Sufferings of the English Protestants Under Bloody Queen Mary – The Burning of Latimer, Ridley, Cranmer and Others

Chapter 2 taken from “History of Romanism” by John Dowling

5. It would be improper entirely to omit and yet it is not necessary minutely to describe the well known cruel burnings of the English protestants, during the reign of the bigoted and hardhearted woman, whose name has been appropriately handed down to posterity as bloody QUEEN MARY. And it seems proper to commerce those few sketches of persecutions of Popery, with the recital of the sufferings of the Marian martyrs, as they all occurred during the interval that elapsed between the second adjournment and resumption of the council of Trent already described.

During her brief reign of five years, according to the lowest calculations TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-EIGHT PERSONS WERE BURNED ALIVE, by her order, for the crime of heresy, and among them were the wealthy and the poor, the priest and the tax-man, the merchant and the farmer, the blind and the lame, the helpless female and the new-born babe. The persecutions did not commence in the first year of her reign. She was proclaimed Queen on the 17th of July, 1553 , and it was not till the commencement of 1555 that the venerable John Rogers, the proto-martyr of the Marian persecution, sealed the truth with his blood by being burnt alive at Smithfield . He suffered on the 4th of February, 1555 . The number of heretics burnt alive in England in 1555, was seventy-one; in 1556, eighty-nine; in 1557, eighty–eight; and in 1558, forty. The number of the victims would have been largely swelled, had not death relieved the world of the presence and tyranny of this popish monster in the shape of a woman, on the 17th of November, 1558 . The names of Rogers and Saunders, and Hooper; of Taylor, and Bradford, and Latimer, and Ridley, and Cranmer; and of their martyrdom associates, have become as familiar as household words to the protestant descendants of England and America; and the oft- repeated story of their painful but triumphant deaths, amidst the torturing fires of martyrdom, continues to preach loudly and eloquently of the cruelty and bigotry of Rome . Our limitations allow but a brief sketch of the martyrdom of the three last-mentioned, of the nine worthies whose names have been cited above.

6. Bishops Latimer and Ridley were two of the ablest as well as holiest of the martyrs whose blood was offered as a sacrifice upon the altar of popish bigotry during the reign of Mary.

HUGH LATIMER was born about 1472, and was now, therefore, upwards of fourscore years old. He had been a prominent man, in the reign of the licentious Henry VIII., the father of queen Mary, and was appointed by him to the bishopric of Worcester . It is related of Latimer, as an instance of his faithfulness, that on new Year’s day. when, according to the prevailing custom, the eminent men of the land presented the king with a new year’s gift, his gift consisted of a copy of the New Testament, with the passage marked, and the leaf turned down to the words, “WHOREMONGERS AND ADULTERERS GOD WILL JUDGE.” Those acquainted with the history of the adulterous Henry VIII. need not be told how applicable was the reproof to his character. When this faithful and venerable man was apprehended by order of the bloody Mary, he said to the officer, “My friend, you are a welcome messenger to me;” and in passing through Smithfield, where so many of the martyrs of Jesus had been burned alive, he remarked, “Smithfield hath long groaned for me.” He suffered a long and cruel imprisonment in the Tower previous to his martyrdom. One day, when suffering from the severe frost and denied the comfort of a fire, the aged sufferer pleasantly remarked to his keeper, that if he were not taken better care of, he should certainly escape out of his enemies’ hands, meaning that he should perish with cold and hardship, and thus escape the burning intended for him by his enemies.

NICHOLAS RIDLEY was born in the year 1500, had been chaplain to the pious youth, king Edward VI., the predecessor of Mary, and had been appointed by him bishop of London . Upon the accession of Mary, he was soon seized and committed to the Tower, where he and Latimer continued during the winter of 1553 and 1554, and were afterwards removed to Oxford , and lodged in a common prison. In the year 1555, a commission was issued to several popish bishops to proceed against these two holy men. Full accounts are given by Fox of the various disputations they held with the martyrs. It is sufficient here to remark, that neither threats nor promises could shake their constancy, and that in every interview they came off triumphant over all the arguments of their popish opponents, by whom they were condemned to be degraded, and delivered up to the secular power.

