Biography of Bishop John Fisher 1469-1535

Around 19 Oct 1469 Bishop John Fisher was born to Robert Fisher in Beverley [Map].

Around 1477 [his father] Robert Fisher died.

On 14 Oct 1504 Bishop John Fisher (age 34) was appointed Bishop of Rochester.

Letters and Papers 1509. Apr 1509. Will of Henry VII (age 52):

At his manor of Richmond, Surrey [Map] March 24 Henry VII., the King (age 52) makes his last will, commending his soul to the Redeemer with the words he has used since his first "years of discretion," Domine Jesu Christe, qui me ex nichilo creasti, fecisti, redemisti et predestinasti ad hoc quod sum, Tu scis quid de me facere vis, fac de me secundum voluntatem Tuam cum misericordia, trusting in the grace of His Blessed Mother in whom, after Him, has been all his (testator's) trust, by whom in all his adversities he has had special comfort, and to whom he now makes his prayer (recited), as also to all the company of Heaven and especially his "accustumed avoures" St. Michael, St. John Baptist, St. John Evangelist, St. George, St. Anthony, St. Edward, St. Vincent, St. Anne, St. Mary Magdalene and St. Barbara, to defend him at the hour of death and be intercessors for the remission of his sins and salvation of his soul.

Desires to be buried at Westminster [Map], where he was crowned, where lie buried many of his progenitors, especially his granddame Catharine wife to Henry V and daughter to Charles of France, and whereto he means shortly to translate the remains of Henry IV in the chapel [Map] which he has begun to build (giving full directions for the placing and making of his tomb and finishing of the said chapel according to the plan which he has "in picture delivered" to the prior of St. Bartholomew's beside Smithfield, master of the works for the same); and he has delivered beforehand to the abbot, &c., of Westminster, £5,000, by indenture dated Richmond, 13 April 23 Hen VII, towards the cost.

His executors shall cause 10,000 masses in honor of the Trinity, the Five Wounds, the Five Joys of Our Lady, the Nine Orders of Angels, the Patriarchs, the Twelve Apostles and All Saints (numbers to each object specified) to be said within one month after his decease, at 6d. each, making in all £250 and shall distribute 2,£000 in alms; and to ensure payment he has left 2,£250 with the abbot, &c., of West-minster, by indenture dated (blank) day of (blank) in the (blank) year of his reign.

His debts are then to be paid and reparation for wrongs made by his executors at the discretion of the following persons, by whom all complaints shall be tenderly weighed, viz, the abp of Canterbury (age 59), Richard bp of Winchester (age 61), the bps of London and Rochester (age 39), Thomas Earl of Surrey (age 66), Treasurer General, George Earl of Shrewsbury (age 41), Steward of the House, Sir Charles Somerset Lord Herbert (age 49), Chamberlain, the two Chief Justices, Mr. John Yong (age 44), Master of the Rolls, Sir Thomas Lovell, Treasurer of the House, Mr. Thomas Routhall, secretary, Sir Ric Emson (age 59), Chancellor of the Duchy, Edm. Dudley (age 47), the King's attorney at the time of his decease, and his confessor, the Provincial of the Friars Observants, and Mr. William Atwater, dean of the Chapel, or at least six of them and three of his executors.

His executors shall see that the officers of the Household and Wardrobe discharge any debts which may be due for charges of the same.

Lands to the yearly value of above 1,000 mks have been "amortised" for fulfilment of certain covenants (described) with the abbey of Westminster.

For the completion of the hospital which he has begun to build at the Savoie place beside Charingcrosse, and towards which 10,000 mks in ready money has been delivered to the dean and chapter of St. Paul's, by indenture dated (blank), his executors shall deliver any more money which may be necessary; and they shall also make (if he has not done it in his lifetime) two similar hospitals in the suburbs of York and Coventry.

Certain cathedrals, abbeys, &c., named in a schedule hereto annexed [not annexed now] have undertaken to make for him orisons, prayers and suffrages "while the world shall endure," in return for which he has made them large confirmations, licences and other grants; and he now wishes 6s. 8d. each to be delivered soon after his decease to the rulers of such cathedrals, &c., 3s. 4d. to every canon and monk, being priest, within the same and 20d. to every canon, monk, vicar and minister not being priest. His executors shall bestow 2,£000 upon the repair of the highways and bridges from Windsor to Richmond manor and thence to St. George's church beside Southwark [Map], and thence to Greenwich manor, and thence to Canterbury.

To divers lords, as well of his blood as other, and also to knights, squires and other subjects, he has, for their good service, made grants of lands, offices and annuities, which he straitly charges his son, the Prince (age 17), and other heirs to respect; as also the enfeoffments of the Duchy of Lancaster made by Parliaments of 7 and 19 Henry VII. for the fulfilment of his will.

