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Strada, V., 84.

The decrees of the Council of Trent against heretics were Eng. Ed. promulgated in the Netherlands about 1564.

Idem, 83.

Brant, I.,


Bor, 1., 72.



"And now the hereticks were carried to prison and put to death, which terrified many, and those that died were often reconciled to the Church.' "A Priest that was turned heretick" set fire to the archives and monuments of the province in the tower of Rupelmonde (near Antwerp); the soldiers extinguished the flames, and "the Priest being taken, was, with the rest of his companions, but a little more happily executed." "For openly renouncing his heresie, before the multitude that was assembled to see him die; twice he cursed Calvin and all the contrivers of heresy, and bad the good people take warning how they came near that plague-sore, which the Devil had sent from hell to infest mankind, and so professing, he died a Catholick, his head was struck off."

A Placard of 26th June (1566) was promulgated at Antwerp on the 2nd July, and the following notice was given by the Magistrates, "Warning is hereby given by order of the Lords and Governors of this city to all burghers and inhabitants, and all other persons of what state and condition soever, that they avoid being present, whether through curiosity, novelty, or otherwise, within and without the town at any of those kinds of preachings which have been prohibited by Placard, as well from his Majesty, as from the particular government of this place, whereof everybody is to take notice at his peril.'

The Placard of 3rd July, 1566, was against meetings, heresies, and conspiracies against the Roman Catholic religion. "Preachers, teachers, and ministers, and their followers shall be liable to death, and 'met een koorde of strop aen der galge geexecuteert' with confiscation of all their effects. That all who entertain preachers, ministers, etc., shall be brought to the gallows and executed, and that 'fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, masters, mistresses, and other relations shall be responsible for their children or those under them, should they take part in any of the meetings or do anything against the Placards."

The following sentence, extracted from the Register of Criminal Cases at Antwerp, 14th August, 1571, will show clearly Antwerp. that the Judges and Magistrates threw all the odium of carrying out the Placards on the King:

The Magistrates in their official capacity versus Matthys Moens.

"The Governor (of the Netherlands) and the Council of Justice having seen and heard as the prisoner himself confesses

(under torture), that in his house were found divers prohibited books, and that he, at the time of his apprehension, had lodged in his house a certain Calvinist minister, and that by his knowledge and will he had allowed the said minister to be there, and that he himself had taken part in prohibited meetings and conventicles, and that he had permitted his child to be baptised by the said sectarians, all being contrary to the Placards. So is it, being proved, and also acknowledged and confessed (under torture) by the said prisoner, he is found guilty according to the Placards by the said Justices, and the said prisoner, Matthys Moens, shall be committed to prison, and shall forfeit his life and goods to us the said Justices, according to the Placards of his Majesty, and that he shall be executed according to the Placards."


Torture, under the Inquisition, was performed with a rack, Brant, I, fire, and water, in a dark cellar and by torch light, the executioner was covered with a black linen garment from head to foot, in which there were holes for his eyes. The Inquisitors were seated behind a screen.

Antwerp, 1564. "Christopher Fabricius was to be executed, Strada, who, forsaking the Order of Carmelites, married in England, V., 84. and had corrupted some citizens of Antwerp with heretical opinions. When the executioner brought him to the stake to be burned, suddenly as the faggots were kindling, a shower of stones (cast from what hands was not known) fell upon the place; the hangman seeing his danger, if he stayed, yet resolving not to leave the condemned man to the people, whipped out his sword, and when he was half burned, killed him; then leaping down among the soldiers, saved himself in the crowd. The mutineers thus defeated of their hopes, gave over for the present, either unable to master the soldiers or conceiving they should stir to no end, the prisoner being dead. Yet the next day. some of them lighting on a woman who (they said) first discovered Fabricius, they made a ring about her, railed and threw stones at her, and had killed her but that she fled."

In 1564 (qy. 1566), the Prince of Orange was given a Commis- Strada, sion to try to appease the riots at Antwerp. At that town he V., 118. was met by such a multitude "that you would have thought Antwerp had emptied itself of all its inhabitants"; "when that huge crowd began to sing Psalms in French he commanded them to hold their peace." The Prince of Orange endeavoured to persuade the people to disarm, but they received rumours that the Magistrates would endeavour to disperse the (religious) meetings by force of arms, and they therefore refused to submit

V., 116.

to the authorities. They agreed, however, not to hold meetings inside the town, but to hold them only outside Antwerp as before. Strada, In 1566 "the master hereticks, watching how discord prospered in the Low Countreys, that they might take occasion to vent their outlandish wares and sell them the New Gospel, flocking in crowds, the Calvinists out of France and the Lutherans and Anabaptists out of Germany, invaded, and as it were, attached their nearest neighbour towns. First they held their conventicles in the fields by night, then success smiling upon them......they thought it best to shew themselves in the light......lest the Calvinists (that had indeed fewer great persons of their faction, but more proselytes and applause) should be lesse powerful than the Lutherans. And the Anabaptists, being far more in numbers than the Lutherans, scorned to be worsted by the Calvinists, or that the Lutherans should have more great protectors than both the other sects. Therefore they made haste in zeal of spirit to seize upon cities and towns, as if they were to make new plantations, every one being for himself and all against one."

Hooft, 83.

Bor, I.,69.


