Thematic Divisions in Book 4
1. Lanfranc2. Gregory VII3. William the Conqueror4. William Rufus5. Henry I6. Stephen and Henry II7. Frederick Barbarossa8. Thomas Becket9. Becket's letters10. Becket's martyrdom and miracles11. Events of 1172-7812. Waldensians13. Other incidents of Henry II's reign14. First year of Richard I's reign15. Strife at Canterbury16. Richard I and Third Crusade17. William Longchamp18. King John19. Henry III's early reign20. Innocent III and mendicant orders21. Papal oppression of the English Church22. Albigensian Crusade23. Hubert de Burgh24. Gregory IX25. Schism between Greek and Latin Church26. Papal exactions from England27. Louis IX on Crusade28. Frederick II29. Opponents of Papacy30. Robert Grosseteste31. Aphorisms of Robert Grosseteste32. Persecution of Jews33. Papal oppression and Alexander IV34. Conflicts in universities and mendicant orders35. Henry III and the barons36. Battle of Lewes37. Battle of Evesham38. End of baronial war39. Ecclesiastical matters and Edward prince of Wales goes on crusade40. Foreign events in Henry III's reign41. First seven years of Edward I's reign42. War with Scotland43. Philip IV and Boniface VIII44. Events of 1305-745. Cassiodorous's letter46. Pierre de Cugniere47. Death of Edward I48. Piers Gaveston49. The Despensers and the death of Edward II50. John XXIII and Clement VI51. Rebellion in Bury St. Edmunds52. Edward III and Scotland53. Edward III and Philip VI54. Edward III and Archbishop Stratford55. Events of 1341-556. Outbreak of the Hundred Years War57. Anti-papal writers58. Quarrel among mendicants and universities59. Table of the Archbishops of Canterbury
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240 [239]

K. Henry .2. Tho. Becket. Letters of Tho. Becket.

to behold them. Moreouer, for somuch as he then was lyeng with Gwarine Abbot of Pontiniack (to whō the pope as is aforesayd had commēded him) therfore the kyng writyng to the same Abbote, required him not to retaine the MarginaliaThese monkes were of the Cistercian order.Archbyshop of Canterbury in his house: for if he did, he would driue out of his Realme, all the monkes of his order. Wherupon Becket was enforced to remoue from thence and went to Lewes the French kyng, by whom he was placed at Senon, and there found of hym the space of fiue yeares, as is aboue mentioned.

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MarginaliaBecket complayneth of his prince to the Pope.In the meane tyme, messengers went dayly with letters betwene the kyng and the pope, betwene the pope agayne and him, and so betwene the Archbyshop and other. Wherof if the Reader (peraduenture) shalbe desirous to see the copies: I thought here to expresse certaine of them, to satisfie his desire: first beginnyng with the Epistle of Becket complainyng of his prince, to the pope in maner & forme as foloweth.

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¶ The copy of an Epistle sent of Thomas Becket, to Pope Alexander.

TO your presence and audience I flee (most holy father) that you, who hath bought the libertie of the Churche with your so great daunger: might the rather attend to the same (either beyng the onely or chiefest cause of my persecution) vsing and followyng therein the example of you. It greueth me that the state of the Church should fall to any decay, and that the liberties therof should be infringed through the auarice of princes. For the which cause, I thought to resist betyme that inconuenience begynnyng so to grow. And the more I thought my selfe obliged to the same my Prince (vnto whō next vnder God, I am most chiefly boūd) the more boldnes I tooke to me, to withstand his vnrightfull attemptes: till such that were on the contrary part (my aduersaries) preuailed, working my disquietnes, and in incensing him agaynst me. Wherupon (as the maner is amongest Princes) they raysed vp agaynst me citations and slaunders, to the occasion of my persecution: but I had rather to be proscribed, then to subscribe. Besides this, I was also called to iudgement, and cited before the kyng to make aunswere there as a lay person, to secular accomptes: where as they whom I most trusted dyd most forsake me. For I saw my fellow brethren the Byshoppes, through the instigation of some, ready to my condemnation. Wherupon all beyng set against me, and I thus oppressed on euery syde, tooke my refuge to appeale to your goodnes, which casteth of none in their extremities: being ready to make my declaratiō before you, that I ought neither to be iudged ther in that place, nor yet of them. For what were that (father) but to vsurpe to themselues your right? and to bryng the spiritualie vnder the temporaltie. MarginaliaTo keepe vnder the pride of prelates is no cause sufficient to vnkyng a Prince.Which thyng (once begon) may breede an example to many. And therfore, so much the more stouter I thought to be in withstandyng this matter: how much more prone and procliue, I saw the way to hurt: if they once might see vs to be faynt and weake in the same. But they will say to me here agayne: geue to Cesar, that which belongeth to Cesar. &c. But to aunswere agayne therunto (albeit we are bound to obey our kyng in most thyngs) yet not in such maner of thyngs, wherby he is made to be no kyng: neither were they then thynges belongyng to Cesar, but to a tyraunt. Concernyng the which poyntes, these Byshoppes should (not for me onely, but for themselues) haue resisted the kyng. For if the extreme iudgement be reserued to hym which is able to iudge both body and soule: is it not thē extreme pride for mē there to iudge, which iudge but by thēselues? If the cause of the bishops and of the clergy, (which I maintayne) be right: why be they set agaynst me? Why do they reprehend me? for if that I appealed to hym before whom either it was not lawfull, or els not expedient for me to do: what seeme they by this, but either to blame me causeles, or els to distrust your equitie? For me to be conuicted before your holynesse: it had bene a double confusion. Or wherin haue I deserued to be persecuted of thē, for whose cause I haue set my selfe to stand in their behalfe? And if they had willed, I had preuayled: but it is ill with the head, when he is left of his members and forsaken: as if the eyes should take the toūge to speake against the head. If they had had eyes to haue foresene the matter, they might vnderstād themselues to speake their owne destruction: and that the princes dyd vse their helpe, but to their own seruitude. And what so great cause of hatred had they agaynst me, to procure their owne vndoyng, in vndoyng of me? So, while they neglected spirituall things in steede of temporall, they haue lost them both. What should I speake more of this, that I repugnyng them and appealyng to your audience (yet notwithstādyng) they durst presume to stād in iudgement and condemnation agaynst me, as children agaynst their father. Yea, and not agaynst me onely, but agaynst the vniuersall Church of God (conspiryng together wyth the prince) beyng with me offended. And this suspection might also as well pertaine to you holy father. But to this they will say: that they owe their duty and seruice vnto the kyng, as their Lord: to whom they are bound, vpon their allegiaunce. To whom I aunswere, that to hym they stand bound bodely, to me spiritually. MarginaliaIf ye meane by spirituall thinges such as pertayne to the spirituall part of mā, I gra ūt but your liberties be not such as which pertayne to the inward or spirituall mā but rather are thinges more corporall.But to whō ought they rather to stand boūd, then to themselues? And were it not better to sustaine the losse of corporall, then of spirituall thynges? But here they will say agayne: at this tyme the Prince was not to be prouoked. How subtily do these men dispute for their own bōdage? Yea, they themselues prouoke him by their owne excesse, ministryng wynges vnto him to fight agaynst them, for he would haue rested if they had resisted. And when is constancy more to be required, then in persecution? Be not a mans chief frendes most tryed in persecution? MarginaliaPersecution tryeth a true frende, but euery cause maketh not a true persecution.If they geue ouer still, how shall they obtaine the victory? Sometyme they must needes resist. Condescend therfore (holy father) to my exile and persecutiō. And remember, that I also once was a great man, in the time whē it was: and now for your sake thus iniuriously I am intreated. Vse your rigour and restrayne them, by whose instigation the name of this persecution began. And let none of these thynges be imputed to the kyng, who rather is to be counted the repairer then the author of this businesse.