7. The reason why the church of Rome always performed this ceremony of degradation upon ecclesiastics before delivering them up to the secular arm to be burnt, was because she was too watchful over the immunities of the privileged order of priests, to deliver them up to the temporal jurisdiction, till stripped of the sacerdotal character, and degraded to the situation of laymen. Brooks, bishop of Gloucester performed this ceremony on Ridley on the 15th of October. Brooks repeated on this occasion his fruitless attempts to shake the constancy of the martyr, and to induce him to acknowledge the authority of the Pope; but Ridley only renewed his truthful testimony concerning “the usurped authority of the Romish anti-Christ;” and declared, “the Lord being my helper, I will to maintain so long as is my tongue shall wag, and breath is within my body, and in confirmation thereof seal the same with my blood.” Ridley continued so faithfully to reason upon the true character of the Pope that the Bishop threatened to employ the gag, a weapon of frequent use in those days, when the faithful testimony of the martyrs could be in no other way prevented.

The bishop of Gloucester then remarked, that seeing he would not receive the Queen’s mercy, they must go on to degrade him from the dignity of priesthood; saying moreover, “we take you for no bishop, and therefore we will the sooner have done with you, committing you to the secular power; you know what doth follow.”

“Do with me as it shall please God to suffer you,” was the reply; “I am well content to abide the same with all my heart.” Brooks desired him to put off his cap and put upon him the surplice: he answered, “I will not.” “But you must.” “I will not.” “You must; therefore make no more ado, but put this surplice upon you.” “Truly, if it come upon me, it shall be against my will.” “Will you not put it upon you!” “No, that I will not.” “It shall be put upon you by some one or other.” “Do therein as it shall please you; I am well contented with that, and more than that the servant is not above his Master. If they dealt so cruelly with our Saviour Christ, as the Scripture maketh mention, and he endured the same patently, how much more doth it become us, his servants?”

The surplice was then forcibly put on him, with all the trinkets appertaining to the mass: during which he vehemently inveighed against the Romish bishop, calling him anti-Christ, and the apparel foolish and abominable. This made Dr. Brooks very angry: he bade him hold his peace, for that he did but rail. The Christian martyr replied, so long as his tongue and breath would suffer him, he would speak against their abominable doings whatsoever happened unto him for it. When they came to the place where he should hold the chalice and wafer-cake, they bade him take them into his hands he replied, “They shall not come into my hands and if they do, they shall fall to the ground for me.” An attendant was obliged to hold them fast in his hands while Brooks read a certain thing in Latin, appertaining to that part of the performance. Next they placed a book in his hand, while Brooks recited the passage, “We do take from you the office of preaching the gospel,” &c. At these words Dr. Ridley gave a great sigh, and looking up toward heaven, said, “O Lord God, forgive them this their wickedness.” The massing garments being taken off one by one, till the surplice only was left, they proceeded to the last step of the degradation, by deposing him from the lowest office of the priesthood.

8. On the following day, October 16th, 1555, Latimer and Ridley were brought to the stake, which was prepared in a hollow, near Baliol college, on the north side of the city of Oxford. The venerable Latimer being stripped for the stake, appeared in a shroud prepared for the occasion; and now, says Fox, “a remarkable change was observed in his appearance; for whereas he had hitherto seemed a withered, decrepit, and even a deformed old man, he now stood perfectly upright, a straight and comely person. Ridley was disposed to remain in his trousers; but on his brother observing that it would occasion him more pain, and that the article of dress would do some poor man good, he yielded to the latter plea, and saying, “Be it, in the name of God,” delivered it to his brother. Then, being stripped to his shirt, he stood upon a stone by the stake, and holding up his hand, said, “O heavenly Father, I give unto thee most hearty thanks, for that thou hast called me to be a professor of thee, even unto death: I beseech thee, Lord God, take mercy upon this realm of England, and deliver the same from all her enemies.” The smith now brought a chain, and passed it round the bodies of the two martyrs, as they quietly stood on either side of the stake: while he was hammering the staple into the wood, Ridley took the chain in his hand, and shaking it, said, “Good fellow, knock it in hard, for the flesh will have its course.” This being done, Shipside brought him some gunpowder in a bag to tie round his neck; which he received as sent of God, to be a means of shortening his torment; at the same time inquiring whether he had any for his brother, meaning Latimer, and hastening him to give it immediately, lest it might come too late; which was done. A lighted faggot was then brought, and laid down at his feet, on which Latimer turned and addressed him in those memorable and prophetic words, “Be of good comfort, Mr. Ridley, and play the man: “WE SHALL THIS DAY LIGHT SUCH A CANDLE, BY GOD’S GRACE, IN ENGLAND, AS, I TRUST, SHALL NEVER BE PUT OUT.”

