A Proclamation for the abolishing of English Books, after the Death of Anne Askew, act forth by the King, AD. 1546, the eighth day of July. Extracted from Foxes Acts and Monuments, Ed. Rev Geo. Townsend (1846) vol 5 p 565-8.
Anne Askew, daughter of Sir William Askew of Lincolnshire, was charged with heresy and despite a sustained and brave defence (writing her own replies to charges, defending herself before the King`s Council and corresponding with the Lord Chancellor etc) was inevitably found guilty. She was tortured on the rack in the Tower, and refused to accept an offer of the Kings pardon. She was burnt at the stake in 1546, leaving behind “A singular example of Christian constancy for all men to follow.” Her death heralded a further round of oppression by the prelates who sought to ban all English books ( as previously by Sir Thomas More).
The king’s most excellent majesty understanding how, under pretence of expounding and declaring the truth of God’s Scripture, divers lewd and evil-disposed persons have taken upon them to utter and sow abroad, by books imprinted in the English tongue, sundry pernicious and detestable errors and heresies, not only contrary to the laws of this realm, but also repugnant to the true sense of God’s law and his word, by reason whereof certain men of late, to the destruction of their own bodies and souls, and to the evil example of others, have attempted arrogantly and maliciously to impugn the truth, and therewith trouble the sober, quiet, and godly religion, united and established under the king’s majesty in this his realm; his highness, minding to foresee the dangers that might ensue of the said books, is enforced to use his general prohibition, commandment, and proclamation, as followeth:
First, That from henceforth no man, woman, or person, of what estate, condition, or degree soever he or they be, shall, after the last day of August next ensuing, receive, have, take, or keep in his or their possession, the text of the New Testament, of Tyndale’s or Coverdale’s translation in English, nor any other than is permitted by the act of parliament made in the session of’ the parliament holden at Westminster in the thirty-fourth and thirty-fifth year of his majesty’s most noble reign; nor, after the said day, shall receive, have, take, or keep, in his or their possession, any manner of books printed or written in the English tongue, which he, or shall be, set forth in the names of Frith, Tyndele, Wickliff Joy, Roy, Basil, Bale, Barnes, Coverdale, Turner, Tracy, or by any of them; or any other book or books containing matter contrary to the said act made in the year thirty-four, or thirty-five; but shall, before the last day of August next coming, deliver the same English book or book; to his master in that household, if he be a servant, or dwell under any other; and the master or ruler of the house, and such others as dwell at large, shall deliver all such books of these sorts aforesaid as they have, or shall come to their hands, delivered as afore or otherwise, to the mayor, bailiff, or chief constable of the town where they dwell, to be by them delivered over openly within forty days next following after the said delivery, to the sheriff of the shire, or to the bishop’s chancellor, or commissary of the same diocese; to the intent the said bishop, chancellor, commissary, and sheriff and every of them, may cause them incontinently to be openly homed: which thing the king’s majesty’s pleasure is, that every of them shall see executed in most effectual sort, and of their doings thereof make certificate to the king’s majesty’s most honourable council, before the first day of October next coming,
And, to the intent that no man shall mistrust an danger of such penal statutes as he passed in this behalf, for the keeping of the said books, the king’s majesty is most graciously contented, by this proclamation, to pardon that offence to the said time appointed by this proclamation for the delivery of the said book.; and commandeth that no bishop, chancellor, commissary, mayor. bailiff sheriff or constable, shall be curious to mark who bringeth forth such books, but only order and burn them openly, as is in this proclamation ordered.
And if any man, after the last day of August next coming, shall have any of the said books in his keeping, or be proved and convicted, by sufficient witness, before four of the kings most honourable council, to have hidden them, or used them, or any copy of any of them, or any part of them, whereby it should appear that he willingly hath offended the true meaning of this proclamation, the same shall not only suffer imprisonment and punishment of his body at the king’s majesty’s will and pleasure, but also shall make such fine and ransom to his highness for the same, as by his majesty, or four of his grace’s said council, shall be determined, &c.
Finally, His majesty straitly chargeth and commandeth, that no person or persons, of what estate, degree, or condition soever he or they be, from the day of this proclamation, presume to bring any manner of English book, concerning any manner of Christian religion, printed in the parts beyond the seas, into this realm, to sell, give, or distribute any English book, printed in outward parts, or the copy of any such hook, or any part thereof, to any person dwelling within this his grace’s realm, or any other his majesty’s dominions, unless the same shall be specially licensed so to do by his highness’s express grant, to be obtained in writing for the same, upon the pains before limited; and therewithal to incur his majesty’s extreme indignation.
Hereafter follow the names of certain books, which, either after this injunction mentioned before, or some other, in the said king’s days were prohibited; the names of which books here follow, in order expressed.
First, The Whole Bible[ Miles Coverdale]
Item, The New Testament.
Item, A General Confession,
Item, The, Acts of the Disputation in the council of the Empire at Regensburgh.
Item, A Short Recapitulation or Abridgment,
Item, A Confutation touching the Protestation of Dr. Barnes.
Item, The Christian Slate of Matrimony.
Item, A very excellent and Sweet Exposition upon the xxii. Psalm of David, called in Latin, ‘ Dominus regit me,’
Item, The Old Faith.