Bequests for finishing of the church of the New College in Cambridge and the church of Westminster, for the houses of Friars Observants, for the altar within the King's grate (i.e. of his tomb), for the high altar within the King's chapel, for the image of the King to be made and set upon St. Edward's shrine, for the College of Windsor, for the monastery of Westminster, for the image of the King to be set at St. Thomas's shrine at Canterbury, and for chalices and pixes of a certain fashion to be given to all the houses of Friars and every parish church not suitably provided with such.

Bequest of a dote of 50,£000 for the marriage of Lady Mary (age 13) the King's daughter with Charles Prince of Spain (age 9), as contracted at Richmond (blank) Dec. 24 Henry VIII., or (if that fail) her marriage with any prince out of the realm by "consent of our said son the Prince (age 17), his Council and our said executors.".

Letters and Papers 1509. 09 May 1509.

19. [5735.] Henry VII's Funeral.

File of warrants to John Heron (age 39), Treasurer of the Chamber, signed at the head by

(1) "Margaret R." [Countess of Richmond] and below by

(2) Chri. aBishop of York (age 45),

(3) Ric. Bishop of Winchester (age 61),

(4) Ric. Bishop of London,

(5) John Bishop of Rochester (age 39),

(6) T. Earl of Arundel (age 59),

(7) T. Earl of Surrey (age 66),

(8) C. Somerset [Lord Herbert] (age 49),

(9) John Yong (age 44),

(10) Sir Th. Lovell,

(11) Thomas Rowthale, and

(12) Sir John Cutte, or some of them, as executors of Henry VII., for payments towards the expenses of the funeral. The receipts attached indicate that Heron paid the money by the hands of John Daunce. The warrants are:—

F. 11.—24 April 1 Henry VIII. for 1,£000 to Andrew Wyndesore, the King's "wardroper" for black cloth for hangings in the chapel, &c. and for liveries to lords and others present. Signed by 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 12. (at ƒ. 21., Wyndesore's receipt, 29 Apr.).

F. 12.—26 Apr., £20 to Henry Smyth for timber work on the hearse. Signed by 1,7, 3, 8, 5. (Smyth's receipt, 29 Apr., subscribed)

F. 13.—28 Apr., £40 to Henry Wyatt for messengers and other charges. Sig. 1, 2, 3, 8. (at f. 26a, holograph note by Wyatt, 28 April, enclosing this, as from "thexecutors," to Heron, or in his absence Richard Tryse, with request for the money to be sent in groats by Richard Lee.)

F. 14.—9 May, £666 13s. 4d. to Sir John Cutte for payments to St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey, the four houses of Friars, &c. Sig. 1, 7, 3, 6., 8, 10, 12. (at ƒ. 18, Cutte's receipt, 20 May.)

F. 15.—28 Apr., £500 to Sir John Cutte, for scocheons, banners &c. Sig. 1, 2, 3, 8, 12. (at ƒ. 15a, Cutte's receipt, 30 April.)

F. 17.—26 May, 2,£895 11s. 2d. to Andrew Wyndesore, esq., Master of the Great Wardrobe, for funeral expenses of the Household and for rewards &c. Sig. 1, 7, 3, 8, 5, 10, 11, 9, 12. (at ƒ. 19, Wyndesore's receipt, 8 June.)

F. 20.—25 Apr., £500 to Sir John Cutte for torches &c. Sig. 1, 7, 3, 4, 8, 10, 6. (at ƒ. 16, Cutte's receipt, 28 Apr.)

F. 21a.—1 May, 2,£000 to Andrew Wyndesore, Keeper of the Great Wardrobe, for "divers things." Sig. 1, 7, 3, 5, 8, 10, 11, 12. (at ƒ. 22, Wyndesore's receipt, 12 May.)

F. 25.—25 Apr., £250 to Andrew Wyndesore and William Pawne, to be employed, by oversight of Sir Thomas Brandon, "for the chare and other apparels belonging to the Stable." Sig. 1, 7, 3, 4, 8, 10, 12. (at ƒ. 24, Pawne's receipt, 1 June.)

F. 26.—Undated, to "Master Doctor Edmayn the King's aumosner," for alms and wages of 330 poor men from Richmond to Westminster £66, 100 torch bearers from St. George's Barre to Westminster £10, alms by the way from Richmond to London £100, choirs of Paulles and Westminster each £10, and 30 "men lakkyng of the Household" to bear staff torches from Richmond to Westminster £6 Sig. 1, 7, 3, 8, 5, 10. (at ƒ. 27, receipt, by Richard Rayner, of the above, on behalf of Dr. "Edname," 8 May.)

F. 28.—5 May, £100 each to Mr. Roger Lupton, Mr. Richard Rawlyns, Mr. (blank) Honywode and Mr. Robert Bekynsals, for alms to be distributed in London and Westminster and the suburbs. Sig. 1, 7, 3, 8, 5, 10. (at ƒ. 23, several receipts signed by Rawlyns, Robert Honywode, Bekynsaw and Lupton, 11 May.)

S.P. Henry VIII., 1, f. 11. R. O.