The flames rose; and Ridley in a wonderfully loud voice exclaimed in Latin, “Into thy hands, “O Lord, I commend my spirit,” often repeating in English, “Lord, receive my spirit!” Latimer on the other side as vehemently crying out, “O Father of heaven, receive my soul!” and welcoming, as it were, the flame, he embraced it, bathed his hands in it, stroked his venerable face with them, and soon died, seemingly with little pain, or none. So ended this old and blessed servant of God, his laborious works, and fruitful life, by an easy and quiet death in the midst of the fire, into which he cheerfully entered for Christ’s sake. But it pleased the Lord to glorify himself otherwise in Ridley: his torments were terrible, and protracted to an extent that it sickens the heart to contemplate. The fire had been made so ill, by heaping a great quantity of heavy faggots very high about him, above the lighter combustibles, that the solid wood kept down the flame, causing it to rage intensely beneath, without ascending. The martyr finding his lower extremities only burning, requested those about him, for Christ’s sake, to let the fire come to him; which his poor brother Shipside hearing, and in the anguish of his spirit not rightly understanding, he heaped more faggots on the pile, hoping so to hasten the conflagration, which of course was further repressed by it, and became more vehement beneath, burning to a cinder all the nether parts of the sufferer, without approaching the vitals. In this horrible state, he continued to leap up and down under the wood, praying them to let the fire come, and repeatedly exclaiming, “I cannot burn,” writhing in the torture, as he turned from side to side, the bystanders saw even his shirt unconsumed, clean, and unscorched by the flame, while his legs were totally burnt off. In such extremity his heart was still fixed, trusting in his God, and ejaculating frequently, “Lord, have mercy upon me!” intermingling it with entreaties, “Let the fire come unto me-I cannot burn.” At last one of the bill-men with his weapon mercifully pulled away the faggots from above, so giving the flame power to rise; which the sufferer no sooner saw, than with an eager effort he wrenched his mutilated body to that side, to meet the welcome deliverance. The flame now touched the gunpowder, and he was seen to stir no more; but after burning awhile on the other side, he fell over the chain at the feet of Latimer’s corpse.

Such are thy tender mercies, tyrant Rome!
The rack, the faggot, or the hated creed-
Fearless amidst thy folds fierce wolves may roam,
Whilst stainless sheep upon thine altars bleed.

9. Let the Christian reader now draw nigh and contemplate this painful scene-the venerable form of the holy Latimer, with his snow locks whitened by the frosts of eighty- three winters, dressed in his shroud, directing his eyes upward to heaven for strength as the torturing flames gather and wrap themselves around his aged and quivering limbs, and yet amidst his tortures praying for his tormentors-the stately and noble form of his companion Ridley, chained to the same stake, with his feet and legs actually burning to a cinder, till they fall from his tortured body; before death, the welcome deliverer, has done his work-then let him contemplate the cowled priest of Rome, with cross in hand, insulting the dying agonies of the martyrs, and rejoicing in their protracted and excruciating torments-and remember that this, stripped of disguise or concealment-THIS IS POPERY- “DRUNK WITH THE BLOOD OF THE SAINTS AND OF THE MARTYRS OF JESUS.”

