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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320 [319]

K. Henry.3. A superstitious vow and iourney to the holy land.

same, may appeare.

MarginaliaExample how this Realme of England was oppressed miserably by the Pope.In the yeare of our Lord. 1248. after that Pope Innocent the 4. had taken such order in the Realme, that all Prelates of the Church were suspended from collation of any benefice, before the Popes kinsfolkes and Clerkes of Italy had bene first prouided for: it happened vpō the same, that the Abbot of Abingdon had a commaundement from the pope, to bestow some benefice of his Church in all hast, to a certaine Priest of Rome, which the Abbot as an obedient child to his father the pope, was prest and ready to accomplish accordyngly. But the Romane priest not contented with such as fell next hand, would tary his time, to haue such as were principal & for his own appetite, hauyng a speciall eye to the benefice of the Church of S. Helene in Abingdon, which was then estemed worth an C. Markes by yeare, besides other vayles and commodities belōgyng to the same: the collation wherof the Priest required by the authoritie Apostolicall to be graunted to him.

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As this past on, it chaūced at last, the incumbent to dye, & the benefice to be empty. Which eftsoones beyng knowen, the same day commeth a cōmaundemēt, with great charge, from the kyng to the Abbot, to giue the benefice to one Æthelmare the kynges brother by the motherside, who at the same time was possessed with so many benefices, as the nūber and value therof was vnknowen. The Abbot here being in great perplexitie, and not knowyng what to do, whether to gratifie his kyng, or to obey the pope, tooke counsell with his frendes. Who well aduising the matter, gaue him counsell rather to preferre the brother of his Prince and patrone, so that the kyng would vndertake to stand in his defence against the pope, rather then the Romish priest whom alwayes he should haue lying there as a spye and watcher of him and lyke a thorne euer in his eye: and so the kyng assuryng the Abbot of his vndoubted protection, and indemnitie agaynst all harmes, the benefice was conferred forthwith to the kynges brother.

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The Romane priest not a litle agreued thereat, speedeth himselfe in all hast to the Byshop of Rome, certifiyng hym what was done, & partly also (as the maner is of men) makyng it worse then it was. MarginaliaThe Abbot of Abingdon cited to apreare before the Pope.Vpon whose complaint the pope eftsoones in great anger cited vp the Abbot personally to appeare before him, to aunswere to the crime of disobediēce. The Abbot trustyng vpon the kynges promise and protection, which neither could helpe him in that case, neither durst oppose himselfe agaynst the Pope, beyng both aged and seekely, was driuē to trauaile vp to the court of Rome, in great heauynes and bitternes of mynde. MarginaliaThe Abbot of Abingdon cōdemned in 50. markes for deniyng of an English benefice to an Italian the Popes Nephew.Where in conclusion after much vexation and bitter rebukes, besides great expenses, he was fayne to satisfie the Pope after his owne will, compoundyng to giue him yearely 50. Markes in part of makyng amēdes for his trespasse of disobediēce. Ex Mat. Parisiens. fol. 222.

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MarginaliaA detestable extorsiō of the pope vsed against the priory of Binhā.To this also may be added an other like fact of the Pope as outragious as this, agaynst the house of Binham. For when the benefice of Westle in the Dioces of Eley was voyd by the death of the incumbent who was an Italian & one of the popes chamber, the donation of which benefice belonged to the priory of Binham, an other Italian whiche was a bastard and vnlearned, borne in the Citie of Ianua, called Herrigetto de Malachana de volta, brought downe the popes letters to M. Berardo de Nympha the Popes agent here in England, with strait charge and full authoritie, commaundyng him to see the sayd benefice to be conferred in any case to Herrigetto. Yea and though the benefice had bene giuen already, yet notwithstandyng the possessor therof should be displaced, and þe sayd Herrigetto preferred: Yea also, non obstante that the sayd pope himselfe had before giuen his graunt to the king & realme of England, that one Italian should not succede an other in any benefice there, yet for all that the sayd Herrigetto, vpō payne of excommunication, to be placed therin. Ex Paris. fol. 240.