Around 1510 Meynnart Wewyck (age 50). Portrait of Margaret Beaufort Countess Richmond in the Masters Lodge St John's College, Oxford University. Commissioned by Bishop John Fisher (age 40). Note the Beaufort Arms on the wall beneath which is the Beafort Portcullis. Repeated in the window. She is wearing widow's clothes, or possibly that of a convent; Gabled Headress with Lappets. On 29 Mar 2019, St John's College, Cambridge, which she founded, announced the portrait was original work by Wewyck.

In 05 May 1521 Bishop John Longland (age 48) was consecrated Bishop of Lincoln by Archbishop William Warham (age 71) assisted by Bishop John Fisher (age 51), Bishop Nicholas West (age 60) and Bishop John Vesey aka Harman (age 59).

Hall's Chronicle 1522. 01 Jun 1522. The morrow after, these princes removed to Sytingborne [Map], and the next day to Rochester [Map], where the Bishop (age 52) received them with the whole Covent, and on Monday they came to Gravesende [Map] by one of the clock, where they took their barges, and there were thirty barges appointed, for the strangers, and so by six of the clock they landed at Grenewiche [Map], the same Monday, the second day of June, where the Emperor (age 22) was of the King newly welcomed, and al his nobility, and at the hall door the Queen (age 36) and the Prynces (age 6), and all the Ladies received and welcomed him: and he asked the Queen (age 36) blessing (for that is the fashion of Spain, between the aunt and the nephew) the Emperor (age 22) had great joy to see the Queen his aunt, and in especially his young cousin German [first-cousin] the lady Mary (age 6). The Emperor was lodged in the King’s lodging, which was so richly hanged, that the Spaniards wondered at it, and specially at the rich cloth of estate: nothing lacked that might be gotten, to cheer the Emperor and his lords, and all that came in his company, were highly feasted.

Letters and Papers 1530. 06 Feb 1530. Bradford, 298. 6199. Chapuys to Charles V.

Since my last the bishop of Rochester (age 60) has finished revising the book which he lately wrote, and which he sent to your Majesty. Since then he has written another, which the Queen has forwarded at the request of the Bishop, to be examined at leisure, though he fears to be known as the author. His learning and piety are well known. The Queen's treatment is worse than ever. The King is always away from her as much as possible, and is here with the lady (age 29), whilst the Queen is at Richmond. He has never been so long without paying her a visit, and makes his excuse that one has died of the plague near her residence. He has renewed his attempts to persuade her to become a nun, to which she will never consent. The continual annoyance to which she is exposed constrains her to importune your Majesty to have a fixed resolution in her affairs.

Chronicle of Greyfriars. 06 Apr 1532. Also this yere was a coke boylyd in a cauderne in Smythfeld for he wolde a powsynd the byshoppe of Rochester Fycher (age 62) with dy vers of hys servanttes, and he was lockyd in a chayne and pullyd up and downe with a gybbyt at dyvers tymes tyll he was dede.

Note. Poisoning of the household of the bishop of Rochester, and the punishment by Boiling. This crime occasioned great popular excitement at the time, which was probably increased both by the supposition that the life of the bishop (John Fisher) had been attempted, and by the rumour that many of the poor which had partaken of his alms had died, which is directly asserted as the fact by Stowe. Such, however, was not actually the case : only one of the episcopal household, and one poor widow, lost their lives. As the parliament was sitting, the matter was brought before it, and an act (22 Hen. VIII. c. 9) was passed, reciting that " now in the tyme of this presente parliament, that is to saye, in the xviijth daye of Februarye in the xxij. yere of his moste victorious reygn, one Richard Roose late of Rouchester in the countie of Kent, coke, otherwyse called Richard Coke, of his moste wyked and dampnable dysposicyon dyd caste a certyne venym or poyson into a vessell replenysshed with yeste or barme stondyng in the kechyn of the Reverende Father in God John Bysshopp of Rochester at his place in Lamebyth Marsshe, wyth whych yeste or barme and other thynges convenyent porrage or gruell was forth wyth made for his famylye there beyng, wherby nat only the nombre of xvij. persons of his said famylie whych dyd eate of that porrage were mortally enfected and poysoned, and one of them, that is to say, Benett Curwen gentylman therof is deceassed, but also certeyne pore people which resorted to the sayde Bysshops place and were there charytably fedde wyth the remayne of the saide porrage and other vytayles, were in lyke wyse infected, and one pore woman of them, that is to saye, Alyce Tryppytt wydowe, is also thereof now deceassed : our sayde Sovereign Lorde the Kynge, of hys blessed disposicion inwardly abhorryng all such abhomynable offences because that in maner no persone can lyve in suertye out of daunger of death by that meane yf practyse therof should not be exchued, hath ordeyned and enacted by auctorytie of thys presente parlyament that the sayde poysonyng be adjudged and denied as high treason. And that the sayde Richard for the sayd murder and poysonynge of the said two persones as is aforesayde by auctoritie of this presente parlyament shall stande and be attaynted of highe treason : And by cause that detestable offence nowe newly practysed and comytted requyreth condygne punysshemente for the same; It is ordeyned and enacted by auctoritie of this present parlyament that the said Richard Roose shalbe therfore boyled to deathe withoute havynge any advauntage of his clargie. And that from hensforth every wylfull murder of any persone or persones by any whatsoever persone or persones herafter to be comytted and done by meane or waye of poysonyng shalbe reputed, denied, and juged in the lawe to be highe treason; And that all and every persone or persones which hereafter shalbe lawfully indyted, appeled and attaynted or condemned of such treson for any maner poysonyng shall not be admytted to the benefyte of hys or theyre clargye, but shalbe immedyatly committed to execucion of deth by boylynge for the same."