Well does that gifted authoress, Mrs. Tonna, exclaim, after citing the description of the horrible tortures inflicted upon these two holy men, “Wo unto us, if, with these examples before us, we shrink not from touching, even the outermost fringe of that harlot’s polluted garments! There is that mingled with the dust of Oxford which will rise up in the judgment, a terrible witness against those who, while trampling on the ashes of the martyrs, shall dare to suggest any, even the slightest measure of approximation to the apostate church-any recognition of her, otherwise than as THE DEEPLY ACCURSED ENEMY or CHRIST AND HIS SAINTS.”

10. THOMAS CRANMER was born in 1489, and had been appointed by Henry VIII. archbishop of Canterbury. During the brief reign of the youthful Edward VI., Cranmer (though not entirely free from the contamination of the doctrine of Rome, the right to persecute for conscience sake) was one of the principal agents in advancing the reformation in England. Upon the accession of bloody Mary, he was soon marked out as a conspicuous victim for her fury. His closing days are clouded, as were those of Jerome of Prague, by his signature to a written recantation, obtained from him by his enemies, by the means of the prospect they held out to him of life and comfort, after nearly three years of cruel and rigorous imprisonment; yet, like the Bohemian reformer, he bitterly repented this act of natural weakness, and showed the sincerity of that repentance, by his extraordinary courage and constancy, amidst the fires of martyrdom. After Cranmer had signed this document, he soon found reason to suspect that his popish enemies would still not be satisfied without his blood; and in the estimation of some, this circumstance may, perhaps, tend to east a shade of doubt over his dying protestations. No one, however, who will carefully consider the circumstances of the last few hours of his life (which we shall now proceed to narrate), can reasonably doubt that his penitence for this act of pardonable weakness was sincere, and that the same Jesus who cast a look of love, and melted the heart of Peter, who had denied him, sustained the dying Cranmer by his presence and his smiles, and welcomed the ransomed spirit of the departed martyr to the abodes of the blessed.

11. It is generally thought that Cranmer was not informed of the determination to put him to death, till the morning when he was to suffer. About nine A. M., of the 21st of March, 1556, he was taken to St. Mary’s church, Oxford, to listen to a sermon by Doctor Cole; preached at the church instead of at the place of execution, on account of its being a very rainy day.

A Romanist who was present, and who expressed the opinion “that the former life and wretched end of Cranmer deserved a greater misery, if greater had been possible,” was yet, in spite of his heart-hardening opinions, touched with compassion at beholding him in a bare and ragged gown, and ill-favoredly clothed with an old square cap, exposed to the contempt of all men. “I think,” said he, “there was none that pitied not his case, and bewailed not his fortune, and feared not his own chance, to see so noble a prelate, so grave a counsellor, of so long-continued honor, after so many dignities, in his old years to be deprived of his estate, adjudged to die, and in so painful a death to end his life.” When he had ascended the stage, he knelt and prayed, weeping so profusely, that many, even of the papists, were moved to tears.

When Cole was preaching the sermon, in which he endeavored to make the best apology possible for the act of the Queen in consigning Cranmer to the flames, the venerable martyr himself seemed overwhelmed with the weight of sorrow and penitence. “With what great grief of mind he stood hearing this sermon,” says good John Fox, in his own simple and beautiful style, “the outward shows of his body and countenance did better express, than any man can declare: one while lifting up his hands and eyes unto heaven, and then again for shame letting them down to the earth. A man might have seen the very image and shape of perfect sorrow lively in him expressed. More than twenty several times the tears gushed out abundantly, dropping down from his fatherly face. Those which were present testify that they never saw, in any child, more tears than burst out from him at that time. It is marvellous what commiseration and pity moved all men’s hearts that beheld so heavy a countenance, and such abundance of tears, in an old man of so reverend dignity.” Withal he ever retained “a quiet and grave behavior.” In this hour of utter humiliation and severe repentance, he possessed his soul in patience. Never had his mind been more clear and collected, never had his heart been so strong. After the sermon, Cole exhorted Cranmer to testify before the people the sincerity of his conversion and repentance, that all men might understand he was “a Catholic indeed.”

