A BUYER in the UK is sought for a rare 16th-century manuscript
that documents an argument between two bishops over the right of
priests to marry. The Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey, has put a
temporary export bar on the volume, after its sale to a foreign
The manuscript includes A Traictise declarying and plainly
prouying, that the pretensed marriage of Priestes. . . is no
marriage (1554). It was written by a lawyer, Thomas Martin,
and possibly Stephen Gardiner, who was Bishop of Winchester from
1531 to 1551, and then from 1553 to 1555.
It belonged to John Ponet, who was Bishop of Winchester from
1551 to 1553, but fled into exile when Queen Mary came to the
throne and restored the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Traictise rebuts the argument set out by Ponet in
his Defence for mariage of Priestes (1549). The manuscript
contains both Ponet's annotations and a draft of his reply to his
Mr Vaizey took the decision to defer the granting of an export
licence after a recommendation from the Reviewing Committee on the
Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest
The export bar lasts until 23 December. This may be extended
until 23 March if there is notice of a "serious intention" to raise
the recommended price of £116,500.