Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/374

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and opinions" to the ecclesiastical remedies of "excommunication, deprivation, degradation, and other ecclesiastical censures not extending to death." Scotland was more tardy than England in humanitarian development, but the last execution for heresy in the British Islands was that of a youth of eighteen, a medical student named Aikenhead, who was hanged in Edinburgh in 1696.[1]

In Ireland the fiery temper of the Franciscan, Richard Ledred, Bishop of Ossory, led him into a prolonged struggle with presumed heretics — the Lady Alice Kyteler, accused of sorcery, and her accomplices. So little was known in Ireland of the laws concerning heresy that at first the secular officials refused contemptuously to take the oath prescribed by the canons to aid inquisitors in their persecuting duties, but Ledred finally obliged them to do so and had the satisfaction of burning some of the accused in 1325. He incurred, however, the enmity of the chief personages of the island, leading to a counter-charge of heresy against himself. For years he was obliged to live in exile, and it was not till 1354 that he was able to reside quietly in his diocese, though in 1335 we find Benedict XII. writing to Edward III., deploring the absence in England of so useful an institution as the Inquisition, and urging him to order the secular officials to lend efficient aid to the pious Bishop of Ossory in his struggles with the heretics, of whom the most exaggerated description is given. Even Alexander, Archbishop of Dublin, in 1347, was declared to have been a fautor of heresy because he interfered with Ledred's violent proceedings; and, in 1351, his successor, Archbishop John, was directed to take active measures to punish those who had escaped from Ossory and had taken refuge in his see.[2]

It is true that when the Hussite troubles became alarming and

  1. D'Argentrg, Collect. Judic. I. i. 185, 234.— Harduin. Concil. VII. 1065-8, 1864. — Capgrave's Chronicle, ann. 1286. — Nic. Trivetti Chron. ann. 1222 (D'Achery III. 188). — Bracton. Lib. iii. Tit. ii. cap. 9, § 2. — Myrror of Justice, cap. I. § 4, cap. ii. § 22; cap. iv. § 14. — 5 Rich. II. c. 5.— Rymer's Foedera, VII. 363, 447, 458.-2 Henr. IV. c. 15.— Concil. Oxoniens. ann. 1408 c. 13.—2 Henr. V. c. 7.-25 Henr. VIII. c. 14.— 1 Edw. VI. c. 12, § 3.— 1 Eliz. c. 1, § 15.— 29 Car. II. c. 9.— London Athenaeum, May 31, 1873; Nov. 29, 1884.
  2. Wright, Proceedings against Dame Alice Kyteler, Camden Soc. 1843. — Wadding. Annal. ann. 1317, No. 56; ann. 1335, No. 5, 6.— Theiner Monument. Hibern. et Scotor. No. 531-2, p. 269; No. 570-1, p. 286; No. 599, p. 299.