Henry Soames.

Elizabethan religious history online

. (page 41 of 62)
Online LibraryHenry SoamesElizabethan religious history → online text (page 41 of 62)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

nents thought them worn out and suppressed ^ They
were, however, now urged into fresh activity by the
exertions of a new patron, named Barrow. The Brown-
ists, or Barrowists, as they were henceforth indifferently
styled, were no less hostile to the Disciplinarians, than to
the Church. Hence both were equally bent upon their
extinction. One subject of deliberation at Disciplinarian
conferences, was the arrangement of plans for terminating
the Romish and the Brownist schisms \ It had always
been thought a Christian duty by admirers of the Con-
sistory, to include Romanists among criminals. They
now showed a similar intolerance towards their Brownist
oj)ponents. This is, however, the party which Elizabeth
and her ministry have undergone so much obloquy for
resistinof- The government was embarked in no conflict
with principles of free toleration, or enlightened civil
liberty. Such principles appear to have been wholly

hard sayings for themselves, they
thought worthy of hanishment or
hanging. Nor did they mean to
overlook any power yet in their

dispersed, they are now, thanks
be to God, by the good remedies
that have been used, suppressed
and worn out ; so as there is scarce

hands, for carrying this judgment j any news of them." — Bacon. Ob-
into unsparing operation. se}'vatio7is om a Libel, published

' " And as for those which we [ this present year, 1592. Works,
call Brownists, being, when they ! iii. GO.

were at the most, a very small '" Examination of Thomas Bar-
number of very silly and base ! bar. — Stuype. JVhifgiJ'l. Append,
people, here and there in corners j ix. iii. 274.

416 PROGRESS OF [a.d. 1593.

overlooked on every side. The queen was merely strug-
gling against an exclusive sect, which aimed at the
Church-establishment, and was ready to trample down
opposition by the most tyrannical expedients'. The
details of this resistance were often blameable ; sufficient
inquirers into Elizabethan history have no longer a word
for the thing resisted.

Seemingly, to strike a greater terror into the Sepa-
ratists, their leaders were capitally indicted, under an
existing statute, while the parliament sate. The most
conspicuous clergyman of their j^arty, since Brown's
retirement, was named John Greenwood. He does not
appear to have possessed any striking talent, but where
this is wanting, zeal or violence will commonly, notwith-
standing, command a temporary popularity. That Green-
wood had attracted considerable notice, is evident from
his arrest, six years ago. His lay associate, Henry
Barrow, long remarkable for a restless tongue, and a
disputatious temper, suddenly grew serious, and may be
considered as a second founder of the Separatists. He
remained for some time undiscovered, but a search was
on foot for his apprehension. He Mas of gentlemanly
origin in Norfolk, and had been a member both of the
University of Cambridge, and of Gray's Inn^ He does

' The Act against Protestant faction, as liad before endangered
recusancy " being made to con- tlie foundations of it." — IIkyltn.
tinue no longer than the end of Hist. Prcsb. 322.
tlie next session of parliament, * The Examinations of Henry
•was afterwards kept in force from | Barrowe, John CJrenewood, and
session to session, till the death of John Penrie, before the High
the queen, to the great j)reserva- Cuniuiissioners and Lordes of the
tion of the peace of the kingdom, Counsel. Penned by the Pri-
the safety of her majesty's j)erson, soners ])efore their deaths. Printed
and the tranquillity of the C'hurcli, !;')}!(!. — lliirlcian Misccllaiij/, iv.
free from thenceforth from any 327 — 32U.
such disturbauccs of the Puritan I


not appear, however, to have been admitted a barrister.
Indeed, Iiis early habits are charged with an irregnlarity,
commonly fatal to professional acquirements, and which
occasioned many severe comments when he came forward
as a religious leader'. But although by-gone vice is
always justly punished by sucli reflections, it may be
superseded by fanaticism in minds really untainted by
hypocrisy. The same intensity of impulse that has
tempted one year into excessive pleasure, may guide the
next, under pressure of remorse, into an overdone pro-
fession of religion. Barrow's mind was evidently liable
to be thus led away. He traced his principles originally
to Cartwright, but he eventually spoke of that celebrated
leader and his party, as a closer kind of hypocrites, who
" strained at a gnat, and swallowed a camel." They
came occasionally to church, and thus avoided the cha-
racter of Protestant recusants. They professed themselves

