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156 [156]

Offa. Northūberlād kyngdom ceaseth. The kingdom of Mercia ceaseth.

had reygned v. yeares, was expulsed. After whom succeeded Alfwold who likewise when he had reigned xi. yeares was vniustly slayne. So likewise after hym his nephew, and the sonne of Alcredus named Osredus reigned one yeare & was slayne. Then the foresayd Ethelbert the sonne of Mollo after xij. yeares banishment, reigned agayne in Northumberlād the space of foure yeares, & was slayne: the cause wherof (as I finde in an old written story) was the forsakyng his old wife he maried a new. Concernyng the restoryng of whom Alcuinus writeth in this maner: Benedictus Deus qui facit mirabilia solus. Nuper Edelredus filius Edelwaldi de carcere processit in solium, & de miseria in maiestatem, cuius regni nouitate detenti sumus ne veniremus ad ad vos. &c. And afterward the same Alcuinus agayne speakyng of his death writeth to kyng Offa, in these wordes: Sciat veneranda dilectio vestra ф Do. Carolus amabiliter et fideliter sæpe mecum lucutus est de vobis, & in eo habetis fidelissimū amicum. Ideo & vestræ dilectioni digna dirigit munera, & per Episcopales sedes regni vestri, similiter & Edelredo Regi, & ad suas Episcoporum sedes direxit dona. Sed heu Proh dolor, donis datis, & Epistolis in manus missorum superuenit tristis legatio per missos qui de Scotia per nos reuersi sunt, De infidelitate gētis, & nece Regis. Ita Carolus retracta donorum largitate in tantum iratus est contra gentem illam, vt ait, perfidam, & peruersam, & homicidam dominorum suorum, peiorem eam paganis estimans, vt nisi ego intercessor essem pro ea, quicquid eis boni abstrahere potuisset, & mali machinari, iam fecisset. &c.

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¶ The kingdome of Northūberland ceaseth. 
Commentary  *  Close
Remainder of Book II

Foxe did not disguise his purposes as a historian when he came to write the history of the 'second age' of the church through the eyes of the early Anglo-Saxon kingdoms for the 1570 edition of his martyrology. He took the opportunity in this concluding section to the book to summarise 'the storye precedent'. He had encountered considerable difficulties in its composition: 'the matter being so intricate, in such confusion & diversitie of things incident together'. The meta-narrative was that 'it pleaseth God […] to reuenge with blood, bloudy violence, and the uniuste dealings of men, with iust and like retribution' - one that was consonant with the contemporary history of the protestant reformation as Foxe would present it in due course. Yet Foxe's cataloguing instincts had not yet been exhausted. In this final section, he provides a compendium of the ecclesiastical foundations that composed the principal fabric of English Christianity up to and through the reformation. The table was composed from all the sources which he had used to compile the history of book 2, both lay and clerical. When it came to the issue of how these foundations should be regarded, and what role they should play in contemporary memory, Foxe revealed another important aspect of this enlarged history of the English church which he appended to the 1570 martyrology. Their patrons and founders had seen them as contributing to their own salvation 'by their owne deseruinges & meritorious dedes'. He illustrated the point through the Charter of Ethelbert, king of the Mercians, which he cited in the original Latin, taken from 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. 84). Foxe wanted the 'lieux de mémoire' of these foundations instead to 'put vs in mynde and memorye, how much we at this present are bound to God for the true sinceritie of his truth: hidden so long before to our foreauncitors, and opened now to vs by the good wyll of our God'. They were, in short, monuments to the 'blind ignorance of that age' and the 'superstiticious deuotion' of its kinds and princes. Foxe then summarized one of the underlying elements that had emerged in his treatment of the Saxon heptarchy - rulers who had become monks. Since the counterpart to the 'names and lineall descent' of the kings was the 'names and order of the Archbishops of Canterbury' Foxe follows with an enumeration of it, compiled from William of Malmesbury's Gesta Pontificium (N. E. S. A. Hamilton, ed. William of Malmesbury. Willemesbiriensis Monachi De Gestis pontificium Anglorum [...] [London: Rolls Series, 1870], book 1, chs 1-4; 7-8; 13) with the detail about the foundation of St Martin's monastery and the temporary translation of the see of Canterbury to Lichfield from Matthew Paris' Flores Historiarum [H. R. Luard, ed. Matthew Paris. Flores Historiarum 3 vols (London: Rolls Series, 1890], pp. 346-7; 492). Some of this material may also have been generated in the preparation of De Antiquitate Britanniae, confirming our suspicion that there was some collaboration between Foxe and members of Archbishop Matthew Parker's entourage in the late 1560s, especially around the early history of the see of Canterbury.

