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139 [139]

Persecution in Britayne. Gregory, Austen.

rall life, wil not subiect him selfe to a Pagane Duke, vnles before he become a Christiā, &c. The messenger takyng his aūswere was not so soone out of the gates, as Inguar meetyng him and biddyng hym to be short in declaryng his aunswere, caused all the kynges garrison to be set round about. Some say that the kyng flying to Thetford, there pitcht a field with the Danes, but the Danes preuayling, the good kyng from thence dyd flye to the castle of Halesdon aboue mentioned: MarginaliaThe martirdme of kyng Edmund in Northfolke where he beyng pursued of the Danes was there taken, and at length beyng bound to a stake, there of the raging Danes was shott to death. And thus much for the good kynges.

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MarginaliaA question, Whether kyngs which made thē selues Monkes did well in so doyng or not. Now as concernyng those kynges which made them selues Monkes (which in number be. vij. or. viij.) although the example be rare & straunge, and much commended of the Chronicles of that tyme: yet I cā not rashly assent to their commendation, albeit the case therof is no matter of our history. MarginaliaAunswere. First in alteryng their estate from kings to Mōkes, if they did it to finde more ease, and lesse trouble thereby: I see not how that excuse standeth with the office of a good man, to chaunge his publickue vocation, for respect of priuate commoditie. If feare of ieoperdie and daunger did driue thē therunto: what prayse and commendation they deserue, in so doyng let the Monkishe histories iudge what they liste: me seemeth so much prayse as they deserue in prouidyng their owne safetie, so much they deserue agayne to be discōmended in forsakyng the common wealth. If they did it (as most like it is) for holynesse sake, thinkyng in that kynde of lyfe to serue and please God better: or to merite more toward their saluatiō then in the estate of a king, therin they were farre deceaued: not knowyng that the saluatiō which cōmeth of God is to be measured and estemed, not by mans merites, or by any persecutiō of life, or by difference of any vocation more of one then an other: but onely by the free grace of the Gospell, which freely iustifieth all them, that faythfully beleue in Christ Iesu. But here will be sayd agayne peraduenture, in the solitarie lyfe of Monkery, be fewer occasions of euills, then in kynges courtes, wherfore that lyfe serueth more to holynes, and more is to be preferred thē the other. To this I aunswere, to auoyde the occasions of euill is good, where strength lacketh to resiste. MarginaliaWhere vocation byndeth to tary, there not to fly, but to resist the occasiōs of euill, is a good mās part. But otherwise, where duety & charge byndeth to tary, there to auoyde the occasions of euil: where rather they are to be resisted: rather declareth a weakenes of the mā, then deserueth any prayse. As it is truly sayd of Tullie: Out of Asia, sayth he, to lyue a good lyfe, is no Godamercy: but in Asia where so great occasions of euill aboūd, there to lyue a good mē, that is prayse worthy. With the like reason I may inferre, if a man be called to be a kyng, there not to chaunge the vocation, for voydyng of occasiōs, but rather to resist occasions, and to keepe his vocation, declareth a good and a perfect mā. But of these bymatters hetherto sufficient.

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These thynges now thus premised, concernyng the order and reigne of kyngs, as is aboue prefixed: consequently it remayneth to enter the tractation of such thynges, as in the tyme and raigne of the foresayd kynges happened in the Church: MarginaliaFoure persecutions in Britany before the comming of Austen into England. first puttyng the Reader agayne in mynde of the former persecutions within the Realme, partly before touched in the tyme of the Britayne kynges, whiche specially were three or foure before the commyng of Austen into England.

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MarginaliaThe persecution of Dioclesian about the yeare of our Lord. 210. 1. The first was vnder Dioclesian, and that not onely in England, but generally throughout all the Romaine Monarchie, as is aboue specified. In this persecution, Albanus, Iulius, Aaron, with a great nūber moe of other good Christian Britaines, were Martyred for Christes name.

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MarginaliaThe persecution of Gnauius and Melga. 2. The second persecution or destructiō of Christiō fayth, was by the inuadyng of Gnauius & Melga: wherof, the first was captaine of the Hūnes, the other of the Pictes. These two tyrauntes, after the cruell slaughter of Vrsula & other. 11000. noble virgines, made their rode into Britaine, hearyng the same to be destitute of the strēgth of men. At what tyme they made a miserable murder of Christes Saintes, spoyling and wasting Churches, without all mercy either of women or children, sparyng none.

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MarginaliaThe persecution of Hengist in Britayne. 3. The third persecution came by Hengist, and the Saxones: who likewise destroyed and wasted the Christen congregations within the land, like raging Wolues fleyng vpon the sheepe, and spilling the blood of Christians, till Aurelius Ambrosius came, and restored agayne the Churches destroyed.