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MarginaliaThe Grecians excused and purged in parting from the Church of Rome.And thus much hetherto of these matters, through the occasion of the East Churches and the Grecians, to the entent all men that read these stories, & see the doynges of this western Bishop, may consider what iust cause these Grecians had to seclude themselues from his subiection, & communion. For what Christian communion is to be ioyned with him, which so contrary to Christ and his Gospell, seeketh for worldly dominion, so cruelly persecuteth his brethren, MarginaliaThe miseries that haue risen in Englād through subiection vnder the church of Rome.so giuen to auarice, so greedy in gettyng, so iniurious in oppressing, so insatiable in his exactions, to malitious in reuengyng, styrring vp warres, depriuyng kinges, deposing Emperours playing Rex in the Church of Christ, so erroneous in doctrine, so abominably abusing excommunicatiō, so false of promise, so corrupt in lyfe, so voyde of Gods feare, and briefly so farre from all the partes of a true Euangeli-call Byshop. For what semeth he to care for the soules of men, which setteth in benefices, boyes and outlandish Italians, and further one Italian to succede an other, which neither did know the language of the flocke, nor once would abyde to see their faces. And who can blame the Grecians thē for disseueryng themselues from such an oppressour and gyant agaynst Christ.

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MarginaliaEngland plagued by the Pope whē it needed not.Whose wise example if this Realme had then folowed, as they might, certes our predecessours had bene ryd of an infinite number of troubles, iniuries, oppressions, warres, commotions, great trauailes, & charges, besides the sauyng of innumerable thousand of pounds, which the sayd byshop full falsely hath raked and transported out of this Realme of ours. But not to excede the boūdes of my history, because my purpose is not to stand vpon declamations, nor to dilate common places, I will passe this ouer, leauyng the iudgement therof to the further examinatiō of the Reader. MarginaliaThe Pope & court of Rome the principall cause of all the publique calamityes through Christendome.For els if I lysted to prosecute this argument so farre as matter would lead me, and truth peraduenture would require me to say, I durst not onely say, but could well proue, the Pope & court of Rome to be the onely foūtaine and principall cause, I say not of much misery here in England, but of all the publicke calamities and notorious mischiefes which haue happened these many yeares through all these west partes of Christēdome, & especially of all the lamentable ruine of the church, which not onely we, but the Greciās also this day do suffer by the Turkes and Saracens. As whosoeuer well considereth by readyng of histories the course of tymes, & veiweth with all the doynges and actes passed by the sayd Byshops of Rome, together with the blind leadyng of his doctrine, shal see good cause not onely to thinke, but also to witnes the same.  

Commentary  *  Close
Louis IX on Crusade

Foxe tells the story of the Seventh Crusade (1248-1254) to show how the petty and worldly desires of the papacy led to the failure of Louis IX in the holy land. Before going on the crusade, Foxe narrates how Louis IX had first attempted to produce peace between Pope Innocent IV (ruled 1243-1254) and Emperor Frederick II (1194-1250). Although the emperor did all he could to reach an agreement the pope would not be 'mollified'. Foxe blames the failure of the crusade on the pope's excommunication of Frederick II, and his refusal to allow him to aid the crusade. 'The Emperor, which could have done most' Foxe explained, 'was deposed by the Popes tyranny' and by such means 'such a fire of mischiefe was kindled against all Christendome, as yet to this day can not be quenched' (1570, p. 378). In other words the pope's argument with the emperor had allowed the Turks to spread out across much of the world unhindered. The interference of Legate Odo is also claimed to have aspirated the failure of the crusade by damaging any attempt to negotiate with the Sultan.