* " Greenwood is but a simple ; like atheists." (Bancroft. Survey
fellow, Barrow is the man. And i of tJie Pretended Ilolif DiseipUne.
"will sacrilegious people become \ 300.) The Brownists had not
Barrowists? I easily believe it. " been much known at all, had
Like will to like. When Barrow not Brown, their leader, written a
by roisting and gaming had Avasted \ pamphlet, wherein, as it came
himself, and was run so farre into into his head, he inveighed more
many a man's debt that he durst against logic and rhetoric, than
not shew his head abroad, he bent I against the state of the church;
his Avits another way, and is now which -writing was much read :
become a Julianist, devising by all and had not also one Barrow,
means he can possildy imagine, being a gentleman of a good house,
his hypocrisie, railing, lying, and but one that lived in London, at
all manner of falsehood, even as ordinaries, and there learned to
Julian the Apostate did, how all argue in table-talk, and so Avas
the preferments which yet remain very much known in the city and
for learning, benefices, tythes, abroad, made a leap from a vain
glebe-land, cathedral churches, and libertine youth, to a precise-
bishops' livings, colleges, universi- ness in the highest degree : the
ties, and all, might be utterly strangeness of Avhich alteration
spoyled and made a prey for made him very much spoken of."
banckrouts, cormorants, and such — Bacox. ul supra.



418 PROGRESS OF Ca.d. 1593.

members of the Church, .iiid merely wanted to reform it
in their own way. Barrow, with his friends, woukl hear
of nothing but its destruction. They denounced it as no
true church, its worship as i(h)latrous, its congreo^ations
as ungodly parish assemblies, its ministers as unauthorized,
its government as antichristian. Such "was their hatred
of all set religious forms, that they would not even use
the Lord's Prayer, and all i)rinted catechisms they
derided as the refuges for idleness, therefore disgraceful
both to the framers and the users. Having adojitcd higli
ascetic notions, they denied the lawfulness of baj)ti!sm to
the children of such as did not reach their standard of
sanctity; but they did not maintain the necessity of
repeating that sacrament in cases where they thought it
improperly administered. They did not disapprove of
oaths, u])on occasions deemed fitting by themselves; but
they would not touch a Bible, or any substance, in
swearing. In naming months and days, they seem to
liave anticipated some of the scruples which eventually
became an integral portion of Quaker peculiarities'.

BarroM', the great patron of these ojunions, having
gone to see his friend Greenwood, then a prisoner, was
recognised, and himself detained in custody*. Being-
taken immediately to Lambeth, he assumed there, as he
did afterwards elsewhere towards the })relacy, a bold and
saucy tone. To the judges and lay councillors his beha-
viour was always rt'sj)ectful. Thus his oi)inious were
pretty fully elicited. It is said, that he and his asso-
ciates were enlarged u})on some promise of considering
attentively the arguments whidi might be urged upon

' pAlLh'fti ll'/ii'>si/'l. C)H. Exaiiiiiiatiuns ot" Ikiiiy Ijanuwc, &f.
vt .supra. '.i'.iO.

• Nov. 1!». ir,B<i.

A.n. 1593.]



them, in a conference with certain divines appointed for
that purpose'. But if they had any such indulgence, it
might seem to have been imperfect and conditional ^
At all events, he and his party never slackened. Pamph-
lets kept-up their own strength, and the irritation of their
opponents ^ An offensive inscription ujjon the coffin of
a Barrowist, who died in prison, ran like wildfire through
London \ The party was computed at near twenty

' Heylin. Hhf. Presb. 323.

* In a memorial to the council,
placed under 1592, Barrow and
Greenwood are said to have been
" now more than five j'ears in
prison, yea four of these five years
in close prison, with miserable
usage." Greenwood, however, ap-
pears from this memorial, to have
been apprehended within a month
"at an honest citizen's house upon
Ludgate-hill," at two o'clock in
the morning, and carried off to
AVood-street counter. Perhaps
the house on Ludgate-hill might
be in the rules of the Fleet. By
a former memorial to Burghley, it
appears that both Barrow and
Greenwood were prisoners in the
Fleet. If they had the rules, it
will account for their alleged li-
berty. — Strype. J una Is. lxi. lxii.
iv. 129. 134.