It has been supposed that this was an ex-post facto enactment, so far as Richard Roose was concerned; and yet we find by the present chronicle, p. 30, that, at an earlier period of Henry's reign, nine years before, a man was sodden in a cauldron at Smithfield, "because he would have poisoned divers persons." Therefore the same punishment appears to have previously attached to the offence. It has not, however, been traced to still earlier times. (See "Notes and Queries," 1852, vol. v. pp. 32, 112, 184.) A third instance of its execution has been found in the chronicle of King's Lynn, about the same time as Roose's case: "1531. This year here was a maid boiled to death in the Market-place for poisoning her mistress." (Ibid. p.355.) A fourth occurs in 1542, which is briefly mentioned in p. 45 of the present volume, and somewhat differently by Stowe, as follows : " The 17 March [i.e. a week later] Margaret Davy, a maid, was boiled in Smithfield for poisoning of the household that she had dwelled in." Sir Walter Scott, in his Border Minstrelsy (notes to Leyden's ballad of Lord Soulis), gives this passage with the erroneous date of 1524, following a misprint in Stowe's margin. The punishment by boiling is supposed to have been repealed by the statute 1 Edward VI. c. 12, by which all new treasons were abolished.

Execution of Bishop Fisher and Thomas More

Letters and Papers 1535. 05 May 1535. 666. It is commonly reported that the King has summoned the Bishop of Rochester (age 65), Master Mur (age 57), a doctor who was lately his confessor, a chaplain of the Queen, and schoolmaster of the Princess1, to swear to the statutes made here against the Pope, the Queen, and Princess, otherwise they would be treated no better than the said monks, six weeks being given to them to consider the matter. They have replied that they were ready to suffer what martyrdom pleased the King, and that they would not change their opinion in six weeks, or even in 600 years if they lived so long; and many fear they will be despatched like the aforesaid.

Note 1. Richard Fetherston.

Letters and Papers 1535. 14 Jun 1535. R. O. St. P. i. 431. 867. Bishop Fisher (age 65) and Sir Thomas More (age 57).

"Interrogatories ministered on the King's behalf [unto] John Fisher, D.D., late bishop [of Rochester]," in the Tower of London, 14 June 27 Hen. VIII., by Mr. Thomas Bedyll, [Dr. Aldridge,] Ric. Layton, and Ric. [Curwen], of the King's Council, in presence of Harry [Polstede and John] Whalley, and of John Ap Rice, notary public; with Fisher's answers.

1. Whether he would obey the King as Supreme Head of the Church of England? —He stands by the answer he made at his last examination, but will write with his own hand more at length.

2. Whether he will acknowledge the King's marriage with queen Anne to be lawful, and that with the lady Katharine to be invalid?—He would obey and swear to the Act of Succession; but desires to be pardoned answering this interrogatory absolutely.

3. For what cause he would not answer resolutely to the said interrogatories?—He desires not to be driven to answer, lest he fall in danger of the statutes.

Signed by John ap Rice as notary: J. R. Mutilated.

ii. Interrogatories ministered to Sir Thomas More.

1. Whether he had any communication with any person since he came to the Tower touching the Acts of Succession, of Supreme Head, or the Act wherein speaking certain words by (i.e. of) the King is made treason; and, if so, when, how often, with whom, and to what effect?

2. Whether he received letters of any man, or wrote to any, touching any of the said Acts; and, if so, how many, of whom, &c.

3. Whether these letters are forthcoming; and, if not, why they were done away, and by whose means?

4. Whether any man of this realm or without this realm sent him any letters or message exhorting him to persist in his opinion; and, if so, how many, of whom, when, and to what effect?

iii. The answers of Sir Thomas More to interrogatories ministered to him, 14 June 27 Hen. VIII., within the Tower of London, before Mr. Bedle, Dr. Aldridge, Dr. Layton, Dr. Curwen, in the presence of Polstede, Whalley and Rice aforesaid.

