William Tracy
(1460-1531)

William Tracy is the tenth great grandfather of Rachel Wilcox Liberacki.

Parents

Henry Tracy
Alice Baldington

Spouse

Margaret Throckmorton

Children

Richard Tracy


In 1460, William Tracy was born in Toddington, Gloucestershire, England.

In 1498, Tracy married Margaret Throckmorton of Toddington, Gloucestershire, England.

Tracy served as a justice under Henry VII and Henry VIII. In 1513, he was made Sheriff.

Tracy adopted the views of Martin Luther and was a friend of William Tyndale and other reformers. On 10 October 1530, Tracy executed a will in which he expressed his belief in justification by faith. Although it was expected from someone of his social standing, Tracy left no money to the clergy.

After his death, Tracy's will was circulated among Protestant reformers. In 1531, his son Richard&mdasha lawyer and member of parliament&mdashwas summoned before convocation of the London's Bishop Court. On 27 February 1532, Archbishop William Warham declared that William Tracy was a heretic and could not be buried in consecrated ground. The Archbishop directed Dr. Thomas Parker to carry out this task.

After exhuming the body, Parker burned Tracy's body at the stake. At the urging of Richard Tracy and Margaret Throckmorton, Thomas Cromwell took interest in the case and Parker was order to pay a fine of either £300 or £400.1

Copies of Tracy's testament were publicly burned and it was illegal to own a copy. On 25 March 1531, court records show that "Thomas Philip was delivered by Sir Thomas More to Bishop Stokesley by indenture" for having a copy of Tracy's testament in his possession. Philip was also in possession of butter and cheese during Lent.

In 1535, The Testament of Master Wylliam Tracie [William Tracy], Esquier, Expounded both by William Tindall [William Tyndale]) and Jho- Frith [John Frith] was published. Tyndale and Frith would both be burned at the stake because of their religious views. Richard Tracy would continue to distribute his father's testament.

1I have seen both amounts listed in secondary sources.

Library

Cutter, William Richard. (ed.) Genealogical and Family History of Western New York: A Record of the Achievements of Here People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Building of a Nation.. Vol. 2. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1912.

Lehmberg, Stanford E. The Reformation Parliament: 1529-1539. London: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Ripley, Charles Stedman. Ancestors of Lieutenant Thomas Tracy of Norwich, Connecticut. Boston: Alfred Mudge and Son Printers, 1895.

Wilson, Derek. The Lion's Court: Power, Ambition, and Sudden Death in the Reign of Henry VIII. New York: St. Martins, 2001.

Yarnell III, Malcomb B Royal Priesthood in the English Reformation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.




In the name of God, Amen. I William Tracy, of Todington, in the county of Glocester, esquire, make my testament and last will, as hereaf'ter followeth.

First, and before all other thing, I commit me unto God, and to his mercy, trusting without any doubt or mistrust, that by his grace and the merits of Jesus Christ, and by the virtue of his passion, and of his resurrection, I have and shall have remission of my sins, and resurrection of body and soul, according as it is written, (Job xiv.) "I believe that my Redeemer liveth, and that in the last day I shall rise out -of the earth, and in my flesh shall see my Saviour." This my hope is laid up in my bosom.

And as touching the wealth of my soul, the faith that I have taken and rehearsed is sufficient (as I suppose) without any other man's work or works. My ground and my belief is, that there is but one God, and one mediator between God and man, which is Jesus Christ: so that I do accept none in heaven, nor in earth, to be my mediator between me and God, but only Jesus Christ; all other be but petitioners in receiving of grace, but none able to give influence of grace. And therefore will I bestow no part of my goods for that intent, that any man should say or do to help my soul : for therein I trust only to the promise of God, " He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not sha11 be damned." (Mark, the last chapter.)

And touching the burying of my body, it availeth me not what be done thereto; wherein St Augustine, De cura agenda pro· mortuis1, saith, that 'they are rather the solace of them that live, than the wealth or comfort of them that are departedo:' and therefore I remit it only to the discretion of mine executors.

And touching the distribuiion of my temporal goods, my purpose is, by the grace of God, to bestow them to be accepted as fruits of faith : so that I do not suppose that my merit be by good bestowing of them; but my merit is the faith of Jesus Christ only, by which faith such works are good, according to the words of our Lord, (Matt. xxv.) "I was hungry, and thou gavest me to eat;" and it followeth, "that ye have done to the least of my brethren ye have dono to me," &c. And ever we should consider the true sentence, that ' a good work maketh not a good man, but a good man make th a good work : ' for faith make th the man both good and righteous; for·" a righteous man liveth by faith" (Rom. i. ), and, "whatsoever springeth not out of faith is sin" (Rom. xiv.).

And all my temporal goods that I have not given, or delivered, or not given by writing of mine own hand, bearing the date of this present writing, I do leave and give to Margaret my wife, and to Richard my son, which I make mine executors. Witness this mine own hand, the tenth day of October, in the twenty-second year of the reign of king Henry the eighths.