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399 [399]

To the gentle Reader.

WHer as it hath of lōg time ben receiued and thought of the common people (gentle reader) that this religion nowe generally vsed hathe sprong vp and risen but of late and few yeres euē by the space as many do think) of xx. or xxx. yeres, for thauoiding of which fond & vaine opinyon, we haue thought good at this present to aduertise thee how that not only the actes and monumentes heretofore passed, but also the histories here after following, shal manifest and declare that thys profession of Christes religion hath bene spread abrode in Englande, by the space almost of CC. yeres, yea and before that time & hath oftentimes sparcled although the flames therof haue neuer so perfectly burst out, as it hath done within these C. yeres and more. As by these histories here collected and gathered out of registers, especially of the dioces of Norwiche shal manifestly appear, wher in may be seene what men, and how many both menne and wemen within the said diocesse of Norwich, there haue been which haue defended the same cause of doctrine, whyche now is receyued by vs in the church. Which persons although then they wer not so strōgly armed in their cause and quarel, as of late yeres they haue bene, yet were they warriours in Christes church, and fought for their power. And although they gaue backe through tirannye, yet iudge thou the best good reader, and referre the cause therof to God, who reueleth all thinges according to his determined wyll and appoynted time.

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The thirde part or section of this Ecclesiasticall history, conteining the actes of the church and Martirs, wyth suche other thinges as necessaryly depende vpon the same.

VVylliam Tayler an English man.
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Marginalia 1422.THere hathe beene no region or coūtry more fertil or fruteful for martirs thē our only region of Englād, whether it hapneth or cometh by þe singuler gifte or priueledge of Goddes deuine grace, or els thorow the barbarous and folish cruelty of such as at that time ruled & gouerned the church it is vncerten. Oxforde at þe presente was as it has ben a cōtinual spring of christian knowledge and learninge, from whence as out of the Troyan horse there hath come forth so manye inuincible witnesses of Christ and his truth, which with singuler lerning, and with their bloud haue not onlye deserued praise of such as wer in their dais, but also of such as shall come after. Amongste whome William Tailor, master of Art hath not deserued the least praise, beinge a fauorer of Wickleffe. This man because he had wrytten certen thinges against the inuocatyon of saintes, and many other matters, after he had recanted ix. Articles he returned againe into the right way, and wyth a meruailous constācy and boldnes he was burned at London in smithfeld in the yere of oure Lord 1422. the second day of March.

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