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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292 [291]

K. H.3. Questiōs to Friers. A cōplaint against the romish oppressors.

as the other weren more perfiter, and so were default, and Christ had fayled in making of hys rule: but to put any default or failing in God, is blasphemy. If thou say þt Christes rule, and that religion that S. Iames maketh mention of, is the perfitest: why holdest thou not thilke rule without more. And why clepest thou the rather of S. Fraunces or S. Dominikes rule or religion, or order, then of Christes rule, or Christes order?

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Frere, canst thou anye default assigne in Christes rule of the Gospell (with the which he taught all men sekerly to be saued) if they kept it to her ending? MarginaliaDilemma.If thou say it was to hard, than sayest thou Christ lyed: for he said of his rule: My yoke is soft, and my burthen light. If thou say Christes rule was to light, that may be assigned for no default, for the better it may be kept. If thou sayest that there is no default in Christes rule of the Gospell, sith Christ himselfe sayth it is light and easie: what nede was it to patrons of freres, to adde more therto? and so to make an harder religion to saue freres, then was the religion of Christes Apostles and his disciples helden and weren saued by. MarginaliaFriers would sit in heauen aboue the Apostles.But if they wolden that her freres saten aboue the Apostles in heauen for the harder religion that they kepen here: so would they sitten in heauen, aboue Christ hymselfe, for the mo and straite obseruances: than so should they be better then Christ himselfe, with mischaunce.

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Go now forth and frayne your clarkes, and ground ye you in gods law, and gyf Iack an aunswer: and when ye han assoiled me that I haue sayd sadly in truth, I shal soile thee of thine order, and saue thee to heauen.

If freres kun not or mow not excuse hem of these questions asked of hem: it semeth that they be horrible gilty against God, and her euen Christen. For whych giltes & defaultes, it were worthy that the order that they call theyr order, were foredone. And it is wonder that men sustayne hem or suffer hem lyue in such maner. For holy writ biddeth that thou do wel to the meke, and geue not to the wicked: but forbed to geue hem bread, lest they be made therby mightier through you.

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After these digressions, now to returne to the course of our story agayne. As Henry thys king succeded K. Iohn hys father, so after Innocent the Pope, came Honorius 3: then Gregorius 9, &c. MarginaliaOtho the Emperour set vp and deposed againe by the Pope.And after Otho the Emperour (whom the Pope had once set vp, & after depriued againe) succeded Friderike the second, as is partly before touched. In the dayes of these kyngs, popes and Emperours: it were to long to recite all that happened in England, but especially in Germany, betwixt Pope Honorius, Gregorius & Friderike the Emperour: the horrible tragedy wherof, were inough to fill a whole booke by it selfe. But yet we meane God wylling, somwhat to touch concernyng these Ecclesiasticall matters, first beginning wyth thys realme of England.

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After that the kingdome of England had bene subiected by kyng Iohn, as hath bene sayd, and made tributary to the Pope and the Romishe church: it is incredible how the insatiable auarice and gredines of the Romaines did oppresse and wring the commons and all estates & degrees of the Realme 

Commentary  *  Close
Papal oppression of the English Church

In this account Foxe stated that after the events of King John's reign England was now a tributary to Rome. This is the crucial point to how Foxe deals with the reign of Henry III. Through heavy taxation, neglect of royal authority and trickery the Pope consistently sends Legates to collect tithes and taxes and to trample on English sovereignty. First, Foxe has published a statement drawn up by the English Bishops explaining why they are unwilling to pay the Pope. Extracted from Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora, ed. Henry Richards Luard, Rolls Series (7 vols., London, 1872-1884), vol. 4, pp. 35, 37-8. The story then follows the events during the visitation of Legate Otto (Otho) to England and how he abused his position at the 1240 council of Bishops in London. This account is told entirely from Matthew Paris' Chronica Majora vol. 3, pp. 97, 102-3, 412, 414-7, 419-441, 473; vol. 4, pp. 6-10, 31-2. The account begins with Otto calming a contention between the Archbishops of York and Canterbury as a means to assert his own authority and act almost as if he were a 'god' overseeing his flock. The account then details the various monies that the Pope required from England to finance his war against the Emperor Frederick II. The Pope also demanded that room be made in England for 300 Romans to be beneficed. This was a result of a promise he had made the Roman Bishops in return for their support of his war. This is an excellent example of how Foxe used Matthew Paris. His translation remains true to the original manuscript Latin, but through the use of marginalia and a sentence of explanation here and there the basic facts are transformed from that of a disgruntled monk unhappy with papal interference into a powerful polemical attack against papal disregard for English authority and their abuse of taxation to fund a war which has nothing to do with England. It is interesting to note that Legate Otto's mission to England was one of church reforms and reasserting the peace after the events of King John's reign. However, Matthew Paris' suspicion of papal interference meant that his account recorded very little of the true nature of the mission. For Foxe this was a much more useful interpretation of the events than was available in other sources.