1. Never had any communication of such matters since he came to the Tower.

2. Had written divers scrolls or letters since then to Dr. Fisher, and received others from him, containing for the most part nothing but comforting words and thanks for meat and drink sent by one to the other. But about a quarter of a year after his coming to the Tower he wrote to Fisher, saying he had refused the oath of succession, and never intended to tell the Council why; and Fisher made him answer, showing how he had not refused to swear to the Succession. No other letters passed between them touching the King's affairs till the Council came to examine this deponent upon the Act of Supreme Head; but after his examination he received a letter of Fisher, desiring to know his answer. Replied by another letter, stating that he meant not to meddle, but fix his mind upon the passion of Christ; or that his answer was to that effect. He afterwards received another letter from Fisher, stating that he was informed the word maliciously was used in the statute, and suggesting that, therefore, a man who spoke nothing of malice did not offend the statute. He replied that he agreed with Fisher, but feared it would not be so interpreted. Did not report to Fisher his answer to the Council with the advice to make his own answer different lest the Council should suspect confederacy between them. After his last examination sent Fisher word by a letter, that Mr. Solicitor had informed him it was all one not to answer, and to say against the statute what a man would, as all the learned men of England would justify. He therefore said he could only reckon on the uttermost, and desired Fisher to pray for him as he would for Fisher.

Also considering that it would come to the ears of his daughter, Mr. Roper's wife, how the Council had been with him, and other things might be reported which would cause her to take sudden flight, and fearing that, being, as he thought, with child, she might take harm, he sent to her, both after his first examination and after his last, letters telling her the answers he had given, and that he could not tell what the end might be, but whatever it were he prayed her to take it patiently and pray for him. She had written him before divers letters advising him to accommodate himself to the King's pleasure, especially urging this in her last. Other letters he neither sent nor received from any person. George, the lieutenant's servant, carried the letters to and fro.

3. There is none of these letters forthcoming, where he knoweth. He would have had George to keep them, and George always said there was no better keeper than the fire. When he saw this he desired George to let some trusty friend read them, and if he saw any matter of importance in them he might report it to the Council and get thanks before any man, otherwise that he should deliver them. But George said he feared his master, the lieutenant, who had ordered him not to meddle with such matters, and so burned them.

4. No.

Examined further, why he sent the said letters to Dr. Fisher? Replies that as they were both in one prison, and for one cause, he was glad to send to him, and hear from him again.

Signed as above: J. R.

iv. Interrogatories ministered to Sir Thomas More, the day, year, and place above recited, by the Council aforenamed, and in presence of the said witnesses; with his answers.

1. Whether he would obey the King as Supreme Head?—He can make no answer.

2. Whether he will acknowledge the King's marriage with queen Anne to be lawful, and that with lady Katharine invalid?—Never spoke against it, "nor thereunto [can] make no answer."

3. Where it was objected to him that by the said statute he, as one of the King's subjects, is bound to answer the said question, and re[cogni]se the King as Supreme Head, like all other subjects.—He can make no answer.

Notarial signature mutilated.


All the above papers are in the same hand, and form one document.

Letters and Papers 1535. 16 Jun 1535. Vienna Archives. 876. Chapuys to Charles V.

This morning I received your letters of the 29th ult. concerning your embarkation. At the same time the ambassador of France here resident has heard from the sieur de Vely that your Majesty intended to go straight to Constantinople, without stopping at Tunis, against Barbarossa, not to lose the season and opportunity so convenient for reconquering Constantinople and the rest of Greece; that to this you were induced by the persuading of the Venetian ambassador, who undertook that the said Barbarossa should do no injury to Christendom. These news the said Ambassador has communicated to several persons, and, among others, to the Venetian secretary, who is ViceAmbassador here, whom, as he himself reported to me, the said Ambassador sent for this morning to inform him. It is probable these news have not been invented or published without some hidden purpose (mistére).

As soon as this King heard that the Bishop of Rochester (age 65) had been created a cardinal he declared in anger several times that he would give him another hat, and send the head afterwards to Rome for the Cardinal's hat. He sent immediately afterwards to the Tower those of his Council to summon again the said Bishop and Master Mur (age 57) to swear to the King as Head of the Church, otherwise, before St. John's Day they would be executed as traitors. But it has been impossible to gain them, either by promises or threats, and it is believed they will soon be executed. But as they are persons of unequalled reputation in this kingdom, the King, to appease the murmurs of the world, has already on Sunday last caused preachers to preach against them in most of the churches here, and this will be continued next Sunday; and although there is no lawful occasion to put them to death, the King is seeking if anything can be found against them,—especially if the said Bishop has made suit for the hat; to find out which several persons have been taken prisoners, both of his kinsmen and of those who kept him in prison. It is impossible to describe the distress of the Queen and Princess on account of these two persons, and they are not without fear that after them matters may be carried further than I have hitherto written (que apres iceulx le sort pourroil passer plus avant que jay cydevant escript). Since the said news of the Bishop's creation as cardinal, the King, in hatred of the Holy See, has despatched mandates and letters patents to the bishops, curates, and others commissioned to preach, that they continually preach certain articles against the Church, and to schoolmasters to instruct their scholars to revile apostolic authority, and this under pain of rebellion; also that the Pope's name should be rased out of all mass books, breviaries, and hours, either in the calendar or elsewhere. It was also commanded that in all churches the Gospels should be read in French (qu. English?) to infect all the people with Lutheranism, and make them more obstinate in repelling any foreign invasion. The King, so far as I see, is not only provoked at the said Bishop being made cardinal, but also at the bishop of Paris, in whom he had always had great confidence, because previous to this creation he was considered a bad Papist. He has also no great pleasure in the Auditor of the Chamber, and to soothe him the Lady lately made him a feast in a house of hers, where she got up several fine mummeries. She invited many, and the French ambassador was not pleased at being forgotten. The said Lady had so well banquetted and mummed, that, as the Princess has sent this day to inform me, the King dotes upon her more than ever; which increases greatly the fear of the said Princess, owing to the long delay of the remedy, which, it is the universal opinion, would be sure and easy if your Majesty prohibited intercourse with your countries, provided affairs would admit of it. This a number of good and notable persons have compelled me to repeat.