12. “I will do it,” replied Cranmer, “and that with a good will.” He then rose from his knees, and, putting off his cap, said, good Christian people, my dearly-beloved brethren and sisters in Christ, I beseech you most heartily to pray for me to Almighty God, that he will forgive me my sins and offences, which be many without number, and great above measure. But among all the rest, there is one which grieveth my conscience most of all, whereof you shall hear more in its proper place.” He then knelt down, and offered up a touching and fervent prayer, speaking of himself as “a most wretched caitiff and miserable sinner.” Rising from his knees, he proceeded to address the assembled multitude, giving them many pious and godly exhortations, before touching upon the point which all were anxiously expecting to hear-whether he was about to die in the Romish or the protestant faith.

At length he said: “And now, forasmuch as I am come to the last end of my life, whereupon hangeth all my life past, and all my life to come, either to live with my Master Christ for ever in joy, or else to be in pain for ever with wicked devils in hell (and I see before mine eyes presently either heaven ready to receive me, or else hell ready to swallow me up) I shall therefore declare unto you my very faith, how I believe, without any color of dissimulation; for now is no time to dissemble, whatsoever I have said or written in times past.” He then repeated the Apostles’ creed, and declared his belief in every article of the truth, every word and sentence taught by our Saviour, his Apostles, and prophets, and in the New and Old Testament. “And now,” he continued, “I come to the great thing which troubleth my conscience more than anything that ever I said or did in my whole life, and that is, the setting abroad of writings contrary to the truth; which now HERE I RENOUNCE AND REFUSE as things written with my hand, contrary to the truth which I thought in my heart.” Hitherto, with consummate skill, the martyr had avoided a single word which could indicate to his popish persecutors the unexpected blow they were about to receive, up to this time, probably, the multitude of Romanists had expected him to confirm his recantation, and supposed that the writings to which he had just referred and which he now renounced were those which he had published in opposition to the doctrines of Rome. This illusion was dissipated, when, in the next sentence, be spoke of those writings as-“written for fear of death, and to save my life, if it might be: and that is, all such bills and papers as I have written or signed with my hand since my degradation, wherein I have written many things untrue.

“And,” proceeded Cranmer, “forasmuch as my hand offended, writing contrary to my heart, my hand shall first be punished therefore; for may I come to the fire, it shall be first burnt!” He had time to add, “As for the Pope, I refuse him as anti-Christ; and as for the Sacrament, I believe as I have taught in my book against the bishop of Winchester, the which my book teacheth so true a doctrine of the Sacrament, that it shall stand at the last day before the judgment of God, when the papistical doctrine, contrary thereto, shall be ashamed to show her face.”

13. At this unexpected and noble confession, Cole and the rest of the popish priests, monks and laymen, were too much astonished to interrupt him, or he would not have been suffered to proceed so far. At length, an uproar was raised which prevented him from proceeding; Cole foaming with rage, cried from the pulpit–“Stop the heretic’s mouth, and take him away,” and the priests and friars rushed upon him, and tore him from the stage, on which he was standing.

Cranmer was quickly hurried to the stake, prepared on the spot where Latimer and Ridley had suffered five months before. The venerable martyr had now overcome the weakness of his nature; and, after a short prayer, put off his clothes with a cheerful countenance and willing mind, and stood upright in his shirt, which came down to his feet. His feet were bare; his head, when both his caps were off, appeared perfectly bald, but his beard was long and thick, and his countenance so venerable, that it moved even his enemies to compassion. Two Spanish friars, who had been chiefly instrumental in obtaining his recantation, continued to exhort him; till, perceiving that their efforts were vain, one of them said, ‘Let us leave him, for the devil is with him!’ Ely, who was afterward president of St. John’s, still continued urging him to repentance. Cranmer replied, he repented his recantation; and in the spirit of charity offered his hand to Ely, as to others, when he bade him farewell; but the obdurate bigot drew back, and reproved those who accepted such a farewell; telling them it was not lawful to act thus with one who had relapsed into heresy. Once more he called upon him to stand to his recantation. Cranmer stretched forth his right arm, and replied, “THIS IS THE HAND THAT WROTE IT, AND THEREFORE IT SHALL SUFFER PUNISHMENT FIRST.” True to this purpose, as soon as the flame arose, he held his hand out to meet it, and retained it there steadfastly, so that all the people saw it sensibly burning before the fire reached any other part of his body; and often he repeated with a loud and firm voice, “THIS HAND HATH OFFENDED! THIS UNWORTHY RIGHT HAND.”