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The second half of the account describes how the Pope ignored the Bishops pleas at the Council of Lyons (1245) for non-payment of tithes. The complaint, Foxe explains, was in regard to the high burden of taxation from Rome that was impoverishing the realm and acting against England's best interests abroad. In retaliation the Pope threatened to interdict England and Henry III until the king relented. This account is again extracted from Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora, vol. 4, pp. 526-9, 440-444, 558, 560-1, 580. The characterisation of Legate Otto is completed when Foxe extracted a story from Matthew Paris Chronica Majora, vol. 3 pp. 481-5 of how the Legate caused a riot at the University of Oxford.

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Although it is generally believed that Foxe did not have access to the Chronica Majora for the first edition (1563) the evidence in this section proves otherwise. Neither of the series of extracts that can be found in John Bale, Scriptorum Illustrium maioris Brytanniae …Catalogus (Basel, 1557) or Matthias Flacius Illyricius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Basil, 1556) can accommodate the detailed use of Matthew Paris in the first edition of the Acts and Monuments, especially in this section. Admittedly Foxe could have used Roger of Wendover for Legate Otto's arrival to England and the demand for two prebends from every cathedral church (Roger of Wendover, Liber qui dictiur Flores Historiarum, ed. Henry G. Hewlett, Rolls Series (3 vols., London, 1886-9), vol. 2, pp. 289,295-6) but the rest of this account falls outside of that chronicles chronological range. Matthew Paris, Historia Anglorum, ed. Frederick Madden, Rolls Series (3 vols., London, 1866-9), vol. 2, pp. 276-9 also covers those events, however, from that point on all of Foxe's text is more detailed than the summaries contained in the Historia Anglorum. These accounts do however conform perfectly to the Chronica Majora. For instance the Council at London in which Otto settled a dispute between the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and laid out a series of reforming statutes can be found only as short summaries in the Historia Anglorum, vol. 2, pp. 398, 400. Similarly the story of Otto causing a riot at Oxford can only be found in a summarised form in the Historia Anglorum, vol. 2, pp. 407-8. Both accounts are to be found in full in the Chronica Majora.

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A similar picture emerges from analysis of the account of King John (1563, fos. 71v-69v) by Thomas S. Freeman, 'John Bale's Book of Martyrs?: The Account of King John in Acts and Monuments', Reformation, vol. 3 (1998), pp. 175-223), in which it is shown that not all of the references to Matthew Paris in that account can be found elsewhere. It would appear, therefore, that a copy, section of a copy or detailed notes was obtained to compile the accounts of King John and Henry III.

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It is also interesting to note that Foxe has largely left the text from the first edition intact, when he appears to have had only limited access to Matthew Paris. For the second edition, where he had access to Matthew Parker's copies of the Chronica Majora (CCCC MS 16 and 26), Foxe produced an entirely new account which added to and repeated much of what is stated here.

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Matthew Phillpott
University of Sheffield

, especially beneficed men and such as had any thyng of the Church. Who, what for their domesticall charges within the realme, what for the Pope, what for the Legates, what for contributing to the holy land, what for relaxations, and other subtile sleights to get away their money: were brought into such slauery, captiuitie, and penury, that whereas the kyng neyther durst nor might remedy their exclamations by himselfe: yet notwithstādyng by his aduise, Symon Mountfort, and the Erle of Leicester and other noble men (not forgetting what great greuances and distresses the Realme was brought into by the Romaynes) thought to worke some way, how to bridle & restraine the insatiable rauening of these greedy wolues. Wherfore they deuised their letter, geuing straight cōmaūdement to the religious men, and to such as had their churches to ferme: that henceforth they should not answere the Romaynes of fuch fermes and rentes any more, but should pay the sayd fermes or rentes vnto their owne proctors appointed for the same purpose, as by their writings sent abroad to byshops or chapters, and other ecclesiasticall houses, may appeare in this forme and effect as followeth.

