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WOMEN OF THE CHURCH

OF ENGLAND

CHAPTER I

THE NEW LEARNING

ANNE BOLEYN, JANE SEYMOUR, KATHARINE PARR,

ANNE ASCOUGH

LONG before the day of Anne Boleyn the spirit of reform brooded over the Church in England. And at a time when Katharine of Aragon still shared the throne of England with Henry VIII., there were women in all ranks who resented the domination of priests, and who tried to lead their children into a truer faith and a better practice than the faith and the practice of the Rome-governed Church they themselves had been brought up in.

There was a certain Joan Baker-presumably a spinster --who had not only ceased to reverence her crucifix, but who persuaded a dying friend to put her trust in God and not in the sculptured cross. She also regretted that she had ever made pilgrimages to idols, and was of opinion that the Pope had no power to give pardons. She was deemed a dangerous heretic. Another, Alice Cowper, wife of Willian Cowper, whose child fell into a ditch, refused to go on a pilgrimage to St. Lawrence when her neighbours besought her to do so. She said neither St. Lawrence nor any other saint could make her child well, only Almighty God. She aded : “ Pilgrimages were nothing worth, saving to make priests rich.”

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