Fjsh, Simon

, a man who deserves some notice on account of his zeal for the reformation, was born in Kent, and, after an education at Oxford, went about 1525 to GrayVInn, to study the law. A play was then written by one Roo, or Roe, in which cardinal Wolsey was severely reflected on; and Fish undertook to act the part in which he was ridiculed, after every body else had refused to venture upon it. The cardinal issued his orders against him the same night, but he escaped, and went into Germany, where he found out, and associated himself with, William Tyndale. The year following he wrote a little piece, called, “The Supplication of Beggars;” a satire upon bishops, abbots, priors, monks, friars, and indeed the popish clergy in gejieral. About 1527 or 1528, after it had been printed, a copy was sent to Anne Boleyne, and by her given to the king, who was not displeased with it, and Wolsey being now disgraced, Fish was recalled home, and graciously countenanced by the king for what he had done. Sir Thomas More, who, when chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, had answered Fish’s pamphlet, in another, entitled “The Supplication of Souls in Purgatory,” being advanced to the rank of chancellor in the | room of Wolsey, the king ordered sir Thomas not to meddle with Fish, and sent a message to this purpose, with his signet, by the Jiands of Fish. On his delivering the message, sir Thomas told him, all this was sufficient for himself, but not for his wife, against whom it was complained that she had refused to let the friars say their gospels in Latin at her house. The chancellor appears to have made some attempt to prosecute the wife, but how far he succeeded is not known. Fish himself died about half a year after this of the plague, about 1531, and was buried in the church of St. Dunstan in the West. In one of the lives of sir Thomas More, it is reported that he turned papist before his death, but this circumstance is not mentioned by Fox. The “Supplication” was one of the publications afterwards prohibited by Cuthbert Tonstall, when bishop of London. Tanner ascribes to Fish two works called “The Boke of merchants rightly necessary to all folkes, newly made by the lord Pantapole” and “The Spiritual Nosegay.” He also published about 1530, “The Summ of the Scriptures,” translated from the Dutch. His widow married James Bainham, afterwards one of the martyrs. 1

1

Fox’s Acts and Mon.~ —Ath. Ox. new edit, by Bliss.