This lytle treatyse declareth the study and frutes of Barnes


This lytle treatyse declareth the study and frutes of Barnes


borned in west smythfelde in London the .xxx. daye of Iuly in the .xxxii. yeare of the raygn of our Soueraygne Lorde Kynge Henry the viij. Newely compyled, and nowe newely Imprynted.


Robert Barnes (c. 1495 – 30 July 1540) was an English reformer and martyr, burned for heresy under Henry VIII.

Digital Object

Image / Audio Credit

Foxe's Book of Martyrs Plate IV - Barnes and his Fellow-Prisoners Seeking Forgiveness, by Joseph Martin Kronhein (Wikimedia Commons). This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100 years or less.


The Gospell.
NOwe it is true, that I harde tell
Whiche to me is no great meruell
Barnes the bolde / the vicar of hell
In learnynge som sayde, he dyd excell
Yet he expoundeth, wronge the gospell
Wrestyng and wrythyng it lyke a false fryer.
Which hath brought hym to a fayre fyer.

Of prechynge
Many he hath / to the trade brought
By his teachynge and preachyng, in pulpyt al ofte
Sayenge (we haue founde) that no ma[n] hath sought
Our wyttes, our lernynge, the spryte in vs wrought
Deceyuyng the people / tyl his workes came to nought
Suche was the study, of the false fryer
Who is now brent, in a fayre fyer.

Of fastyng and praying.
His carnall belly-ioye, whiche neuer wolde faste carnall] carnanall 1540
Gullynge and drynkynge, as he wolde braste
Despysyng al prayers / sayeng our wynd we dyde waste
And all holy sayntes, he dyde out_caste
To turne mens hertes, tyl nowe at the laste
He is prouyd an herytyke, and a false lyer
And brent to poudre, in a fayre fyre.

Of Dissimulacion.
Many thynges / he wolde, haue brought to passe.
[Through dissymulacion / ................................] leaf bisected, with loss of text here and in the next line
To blynde the people [styll, warne and .................]
But what he thought (the Sacrament was)
I wyll not iudge, but we maye synge, and say (alas)
That euer was borne, this Antechrist fryer
Which by true iudgement, was brent in the fyer.

Of Holy-breade and Holy-water.
God blessed the erth, and the fyrst creature
That euer was made of, mans nature
Moche more blessed is he, that is our sauyour
Receyuyng his baptysme / blessed the water
In thy name Iesus, the worlde to endure
This name ones spoken, with hartty desyre
Shall halowe / both bread, water and fyer.

Of lawe,
Yf his great-graund-father /longe had ben suffered
Both gods lawe, and mans lawe, wold haue ben subuertid
Lyke bestyall beastes, we shulde then haue raygned
Wtout lawe or good ordre, he had so Imagynyd
After the luteryan fasshyoned, but god be thanked
To put in our Kynges hed: further to enquyre
Of the false heretyke, and braynles fryer.

Of Prestes to haue wyues.
¶All thynges in commune, is the luteryans lyfe
A preest / a fryer, must nedes haue a wyfe
Who wolde blame Barnes then, to begyn the stryfe
Betwene the spyrytuall, and temporall, it was ryfe
It grudged, good mens conscyence, this great myschefe
And the conuycyous wordes of the false fryer
Whiche for his heresyes, is burnt in a fayre fyer.

Of Repentaunce.
O howe [lyk]e / a Christen man he dyed hole torn in leaf, with loss of text here and in the next line
Styffly hol[dy]nge / his handes by his syde
Sayeng, yf euer were any saynt / that dyed
I wyll be one / that must nedes be tryed
Without repentaunce, the deuyll was his gwyde
All this he sayd / lyke a false lyer
Yet all coulde not saue hym, from the fayre fyer.

Of Presumpcion.
To se the pryde / and great presumpcyon
Of the false heretyke, that wolde become
A saynt in the deuyls name, throughe dissimulacyon
Without gods mercy / it is his confusyon
I praye god there be no mo (I saye but mom)
Awaye with hym, away with hym, quod barnes the fryer
Somtyme in the pulpyt, and nowe in the fyer

Of Reliquis.
Hys stampynge, his starynge, is [.......]ne. leaf torn away, with loss of text here and in the two following lines
Thankes be to god, and our kyng a[l]one
And that I myght haue, of hym a stynky[nge] bone
To make it a relyke / for he sayd, there is none
That he coulde fynde, in Mathewe or in Iohnn
Whether he sayd true / or spake lyke a lyer
Let other trye the trueth / for he was / an heretyke fryer

Of a Marter.
[O] holy Barnes / of all Heretykes the father leaf damaged
[Y]e be a saynte / yet ye [be no confessour] leaf bisected, with loss of text here and in the next line
[Sm]ylynge and iestynge / when ye lyste clatter leaf damaged with loss of text here and in the following three lines
[Bu]t I thynke surely, ye be a stynkynge marter
[W]ho that thynketh contrary, thynketh lyke a lyer
L[e]t hym that so thynketh / beware of the fyer

Of his Newe lernynge.
Take hede and beware / of his false doctryne
And to bele[u]e Christes churche, let vs inclyneletter illegible
Our hertes to god, and to our kynge, both thyne and myne
To serue them truely / with hart diuyne
Then mayst thou saye, thou drawest the tr[ewe] lyne leaf damaged with loss of text here and in the following two lines
Le[t] of his newe lernyng, I the requyre
An[d] gyue [n]o credence, to the heretyke fryer

[A]nd nowe louyngly, let vs all [with o]ne voyce pray. leaf damaged with loss of text here and in the next line
For the preseruacyon, of Henry, our m[ost no]ble kynge
And katherine / our Quene, that they togyther may
Prosperously contynue, to theyr hertes desyrynge,
And Edwarde our Prynce that most angelyke thyng
That they all-togyther, may long lyue and reste
And after with hym to raygne / Qui in celis est

God saue the Kynge.
Imprynted at London in Pater_noster_rowe by Iohnn_Redman, for Richard_bankes,
Cum priuilegio Regali. et Ad imprime[n]dumimprimendum] imprimemdum 1540 solum

Method of Punishment






Execution Location

Smithfield, London

Printing Location

London: John Redman for Richard Bankes, 1540


'The Study and Fruits of Barnes Burned in West Smithfield'Textbase of Early Tudor English Website, The University of Otago

More information on Robert Barnes' execution in The Cambridge History of Early Modern English Literatureedited by David Loewenstein and Janel Mueller.




“This lytle treatyse declareth the study and frutes of Barnes,” Execution Ballads, accessed April 13, 2024,

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