^ One of these remarkably
shews the altering aspect of reli-
gious party. Giffard, a Puritani-
cal minister, published a pamph-
let imputing Donatism to the
Barrowists. " Barrow's answer
was printed anno 1591, while he
was a prisoner, which he called,
A plain Refulation of Mr. G.
Gijj'ard' ,1 reproachful Book., SfC.
Wherein is discovered the Forger^)
of the whole Alinislri/, the don-

fusion, false Worship, and Anti'
christian Disorder, of these Parish-
Assemblies, called the Churcli of
England. Here also is jyreflxed
a Sum of the Causes of our Se-
paratio)i, and of our Purposes in
Practice. In his Preface to the
Reader, he sheweth the^ur prin-
cipal transgressions (as he calls
them) wherewith he and his party
Avere charged, and for which they
forsook the parish-assemblies ;
namely, 1. The profaneness, wick-
edness, and confusion of the peo-
ple which were there received, re-
tained, and nourished as members.
2. The unlawfulness of their whole
ministry, Avhich was imposed upon
them, retained, and maintained by
them. 3. The superstition and
idolatry of their public worship, in
their devised liturgy, which was
imposed upon them. 4. And the
forgery of their antichristian ec-
clesiastical government, to which
all their churches stand subject.
Which transgressions were such
and so apparent, as not only to
prove these parish-assemblies not
to be true established churches of
Christ, but, &c., and sufficient
causes of separation from them in
this degenerate estate." — Strype.
Whit gift. ii. 191.

' " This is the corps of Roger

2 E 2



[a. I). 1593.

thoiisaiKr, and neither Cliurehnien nor Disciplinarians
could be blind to the prospect of its daily extension.
Both were willing-, accordingly, to seek its repression by
an act of legal violence.

The lawyers of that day were never at a loss to
render effectual, any craving of ])owerful cruelty'. A
statute had been passed, several years before, making the
writing or dissemination of seditious pieces, a capital
felony'. Under the odious j)rincijde of straining acts
constructively, legal subtlety very soon brought two
unha])py Brownists to an untimely end*. They had
spread controversial attacks upon the liturgy: this was
tantamount to libelling the <iueeii, through her ecclesias-

Rippon, a servant of Christ, and
her Majesty's faithful suhject.
Who is the last of sixteen or se-
venteen, which that great enemy
of God, the archbishop of Canter-
bury, Avith his high commissioners,
have murdered in Newgate within
these five years, manifestly for the
testimony of .Jesus Christ. liis
soul is now with the Lord: and
his blood crieth for speedy ven-
geance against that great enemy of
the saints, and against ^Ir. Rich-
ard Young (a justice of the peace
in Ijondon). Who in this, and
many like points, hath abused his
power, for the ujiholding of the
Komish Antichrist, j)n'lacy, and
priesthood." — Siuyi-i:. Auutils. iv.
xc. p. \iW. sub (HI. 15i>2.

' Sir Walter Raleigh in the
House of Commons, Ap. 4, 159U.
— D'EwKs. 517.

■ " Tliis was according to the
invariable practice of Tudor times:
ail oppressive and sanguinary sta-

tute was first made, and next, as
occasion might serve, a construc-
tion was put on it contrary to all
common sense, in order to take
away men's lives." — IIall.\31.
Const. Hist. i. 290. note.

=* 23 Eliz. ch. 2.

* " IClias Thacker was lianged
at St. Edmondsbury, in SuUulke,
on the fourth of .June, and .John
Coping, on the sixt of the same
month, for spreading ccrtaine
bookes, seditiously penned by one
Robert Browne, against the booke
of Common Prayer, establislu-d Ity
the lawes of this realm. Their
bookes, so many as could be found,
were burnt before then)." (Stowe.
(iiXi. snh an. 15H3.) "It ai»pears
by the judges' letter, that it was
for their denial of the Queen's su-
premacy in all causes: which they
aI!ow<Ml oidy in cirl/. And this
chicMy the judges thought fit to
take hold of in the book." —
.Sritvi'i;. Annals, iii. 270.


tical supremacy. The same inhuman sophistry was again
put into requisition against Barrow, Greenwood, and
three others. Jk-ing tried at the Old Bailey', as pub-
lishers of sedition, they were necessarily convicted by a
jury led to believe that such tracts as theirs were virtu-
ally seditious. Tliis conviction, it was hoped, would
overcome their obstinacy, especially as it was coupled
with appearances of immediate execution. During their
previous confinement, Cartwright had conferred with
Barrow, who declared himself to have done nothing more
than push his premises to their legitimate conclusions.
The archbishop would have had a second conference
between the admitted master and his over-active pupil,
but Cartwright refused consent. The miserable convicts
being now under daily expectation of a violent death,
several dignitaries in the church were sent to reason with
them. Barrow told them that, although mistaken, they
were not the persons whom he most disliked. In their
case, princi})le went hand in hand with jiractice, and they
walked according to the light that God had given them.
But he complained of Cartwright and his friends, for
teaching that established ordination was antichristian,
and then deserting those who fairly carried-out that
position. Being reminded of the Marian martyrs, he did
not deny their services to religion, but raising his own
manacled hands, he added, "These holy bands of mine
are much more glorious than any of theirs, because they
bore the mark of Antichrist'." Farther argument being
evidently hopeless, the unfortunate prisoners were paraded
to Tyburn, with all the horrid formalities of ajfproaching
execution. While awaiting the stroke of death, a

' Mar. 2 J, 1593.
* Paule'k IVhilfiifi. m. IlKyLJN. llisl. Vroib. 324.