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MarginaliaThe fourth destruction of Christen fayth in Britayne by Gurmundus an 595 This Gurmundus, as some storyes record, leauyng his kingdome at home to his brother, sayd he would possesse no kyngdome, but which he should wyn with hys sword. 4. The fourth destruction of Christen fayth and Religiō, was by Gurmundus a Pagan kyng of the Africanes: who ioyning in league with the Saxons, wrought much greuance to the Christians of the land. In so much that Theonus Byshop of Lōdon, and Thadioceus Byshop of Yorke, with the rest of the people so many as were left: hauyng no place, wherin to remaine with safety, did fle some to Cornwall, and some to the mountaines of Wales about the yeare of our Lord. 550. and this persecution remained to the time of Ethelbert kyng of Kent. an. 589.

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In the raigne of this Ethelbert, which was then the 5. kyng of Kent, the fayth of Christ was first receuied of the Saxons or Englishmen: by the meanes of Gregory byshop of Rome, in maner and order as here foloweth, out of old histories collected and recorded.

First then to ioyne the order of our history together: MarginaliaKyng Lucius dyed 428. before the commyng of Austen. The Christē faith first receiued of kyng Lucius, endured in Britaine till this tyme, neare vpon the seasō of. CCCC. yeares and odde: when by Gurmundus Africanus (as is sayd) fightyng with the Saxons agaynst the Britaynes, it was neare extinct in all the land, during the space about. xliiij. yeares. So that the first springyng of Christes Gospell in this land, was an. 180. The comming of the Saxons was. an. 449. or an. 469. MarginaliaThe computation of tymes cōcernyng the cōtinuance and decay of Christes Gospell betwene the Britaynes & Saxons. The commyng of Austen was. an. 596. from the first entryng in of the Saxons to their complet conquest, and the driuyng out of the Britaynes (which was about the latter tyme of Cadwalader) were. 240. yeares. In summe from Christ to Lucius were. 180. yeares. The cātinuaūce of þe Gospell frō Lucius to the entring of the Saxōs was. 302. yeares. The decay of the same to the entryng of Austē was. 143. yeares, which beyng added together make frō Lucius to Austen. 445 from the baptisme of Christ to Austē they make. 598. yeres. In this yeare then. 598. Austen beyng sent from Gregory came into England: the occasion wherupon Gregory sent hym hither was this.

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MarginaliaAn. 598.
Beda Polychronicon. lib 5. cap. 8.
6. Malesburiensis de regib. Henr. Huntington. lib. 3.
Fabianus. part. 5. ca. 119. Liber bibliothecæ tornalensis.
In the dayes of Pelagius Byshop of Rome, 

Commentary  *  Close
Gregory the Great

The despatch of Augustine by Pope Gregory the Great to England was inevitably a locus classicus for Foxe's martyrology. He had already included the 'copie of the epistle of Gregory, sent to Augustinus into England' into the 1563 edition of his martyrology (1563, pp. 16-7), taking the text from Henry of Huntingdon, book 3, ch. 6. In the 1570 edition, he provided a much fuller and contextualised account, one that would remain unchanged for the succeeding editions in his lifetime. The most obvious source for Foxe on all these matters would, of course, have been Bede's Ecclesiastical History. Yet that is the one source which Foxe (save for one gloss mention) neglects to emphasise throughout this passage. He not only avoids telling us about it; he seems to have gone out of his way not to use it. Most of the letters between Pope Gregory and Augustine were extracted from Henry of Huntingdon's Chronicle, rather than Bede. The lengthy text of the 'questions of Austen Archbishop of Canterbury sent to Gregory' ('Gregory's decrees') looks, at first glance, to have been taken from Bede's Eccleiastical History (book 1, ch. 27). But it might, in reality, have come from a manuscript copy in Parker's collection - that of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS 320 pt 3 being a suitable candidate. It is therefore possible that Foxe has used this as the source for his extraction of Augustine's Interrogations rather than the published copy of Bede.. Fabyan's Chronicle, albeit a much later source, is also heavily drawn on by Foxe. We deduce that Foxe's remarkable reticence in respect of using and citing the Venerable Bede as a source must have something to do with Thomas Stapleton's publication of a 'Catholic' edition of Bede's Ecclesiastical History in 1565 (The History of the Church of Englande (Antwerp). Foxe was, of course, accommodating himself to an interpretative tradition on this passage which had been set by Bale - see Allen J. Frantzen, 'Bede and Bawdy Bale: Gregory the Great, Angels, and the "Angli"', in Allen J. Frantzen and John D. Niles (eds), Anglo-Saxonism and the Construction of Social identity (Florida, 1997), pp. 17-39. In reality, however, Foxe was more discreet that Bale on the potentially lascivious dimensions of Gregory's encounter with English children at the market in Rome. The story had appeared in so many chronicle sources - and Foxe's gloss indicates that he had probably collated them. For Augustine's landing in Kent and his meeting with King Ethelbert, Foxe probably drew on Henry of Huntingdon (T. Arnold, ed. Henry of Huntingdon. Henrici Huntendunensis Historia Anglorum, the History of the English, by Henry, Archdeacon of Huntingdon, from B. C. 55 to A. D. 1154 [London: Rolls Series, 1879] book 3, ch. 4, pp. 000-000) or Fabian's Chronicle (R. Fabyan, The Chronicle of Fabian [London, 1559], book 5, ch. 119, pp. 000-000). Interestingly, this is one of the rare places where Foxe betrays an interest in archaeological evidence, referring to the (Roman) ruins at Richborough on the Isle of Thanet 'whereof some part of the ruinous walles is yet to be sene'. All the other letters from Gregory Foxe could have taken from Henry of Huntingdon (book 3, chs 7-9). Foxe did not want openly to cast doubt upon the Augustinian establishment of the episcopal hierarchy in England and Wales, and he liberally referenced Augustine's consecration of the archbishops in London, York and Wales. But he carefully distanced himself from Augustine's miraculous healing of a bling man.. Foxe clearly used Fabian's Chronicle (book 5, ch. 119), but also checked the account in the Polychronicon (book 5, ch, 10), Henry of Huntingdon (book 3, ch.14) and perhaps Bede's Ecclesiastical History (book 2, ch. 2). For the final section on the synod of Bangor, Foxe probably found his basic narrative in Bale's Catalogus (pp. 63-4; 66) and may well have returned to Fabian's Chronicle for confirmation (book 5, ch. 119) as well as (perhaps) Bede's Ecclesiastical History (book 2, ch. 2). Bale's Catalogus seems also to have influenced Foxe's account of the death of Pope Gregory and the issue of the dating of Augustine's death, but he also added evidence from Henry of Huntingdon's Chronicle (book 3, ch. 17), the Polychronicon (book 5, chs 9-10) and (for David, Archbishop of Wales), William of Malmesbury's Gesta Regum (J. S. Brewer, and C. T. Martin, 'William of Malmesbury: Gesta Regum.' In Reigistrum Malmesburiense. The Registor of Malmesbury Abbey, ed. by J.S. Brewer and C.T. Martin (London: Rolls Series, 1869-1880), book 1, ch. 25).

