The history of D. Rouland Taylour, which suffered for the truth of Gods word, vnder the tyranny of the Romain Bishop. 1555. the. 9. day of February.
Actes and Monumentes of the church, pp. 1445ff.
Hadley towne commended. THe town of Hadley was one of the first that receaued the word of God in all
England at the preachinge of Maister Thomas Bilney. Thomas Bilney: By whose industry the Gospell of Christ had such gracious successe, and toke such roote there, that a great number of that Parishe became exceedinge well learned in the holy scriptures, as well women as men: so that a man might haue found among them many that had often read the whole Bible thorow, and that could haue sayd a great part of S. Paules Epistles by hart, & very well and readely haue geuen a godly learned sentence in any matter of controuersie. Their children and seruantes were also brought vp and trayned so diligently in the right knowledge of Gods word, that the wholl towne seemed rather an Vniuersitie of the learned, then a towne of Clothmaking or labouring people: And that most is to be commended, they were for the more parte faythfull followers of Gods worde in their liuing.
In this towne was Doctor Rouland Taylor, Doctor in both the Ciuil and Canon lawes, D. Taylour, a Doctour in both lawes, and a dyuyne. and a right perfect Diuine, parson. Who at his first entring into his benefice, dyd not, as the common sort of beneficed men do, let out his Benefice to a Farmer, that should gather vp the profites, and set in an ignoraunt vnlearned Priest to serue the Cure, and so they may haue the fleece, little or nothing care for feedinge the flocke: But contrarily he forsooke the Archbyshoppe of Caterbury Thomas Cranmer Archb. of
Canterbury. Thomas Cranmer with whom he before was in housholde, and made his personall abode and dwellinge in Hadley among the people committed to his charge. Where he as a good Shepheard, A good shepheard and his conditions. abyding and dwelling among hys sheep, gaue him selfe wholly to the study of holy Scriptures, most faythfully endeuouring him selfe to fulfill that charge, which the Lord gaue vnto Peter, saying: Iohn 2. Peter louest thou me? Feede my Lambes, Feede my sheep, Feede my sheepe. Feede with worde. This loue of Christ so wrought in hym, that no Soday nor holy day passed, nor other tyme when he might get þe people together, but hee preached to them the word of God, the Doctrine of their Saluation.
Not onely was his worde a preaching vnto them, but all his lyfe and conuersation was an example of vnfayned christian life, and true holynes. He was voyd of all pride, huble, and meeke as any child: so that none were so poore, but they might boldly, as vnto their father, resort vnto him, neither was hys lowlines childysh or fearfull: but as occasion, tyme, and place required, he would be stout in rebuking the sinfull, and euil doers: so that none was so rich, but he would tell hym playnly his fault, with such earnest and graue rebukes as became a good Curate and Pastor. He was a ma very milde, voyd of all rancour, grudge, or euyll will, ready to doe good to all men, readely forgeuing his enemyes, and neuer sought to do euill to any.
To the poore that were blinde, lame, sicke, bedred, or that had many children, he was a very Father, a carefull patrone, and diligent prouider, in so much that he caused þe parishioners to make a generall prouision for them: and he him selfe (beside the continuall reliefe that they alwayes founde at hys house) gaue an honest portion yerely, to the common almes boxe. Comendacion of D. Taylours wyfe and his children. His wife also was an honest, discrete and sober matorne and his children well nourtred, brought vp in the feare of God and good learnyng.
To conclude, he was a right and liuely image or paterne of all those vertuous qualities described by S. Paule in a true Byshop, a good salt of the earth sauourly byting the corrupt maners of euill men, a light in Gods house set vpon a Candlesticke for all good men to imitate and folow.