422 riiOCiKEbs of [a.u. 1593.

reprieve came, and sent them back to Newgate'. Being
foun<l wholly proof oven ai^ainst this barbarons attempt
at intiuiitlation, within a week, the felon's death was
really inflicted npon Barrow and Greenwood*. They met
it with all the firmness that must have been anticipated ;
and they were careful to wijie aMay the imputation of
unquestionable sedition, by dying with ardent loyalty
ujion their lips. The f[ueen could hardly have heard of
this without compunction, and she is said to have
expressed regret at having consented to their execution'.
Of their brother-convicts, one was banished, the other
two died in prison.

While this cruel spectacle was fresh in the public
mind, John Penry, another noted Barrowist, was ajipre-
hended. He was born in Brecknockshire, and had
studied in both universities*. Having conceived an
uncontrollable antipathy to the established clergy, he
seems never to have regularly taken orders'. He
preached, nevertheless, among his countrymen, in Wales ;
for whose religious welfare he always expressed a most

' ]Marcli 31. Their necks were i tlictments,]iowevcr, he is'describcd
actually ])laccd in the nooses. — clcricii.i. But Avhen examined be-
Stowi:. '/{};>. fore Fanshaw and Young, April

' April ().—//;/>/. 10, ir>\m, he was asked, ''What

* " AVhen Dr. Reynolds, nlio calling have you to preach ? Wrro
attended them, reported their be- i you never made minister accord-
liaviour to her Majesty, she re- ing to the order of (his land V"
pented that she had yielded to, Ills answer was, "I might if I
their death." — Nkal. i. 4'JV. \ liad been willing, liave been made

*•' J'Mucated first at Cambridge, I either deacon, or priest; but I
afterwards in St. Alban's Hall, thank the J^ord, I ever disliked
Oxford, where he proceeded j\I.A. these I'opish orders ; and if I had
]">}{()." — Xi:.\L. i. 4M0. , taken them, 1 would utterly re-

■^ Neal states him to have "en- ' fuse thtiii, and not stand by them,
tered into holy orders." In a dis- I at any hand." {ll<irl. Misc. iv.
seating work this, undoubtedly, I 3-J.3. ) This, in spite of the
may not mean, that he had been indictments, appears conclusive
episcopally ordained. In his in- ' against episcopal ordination.


affectionate concern, and who first, he said, received the
Gospel from him'. Having considerable liveliness of
talent, but with a debasing alloy of low, headstrong
violence, he took a principal share in preparing the ]Mar-
Prelate tracts. Indeed, he was commonly identified
with that scurrilous buiFoon himself^ This occasioned a
search for him, and, like many other discontented reli-
gionists, he took refuge in Scotland. However he might
differ there upon disciplinarian questions, his hatred of
Popery and Prelacy was intense enough to answer every
expectation of the country. Hence he received a call, as
the phrase goes, and was regularly admitted a public
preacher, but undertook no particular cure'. He was,
indeed, unwilling to fix himself anywhere out of Wales,
which he was earnestly bent upon bringing over to his
own opinions. This anxiety made him even encourage
Hacket's insane explosion, and looking upon it as the
first step in that reformation which he certainly predicted,
he immediately travelled southward ^ His anticipations
being checked by that unhappy lunatic's execution, he
returned precipitately to his old quarters in Edinburgh.
When the present parliament met, he ventured upon a
journey to London, and concealed himself at Stepney.
The vicar of that parish has the unenviable notoriety of
betraying him'. It should, however, be observed in that

' Neal. nl supra.

* From the examinations of
divers persons, about the printing
of Mar- Prelate, taken at Lambeth,
Feb. 15, 1589, it is evident that
Penry vi'as particularly active in
the printing of this libellous mis-
cellany, and he seems to have been
considered on all hands, as the
principal author. — Stbype. An-
nals, iii. Append. Lxviii. p. 602,

■' " I have taught publicly in
the Church of Scotland, being
thereunto desired earnestly, and
called by the order of that Church.
Charge I never had any, therefore,
I never bare office either there, or
in any other Church." — Examina-
tions, &c. Harl. Misc. iv. 343.

* IIeylin. Hist. Vrcsb. 325.

' Ibid.