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The story is entirely taken out of extracts from Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora, ed. Henry Richards Luard, Rolls Series (7 vols., London, 1872-1884), vol. 4-5, that was no doubt the most detailed description of the events open to Foxe. It, however, highlighted the role of an English contingent led by William Longespee II (1212-1250). A legend had grown up around Longespee in England after he had died because of the betrayal of the French forces. He became a symbol of chivalry and martyrdom. Foxe took the story from Matthew Paris in its entirety. There is in general a certain amount of anti-French feeling in the account, especially in the arguments between Longespee and Louis IX and the claim that French crusaders stole bounty from the English. The failure of the crusade is therefore also partly blamed on French greed to win more territory and pillage. Such opinion of the French is an extraction from Matthew Paris but Foxe has used it here to further enhance the godliness of the English over other peoples.

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Matthew Phillpott
University of Sheffield

Onely one narratiō touchyng this Argumēt, and yet not transgressing the office of my history, I mynde (the Lord willyng) to set before the readers eyes, which happened euen about this present tyme of this kyng Henryes reigne, in the yeare of our Lord. 1244.

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MarginaliaThe sickenes of Lewes the Frēch k.In the which yeare it chaunced, that Lewes the French kyng sonne to Queene Blanch, fell very sore sicke, liyng in a swound or in a traunse for certaine dayes, in such sort as few thought he would haue liued, & some sayd he was gone already. Amongest other there was with him his mother, who sorowyng bitterly for her sonne, and giuen somewhat (as cōmonly the maner of wemen is) to superstition, went and brought forth a piece of the holy crosse, with the crowne and the speare, which peece of the holy crosse Baldewynus Emperour of Constantinople (whō the Grecians had deposed a litle before for holdyng with the Byshop of Rome) had sold to the MarginaliaThe superstition of the kynges mother.French kyng for a great summe of money, & blessed him with the same, also layd the crowne & the speare to his body, making a vow withall in þe person of her sonne, that if the Lord would visite him with health, and release him of that infirmitie, he should be croysed or marked with the crosse, to visite his sepulcher, and there solemnely to render thāks in the lād which he had sanctified with his bloud. MarginaliaThe king recouereth hys sicknes.Thus as she, with the Byshop of Paris, and other there present were praying, behold the king which was supposed of some to be dead, began with a sigh to plucke to his armes and legges, and so stretchyng himselfe, began to speake, geuyng thankes to God, who from an high had visited him & called him from the daunger of death. MarginaliaThe people of Fraunce blinded with a false myracle.Which as the kynges mother, wt others there tooke to be a great miracle wrought by the vertue of the holy crosse: so the kyng amendyng more and more, as soone as he was well recouered, MarginaliaThe vayne vowe of Lewes the Frēch king.receaued solemnly the badge of the crosse, vowyng for a freewill sacrifice vnto God, that he, if the counsaile of his realme would suffer him, would in his owne person visite the holy lād: forgetting belike the rule of true Christianitie, where Christ teacheth vs otherwise in the Gospell, saying: That neither in this moūt, nor in Samaria, nor at Ierusalem the Lord will be worshipped, but seeketh true worshippers, which shall worshyp hym in truth and veritie. &c. an. 1244. Parisiens. fol. 182.

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MarginaliaThe French k. crossed to go to the holy land.After this was great preparaunce and much a do in Fraunce toward the settyng forth to the holy land. For after the kyng first begā to be croysed, the most part of the nobles of Fraunce, with diuers Archbyshops and Byshops, with Earles, and Barōs, & Gentlemen to a mighty number, receaued also the crosse vpon their sleeues. MarginaliaGreat preparatiō in Fraūce toward the viage.Amongest whom was the Earle Atrebacensis the kyngs brother, the Duke of Burgundy, the Duke of Brabant, the Coūtesse of Flaunders with her two sonnes, the Earle of Britanie with his sonne, the Earle of Barrēsis, Earle of Swesson, Earle of S. Paul, Earle of Druis. Earle Retel. with many noble persons mo. Neither lacked here whatsoeuer the pope could do, to set forward this holy busines, in sendyng his Legates and Friers into Fraunce, to styre the people

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