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William Sawtrey

d.1401. Lollard* martyr. A priest in Norfolk in 1399, he was summoned before the bishop of Norwich and charged with heresies, which he supposedly abjured. In 1401, while he was attached to St. Osyth's, London, his heretical teaching came to the attention of Archbishop Arundel.* Sawtrey was the first to be tried before the newly passed statute De Haeretico Comburendo, appearing before convocation at St. Paul's. The charges were that he refused to adore the cross save as a symbol; maintained that priests should omit repetition of the hours for more important duties such as preaching, holding that money spent on pilgrimages should instead be distributed to the poor; and believed that bread after consecration was essentially unchanged. He appealed to king and Parliament on the basis of the NT and Augustine. The archbishop tried to force a change of heart, but Sawtrey held his ground. He was condemned as a relapsed heretic, in view of his former abjuration, degraded from priest to doorkeeper, and stripped of every clerical function and vestment including his tonsure. Finally he was burnt in chains at Smithfield.

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