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"not unworthy to be remembered on earth, with due SECT. "thanks to the goodness of God, by whose grace I am "returned. In the rest, submitting myself with all humi- Anno 1556, lity to all the order of penance and satisfaction, that it "will please my Lord Legate to put unto me: which can"not be so sore, as I trust God shall give me grace and "will to fulfil it to the uttermost.
"And thus Almighty God, that hath begun to shew his mercy on me, of the same his infinite, mercy, may do the "like upon all the rest that be either contrary or wavering. Amen."
Observations upon Cheke's recantations. The Queen grants him lands in exchange.
I SHALL not make observations upon these foregoing Popish rirecantations, though many might be made; only I cannot gors tobut observe two or three things en passant. As, how ri-Cheke. gorously these Popish masters dealt with Cheke, now they had got him into their power, in putting him to make one long recantation after another: and in them prescribing him words and sentences, so grievous and grating upon his very heart; whereby he was fain so to belie and bespatter himself, as in effect to accuse himself to be one of the vilest wretches on earth: viz. "That he blasphemed "the name of God, and persecuted the name of Christ, "and that more than they that crucified him; and that "the ignorance of the Jews that killed Christ was more "excusable than his. That he did what he could to bring "the whole realm into blindness. That since he came ❝ into the Tower, he never came into place where he had 66 more cause to thank God. And that for an assured "token to the auditors, that what he said with his mouth "he thought with his heart, they put the very words of "Berengarius's recantation into his mouth, to own all the "absurdities of transubstantiation; and divers such like "expressions."
I observe also, by a clause of the recantation, upon what V. reason their anger and malice against Cheke was chiefly Anno 1556. grounded; namely, because he had been the great instruA reason of ment of good religion unto King Edward, and other noble youth of the Court, more than any other; whenas his office, as he was instructed to say, was not to teach him matters of religion, an employment committed to others.
this malice against him.
And, lastly, I make one remark with great commiseration; and that is, in what a deplorable anguish and perplexity, not to be expressed, this poor gentleman was, whilst he was thus constrained to speak matters so utterly against his knowledge and conscience; and what a woful fall this good man made to save a poor life. Such weak frail creatures the best are, considered in themselves. Which makes me think what Archbishop Parker writ on the margin of the copy of one of these recantations, Homines sumus, i. e. "We are but men.'
Cheke's anguish and perplexity.
Submits to penances.
Nor yet was this all the penance that Sir John Cheke was to do, (though one would think this had been enough of all conscience;) but further, after all this, he was to undergo penances, whatsoever they should be, (and he promised it,) that should be enjoined him by the Pope's Legate, the Cardinal.
And now, having done all this drudgery, and undergone exchanges all these hardships for his life, (wherein the Romanists him. were to triumph and glory,) he makes all his interest to
obtain his lands of the Queen again, which in his absence she had taken possession of. And his lands at length he had restored to him; but upon condition of an exchange with the Queen for others. And so he was required to make a surrender to her of all his lands and manors that he had obtained under his late royal master, King Edward. Which having been the revenues of religious houses or chauntries, the Queen thought fit to take into her hands, perhaps with an intention, in due time, to resettle them upon the old foundations, and restore them to their first purposes; yet granting him other Church lands at a greater distance from London, as in Devonshire and Somerset
shire which it may be afterwards, means should have SECT. been made to dispose also to their original constitutions. Which required surrender, Cheke complying with the Anno 1556. Queen, granted him a patent, (which I have seen in the hands of my honoured friend, John Conyers, Esq.) dated April the 12th, in the 3d and 4th of King Philip and Queen Mary: wherein mențion is made of the manor of Brampton Abbot in Devonshire, given by King Henry VIII. to Sir Hugh Stukely, Knight; and of the customary lands and reversions in Freshford and Woodwick in Somersetshire, given by King Edward VI. to Philip Juys, one of the said King's gardeners, &c. All these lands and manors Sir John obtained of the Queen, in consideration, as the patent runs, of a certain recognizance of the town of Clare, and the site of the college of Stoke; and of the manors of Stoke, Clare, Hundon, Ashton, and Pitley, alias Pightley, with the appurtenances in the county of Essex; and of the advowsons of the churches of Clare, Hunden, and Ashton; and also of the office of Feodary of the honour of Clare, and the hundred of Chilton, Chibel, &c. in the county of Cambridge; and of the manors of Preston, Beckwel, &c. in Sussex; and of the priory of Spalding, &c. in Lincolnshire; and other demeans in Norfolk; and of divers other manors and tenements; levied and done by Sir John Cheke, and Mary his wife, to the Queen and her heirs, at Westminster, in Hilary term, in the 3d and 4th of the said King and Queen. For which and other causes their Majesties moving, they of their special grace granted to the said Cheke and Peter Osborn, Esq. the reversion of the said manor of Brampton Abbot in Devon, belonging formerly to the monastery of Clive; and the annual rents of 371. 2s. 6ob.; and the reversion of the customary lands of Freshford and Woodwick in Somersetshire. They granted also to him and the said Osborn the manor of More in Devon; and the capital messuage of Batokysborough, and the manor of Aisshetote, alias Ayscote, in Somersetshire; and the manor of Northlode, parcel of the possessions of
CHAP. the monastery of Glascon; together with some other things granted to the said Sir John Cheke and Mary his Anno 1556. wife, and Peter Osborn.