Never did martyr endure the fire with more invincible resolution; no cry was heard from him, save the exclamation of the protomartyr Stephen, “Lord Jesus, receive my Spirit!” He stood immoveable as the stake to which he was bound, his countenance raised, looking to heaven, and anticipating that rest into which he was about to enter; and thus, “in the greatness of the flame,” he yielded up his Spirit. The fire did its work soon . . . and his heart was found unconsumed amid the ashes.
The pile is lit-the flames ascend;
Yet peace is in the martyr’s face;
And unseen visitants attend
That chief of England’s priestly race;
Mightier in peril’s darkest hour,
Than when enthroned in rank and power.
Steadfast he stood in that fierce flame,
As standing in his own high hall:
He said, as sadness o’er him came,
Remembrance of his mournful fall-
Stretching it to the burning brand-
Thy foul and cruel deed, O Rome!

Was vain; that blazing funeral pyre
Where Cranmer died, did soon become
To England as a beacon fire;
And he hath left a glorious name,
Victorious over Rome and flame.

“Of all the martyrdoms during this great persecution,” says Dr. Southey, “this was in all its circumstances the most injurious to the Romish cause. It was a manifestation of inveterate and deadly malice toward one who had borne his elevation with almost unexampled meekness. It effectually disproved the argument on which the Romanists rested, that the constancy of our martyrs proceeded not from confidence in their faith, and the strength which they derived therefrom; but from vainglory, the pride of consistency, and the shame of retracting what they had so long professed. Such deceitful reasoning could have no place here: Cranmer had retracted; and the sincerity of his contrition for that sin was too plain to be denied, too public to be concealed, too memorable ever to be forgotten. The agony of his repentance had been seen by thousands; and tens of thousands had witnessed how, when that agony was past, he stood calm and immoveable amid the flames; a patient and willing holocaust; triumphant, not over his persecutors alone, but over himself, over the mind as well as the body, over fear and weakness, as well as death.” [Southey’s Book of the Church, chap. xiv.]

14. For upwards of two years and a half from the martyrdom of Cranmer, a mysterious providence permitted the papists of England to glut their bigot rage in the slaughter of the lambs and the sheep of Christ’s fold who refused to subscribe to the doctrines of Rome. At length the time of deliverance approached. The last of these bloody sacrifices to the popish Moloch was made on the 10th of November, only one week previous to the death of queen Mary, in the burning alive of three men and two women at Canterbury, for denying transubstantiation and the worship of images. The names of this last company of victims who brought up “the noble army of martyrs” of the Marian persecution, were John Corneford, John Hurst, Christopher Brown, Alice Snoth, and Catharine Tinley. The last was an aged and helpless woman, whose years and debility, one would have thought, might awaken pity even in the breast of a savage. But popish bigotry knows no pity; and the feeble and withered body of the aged saint was consumed to ashes in the torturing flames.

From the burning pile of this last company of martyrs, the prayer arose from the lips of the sufferers that their blood might be the last that should be thus shed, in England, for the truth; and God heard that prayer. One week after, on the 17th of November, the merciless bigot queen was called before a higher tribunal to give an account of the innocent blood that she had poured out like water during her brief but terrible reign. Mary died in the morning. Before night the bells of all the churches in London were rung for the accession of Elizabeth, and amidst the lamentations of popish bigots that some of their victims had escaped, a shout of rapture went up from the hearts of the people that the work of blood was done; and bonfires and illuminations testified the general joy that the reign of terror and of Rome was over.

15. Great was the sorrow and disappointment of that bloody persecutor and promoter of the Inquisition, pope Paul IV., at hearing of the death of his “faithful daughter,” Mary, and the accession of her protestant sister Elizabeth to the throne of England. In answer to the ambassador sent to the court of Rome, in common with the other European courts, the Pope replied in a haughty style, “That England was held in fee of the apostolic See, that it was great boldness in her to assume the crown without his consent; for which, in reason, she deserved no favor at his hands; yet, if she would RENOUNCE HER PRETENSIONS, and refer herself wholly to him, he would show a fatherly affection towards her, and do everything for her that he could CONSISTENTLY WITH THE DIGNITY OF THE APOSTOLIC SEE.”