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TO such and such a byshop, and such a chapter: all the vniuersitie and company of them, that had rather dye then to be confounded of the Romaines, wisheth health. How the Romains and their Legates haue hetherto behaued themselues towarde you, and other ecclesiasticall MarginaliaA complaint of the nobles of England agaynst the couetousnes of Rome.persons of this realme of England, it is not vnknowne to your discretions, in disposing and geuing away the benefices of the realme after their owne lust, to the intollerable preiudice and greuaunce both of you and all other Englishmen. For where as the collation of benefices should & do properly belong to you and other your fellow byshops (Ecclesiasticall persons) they, thundring agaynst you the sentence of excommunication, that you should not bestow them vpon any person of this Realme, vntil in euery diocesse and Cathedrall Church within the realme, fiue Romanes (such as the pope shall name) be prouided for, to the value of euery man an hundred poundes by yeare. Besides these, many other greuaunces the sayd Romanists do inflicte and inferre, both to the Laitie and Nobles of the Realme, for the patronages and almoise bestowed by thē and by their auncestours for the sustentation of the poore of the realme, and also to the clergy and ecclesiastical persons of the realme, touching their liuinges and benefices. And yet the sayd Romanistes not contented with the premisses, doe also take from the clergie of thys realme, the benefices which they haue, to bestow them vpon men of their owne countrey, &c.

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Wherefore, we considering the rigorous austeritie of these foresayd Romanistes, which once commyng in but as straungers hether now take vpon them not onely to iudge but also to condemne vs, laying vpon vs vnportable burdens, whereunto they wil not put to one of theyr own fingers to moue: laying therfore our heades together vpon a generall and full aduise had among our selues cōcerning the same, haue thought good (although very late) to resist and withstand them: rather, then to be subiect to theyr intollerable oppressions, & greater slauery more hereafter to be looked for. For the which cause, we straitly charge and commaunde you, as your frendes (going about to deliuer you, the Church, the Kyng, and the kyngdome from that miserable yoke of seruitude) that you do not intermedle or take any part, concerning such exactions or rentes to be required or geuen to the sayd Romaines. Letting you to vnderstand for truth, that in case you shall (which God forbid) be found culpable herein: not onely your goodes and possessions shall be in daunger of burning, but also in your persons shal incurre the same perill and punishment, as shall the sayd Romish oppressors themselues.

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Thus fare ye well.

MarginaliaExample teaching neuer to take parte agaynst their kyng with forein power.Thus much I thought here to insert and notifie concernyng this matter, for that not onely the gredie and auaritious gredines of the Romish church might the more euidently vnto all Englishmen appeare: but that they may learne by this example, how worthy they be so to be serued and plagued with their owne rod, which before would take no part with their naturall kyng, agaynst foreine power, of whom now they are scourged.

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To make the story more playne. In the raigne of this Henry the third (who succedyng as is sayde, after king Iohn his father raigned sixe and fifty yeares) came diuers Legates from Rome to Englande: MarginaliaCardinal Otho Legate.First Cardinall Otho sent from the Pope with letters to the king, like as other letters also were sent to other places for exactions of money.

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The kyng opening the letters and perceyuyng the contentes: aūswered that he alone could say nothing in the matter, which concerned all the Clergy and commons of the whole Realme. Not long after, a Councell was called at Westminster, where the letters being opened the forme was this. MarginaliaThe pope requyreth two prebendships in euery cathedrall Church.Petimus inprimis ab omnibus Ecclesijs Cathedralibus duas nobis pæbendas exhiberi, vnam de portione Episcopi, & alteram de capitulo. Et similiter de Cœnobijs vbi diuersæ sunt portiones Abbatis & conuentus: a conuentibus quantum pertinet, ad vnum monachum æquali facta distributione honorum suorum, & ab Abbate tantundem. That is: We require to be geuen vnto vs first, of all cathedrall Churches two Prebendes, one for the Bishops part, other for the Chapter. And likewise of Monasteries, where be diuers portions, one for the Abbot, an other for the Couent: Of the Couent, so much appertained to one Monke, the portion of the goodes being proportionly deuided: Of the Abbot likewise as much. MarginaliaNote the cause why the Pope is compelled to craue money of other countryes.The cause why he required these prebendes was this. It hath bene (sayth he) an old slaunder, and a great complaint agaynst the Church of Rome, to be noted of insatiable coueteousnes, which as ye know, is the roote of all mischief: & all by reason that causes be wont commonly not to bee handled, nor to proceede in the Church of Rome without great giftes and expence of money. Wher-

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