Item, The Order that the church and congregation of Christ in Denmark, and in many other places of Germany, doth use at the Supper of the Lord, and at the ministration of the blessed sacrament of Baptism and Holy Wedlock.
Item, A Faithful and True Prognostication upon the year 1536, translated out of high Almain into English.
Item, Psalms and Songs, drawn, as is pretended, out of Holy Scripture.
First, The exposition of Daniel the Prophet; gathered out by Philip Melancthon, John OEcolampadius, Conrade Pellicane; and out of John Draconite, &c, translated into English.
Item, David’s Psalter translated into English.
Item, Jeremy the Prophet, translated into English.
Item, An Apology against William Tyndale.
Item, A boot called The Prophet Esay,’ translated into English
Item, The Subversion of Moses’ false foundation.
Item, A Present Consolation for the sufferance of persecution for righteousness.
First, A New Year’s Gift. [ by Theodore Basil alias Thomas Beacon]
Item, Davids Harp, full of most delectable harmony, newly stringed and set in tune.
Item, The Golden Book of Christian Matrimony.
Item. News out of Heaven.
Item, A Christmas Banquet, garnished with many pleasant and dainty dishes.
Item, The True Defence of Peace.
Item, A Potation or Drinking, for the holy time of Lent.
Item, An invective against the most wicked vice of Swearing.
Item, The Right Pathway unto Prayer.
Item, The New Policy of War.
Item, A New Catechism.
Item, A Pleasant New Nosegay.
Item, Christmas Carols, very new and godly.
First, The New Testament in divers prints.
Item, The Obedience of a Christian Man.
Item, An Answer of Sir Thomas More’s Dialogue.
Item, A hook, called The Prophet Jonas, teaching to understand the right use of Scripture.
Item, A Treatise of the Justification by Faith only, otherwise called, The Parable of the Wicked Mammon.
Item, The Parable and Complaint of a Ploughman unto Christ.
Item, A Book touching the Church.
Item, A Godly Disputation between a Christian Shoemaker and a Popish Parson.
Item, The Disclosing of the Man of Sin.
First, A Letter, sent by John Frith unto the faithful followers of the Gospel.
Item, A Treatise, made by the said John Faith, while he was prisoner in the Tower of London.
Item, A Treatise, [another] made by the said John Frith, while he was prisoner in the Tower of London.
Item, A Book, made by the said Frith, prisoner in the Tower of London, answering unto Master Moore’s Letter.
Item, The New Testament of William Tracey, esquire, expounded both by William Tyndale and John Frith.
Item, A Book against the Sacrament, made by John Frith.
Item, A Minor or Glass for them that be sick and in pain: translated out of Dutch into English.
Item, An Exposition upon Magnificat, translated out of Latin into English.
Item, The Original and Spring of all Sects and Ordery: translated out of Dutch Into English.
Item, The Old God and the New.
First, A Comparison between the Old Learning and the New: translated out of Latin into English.
Item, The Abridgment of `unio Dissidentium`: translated out of Latin into English.
Item, The Hunting of the Fox.
Item, The sum of Holy Scripture.
Item, The Book of Merchants, right necessary to all folks newly made by the Lord Pantapole.
Item, The Spiritual Nosegay.
First. A Supplication made by the said Barnes unto the kings majesty.
Item, A Book in Articles, touching Christian Religion.
First, A Book called the Preparation to the Cross and Death.
First, A Brief Chronicle, concerning the examination, and the death of Sir John Oldcastle the Lord Cobham.
Item, A Preface against the Genealogy of John Huntington.
Item, A Mystery of Iniquity, disclosed and confuted by the said John Bale.
Item, The Image of both Churches.
Item, The second and third part of the Image of both Churches.
Item, The Disclosing the Man of Sin; made by Bale, naming himself Harrison.
Item, The Door of Holy Scripture; made by John Goughe.
Item, The Lord’s Flail; made by T. Solme.
Item, The Lamentation against the City of London; made by Roderick More.
Item, An Epistle exhortarye, made by HenryStalbridge.
Item, A Work concerning both parts of the Sacrament; made by Melancthon.
Item, The Exposition of Daniel the Prophet; made by Melancthon.
Item, The Image of a Counterfeit Bishop; made by Luther.
Item, The Obedience of a Christian Man; compiled by William Tyndale.
Item, The Medicine of Life; by Urbanus Regius.
Item, Common Places of Scripture.
Item, The Confession of the Germans, with the defence of the same.
Item, A Compendious Letter, which John Pomerane, curate of the congregation of Wittenberge, sent to the faithful congregation in England.
Item, The Defence of Marriage of Priests; made by James Sawtrye.
Item, Ten places of Scripture, by which it is proved, that doctrines and tradition, of men ought to be avoided.
Item, A Consolation for Christian People to repair again to the Lords Temple ; with certain pIaces of Scripture, truly applied to satisfy their minds for the expelling of Idolatry.
Item, The Epistle Exhortatory of an English Christian unto his dearly beloved country of England.
Item, The Image of a very Christian Bishop and of a Counterfeit Bishop.
Item, An Exposition upon the sixth and seventh chapters of Matthew.
Item, The Lantern of Light
Item, A Pathway unto Holy Scripture.
Item, A Treatise called The New Addition.
Item, The Liberty of a Christian Man.
Item, The Practice of Prelates.