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Matthew Phillpott and Mark Greengrass
University of Sheffield

Gregory chancyng to see certaine children in the market place of Rome (brought thether to be sold out of England) beyng fayre and beautifull of visage, demaunded out of what coūtrey they were: and vnderstandyng they were Heathnish, out of Englād, lamented the case of that land being so beautifull and Angelicall, so to be subiect vnder the Prince of darknes. And askyng moreouer out of what prouince they were, it was aunswered, oute of Deyra a part of Northsaxons: wherof, as it is to be thought, that which we now call Deyrham taketh his name. MarginaliaDeyrham in Northumberland. Then he alluding to the name of Deyra these people (sayth he) are to be deliuered de Dei ira, which is, from Gods wrath. Moreouer vnderstandyng the kynges name of that prouince to be Alle (aboue mētioned) alludyng likewise to his name: there (sayth he) ought Alleluia to be song to the liuyng God. Whereupon beyng moued and desirous to go and helpe the conuertion of that coūtrey, was not permitted of Pelagius and the Romaines for that tyme to accomplish his desire. But afterward beyng Byshop hym self next after Pelagius, he sent thither the foresayd Austen with other preachers neare about to the number of xl. But by the way, how it happened I cannot saye: As Austen with his company were passyng in their iourney, such a sodaine feare entred in their hartes (that as Antonius sayth) they returned all. Other write that Austē was sent backe to Gregory agayne, to release them of that viage so daungerous & vncertaine, amongst such a barbarous people: whose language neither they knew, nor whose rudenes they were able to resist. Thē Gregory with pithy persuasions confirmyng & comfortyng him, sent hym agayne with letters, both to MarginaliaEpiscopus Arelatensis. the Byshop of Arelalēsis, willyng hym to helpe and aide þe sayd Austen & his company in all, whatsoeuer his neede required. Also other letters he directed by þe foresayd Austē vnto his fellowes, exhorting them to go forward boldly in the Lords worke, as by the tenour of the sayd Epistle here followyng may appeare.

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MarginaliaEx Henr. Huntingtonensi, lib. 3.
The epistle of Gregory to them which went to preach in England.
Gregorius seruus seruorum Dei, seruis Domini nostri. Quia melius fuerat bona non incipere, quam ab ijs quæ cœpta sunt cogitatione retrorsum redire, &c In englishe. Gregory the serruant of Gods seruaunts, to the seruaūtes of one Lord. For asmuch as it is better not to take good thinges in hād, then after they be begon, to thinke to reuolte backe frō the same againe: therfore now you may not, nor cānot (deare children) but with all feruent study and labour, must needes go forward in that good busines, which through the helpe of God you haue wel begon. Neither let the labour of your iourney, nor the slaūderous toūgs of mē apalle you, but that with all instaūce and feruency ye proceede and accomplish the thyng whiche the Lord hath ordained you to take in hand: knowyng that your great trauaile shalbe recompensed with reward of greater glory hereafter to come. Therfore as we send here Austen to you agayne, whom also we haue ordained to be your gouernour: so do you humbly obey hym in all thynges, knowyng that it shall be profitable

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