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Matthew Phillpott and Mark Greengrass
University of Sheffield

MarginaliaNorthumberland kingdome ceaseth. Thus, as you haue heard, after the reigne of kyng Egbert, before mentioned, such trouble & perturbatiō was in the dominiō of Northūberlād: with slaying, expulsing, & deposing their kings one after an other, þt after the murdering of this Edelred aboue specified, none durst take the gouernement vpon him, seyng the great daunger thereupon insuyng. In somuch that the foresayd kyngdome dyd lye voyde & wast the space of. xxxiij. yeares together, after the terme of which yeares this kingdome of Northumberland, with the kingdomes also of the other Saxons besides, came all together into the handes of Egbert kyng of the Westsaxons & his progenie: which Monarchy begā in the yeare of our Lord. 827. and in the. 28. yeare of the reigne of the sayd Egbert: wherof more shall be sayd (Christ willyng) hereafter. Of this troublesome and ragious time of Northumberland people, speaketh also the sayd learned man MarginaliaAlcuinus otherwise called Albinus Alcuinus otherwise called Albinus, in the same countrey borne: writyng out of Fraunce into England, and complainyng of the same in diuers his letters, as first to Offa, where he thus writeth. Ego paratus eram cum muneribus Caroli regis ad vos venire, & in patriam reuerti: Sed melius visum est propter pacē gentis meæ in peregrinatione remanere, nesciens quid fecissem inter eos, vbi nullus securus esse, vel in salubri consilio proficere potest. Ecclesia sancta a Paganis vastata, altaria periurijs fædata, monasteria adulterijs violata, terra sanguine dominorum & principū fædata, &c. MarginaliaThe troubles of the kingdme of Northūberland described by Alcuinus. Moreouer the sayd Alcuinus wryting to the foresayd Edelred a litle aboue mētioned, after the same tenour reporteth: Ecce Ecclesia sancti Cuthberti sacerdotum Dei sanguine aspersa (omnibus spoliata ornamentis) locus, cunctis in Britānia venerabilior, Paganis gentibus datur ad deprædandum. Et vbi primum post decessum S. Cuthberti ab Eboraco, Christiana religio in nostra gente sumpsit ex ordium: ibi miseriæ & calamitatis cæpit initium, &c Item, writing to Osbert a noble piere of the Mercians complainyng on the same maner sayth: Regnum nostrum Northumbrorū pene perijt, propter intestinas dissentiones, & fallaces coniurationes, &c.

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Item, in an other place the sayd Alcuinus writing to Adalard Archbyshop of Caunterbury, complayneth moreouer: Hoc dico propter flagellum, quod nuper accidit partibus insulæ nostræ, quæ prope trecentis & quadraginta annis a parentibus inhabitata est nostris. Legitur in libro Gildæ sapientissimi Britonum, quòd ijdem Britones propter auaritiam & rapinam principum: propter iniquitatem & iniustitiam iudicum: propter desidiam prædicationis Episcoporum: propter luxuriam & malos mores populi: patriam perdidere. Caueamus hæc eadem vitia nostris temporibus inolescere, quatenus benedictio diuina nobis patriam conseruet in prosperitate bona, quam nobis misericordissima pietate perdonare dignatus est, &c.