Thus continued this good Shephearde among his flocke, gouernyng and leadyng them through this wildernes of the wicked world, all the dayes of the most innocent and holy kyng of blessed memory, Edward the vj. But after it pleased God to take kyng Edward from this vale of misery vnto his most blessed rest, the Papistes, The Papistes and their natural workes. who euer sembled and dissembled, both with kyng Henry the eight and kyng Edward his sonne, now seyng the tyme conuenient for their purpose, vttered their false hypocrisie, openly refusing all good reformation made by the sayd two most godly kynges, and contrary to that they had all these two kynges dayes preached, taught, written, and sworne, they violently ouerthrew the true doctrine of the Gospell, and persecuted with sword and fire all those that would not agree to receiue agayne the Romaine Byshop as supreme head of the vniuersall Churche, and allow all the errours superstitions, and idolatries, that before by Gods word were disproued and iustly condemned, as though now they were good doctrine, vertuous, and true Religion.
In the begynnyng of this rage of Antichrist, a certaine Petigentleman after the sorte of a Lawyer, called Foster a lawyer, and Iohn Clerke of Hadley, to notorious Papistes. Foster, beyng Steward and keeper of Courtes, a man of no great skill, but a bitter persecutour in those dayes, with one Iohn Clerke of Hadley, which Clerke had euer bene a secrete fauourer of all Romish Idolatry, cospired wt the sayd Clerke to bring in the Pope & his maumentrie agayne into Hadley Church. For as yet Doct. Taylour, as a good shepheard, had retained & kept in his Churche, the godly Churchseruice and reformation made by kyng Edward, & most faythfully and earnestly preached agaynst the Popish corruptios, which had infected the whole countrey round about.
Therefore the foresayd Foster and Clerke hyred one Iohn Auerth a right popish priest. Iohn Auerth, Person of Aldam, a very money Mammonist, a blynd leader of the blynd, a Popish Idolatour, and an open Aduouterer and whoremonger, a very fitte Minister for their purpose, to come to Hadley and there to geue the onset to begyn agayne the Popish Masse.
To this purpose they builded vp with all hast possible the aultar, entendyng to bring in their Masse agayne, about the Palme Monday. But this their deuise tooke none effect: Marke how vnwillingly the people were to receaue the papacy agayne. for in the night the aultar was beaten downe. Wherfore they built it vp agayne the second tyme, and layd diligent watch, lest any should agayne breake it downe.
On the day folowyng came Foster and Iohn Clerke, brynging with them their Popish Sacrificer, who brought with hym al his implementes and garmentes, to play his Popish Pageaunt, whom they and their men garded with swordes and bucklers lest any man should disturbe hym in his Missall Sacrifice.
When Doctour Taylour, who ( D. Taylours custome to study. accordyng to his custome) sat at his booke studying þe word of God, heard the bels ryng, he arose and went into the Churche, supposing some thyng had bene there to be done, accordyng to his Pastorall office: and commyng to the Churche, he founde the Church doores shut and fast barred, sauyng the Chauncell doore, which was onely latched: Where he entryng in, and commyng into the Chauncell, saw Masse brought into Hadley with swordes and bucklers. a Popish Sacrificer in his robes, with a broad new shauen crowne, ready to begyn his Popish sacrifice,beset roud about with drawen swords and buckelers, lest any man should approch to disturbe him.
Then sayd Doctour Taylour: D. Taylour rebuked the deuill. Thou Deuill, who made thee so bold to enter into this
Christ, to prophane and defile it with this abhominable Idolatry? With that start vppe Foster, and with an irefull and furious countenaunce, sayd to Doctour Taylour: thou traytour, what doest thou here, to let and disturbe the The Papistes cal all their trupery the Queenes proceedinges. For you must remember that Antichrist rayneth by an others arme, and not by his owne power. Reade Daniell, of the king of faces the 8. chapter. Queenes proceedynges? Doctour Taylour aunswered: I am no traytour, but I am the shepheard that God & my Lord Christ hath appointed to feede this his flocke: wherfore I haue good authoritie to be here: & I commaude thee, thou Popish Wolfe, in the name of God to auoyde hece, and not to presume here with such Popish Idolatry, to poyson Christes flocke.
The sayd Foster: wilt thou traytourly hereticke make a commotion, & resist violently the Queenes proceedynges.
D. Taylour here playeth a right Elias. 3. Reg. 18.> Doctour Taylour auswered: I make no comotion, but it is you Papistes that maketh commotions and tumultes. I resist onely with Gods word, agaynst your Popish Idolatries, which are agaynst Gods word, the Queenes honor, & tend to the vtter subuersio of this realme of Englad. And further thou doest agaynst the Canon law, which commaundeth that no Masse be sayd, but at a consecrate aultar.