The Reformers in 1566 went to the preachings first in woods, then in the open fields in great numbers. In the first meetings, they were unarmed. Afterwards they took rapiers, pistols, muskets, halberds, and other weapons. These meetings began in West Flanders, and afterwards spread to Brabant, Pays de Waas, Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, and other places.

At Antwerp in 1566, notwithstanding the Placards and their consequences there were many secret meetings of the Reformed Church within and without the town, where preaching took place on every Sunday and holy day from the beginning of June. On the 24th June, there was after noon a noted meeting of 4,000 to 5,000 persons in "Eesterbosch" on the land of the Herr van Berthem, not far from the town; there a man clad in a long gown preached in the Walloon tongue. Sentries on horseback were posted some way off on four sides to give the alarm. Arrangements were ordered to be made to preach every Saturday for the future.

In 1566, the Reformers "married people in the fields and V., 116. baptised infants. That all this might be done with safety they meet at these conventicles and sermons armed with pikes and muskets. The people's zeal of hearing sermons came to such a height......that men, women and children left their Idem, 117. houses and ran like mad to these teachers in the fields." "Many were taken by the novelty......a great sort were drawn in with

the tunes set to the Psalms, translated into French meter by Marot and Beza, and now sung at the great meetings in the fields according to the Geneva mode. But most of them itched after the slanders and jeers of their preaching ministers. With lies and fooleries, they railed against the Bishop of Rome, the Council of Trent, and the Ecclesiastical Inquisition. Shamefully and foully abusing all things holie, but yet so, as the people's minds were tickled, who clapped their hands, as if they had been in a play house."


The Magistrates of Antwerp complained to the Duchess of Strada, Parma, that the town was "pestered extremely" by strangers. These were ordered to depart, but to little purpose. The worst disorders were at Antwerp, a few days after the old placards were confirmed and augmented: the Lutherans met in the fields on one side, and the Calvinists on the other, there being no fewer than 15,000, which increased their confidence; when the sermon was over, they set "the preacher of Calvin's gospel" on horseback and carried him into the town triumphantly, attended with a great guard of horse and foot.


In July, 1566, the Bailiffs of the villages belonging to Brant, I, Antwerp, informed the Magistrates that they had received a petition signed in the name of the citizens and other inhabitants, professors of the "true Christian faith," which was forwarded at the same time. The signers acknowledged the power of the Magistrates in civil matters; they declared that they held the faith founded on the word of God as contained in the Bible, that they had separated themselves from the superstitions and abuses of the Roman Church; that for some years past they had exercised their religion privately in Antwerp, but that the great increase of believers, both Walloons and Flemings, obliged them to worship openly. They therefore requested humbly that they might build a church at their own charges within the city, representing that this would unite the burghers and would improve the trade of the city, as it had done in towns of Germany, France, and in other places. That the Magistrates could, they alleged, do this under the privileges of the Edict of the Joyful Entry. This petition put the Magistrates in great difficulty.

The Duchess of Parma in answer to this, published a new Brant, I., Placard, dated July 3rd, that the Magistrates should disturb all 173, 174. the meetings and hang all the new preachers.


The great Council at Antwerp refused point blank to molest Brant, I., the Protestant meetings outside the town, as the burghers would not allow this, but it was ordered that there should be

Bor, I.,69.

Strada, 130.




no preaching inside the town. A great fright ensued. Merchants packed up their goods, and sent them away with their wives and children, and the town-people armed themselves to resist the soldiers.

The Duchess of Parma answered the notices sent to her of these meetings and a request that they should be allowed, by the following:

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Que la Requeste presentée par les gentils hommes avait à ces gens donné telle hardiesse, et que tels sectaires ne cerchent que la vie et biens d'aultruy, et que leur affair tendoit à Atheisme."

She wrote immediately to her brother, Phillip II., that "when my house was besieged, my mind languishing and my body sick, sending for Orange, Egmont, and Horn, and protesting before them that my consent was extorted thereunto, I made a concession of pardon and indemnities to the Covenanters, and to the rest I gave liberty to hear their ministers preach, only in places where they had been accustomed so to do, provided they came unarmed and molested not the Catholics." This was what she did by ordinance, dated 25th August, 1566, from Brussels.

The permission to hold the preachings had been extorted from the Gouvernante by the excesses of the mob in the previous week, for at Antwerp on the 18th August, the day of the annual Bor, II., kermis or fair, after interfering with the procession of the great image of the Virgin, she being the patroness of the City, the rioters entered the Cathedral and went into the Lady Chapel, and asked in scorn, "why she had so early gone to roost?" On that day they did not do much mischief. On the 21st however, about a hundred of them again forced their way into the Cathedral, and towards the evening began to sing a Geneva Psalm, and "then as if the trumpet had sounded a charge, the spirit moving them altogether, they fell on the effigies......the pictures, some tumbled them down and trod on them, others thrust swords into their sides, others chopped off their heads with axes, etc., etc." "The greatest wonder was to see them make so quick despatch, that one of the fairest and greatest churches of Europe, full of pictures and statues, richly adorned with about seventy altars, by a few men (for they were not above a hundred, as the Duchess wrote to the King that she was certainly informed) should before midnight, when they began but in the evening, have nothing at all left entire or unprofaned." After leaving the Cathedral they were joined by others, and they entered all the churches and monasteries, committing the greatest havoc and destruction. The clergy

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