Wriothesley's Chronicle 1530-1539. 17 Jun 1535. This yeare allso, the 17 day of June arreigned at Westminster in the Kinges Benche Mr. John Fisher (age 65), Bishop of Rochester, for treason againste the Kinge, and there was condemned by a jurie of knightes and esquiers (the Lord Chauncellore sittinge as Highe Judge), who gave this sentence on him: that the sayde John Fisher shoulde goe from thence to the place he came from, which was the Tower of London, and from thence to be drawne thorowe the cittie of London to Tiburne [Map], there to be hanged, being alyve cutt downe, his bowells to be taken out of his bodie and brent afore him, his head to be cutt of, and his bodie to be devided in 4or partes, and his head and bodye to be sett at suche places as the King should assigne. The effect of the treason was for denyinge the Einge to be supreme head of the a.d. 1^86. Churche of Englande, accordinge to a statute made at the last session of the Parliament.a

Note a. This bishop was of very many men lamented, for he was reported to he a man of great learning, and a man of very good life, but therein wonderfully deceived, for he maintained the Pope to he supreme head of the Church, and very maliciously refused the King's title of supreme head. It was said that the Pope, for that he held so manfully with him, and stood so stifly in his cause, did elect him a Cardinal, and sent the Cardinal's hat as far as Calais, but the head it should hare stande on was as high as London Bridge or ever the hat could come to Bishop Fisher, and then it was too late, and therefore he neither wore it nor enjoyed his office. Hall's "Chronicle," ed. 1809, p. 817.

Before 22 Jun 1535 Thomas Audley 1st Baron Audley Walden (age 47) presided over the trial of Bishop John Fisher (age 65) and Thomas More (age 57) both of whom refused to take the Oath Of Supremacy. The judges including Anne Boleyn's father Thomas Boleyn 1st Earl Wiltshire and Ormonde (age 58). Thomas Cromwell 1st Earl Essex (age 50) brought Richard Rich 1st Baron Rich (age 38) as a witness who testified that Thomas More (age 57) had denied that the King was the legitimate head of the Church. However, Richard Southwell (age 32) to the contrary.

The jury took, somewhat unsurprisingly, only fifteen minutes to conclude Thomas More (age 57) was guilty. He was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered; the King (age 43) commuted this to beheading.

Wriothesley's Chronicle 1530-1539. 22 Jun 1535. Allso, the 22th of June, beinge Tewsday, John Fisher (age 65), Bishopp of Rochester, was beheaded at the Tower Hill, and the residue of his execution pardoned; his bodie was buried within Barkinge churche [Map] yeardb next the Towre of London, and his head was sett on London Bridge.

Note b. Bishop Fisher's body was taken up out of Barking churchyard [Map], and re-buried with Sir Thomas More, both in the Tower. — Stow, p. 672.

Hall's Chronicle 1535. 22 Jun 1535 Also the twenty-second day of the same month John Fisher Bishop of Rochester (age 65) was beheaded, and his head set upon London bridge [Map]. This bishop was of very many men lamented, for he was reported to be a man of great learning, and a man of very good life, but therein wonderfully deceived, for he maintained the Pope to be Supreme Head of the Church, and very maliciously refused the King’s title of Supreme Head. It was said that the Pope, for that he held so manfully with him and stood so stiffly in his cause, did elect him a Cardinal, and sent the Cardinals hat as far as Calais, but the head it should have stood on, was as high as London Bridge or ever the hat could come to Bishop Fisher, and then it was too late and therefore he neither ware it nor enjoyed his office. This man as I said was accomplished learned, yea, and that very notably learned, and yet have you heard how he was deceived with Elizabeth Barton that called herself the Holy Maid of Kent, and no doubt so was he in the defence of that usurped authority, the more pity. Wonderful it is that a man being learned should be so blind in the scriptures of God that prove the supreme authority of Princes so manifestly.

On 22 Jun 1535 Bishop John Fisher (age 65) was beheaded on Tower Hill [Map].

