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1376 Adam asks for help

Adam had word that Wyclif was causing trouble for the Church in general and the Benedictines in particular. It is most likely that he heard from his old friends and fellow monk Thomas Brynton who was by now the Bishop of Rochester but still very much linked in to the Benedictine network. However stuck in Avignon, Adam he did not have access to Wyclif's work and  had nothing better rumour to rely on when what he really wanted was to find out what the man had said, analyse it and then denounce it. He had been working on the administration of the will of Simon Lanhgham but as that work came to an end and the legacy due to the Abbey at Westminster was packed up, Adam saw an opportunity and wrote to the Abbot asking for help.

The letter surviving in document WAM 9229* is not in the very best state and it has to be admitted that the signature is far from clear, the vellum ripped in just the wrong place. However the references to Langham's will, and the indisputable fact that Adam was one of the administrators of the will, make it certain that he was in fact the author:


Reverend father and Lord,

I received your letters with due reverence, and all the contents of them have today been discharged, at least those relating to the legacy of your church, by the present the Lord Prior Richard, nor has the legacy of your church, in terms of monetary or material things, been opposed and by this present letter, under such security they are sent to your church so as not to be lost.

And all your legacy was sent out in such good hands in which you can have the greatest confidence. And because of the special tie which our Lord Cardinal had to your church, the legacy (you are sent) is overflowing with clothing and books in the collection of his estate on which he worked before his death. These will be sent to your church via the town of Bruges by the said master of yours (the Lord Prior Richard) together with other items of various descriptions.

These are the new affairs I know of at the present, but as I have said I offer myself to you, and your church as being prepared to act for your benefit. I humbly and warmly appeal to your reverence, that I should have your students make a copy of  the sayings of a certain Master John Wycliffe that he has reportedly  spoken against our Order in Oxford. I have received a written report that he mounted a strong attack on our order but I cannot obtain a copy of his words. Because you are  a principal and father of our order, I beseech you to arrange that I can obtain a copy of his words and also of his sayings against the church, together with the little book that he published with various chapters on royal power.

And I will happily refund the scribes and those working on the project. I beseech you again that to carry out this task I will fully recompense your reverence in other ways and ensure you will receive the full gratitude of your superiors.

 Written in Avignon, 18 November. The servant of your reverence, Adam of Easton, monk of Norwich.

Westminster Muniments WAM 9229*