant among englische men (fo. 18v., col. 2, 1. 51)

In the light of recent attempts to denigrate either the integrity of John Foxe or his ability to copy his sources faithfully, it is instructive to compare the list of further articles of heresy objected against Richard Hunne as Foxe presents them, with certain key sentences from the Prologue of the Wycliffe Bible that is attributed to Hunne's ownership, but which Foxe would not have seen. As we can see, so close is their correspondence that we are entitled to accept Foxe's list of articles as authentic even though the original list may be lost. This comes as little surprise to those who are used to relying upon Foxe where the original records have perished, because wherever Foxe can be tested in this way he is invariably shown to be very faithful indeed to his sources. (Joan Baker, Hunne's neighbour, the original of whose own examination has survived, seems also to have been very familiar with this Prologue.)

For a powerfully argued case identifying Parker MS147 (the Wycliffe B version) as the Wycliffe Bible used at Hunne's post-mortem trial, see Ogle, pp. 113-31.

Bibliography Public Record Office Documents: KB27/1006. m. 36: Hunne's writ of slander. KB27/1006. m. 37: Hunne's writ of praemunire. KB 9/468. m. 14. r.: Inquest report on Hunne's body. (recto). KB 9/468. m. 14. v.: Inquest report on Hunne's body. (verso). Chapter House Papers: 1st series. No. 1439. KB27/1019. Rex. rot. 4: Henry VIII's instructions to Earnley concerning Horsey's plea. SP147: Hales' report concerning riot of 1531. SP1/162. RH. 163: Margaret Hunne's letter to Cromwell. Letters and Papers. Henry VIII. iii. pt 2. 3062 (4). Order of Parliament restoring Hunne's property to his children. Minutes of Court of Aldermen. Tuesday 17th April 1515. Repertory III. fo 17. (Guildhall). London Episcopal Register Fitzjames. Guildhall Lib. MS. 9531/9. The enquiry and verdict of the quest panelled of the death of Richard Hunne which was found hanged in Lollards Tower. Parker Library. SP445. Parker Library MS 147. The Wycliffe (B) Bible attributed to Hunne's ownership and used at his post-mortem trial for heresy. Arnold, Richard, Customs of London (London, 1521 [?]), Guildhall Library. Burnet, The History of the Reformation (Oxford, 1816), I. Davis, E. Jeffries, 'The Authorities for the case of Richard Hunne'. Eng. Hist. Rev., xxx (1915). pp. 477-88. Fines, J., 'The Post-mortem Condemnation for Heresy of Richard Hunne', Eng. Hist. Rev., lxxviii, pp. 528-31 (includes transcript of MS Trinity Coll. Dublin. D. 3. 4. fo 124. b. — the depositions of witnesses at the pre-trial tribunal. Foxe, John, Acts and Monuments of John Foxe (ed. Pratt, London, 1877). Hall, E., Chronicle (London, 1809), pp. 573-80. Milsom, S. C. F., 'Richard Hunne's Praemunire', Eng. Hist. Rev., lxxvi (1961), pp. 80-82. Ogle, Arthur, The Tragedy of the Lollards Tower (Oxford, 1949). Stow, John, Survey of London (J. M. Dent & Sons, London, 1945). Waugh, W. T., 'The Great Statute of Praemunire'. Eng. Hist. Rev., xxxvii (1922), pp. 173-205. Wunderli, Richard, 'Pre-Reformation London Summoners and the Murder of Richard Hunne', Jour. Eccles. Hist, 33, no. 2 (April 1982), pp. 209-24 (an invaluable study of Charles Joseph and his change of circumstances around the time of Hunne's murder).

Acknowledgements My thanks to: Professor Page of the Parker Library; the Master and Fellows of Corpus Christi College Cambridge; Miss Susan Moore M.A., who translated so ably for me Hunne's writs and other documents; the archivists at the Public Record Office, Chancery Lane, without whose diligence the newly discovered inquest report may never have come to light; Nicholas Smith, under-librarian at Cambridge University Library; Professor David Daniell; and, finally, the librarians of the Manuscript and Reading Rooms of the Guildhall Library, London.



The church no longer stands, its site being the present-day gardens that occupy the space between Whitechapel Lane and Adler Street of the Whitechapel Road. The outline of the church's foundatons, however, has been preserved.


For a general complaint of this and other clerical abuses, see Christopher St Germain, Treatise concernynge the diuision betwene the spiritualtie and temporaltie (Thomas Berthelet, London, 1532[?]).


Statute of Paremunire, 1393, Statutes of the Realm, ii, pp. 84-6.


A.G. Dickens, The English Reformation (1964), pp. 90-96; Richard Marius, Thomas More (1984), pp. 123-41.


Wunderli, for example (see Bibliography), expresses puzzlement over the case, as do many others.


Known today as Fish Street Hill, it used to be part of the small parish of St Margaret's, the site of whose church is now marked by Wren's Monument (it was the first church to be burnt down in the Great Fire of London). Hunne's house stood roughly on the site of today's Britannia pub.


London Episcopal Register Fitzjames, fo 25r. (Kept at the Guildhall Library Manuscript Room, shelfmark 9531/9).


