The following is an original letter written in 1539 to Thomas Cromwell from a priest who confesses that he had misunderstood the word of God and begs for a royal pardon for getting married:
Most humbly and wise, I being not so bold as to appear before your Lordship until your pleasure is known, fear set apart compels me to write. This last Lent I did no less than write, and also to your presence I did approach, suing for your lordship’s gracious service; but now my suit is much other, for my misfortune has been to have conceived untruly God’s word, and not only with intellection to have thought yet, but externally and really I have fulfilled the same; for I, as then being a priest, have accomplished marriage; nothing pretending but as an obedient subject. For if the Kings Grace could have found it lawful that priests might have been married, they would have been to the Crown double and double faithful, first in love, secondly for fear that the Bishop of Rome should sit in his power unto their desolation. But now by the noise of the people I preserve I have done in so much, which say the that the King sit in judgement with all his council temporal and spiritual has subscribed a contrary order, that all priests shall be separate by a day; with which order I have contented myself: and as son as I heard it to be true, I sent the woman to her friends three score miles from me, and speedily and with all clarity. I have resorted hether to desire the King’s Highness of his favour and absolution for my so doing; praying and beseeching your Lordship’s gracious comfort for the obtaining of his gracious pardon: and I shall be your bounden servant in heart and also your continual service of it shall please your gracious lordship to accept it during my life: within the 18th day of June.
Yours bounden for ever,
The Letter was written immediately after the Parliament of June 1539 had passed the Act of the Six Articles which reaffirmed traditional Roman Catholic doctrine on key issues including clerical celibacy and the observance of the vows of chastity. After Henry’s death the articles were repealed by his son, Edward VI who allowed Anglican priests to marry for the first time.
MS. COTTON. CLEOP. E. iv. foL 116 b. Orig.
ROYAL LETTERS: HENRY ELLIS VOL. II. SECOND EDITION. LONDON, THOMAS DAVISON, WHITBFBIAHS. 1825
Letter translated into modern English by Blogger.