Hunne, Richard (DNB00)

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HUNNE, RICHARD (d. 1514), supposed martyr, was a merchant tailor of the city of London, who lived in Bridge Street in the parish of St. Margaret. He had a child out at nurse in Whitechapel, and on its death in 1514 the priest of St. Mary Malfellow demanded a burying sheet as a mortuary, which Hunne refused to give. The priest, Thomas Dryfield, then cited Hunne in the spiritual court of London, but Hunne took the bold step of bringing an action of præmunire against the priest, on the ground that the spiritual court sat by authority of the legate. More says that Hunne had been detected of heresy at an earlier date, and brought the præmunire to delay prosecution, and adds that his books 'were so noted wyth hys owne hande in the margentes as euery wyse man well saw he was [a heretic].' He was now apprehended on a charge of heresy, and brought before the Bishop of London, Richard Fitzjames [q. v.] The interrogatories charged him with the possession of heretical books, notably the gospels in English, and with heretical speaking and teaching. Hunne gave a qualified admission to the charge and submitted to correction, but, persisting in his action of præmunire, he was remanded to prison in the Lollards' Tower, and there two days afterwards (5 Dec. 1514) he was found hanged by his own girdle of silk. On 6 Dec. an inquest was held before Thomas Barnewelt, the coroner, and a verdict of wilful murder returned against Dr. Horsey, the chancellor of the Bishop of London, and other officials. The chancellor was committed to prison on the finding of the jury. The bishop appealed to Wolsey, who could not stop the proceedings, but managed, it is said, to secure a pardon for Horsey. Horsey, however, according to Fish, had to pay 600l. Meanwhile process began against the body of Hunne for heresy on 16 Dec. 1514, before the bishops of London, Durham, and Lincoln. The articles against him were published at Paul's Cross, and his body, which, according to Bale, had been buried and was afterwards dug up, was burned on the 20th. Hunne's case is said to have been noticed in parliament, an act being passed in the Commons and being read once in the Lords (3 April 1515), declaring that he had been murdered. Fish's account of the affair was criticised, with some levity, by Sir Thomas More, and More's view was criticised by Tyndale and by Foxe. Foxe gives an imaginative picture of Hunne hanging in the Lollards' Tower. Horsey's trial in a civil court roused the great controversy on the question of clerical immunity [see under Kedermyster, Richard, and Standish, Henry.]

[Holinshed's Chron. (ed. Hooker),p. 835; Foxe's Acts and Monuments, iv. 183, &c.; Collier's Eccl. Hist. ed. Lathbury, iv. 9,&c.; Kennett's Collections, xl. 169; Burnet's Reformation, i. 41, &c.; Fish's Supplication of the Beggars (New Shakspere Soc.), ed. Furnivall, pp.9, 12, 16; More's Supplication of Soules,ix. &c.; More's Dyaloge, 1530, bk. iii. chap. xv.; Bale's Image of both Churches (Parker Soc.) p. 395; Tyndale's Answer to Sir Thomas More's Dialogue (Parker Soc.), pp. 146, 166, 167; The Enquirie and Verdite of the Quest Panneld of the Death of Rychard Hune, b.l. n.d; Notes and Queries,3rd ser. i. 450, 5th ser. x. 242; information from F.H. Groome,esq.]

W. A. J. A.