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Besides this Epistle sent vnto the pope: 

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Becket's letters

The Foxe Project was not able to complete the commentary on this section of text by the date by which this online edition was compiled (23 September 2008) because it was awaiting the delivery of research materials from the British Library. This commentary will become available in due course from the 'Late Additions and Corrections' page of the edition.

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he writeth also an other letter, sent to þe kyng in Latin: the tenour wherof (he that is disposed to read) may peruse in our former edition, with the notes adioyned withall.

Besides which Epistle to the Kyng in Latin, he sent also one or two mo, to the sayd Kyng Henry the ij. much after the like rate and sort. The one thus begynnyng: Loqui de deo, liberæ mētis est & valde quietæ. Inde est quod loquar ad Dominū meum, & vtinam ad omnes pacificum, &c. Which Epistle, for that I would not ouercharge the volume of these histories with to much matter superfluous, I thought here to omit. The other he sent afterward, wherof the wordes be these.

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¶ An other letter of Becket, Archbyshop of Canterbury, sent to the kyng.

TO his Lord and frend Henry by the grace of God, kyng of England, Duke of Normandy and Aquitane, Earle of Angeow: Thomas by the same grace, hūble minister of the Church of Canterbury (sometyme his temporally, but now more his in the Lord) health and true repentaunce with amendement. I haue long looked for, that the Lord would looke vpon you: and that you would conuert and repent, departyng from your peruerse way: and cut of from you your wicked and peruerse councellors, by whose instinction (as it is thought) you are fallen into that deepe, wherof the Psalme speaketh. A sinner when he commeth to the depth of mischiefes, is without all care or feare. And albeit, we haue hitherto quietly suffred and borne: cōsideryng and earnestly lookyng if there would any messenger come that would say: Your soueraigne Lord the kyng (which now a lōg tyme hath erred & bene deceiued, & led euē to the destruction of the church) through Gods mercy with aboūdant humilitie doth now agayne make speede for the deliuerance of the church, & to make satisfaction & amēdmēt. Yet notwithstāding, we cease not (day by day cōtinually) to cal vpō almighty God, with most humble deuotion: that, that which we haue long desired for you and by you, we may speedely obtaine with aboundant effect. And this is one poynt, that the care of the Church of Cāterbury, wherunto God hath presently appointed vs (albeit vnworthy) you beyng kyng doth specially constraine me (in that as yet, we are deteined in exile) to write vnto your maiesty letters commonitory, exhortatory, and of correctiō. But I would to God they were fully able to correct least that I be to great a cloker of your outragies (if there be any) as in dede there are: for the which we are not a litle sory. I meane specially of them which are done by you in euery place, about the Church of God and the Ecclesiasticall persons, without any reuerence either of dignitie or person: and least also that I appeare negligent to the great daunger of my soule (for without doubt he beareth the offence of him which doth cōmit any offence: who neglecteth to correct that, which an other ought to amend. For it is written not onely they which do commit euill, but

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