A little way out of Oxford there is a typical English market town called Thame. It sits on a river, the River Thame. But that river is certainly not to be confused with the River Thames, which anyway, in Oxford, is known as the Isis ... important for you all to know all that ...
The Church in Thame contains the monument of a 'Lord Williams'; son of one of those Welshmen-on-the-make who accompanied Henry Tudor in the Welsh Invasion of 1485. Williams himself, who made a packet out of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, has the countenance of an unreflective bruiser. In the reign of Good Queen Mary, he presided at the burning of Latimer and Ridley in Oxford's Broad Street. (Quaeritur: should he be in the Guiness Book of Records? Is there anybody else in history who got to preside at the burning of two bishops?)
Ridley's last cry was "Lorde, into thy handes.etc." Williams, affecting to consider "Lorde" as addressed to himself, replied "Master Ridley, I will remember your sute" [Foxe's plate is reproduced in Duffy's Fires of Faith]. Now that really does count as Kicking A Man When He Is Down. Compared with it, the humour of the pre-War Anglo-Catholic Society of S Peter and S Paul ('For Sale: Latimer and Ridley Pricket Stands') seems almost kindly. There is a child-like innocence, almost a whiff of the playpen, about Mgr Ronald Knox and his chums who laughed so much in the early decades of the last century.
But I don't really think Lord Williams was very funny. You see, I feel an ineradicable suspicion that, had the old bully survived a couple of decades into the reign of Bessie Tudor, he would have been found accompanying the Seminary Priests on their way to the rack, the rope, and the knife, with the same heavy and unsympathetic humour.
Go to Thame and look at his face and see what you think.
A lay version of the Vicar or Bray then?
Although I couldn't find a clear face picture of him, his profile instantly invoked the word: Vogon. Interestingly, the online information on him which I perused tended to be phrased euphemistically... His missus looks harder than he does, although discovering her maiden name instantly brought back pleasant memories of sloe picking on the Bledlow ridge.
DMG, see here for Williams in the Royal Berkshire History, complete with a full-face image which you can enlarge by double-clicking on it
Indeed, Unknown. It is often overlooked that the Man for All Seasons in Robert Bolt's play is not More but the oleaginous Sir Richard Rich, who ingratiated himself the powers that be no matter who they were or what they professed to believe.
Also see Thames Valley Papists by Tony Hadland https://hadland.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/tv_online.pdf
PM, it's my understanding that the earliest known identification in print of More as "a man for all seasons" was in 1520 - in Whittington's Vulgaria
“More is a man of an angel’s wit and singular learning. He is a man of many excellent virtues; I know not his fellow. For where is the man (in whom is so many goodly virtues) of that gentleness, lowliness, and affability, and as time requires, a man of marvelous mirth and pastimes and sometime of steadfast gravity — a man for all seasons.”
Is that the town meant in Farmer Giles of Ham when they call him Lord of Tame (Domini de Domito)?
I know there's all kinds of in-jokes in these things, and it's always very fun to find these places.
"Is that the town meant in Farmer Giles of Ham when they call him Lord of Tame (Domini de Domito)?"
Yes - and also Worminghall (cf. Dominus de Domito Serpente).
I visited St Mary's at Thame on 25/1/2022 and took photos of the effigies (how to post them here??). Lord Williams does not look particularly villainous. The parish guide book has a long entry on his charitable work (e.g. funding a local school) but nothing about the Bishop burning.
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