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MarginaliaEx historia Mamesberiēsi. Ouer and besides, the same author Alcuinus, wryting to the foresayd Edelred kyng of Northumberland, maketh record of a straunge sight which he himselfe did see the same time in the citie of Yorke, to rayne bloud: wherof, his words which he wrote concerning the same, to the sayd kyng Edelred be these. MarginaliaHow it rayned bloud in Yorke.Quid significat pluuia sangunis, quam quadragesimali tempore in Eboraca ciuitate, quæ caput est totius regni in Ecclesia beati principis Apostolorum: vidim9 de borealibus partibus domus, (sereno aere) de summitate minanter cadere? Nonne potest putari, a borealibus partibus venire sanguinem super terram? That is: what signifieth the rayne of bloud, whiche in the tyme of Lent, in the Citie of Yorke, the chief Citie of that dominion, and in the Churche of S. Peter, the chief of the Apostles, we our selues did see to fal from the Church toppe (the element being cleare) out of the North partes of the tēple, &c. MarginaliaAn. 780
Brigthricus K. of Westsaxons.
this wondrous sight testified by Malmesberiensis, is thought of FabianFabian to happē in the second yeare of the raigne of Brigthricus (as with the tyme doth well agree) which was the yeare of our Lord. 780. and is thought of some expositers to betokē the commyng of the Danes into this land: which entred shortly after, about. vij. yeares in the. ix. yeare of the raigne of Brigthricus, kyng of the Westsaxons. Which Brigthricus in defence therof, sent forth his steward of his houshold with a small companie which shortly was slayne: but by the strength of the sayd Brigthricus and the other Saxon kyngs they were compelled to voyde the land for that tyme, whiche was an. 790. To this Brigthricus kyng Offa, as is a foresayd, gaue his daughter MarginaliaEdelburga daughter to Offa, poysoned of her husband. Ethelburga to wife, by whō he at length was impoysoned besides certaine other of his nobles: vpon whō, the sayd Queene, before him had practised the same wickednes. Who then after that, fled ouer to Charles the great into Fraunce: where she beyng offered for her beautie to marry either to him, or to his sonne, because she chused rather his sonne, marryed neither the one nor yet the other: MarginaliaWickednesse reuenged. but was thrust in a Monastery, where she then playing the harlot with a Monke: was expulsed from thence, and ended her lyfe in penurie and misery.

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In the meane tyme while this Edelberga was thus workyng her feates in England: MarginaliaIrene. Irene Empresse of the Greekes, was as busie also for her part at Cōstantinople. Who first through the meanes of Pope Adrian, tooke vp the bodye of Constantine Emperour of Constātinople, her own husbandes father. And when she had burned the same, she caused the ashes to be cast into the sea, because he disnulled Images. MarginaliaAn. 784. Afterward, raignyng with her sonne Constātine the. 6: sonne to Leo the. 4. (whom also we declared before to be excommunicate for takyng away Images) beyng at dissension with him: caused him to be taken, and layd in prison. Who afterward through power of frendes beyng restored to his Empire agayne, at laste she caused the same her owne sonne to be cast in prison: and his eyes to be put out so cruelly, that within short space after he dyed. MarginaliaImages restored agayne by Irene at Constātinople After this the sayd Irene Empresse, with the counsayle of Therasius Byshop of Constantinople: MarginaliaThe second councell of Nicea. held a Councell at Nicea where it was decreed, that Images should agayne be restored to the Church: whiche Councell, after was repealed by an other Coūcel holden at Francford by Charles the great. At lēgth she was deposed by Nicephorus (who raigned after) & was expulsed the Empire: MarginaliaThe wickednes of Irene cūdingly rewarded. who after the example of Edelburga aboue mentioned (condignly punished for her wickednes) ended likewise her life in much penurie and miserie.

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About the tyme when the foresayd Brigthricus was impoisoned by Edelburga his wife, dyed also king Offa: which was about the yeare of our Lord. 795. or as some say. 802. After which Offa (as is aforesayd) succeeded Egfert: then Kenulphus: after whom MarginaliaKenelmus kyng of Mercia innocently slayne. succeded Kenelmus his sonne, who in his younger age was wickedly murthered by his sister Quindreda: and Askebertus, about the yeare of our Lord 819. And in the church of Winchcombe was counted for an holy Martyr. MarginaliaCelulphus or Ceolulphus, Bernulphus kyng of Mercia. After hym succeeded his vncle Ceolulphus, whom Bernulphus in the first yeare of his reigne expulsed, and reigned in his place. Who likewise the third yeare of his raigne was ouercome and expulsed by Egbert kyng of the Westsaxons, and afterward slayne by the Eastangles. MarginaliaThe kingdome of Mercia ceaseth. And the kyngdome of Mercia also ceased, & came into the hands of the Westsaxons.

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¶ Hetherto I haue brought, as thou seest (good Reader) the confused and turbulent raignes of these. vij. Saxō kynges: who after the expulsion of the Britaines, ruled and raigned a sonder, in sundry quarters of this land together, vnto this present tyme of Egbert kyng of the Westsaxons. By whom it so pleased God, to begyn to reduce and vnite, all these scattered kyngdoms, into one monarchicall forme of dominion. Wherfore as in the foresayd Egbert begynneth a new alteration of the common wealth here in this land, among the Saxons: so my purpose is (the Lord willyng) with the same Egbert to enter a new begynnyng of my third booke: after a brief recapitulation first made of such things, as in this second booke before, are to be collected and noted:

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