Cheke made to consort with Papists.
What happened to Cheke after his recantation. Troubled.
BUT all these temporal accessions could not heal the wounds he had given his mind by his apostasy or hypocrisy; which so excessively dejected him, that within less than a year after it ended his life, as we shall be told by and by. But the Papists now outwardly made much of their convert; had him frequently in their companies, at their tables, to eat with them; and on their benches, when the pretended heretics were summoned before them, and examined; to shew him openly, no doubt, as an example to them, what a leading and learned man had forsaken their party; and for him to exhort them to do as he had done. Which were but so many fresh stings to him.
The Protestants extenuated as much as they could his dismal fall, making it not so foul as was at first represented. An Englishman in exile, sojourning at Strasburg, (and seems to be Grindal,) wrote to Peter Martyr, then at Zurich, March 15 anno 1556, informing him, that Cheke had given significations of his repentance and sorrow for his fall. Which gave such satisfaction to that reverend Father, that he wrote back to his friend that gave him this intelligence, that it was very acceptable to hear what he had wrote concerning Cheke, because Cheke had now deInt. P. Mar-clared, "that his faith was rather bent, than broke and tyr. Epist.
p. 784. col. 2. edit.
66 quite extinguished, however reports might be carried of "him." But Martyr added, that he thought it almost past belief, that he should persevere while he tarried in England; and subjoined his earnest prayer," that God, "the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, would so by his "Spirit repair his shipwreck, that, with as little loss as
"might be, he might at last arrive at the haven of salva- SECT. ❝tion." And God heard his prayer: for it was not long after that Cheke made his exit.
And pining away with the shame and regret of what he Dies. had done, he died Sept. 13, 1557, aged 43, at his friend Mr. Peter Osborn's house, in Wood-street, London; and was buried in St. Alban's church there, in the north chapel of the quire, Sept. 16. On whose grave were engraven these verses, made by his learned acquaintance, Dr. Walter MSS. D. H. S. George Haddon; which I shall here set down, as I have them Kt. Garter. transcribed from the monumental stone, taken by Charles Lancaster, herald, anno 1611, rather than as they are varied in Cheke's life, composed by H. Holland, and from by Dr. Gerard Langbain. On the stone, on the right side of the inscription, is engraven the coat of arms of him and his wife; being three crescents, and a crescent in the midst for distinction. The woman's coat, a salteir vaire, with a martlet in the nombril point, between five martlets. The epitaph as follows:
Doctrinæ lumen CHECUS vitæque magister,
Non erat e multis unus, sed præstitit unus
Omnibus et patriæ flos erat ille suæ.
Gemma Britanna fuit, tam magnum nulla tulerunt
Where one may observe, that neither his religion, his fall, nor his repentance, are in the least touched, those times not suffering it.
To which I will add the verses that Sir Thomas Chaloner, a gentleman and excellent scholar that lived in those times, in his miscellanies made of him:
Epitaphium D. Joannis Checi.
Tu nunc exuvias liquisti corporis hujus,