When the person of Aldam heard that, hee began to shrinke backe, & would haue left his saying of Masse. The start vp Iohn Clerke, and sayd: M. Auerth, he not afrayd, ye haue a * * Superaltare is a stone consecrated by the Byshops, commonly of a foote long which the Papistes cary in stead of an aulter, when they masse for money in gentlemens houses. Superaltare. Goe forth with your busines man.
Then Foster with his armed me, tooke Doctour Taylour, and led him with strong hand out of the Church, and the Popishe Prelate proceeded in his Romishe Idolatry. Doct. Taylours wife, who folowed her husband into the Churche, when she saw her husband thus violently thrust out of his Church: she kneeled downe, & held vp her handes, and with loude voyce sayd: I beseeche God the righteous Iudge to auenge this iniury, that this Popish Idolatour this day doth to the bloud of Christ. Then they thrust her out of the Church also, and shut to the doores: for they feared that the people would haue rent their Sacrificer in peeces. Notwithstandyng, one or two threw in great stones at the windowes, and missed very litle the Popish Masser.
Thus you see how without consent of the people, the Popishe Masse was agayne set vppe, The Papistes argumentes wherewith they maintayne their doctrine. with battayle aray, with swordes and buckelers, with violence and tyranny: which practise the Papistes haue euer yet vsed. As for reason, law, or Scripture, they haue none on their part. Therfore they are the same that sayth: Sap. 2. The law of vnrighteousnes is our stregth: Come let vs oppresse the righteous without any feare. &c.
Within a day or two after, with all hast possible, this Foster and Clerke made a complaint of Doctour Taylour, by a letter written to Steuen Gardiner Byshop of Winchester, and Lord Chauncellour.
When the Byshop heard this, he sent a letter missiue to Doct. Taylour, D. Taylour cited by a letter missiue. commaundyng him within certaine dayes, to come and to appeare before him vpon hys allegiaunce, to aunswere such complayntes as were made against hym.
When Doctour Taylours frendes heard of this, they were exceedyng sory and agreeued in mynde: whiche then foreseyng to what end the same matter would come, seyng also all truth and iustice were troden vnder foote, and falsehode wyth cruell Tyranny were set aloft and ruled all the whole route: D. Taylours frendes would haue hym flye. his frendes I say came to hym, and earnestly counselled hym to departe and flye, alledgyng and declaryng vnto hym, that hee could neither be indifferently heard to spake his conscience and mind, nor yet looke for iustice or fauour at the sayd Chauncellours handes, who as it was well knowen, was most fierce and cruell: but must needes (if he went vp to hym) wayte for imprisonement and cruell death at his handes.
Then sayd D. Taylour to his frendes: Deare frendes, I most hartely thanke you, for that ye haue so tender a care ouer me. The valiant courage of D. Taylour in Christes cause. And although I know, that there is neither iustice nor truth to be looked for at my aduersaries handes, but rather imprisonment and cruell death: yet know I my cause to be so good and righteous, and the truth so strong vpo my side, that I will by Gods grace go and appeare before them and to their beardes resist their false doynges.
Then sayd his frendes: M. Doctour, we thinke it not best so to do. You haue sufficiently done your duety, and testified the truth, both by your godly Sermons, and also in resistyng the Person of Aldam, wyth other that came hyther to bryng in agayne the popish Masse. And for as much as our Sauiour Christ willeth and biddeth vs, Math. 10. that when they persecute vs in one Citie, we should flye into an other: we thinke in flying at this tyme ye should do best, keepyng your selfe agaynst an other tyme whe the Church shall haue great neede of such diligent teachers, and godly Pastors.
Oh (quoth Doct. Taylour) what wil ye haue me to do? I am now olde, and haue already liued to long to see these terrible and most wicked dayes. Flye you, and do as your conscience leadeth you. I am fully determined (with Gods grace) to go to the Byshop, & to his beard to tell him that he doth nought. God shall well hereafter rayse vp teachers of his people, whiche shall with much more diligence and fruite teach them, then I haue done. For God will not forsake his church, though now for a tyme he trieth and correcteth vs, and not without a iust cause.
