bore St. John the Evangelist. The historian appears to regard the
return of the ring as a warning to the King of his approaching death.
When Edward was interred in Westminster, this ring was placed in that
church,16 and it became an object of great veneration
there, for it cured those suffering from paralysis or epilepsy, if they
touched it. From this time, says Polydore Vergil, the kings of England
adopted the practice of consecrating, on Good Friday, similar rings,
which received the name of " cramp-rings " from their special efficacy.17
Confirmation of the exercise of this rite of consecration by Henry VIII
after the establishment of the English Church is given by Andrew
Borde, who writes in 1542 as follows: " The Kynges of Eng-lande doth
halowe every yere Crampe rynges the whyche rynges, worne on ones
fynger, dothe helpe them the whyche hath the Crampe." 18
rings appear to have been consecrated by Henry VIII both before and
after his breach with the Roman Church, for in 1529 Anne Boleyn wrote
to Bishop Gardiner, then in Rome, that she was sending him cramp rings
for himself and certain of his friends.19 After the death of
Henry, Bishop Gardiner wrote to Ridley that he trusted the young king
(Edward VI) would not neglect to continue the usage. However, as
16 See also pp. 174, 175.
17 Poly do ri Vergilii, " Historiae Angli cae," Lug. Bat., 1651, p. 187.
The fyrst Boke of the Introduction of Knowledge made by Andrew Borde of
Physcycke Doctor; ed. by Furnivall, London, 1870. Early English Text
Series ; Extra Series No. X.
19 Burton, " History of the Reformation," Oxford, 1829, vol. II, Pt. II (Collection of Records, bk. II, No. 24) pp. 413, 414.