Letters and Papers 1535. 30 Jun 1535. 949. Sends bills in accordance with this interpretation of prophecy, which will show what hope there is of putting affairs right again. If there be no remedy all will go to ruin. It is wonderful that the people are not Lutheran before this, considering what the King causes to be said. Hears from Rome that the Pope was determined to grant the executorials, and the death of the good Bishop of Rochester (deceased) will not alter his decision. Some think that if commerce (contractacion) was forbidden by virtue of the executorials, the people would rise and put things right themselves, especially during this distrust of Frauce. Already they begin to murmur, because ever since these executions began it has rained continually, and they say it is the vengeance of God. Refers him to his letters to the Emperor. London, 30 June 1535.

Fr., from a modern copy, p. 1.

Letters and Papers 1535. 04 Jul 1535. Add. MS. 8,715, f. 84b, B. M. 985. Bishop of Faenza to M. Ambrosio.

Wrote from Amiens on the 25th about the fears for Fisher (deceased). The King's impiety has gone so far that on the 22nd ult. he had him beheaded publicly at the Tower, and his body left there all day for a public show. Hears that "Gramuel" went to him in prison, and told him that the bishop of Rome had created him one of his companions, and the King had sent him to know what was his opinion about it. He replied that honor was not in his thoughts now, and he thought only of the mercy of God, whose his soul was, though his body was in the King's power, who could do what he liked with it, but he would not change his opinion, believing that it was right. "Gramuel" then announced to him the day of his death. He was conducted on a mule, wearing a black cloth vest and cap tied under his chin, to the square (piazza), where he had to wait for an hour because the scaffold was not in order. And although, as the Admiral says, from age and suffering he was more like a shadow than a man, he spoke to the people boldly, telling them to be loving and obedient to their King, who was good by nature, but had been deceived in this matter; that he was led to death for wishing to preserve the honor of God and the Holy See; at which he did not grieve, but was content, for it was the will of God. Hears now from the English ambassador that he only said, that being of flesh, which naturally feared death, and knowing that Peter three times denied Christ through fear of death, and having always had the mind to die, if necessary, for the love of Christ and his Holy Church, now that he was come to it, he begged all present to pray to God to grant constancy and firmness to his fragile flesh to suffer cheerfully his approaching punishment. The Admiral had heard that he was quartered according to the sentence; but the English ambassador says that he was merely beheaded, "per grandissima gratia ottenuta dal furore infinito in questo di quel Re;" who finally was content that his body should be buried in the evening. The cause of his death is rumoured in England to have been his writing evil of the King to Thomas More (age 57), who was also in prison. And they had caused it to be said to his face by one of his chaplains that he had written to More against the King on a bit of wood with a needle, having neither paper nor ink. More (age 57) is thought to be already executed, or, at least, condemned to death with perhaps thirty other virtuous persons, religious and secular; so that we now see clearly that the tragedy will go far, and that there is no hope of good from the King.

Letters and Papers 1535. 25 Jul 1535. Vienna Archives. 1105. Chapuys to Charles V.

Since the return of the Duke of Norfolk (age 62) and the others from Calais I have several times written to your Majesty, and, among other things, that immediately after the said return Cromwell came to notify to me that nothing had been concluded on the part of his master, of which he wished me to inform you at once; and that I agreed to despatch a messenger, provided there was other matter to convey, such as that the King would accept the overtures made by your Majesty, or make better ones. I have also written how, besides other three Carthusians who have been executed with the same cruelty as the former ones, they had beheaded the Cardinal of Rochester (deceased) and Master Morus (deceased), to the great grief of the whole people.

Wriothesley's Chronicle 1530-1539. Jun 1535. This yeare the Bishop of Rochester (age 65)e and Sir Thomas More (age 57), sometime Chauncellor of Englande,a were put into the Tower of London [Map] for misprisonne,b and there to remajme at the Kinges pleasure, but all the Bishopp of Rochesters (age 65) goodes and bishopricke were taken into the Kings handes. Allso diverse priestes, religiouse men, and laymen, were sett in prison in the Tower of London becausse they would not be sworne.

Note e. Dr John Fisher (age 65), Chancellor of Cambridge University, and Master of Queen's College, was appointed to the see of Rochester 14th October, 1504; attainted in Parliament December, 1534; made Cardinal 1535; and beheaded 22nd June, 1535.

Note a. More became Chancellor in 1629 on the fall of Wolsey, bnt in May 1532 was deprived of the seals.

Note b. For refusing to take the new oath of allegiance. It would appear that they did not so much object to the part of the oath regulating the succession, as to the doctrinal points involved.

Letters and Papers 1535. 22 Jun 1535. Add. MS. 8,715, f. 80 b. B. M. 910. Bishop of Faenza to M. di Fossumbrone, Papal Nuncio with the Emperor.