As for me, I beleue before GOD, I shall neuer bee able to do GOD so good seruice, as I may do now: nor I shall neuer haue so glorious a callyng as I now haue, nor so great mercy of GOD profered me, as is now at this present. For what Christen man would not gladly dye agaynst the Pope and his adherentes? I know that the Papacie is the kyngdome of Antichrist, The Papacy a kingdome of lyes. altogether full of lyes, altogether full of falsehode: so that all their doctrine, euen from Christes Crosse be my speede and S. Nicholas, vnto the end of their Apocalyps, is nothyng but Idolatry, superstition, errours, hypocrisie and lyes.
Wherefore I beseeche you, and all other my friendes, to pray for me, and I doubt not, but God will geue me stregth and his holy spirite, þt all myne aduersaries shall haue shame of their doynges.
When his frendes saw hym so constaunt, and fully determined to go, they with weepyng eyes commended hym vnto God: and he within a day or two prepared him selfe to his iourney, leauyng his cure with a godly old Priest, named Syr Rich. Yeoman D. Taylours Curate, and Martyr of Christ. Syr Richard Yeoman, who afterward for Gods truth was burnt at
There was also in Hadley one Iohn Alcocke of Hadley troubled for Gods truth, and dyed in prison. Alcocke, a very godly man, well learned in the holy Scriptures, who (after sir Richard Yeoman was driuen away) vsed dayly to reade a chapter, and to say the English Letany in
Church. But hym they fet vp to
London, and cast him in prison in Newgate: where after a yeare imprisonment he dyed.
But let vs returne to Doctour Taylour agayne, who beyng accompanyed with a seruaunt of his owne, named Iohn Hull, Doctour Taylours iourney. tooke hys iourney towardes
London. By the way this Iohn Hull a faythfull seruaunt to D. Taylour. Iohn Hull laboured to cousell and perswade him very earnestly to flye, and not to come to the Byshop, and profered himselfe to go with him to serue him, and in all perils to venter his lyfe for him, and with him.
But in no wise would Doctour Taylour consent or agree thereunto, but said: Oh Iohn, shal I geue place to this thy counsell & worldly perswasion, and leaue my flocke in this daunger? Remember the good shepheard Christ, which not alonely fed his flocke, but also dyed for his flocke. Him must I folow, and with Gods grace will do.
Therefore good Iohn pray for me: and if thou seest me weake at any tyme, comfort me, and discourage me not in this my godly enterprise and purpose. Thus they came vp to
London, and shortly after Doctour Taylour presented him selfe to The first meting betwene Winchest. and D. Taylour. the Byshop of Winchester Steuen Gardiner, then Lord Chauncellour of
For this hath bene one great abuse in England these many yeares, that such offices as haue bene of most importaunce and wayght, haue commonly bene committed to Byshops and other spirituall men, whereby three deuilish mischiefes and inconueniences haue happened in this Realme, to the great dishonour of God, and vtter neglecting of the flocke of Christ: the which. three be these.
First, they haue had small leysure to attende to theyr pastorall cures, which thereby haue bene vtterly neglected and left vndone.
Secondly, it hath also puft vp many Bishops and other spirituall persons into such hautynes and pryde, that they haue thought no noble man in the Realme worthy to be their equall and fellow.
Thirdly, where they by this meanes knew the very secretes of Princes, they beyng in such hygh offices, haue caused the same to be knowen in Rome, afore the kynges could accomplishe and bryng their ententes to passe in
England. By this meanes hath the Papacy bene so maintayned, and thynges ordered after their wils and pleasures, that much mischief hath happened in this Realme and others, sometyme to the destruction of Princes, and sometyme to the vtter vndoyng of many common wealthes.Now when Gardiner saw Doctour Taylour, he according to his common custome all to reuiled him, callyng him knaue, Traytor, hereticke, with many other villanous reproches: which all Doctour Taylours patience, and magnaminitye. Doctour Taylour heard patiently, and at the last sayd vnto him:
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