The Life of JOHN STOW. iv

The Life of JOHN STOW.

But now to return a little back, and to take some particular View of our Antiquarian's Labours and Searches in the English History.

It was about the Year 1560 he addressed all his Cares and Cogitations to these Searches, for the Composing of a Chronicle. The greatest Part of his Times from hence to his Death, he employed in collecting such Matters of this Kingdom, as he thought worthy to be recommended to Posterity; which was Forty Years and upwards.

Collects History.

Indeed, after some Time he began to be discouraged, and to lay aside these Studies, and to fall more diligently upon his Calling. Perhaps, because of the little Gains that came of these Contemplations, and the great Charge of purchasing MSS. and the Necessity of looking after a Subsistance, and Provision for his Family. But Archbishop Parker (who as he was a great Friend of these Studies himself, so a Patron of others that addicted themselves thereunto) excited him to go on, and was a good Benefactor to him, as he gratefully upon Occasion acknowledged. And namely, in his Dedication of his Annals to Archbishop Whitgift, he saith, That he was hereunto induced; for that his Worthy Predecessor, and his Especial Benefactor, Archbishop PARKER, animated him in the Course of those Studies; which otherwise he had long since discontinued. But that excellent Prelate dyed, and left him to struggle with his former Discouragements. He worsted indeed hereby his Paternal Estate, neglected his Business, and was exposed also to the Censures and Backbitings of Critics, and other evil disposed Men; which is suggested by Edmund Howes, that set out with Enlargements, Stow's Chronicle, after his Death; who in his Preface, mentioned some, that when he, the said Howes, had moved them to go on in a Continuation of Stow's Books, one cryed he could not see, how in any Civil Action, a Man should spend his Travel, Time, and Money worse than in that; acquiring no Regard nor Reward, except Backbiting and Detraction. Another swore an Oath and said, that he thanked God he was not yet Mad, to waste his Time, spend 200l. a Year, trouble himself, and all his Friends, only to gain Assurance of endless Reproach, Loss of Liberty, &c. hinting perhaps hereby what poor Mr. Stow at last was reduced to.

Archbishop Parker, his Encourager.

But to proceed to further Accidents of this Man's Life. He was looked upon as no great Friend to the Reformation of Religion; but being an Admirer of Antiquity in Religion, as well as in History, he came into some Trouble in the Year 1568. Report was brought to the Queen's Council, as tho' he were a suspicious Person, and had a great many dangerous Books of Superstition in his Custody. And therefore they sent to Grindal, Bishop of London, (of whose Diocese Stow was) to cause his Study to be searched. Watts, the said Bishop's Chaplain, and Bedel, Clerk to the Ecclesiastical Commission, and one Williams another Divine, were accordingly dispatched to Stow's House, where all his Books and MSS. they could find, were duly examined. The Report thereupon they made to the Bishop was, That he had great Collections of his own for the English Chronicles; wherein, as Watts signified to the Bishop, he seemed to have bestowed much Travel. They found also a great Sort of old Books Printed; some fabulous, as of Sir Degory Triamour, &c. and a great Parcel of old MS. Chronicles, both in Parchment and Paper. And that besides, he had Miscellaneous Tracts, touching Physick, Surgery, and Herbs, and Medicinal Recipes; and also fantastical Old Popish Books printed in old Time; also others written in old English in Parchment. But another sort of Books he had more modern; of which the said Searchers thought fit to take an Inventory, as likely most to touch him; and they were Books lately seth forth in the Realm, or beyond Sea, in Defence of Papistry. Which Books, as the Chaplain said, declared him a great Fautor of that Religion. Some of these Books, the List whereof so taken, and sent to the Bishop, were,

Stow's Study searched.

A Parlament of Christ; made by Thomas Heskyns.
The Hatchet of Heresy; set out by Shacklock.
Exposition of the Creed, Ten Commandments, Pater noster, Ave Maria: by Bishop Bonner.
Certain Sermons, set forth in Print by Edgeworth, D.D.
The Manerr of the List of Saints: An old Printed Book.
Five Homilies; made by Leonard Pollard, Prebendary of Worcester.
A Proof of certain Articles of Religion, denyed by Mr. Juell.
A Book made by Dorman.
With a great many more of that Kind.

How he came off now I cannot tell; but being lookt upon with a watchful and jealous Eye, knowing his Inclinations in Religion, I find he was not long after, about the Year 1570, dangerously accused before the Ecclesiastical Commissioners; and that by one that had been his Servant, after he had defrauded him of his Goods; and now sought to deprive him of his Life too, by false Accusation, consisting of no less than Sevenscore and odd Articles. A far less Number would have served to have dispatched a Man out of the World, if they could have been proved. The Witnesses against him were such, as some whereof had been detected of Perjury, others burnt in the Hand for Felony, and such like. But nevertheless none of these could sufficiently prove any one of those numerous Articles against him before the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the other Ecclesiastical Commissioners, as appeared in their Register. Stow would have prosecuted these his false Accusers; but he was answered by some, that there was no Remedy against them, by means of the Statute made; which it seems favoured Informers for the Queen.

Accused falsly before the Ecclesiastical Commission.