John Badby - Encyclopedia


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JOHN BADBY (d. 1410), one of the early Lollard martyrs, was a tailor (or perhaps a blacksmith) in the west Midlands, and was condemned by the Worcester diocesan court for his denial of transubstantiation. Badby bluntly maintained that when Christ sat at supper with his disciples he had not his body in his hand to distribute, and that "if every host consecrated at the altar were the Lord's body, then there be 20,000 Gods in England." A further court in St Paul's, London, presided over by Archbishop Arundel, condemned him to be burned at Smithfield, the tournament ground just outside the city walls. It is said that the prince of Wales (afterwards Henry V.) witnessed the execution and offered the sufferer both life and a pension if he would recant; but in Walsingham's words, "the abandoned villain declined the prince's advice, and chose rather to be burned than to give reverence to the life-giving sacrament. So it befell that this mischievous fellow was burnt to ashes, and died miserably in his sin."

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