Corporation of London Record Office Repertories, ii (1505-13), fo 122r. The litigation concerned tenements in Westcheap, to which the priest and wardens of St Michael's claimed title. The case was to be resolved before the Court of Aldermen by Christmas of 1511, but no record survives to tell us the outcome. Wunderli (p. 218) thinks that this litigation prompted Dyffeld's action at Lambeth.


For the wording of the bill, see Statutes of the Realm, iii, p. 386. As an Act of Parliament, it is designated 4Henry8.1512.c.II.


Public Record Office Document KB27/1006, m. 36.




PRO Doc. KB27/1006, m. 37.




Richard Arnold, Customs of London (Guildhall Library, 1521 [?]), unpaginated.


Enderby became a barber on 1 March 1513. For his indentures, see Lond. Episc. Reg. Fitzjames (Guildhall Library 9531/9) under that date.


The palace still stands, its grounds open to the public. Fitzjames's coat of arms can be seen gracing the porter's lodge. Hunne's examination for heresy took place in the chapel, which has also survived.


John Foxe, Acts and Monuments, IV(ed. J. Pratt, London, 1877), pp. 183-4.


Ibid., p. 184.


During the examination of Robert Smith by Bonner, Smith threw back at the bishop: 'both you and your predecessors have sought all means possible to kill Christ secretly; record of Master Hun, whom your predecessor caused to be thrust in at the nose with hot burning needles...' (See Foxe, VIII, p. 351.)


Foxe, op. cit., IV, PP. 186-7.


MS 775, Trinity College Dublin. D.3.4. fo 124. b. (cit. J. Fines, 'The Post-mortem Condemnation for Heresy of Richard Hunne, English Historical Review, lxxviii, Pp. 528-31).


As a happier postscript, Thomas Brooke was not left destitute at the break-up of his master's house, but was to set up a small shop in Bridge Street, aided no doubt by his master's Lollard friends (Richard Arnold, op. cit.).


Foxe, op. cit., IV, p. 189.


These articles appear in the Dublin MS, in the 5th and 13th of the later articles of heresy against Hunne, and in the Bible's Prologue. See below.


PRO Documents, Chancery significations, file 126.


Minutes for the Court of Aldermen for Tuesday, 17 April 1515, Repertory III. 17 (Guildhall Library).


PRO Document, KB27/1019, Rex rot. 4.


Letters and Papers (Henry VIII), III, 2, 3062(4): 'Roger Whaplod and Margaret wife, daughter of Ric. Hunne deceased. Grant to them and to their executors forever of all Hunne's lands and tenements, and all leases and deeds realting thereto.'


Foxe, op. cit., IV, p. 198.


Ibid., V, p. 27.


Ibid., V, p. 28.


Ibid., IV, p. 586.


PRO Document, SP I/162, RH163.


Burnet, History of the Reformation, I (Oxford, 1816), p. 209.


PRO Document, SP 147.


Foxe, op. cit., IV, p. 198: ' of the bishop's registers and special records remaining in the custody of Dunstan Whapplot, the son of the laugher of the s, Richard Hunne...'


Burnet, op. cit. I, p. 209.


Chanc. Inq. P.M. 5Eliz. pt. 2. no. 34. (Guildhall Library). Stow's Survey of London, p. 343 (see Bibliography), describes Snow Hill in 1598 as being, 'all replenished with fair building'. Which implies that the earlier tenements in which Margaret lived during the 1560s had been somewhat run down. Evidently her circumstances had not improved in the twenty-three years or so since she had written to Cromwell.


PRO Document KB9/468, m. 14, recto and verso.


Ibid., verso.


According to Stow, op. cit., 'There be in this city ... twenty-six aldermen; whereof yearly, on the feast day of St Michael the archangel, one of them is elected to be mayor for the year following, to begin on 28th October' (p. 474). George Monoux under whose mayoralty the inquest on Richard Hunne was opened, was in office from 28 October 1514 to 27 October 1515. It is therefore in the February of the following year, 1516, during the mayoralty of the grocer, William Butler, that the inquest ended, and not in February 1515 as many have suspected by assuming that the date of Julian Littel's deposition (14 February 1515) marked the closing stage of the inquest.


Parker Library, SP 445, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.


The pamphlet was published at around the same time Margaret Hunne wrote to Cromwell. Were its publication and her letter entirely disconnected events? The collection of documents represented in the pamphlet is a lawyer's bundle, perhaps that belonging to Christopher St Germain, a celebrated lawyer who, like Thomas More, probably attended the inquest on Hunne, and whose hand is heavily apparent in the wording and phraseology of the Preface.


Cambridge University Library, Syn. 8.53.91.


Parker Lib. SP 445. Reproduced by kind permission of the Master and Fellows of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.


For William, read Thomas.


I had lever than C lib.


a fish.


that bene woorth M. lib.


For John, read Thomas.


The rood of the north door of St Paul's was a famous place of pilgrimage (a rood being an effigy of Christ crucified).


'men' in the original, but clearly a typographical error.


The bishop's commensary at this time was Dr Thomas Head, who had played a prominent role in Joan Baker's examination for heresy.


'serying', i.e., waxing.


Ricardus Londiniensis (Richard of London).


What follows is a fair translation into English of PRO Document 9/468. m. 14, r. and v., the newly discovered coroner's report.


Document MS 147, Parker Library, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.