Elizabeth treated these KIND proposals of his Holiness with just the attention they merited, and a few years afterward was excommunicated and deposed by pope Pius V., and her subjects absolved from their allegiance and forbidden to obey her, under penalty of the same anathema. This important instrument of papal vengeance renews all the obsolete pretensions of Hildebrand and Boniface, and is especially valuable as an exhibition of the feelings of approbation and regard on the part of the anti-Christian popes of Rome toward that bloody persecutor of God’s saints, queen Mary; and their bitter hatred toward her sister Elizabeth, who had put an end to those scenes of horror and of blood.

The original bull, in Latin, may be found in the collection of records at the end of Burnet’s History of the Reformation. The following is a translation of the most important part, Excommunication and deposition of queen Elizabeth of England.

“Pius, &c., FOR A FUTURE MEMORIAL OF THE MATTER. He that reigneth on high, to whom is given all power in Heaven and on Earth, committed one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, out of which there is no salvation, to one alone upon earth, to Peter the Prince of the Apostles, and to Peter’s successor the Bishop of Rome, to be governed in fullness of power. HIM ALONE HE MADE PRINCE OVER ALL PEOPLE, AND ALL KINGDOMS, to pluck up, destroy, scatter, consume, plant and build, &c. But the number of the ungodly hath gotten such power, that there is now no place left in the whole world, which they have not essayed to corrupt with their most wicked doctrines. Amongst others, Elizabeth, the pretended Queen of England, a slave of wickedness, lending thereunto her helping-hand, with whom, as in a sanctuary, the most pernicious of all men have found a refuge; this very woman having seized on the kingdom, and monstrously usurping the place of the Supreme Head of the church in all England, and the chief authority and jurisdiction thereof, hath again brought back the same kingdom into miserable destruction, which was then newly reduced to the faith, and to good order. For having by strong hand, inhibited the exercise of THE TRUE RELIGION, WHICH MARY THE LAWFUL QUEEN, OF FAMOUS MEMORY, HAD, BY THE HELP OF THE SEE, RESTORED, after it had been formerly overthrown by King Henry VIII., a revolter therefrom, and following and embracing the errors of heretics, she bath removed the royal council, consisting of the English nobility, and filled it with obscure men, being heretics; hath oppressed the embracers of the Roman faith, hath placed impious preachers, ministers of iniquity, and abolished the sacrifice of the mass, prayers, fastings, distinction of meats, a single life, and the rites and ceremonies; hath commanded books to be read in the whole realm, containing manifest heresy, &c. He hath not only contemned the godly requests and admonitions of princes, concerning her healing, and conversion, but also hath not so much as permitted the Nuncios of this See to cross the seas into England, &c. We do, therefore, out of the fulness of our Apostolic power, declare the aforesaid Elizabeth, being a heretic, and a favorer of heretics. and her adherence in the matter aforesaid, to have incurred the sentence of anathema, and to be cut off from the unity of the body of Christ. And, forever, we do declare her to be deprived of her PRETENDED TITLE to the kingdom aforesaid, and of all dominion, dignity, and privilege whatsoever: and also the nobility, subjects, and people of the said kingdom, and all others which have in any sort sworn unto her, to be for ever absolved from any such oath, and all manner of duty, of dominion, allegiance, and obedience; as we also who, by the authority of these presents, ABSOLVE THEM, AND DO DERIVE THE SAME ELIZABETH OF HER PRETENDED TITLE TO THE KINGDOM, and all other things aforesaid. And we do command and interdict all and every one of the noblemen, subjects, people, and others aforesaid, that they presume not to obey her, or her admonitions, mandates, and laws; and those who shall do the contrary, we do innodate with the like sentence of ANATHEMA. –Given at St. Peter’s at Rome, in the year 1569, and the 5th of our pontificate.”

Read the Next Chapter