424 PROGRESS OF [a.h. 1o93.

clerfjvman's extenuation, tliat ho did not dra<x Pcnrv from
any close, inoffensive seclusion. Tlic zealous Welshman
could emerpfe from his obscure lodging, and ])our the
streams of a niiud un(juestionably eloquent, into the
excited ears of a congregation, stealthily aAvaiting him, in
a wood, or other such favourable recess'. Nor had his
conduct ever given promise of topics purely spiritual.
lie and his friends were strenuous advocates for that
religious polity now known as the Voluntarij System.
Unlike the Disciplinarian party, which maintained the
inviolability of property once assigned to sacred uses, and
therefore would have reclaimed the impropriations, and
all other fixed possessions, formerly monastic, Barrowism
threatened confiscation even to parochial endowments.
Penry argued against all ecclesiastical estates, both as
limbs of Antichrist, and also as pernicious baits. They
not only kejjt alive the hopes of resident Romanists, but
likewise allured Jesuits and seminary priests from abroad
by seductive speculations upon appropriating them, under
some favourable change in politics". There is undoubt-

' " Faushaw. And >vliat office j Papists at liomc are hy this means

had you in your church, Avhich [ kept still in remembrance of that

meet in woods, and I know not Koniish Kgypt, and in continual

where? Peiiri/. I liavc no office expectation of tlieir long-dcsired

in that poor congregation : and as day: whereas if these offices and

for our meetings either in woods, livings were once removed, the

or any wliere else, we liave the ex- devised works and callings would

ample of our Saviour Christ, of fall with them, the Pope and his

Ills Church, and servants in all tratHckers would he utterly void of

ages, for our warrant." — Exanii- all liope to set-up the standard of

nations, &c. »/ supra. \\A2. the Man of Sin again in this no-

* "The traitorous Jesuits and hie kingdom, here being not so

Seminary priests, hoping to pos- much as an ofHce, or one penny of

sess these execrable livings and maintenance left for any of liis

offices again, are also thereby al- members, the Jesuits and Priests

lured readily to become most un- would liave no allurements to make

natural traitors, against their na- them rebclls against their prince,

tural j>rincc and country; and the and the seduced Papists at liome



edly justice in such views. Domestic Romanism, seeing
the secular clergy and its endowments, yet remaining,
must have built upon some revolution to bring both into
their former channel. However prepared for martyrdom,
a Romish emissary could not leave out of his calculations,
the chance of a comfortable benefice instead, on sailing
for his native land. But a preacher mIio made of such
accidental disadvantages, a reason for decrying endow-
ments altogether, would speak here to the mere passions
of his auditory. His voice would really be greeted by
cupidity, pride, and envy. This is quickly discerned by
parties whom such doctrine tends to degrade and beggar.
Some allowance, therefore, is fairly due for their natural
dislike and irritation. Penry, besides, maintained opi-
nions highly obnoxious to both the great Protestant par-
ties, and marked-out, accordingly, by the general voice
for suppression, whatever difficulty or obloquy might
attend it.

Being examined, on his apprehension, by two lay
magistrates, Penry admitted himself an enemy to exist-
ing ecclesiastical offices, the qualifications required for
them, much of their business, and the endowments main-
taining them. He stigmatized all such offices as false,
the creatures of Antichrist, and inferred the necessity of
separation, because every degree of conformity was a
submission to the yoke of antichristian bondage. Of
the Marian martyrs, he expressed a deference for no one
but Latimer. In fact, he seems to have considered
Wickliffe as his master, and to have chiefly venerated the
martyred Lollards, with such Protestants as had been

■Nvould easily forget tlieir idolatry,
there being here neither office, nor
any other monument of that anti-

christian religion left to put them
in mind of that Babel." — Exa-
minations, &c. id supra. 347.

42() PROGRESS OF [a.d. 1593.

burnt in Ilenrv's time, after the rupture with Rome. As
usual, he disclaimed all jjolitical intentions, and finely
said, " I am assured, if her ^lajesty knew the equity and
uprightness of our cause, we should not receive the hard
measure Avliich wo now sustain. We and our cause are
never brought before her, but in the odious weeds of
sedition, rebellion, schism, or heresy. It is no marvel,
therefore, to see the edge of her sword turned against

As a political offender, however, preparations were
made for trying him. The first intention Avas to indict
him upon certain passages in his published works, but
means were supplied him for shewing the illegality
of this course ^ Two indictments were then framed
against him, unfairly founded on his own private papers".
Among these were discovered an unpresented address, or

Online LibraryHenry SoamesElizabethan religious history → online text (page 41 of 62)