The Admiral (age 43), who was at Calais with the Duke of Norfolk (age 62), returned six days ago without having concluded the marriage of the duke of Angoulême with the last daughter (age 1) of the King, which was spoken of as certain on both sides, or anything else that one can hear of; but the capitulation and the old friendship remain. The cause was the exorbitant demand of the English that the French king should bind himself to maintain Henry's marriage against the Pope and any determination of the Council; and finally they wished him to act in Church matters as had been done in England. They are very anxious about Fisher (age 65). The English who were at Calais say that he will not come out of prison; that he is 90 years of age, and very ill, giving him 25 years more than he has; and that he cannot live more than a month; so that it is easily seen that in this their actions correspond with the others. The cardinal of Paris set out four days ago for Rome. * * *

Ital., pp. 2, modern copy. Headed: A Mons. di Fossumbrone, Nuntio di Sua Santita all a Maesta Casarea. D'Amien, alli 22 di Giugno 1535.

Letters and Papers 1535. 22 Jun 1535. Add. MS. 8,715, f. 76 b. B. M. 909. Bishop of Faenza to M. Ambrogio.

The Admiral (age 43), who was 22 days at Calais, returned on the 17th, though it was said everywhere that he would go on to England. Mons. de Ricciafort (age 32) (Rochford), the brother of the new Queen (age 34), came here for eight days, but, as far as could be seen, did nothing. It is only from his relation to the Queen that he is employed, for the King has very few to trust in. All business passes through the hands of people who depend on the new Queen, and must therefore be settled according to her purpose. This was the case in the negociations with the Admiral (age 43), which were broken off on account of his refusal to allow the duke of Angoulême to go to England until the girl was old enough to be married, and because he would not declare in any way against the Church, or in favour of the King's second wife (age 34) (ne voler difendere in alcun modo contro la chiesa o declaratione del concilio la causa della seconda moglie1). Every one knows that the alliance (parentado) has not been concluded, as both sides confidently affirmed it would be, but that the ambassadors separated very ill satisfied, and the English are guarding Calais more carefully than they have done, even when the French were there in greater numbers. However, both sides affirm the friendship to be firmer than ever. The French king and Council say that their respect to the Holy See and the Pope has been the principal cause of their not coming to some other understanding (ad altro ristretto) with the king of England, who is a most bitter enemy of the Church, and so firm in his opinion that he intends to die in it, and tries to have this kingdom for company. The Duke of Norfolk (age 62), according to the Admiral (age 43), affirms that he would sooner die than see any change as regards the King or the new Queen; which is not unlike what the writer has heard in other ways of Norfolk, viz., that this breaking off might reasonably have been expected, matters depending very much on his dexterity, and the affairs of England being commonly managed more than barbarously. For he, being one of the greatest men in the kingdom, and having sons, and the Duke of Richmond (age 16) for his son-in-law, might hope one day to have that daughter for one of his sons, or, if disorders ensued, to get the rule into his own hands. The French lords are not too well contented with the English, who, since Norfolk's return, have despatched a courier, and show themselves displeased that nothing was concluded at Calais. The Admiral (age 43), though he takes Fisher's (age 65) case much to heart, has great fears for his life, especially as the Pope says in the brief that the created him a cardinal to make use of him in the Council. He says also that the English pretended that he could not live much more than a month, being a valetudinarian of 90; which shows what they mean to do with him, reckoning him 25 years older than he is, although they declare there is no hope in any case of his coming out of prison. These are truly the most monstrous things seen in our time. The French make great account with the Pope of not listening to anything proposed to them by the English which might turn to the damage of the Holy See.

Ital., pp. 9, modern copy. Headed: In Amoien, al Sig. M. Ambrogio, alli 12 (sic) ut supra.

2. An extract copy from the original is in the Vatican transcripts, dated Amiens, 22 June 1535. Pp. 3.

Note 1. nor want to defend the cause of the second wife in any way against the church or declaration of the council

Letters and Papers 1533. 10 Apr 1553. 324. Last Sunday, being Palm Sunday, the King made the bishop of Rochester prisoner, and put him under the charge of the bishop of Winchester; which is a very strange thing, as he is the most holy and learned prelate in Christendom. The King gave out in Parliament that this was done because he had insinuated that Rochford had gone to France with a commission to present an innumerable sum of money to the chancellor of France and the cardinal of Lorraine to persuade the Pope by a bribe to ratify this new marriage, or at all events to overlook it, and not proceed further; which the King thought his Holiness would naturally do, seeing that the matter was already settled. I think that Rochford must have had this among his other charges. Not to spoil their negotiations with the Pope for that which they were soliciting in these Estates, he begged the Nuncio, by the duke of Norfolk, not to write on these matters to his Holiness. The real cause of the Bishop's detention is his manly defence of the Queen's cause. You may learn by it the gross disorder of affairs here, and the obstinacy of this King, who seems to seek for nothing else except his own perdition. Whenever they speak to him of the inconveniences likely to arise, he says that whilst England is united, it is not conquerable by any foreign prince; but it seems to me he is doing all he can to disgust his people.

You cannot imagine the fear into which all these people have fallen, great and small, imagining they are undone; and even if they do not suffer from foreign, they will from civil war. But though their fear be great, their indignation is still greater, except with ten or twelve who hang about the Lady; so that they are willing to incur great losses, if your Majesty would send an army and root out the poison of the Lady and her adherents.