Critical Apparatus for this Page
Commentary on the TextCommentary on the Woodcuts
Names and Places on this Page
Unavailable for this Edition
590 [566]

K. Henry. 5. Defence of L. Cobham against Alanus Copus.

These be my wordes, with other mo, in the pag. col. and line, aboue noted. In the which proposition disiunctiue, if eyther part be true, it is enough for me. His part it was to refell both, which he hath not done. But onely standyng fast vpon the one part, dissimuleth the other. And this is Alanus Copus Anglus, who by that he shall come from Rome (whether he is now gone, as I heare say) I trust he wil returne a better Logician home agayne In suam Angliam.

[Back to Top]

But to the truth of our matter, as I sayd before, so I say agayne, what so euer this worthy, noble and vertuous knight sir Roger Actō was otherwise, this is certain, MarginaliaSyr Roger Actō contrary to the Bysh. of Rome.that he was alwayes of contrary mynd, and opinion to the Byshop of Rome, & to that kynd of people, for the which cause he had great enuy and hatred at theyr handes: and could as little beare it: MarginaliaCauses coniecturall why sir Roger Actō wyth the rest were put to death for traytours & Lollards.neither do I greatly dissent from them, which do suspecte or iudge that the Lord Cobham, by his frendly helpe escaped out of the Tower, and that peraduenture was the cause why he was apprehended and brought to trouble, and in the end came to hys death Other causes also there might be, that these good men percase dyd frequent among themselues, some conuenticles (which conuenticles was made treasō by þe statute aforesaid) either in those Thickets, or in some place els, for the hearing of gods word, & for publique prayer, and therefore had they this Beuerley their preacher with them.

[Back to Top]

But to conclude what soeuer this sir Roger Actō was, this is the truth, which I may boldly record, as one writing the Actes and thinges done in the Church, that he was at length apprehended, condemned and put to death or Martyrdom, 3. yeres & more before the lord Cobham died. Likewise M. Iohn Browne, and Iohn Beuerley þe preacher, suffred with him the same kynde of death (as some say) in the field of S. Giles with other mo, to the number of 36. if the stories be true. Which was in the moneth of Ianuary, an. 1413. after the computation of our common english stories, countyng the yere from annuntiation: MarginaliaAn. 1414.but after the Latin writers counting from Christes natiuitie. an. 1414. accordyng as in this picture is specified.

[Back to Top]

¶ The picture of the burning and hanging of diuers persons counted for Lollardes, in the 1. yeare of the reigne of king Henry the fift.
woodcut [View a larger version]
Commentary on the Woodcuts  *  Close
Given the intractable problems Foxe encountered in defending the religious integrity of those who were condemned of treason, it was defiant to include an illustration of twenty of so individuals suffering the double penalty of hanging and burning after the abortive plot attributed to Sir John Oldcastle in January 1414. The martyrologist was to provoke and himself expend many words in defence of these individuals, though it is to be noted how some of his remarks were hedged in 1563. Reports of these sentences varied, he wrote, citing divergences on the places of punishment, and the sentences of hanging and burning. The actions of the rebels and the reactions of the Leicester Parliament of 1414 made the pursuit of heresy a secular responsibility, and 'the hearing of God's word' potentially treasonable. But who was to know whether the Christians congregating in back fields, and thickets, bearing only their books, were not simply intent on hearing preaching and praying? As Foxe put it, now that 'the sincere worshipping of Christ is counted for heresy, and an heretic counted a traitor, what citizen can, in that commonwealth, live in savitie without sin and wickedness, or be godly without peril and danger?'. In fact Foxe's picture is quite misleading, since only a small proportion of those condemned after the rising were found guilty of heresy as well as treason, and these were burned after being hung. Of the thirty-eight drawn on hurdles from Newgate to St Giles's Fields on 13 February, where they were hanged in batches on four new pairs of gallows, only seven were afterwards burned. CUL copy: there is close attention to detail in the colouring in of this picture. Note the chains and chords used to hang the Lollards. The chords binding their arms are coloured black, the chains in a bluish grey. The flames are coloured a rich orange, with the tips of the largest flames reddened. There is considerable detail in the faces of those depicted also: a white undercoat, with a light brown for shading, a pinkish-red for their cheeks, lips and ears. WREN copy: this painting is not executed as well as the CUL copy. Note that details are provided crudely in black. This appears to be a different, less competent painter at work in this copy. Note that black ink and a quill have been used to put the detail back here. See in particular the faces and belts of the two men guarding the fire in the foreground and, especially, the detail added to the man on horseback at the front right corner of the illustration. The horse's eyeball and lid are detailed in black ink, as are the man's individual figures. The features of many of the hanged Lollards are likewise detailed, although those to the rear are not outlined, to emphasise perspective.

These men as is sayd, suffred before the L. Cobhā about 3. yeres, of whose death diuers do write diuersly. Some say they were hanged and burnt in S. Gyles field, of whome is Fabian, with such as folow hym. Other there be which say, that some of them were hanged and burnt. Polydorus speakyng onely of their burnyng maketh no mention of hangyng. MarginaliaAn English storie beginnyng thus. A table of all the kynges.Another certaine English Chronicle I haue in my handes borowed of one M. Bowyer, who somewhat differyng from the rest, recordeth thus of sir Roger Acton, that hys iudgement before the Iustice was thus, to be drawn through Lōdon to Tyborn, and there to be hanged, and so he was naked, saue certaine partes of hym couered with a clothe. &c. And when certain dayes were past (sayth the author) a Trumpetter of the kings called Thomas Clyff, gat graunt of the kyng to take hym downe, and to bury hym, and so he did. &c. And thus haue you the story of sir Roger Acton, and hys fellow brethrē. As touching their cause whither it wer true, or els by error mistaken of the king, or by the fetch of the bishops surmised, I referre it to the iudgement of him which shall iudge both the quick and the dead, & seculum per ignē. MarginaliaM. Cope gone to Rome.To whom also I commit you M. Cope, God speede your iourney well to Rome, whether, I heare say you are going, and make you a good man.

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaThe death of Thomas Arundell Archb. of Cant.After the decease or martyrdome of these aboue mentioned, who were executed in the moneth of Ianuary an. 1414 in the next month folowing, and in the same yere, the 20. day of February, God toke away the great enemy of his word, and rebell to his kyng Thomas Arundel Archb. of Caunterbury. 

Commentary  *  Close
Deaths of Arundel and Henry V

Foxe's account of the deaths of Archbishop Thomas Arundel and of Henry V served a surprising number of polemical purposes. Foremost among these was, of course, the death of a persecuting archbishop which Foxe contrived to construct as providential retribution. Foxe did this partly by noting that Arundel died before Sir John Oldcastle, whom he had condemned, and partly by depicting the archbishop's death as particularly nasty. To achieve the latter objective, Foxe quoted, via Bale's Catalogus (p. 557), Thomas Gascoigne's Theological Dictionary. (Foxe states elsewhere in the Acts and Monuments - in his account of Reginal Pecock - that he did not have access to Gascoigne's work). He also took the opportunity to take a swipe at Polydore Vergil for misdating the death of Thomas Arundel to 1415, rather than the correct date of February 1414. (See Polydore Vergil, Anglica historia [Basel, 1555], p. 441). Foxe's criticisms of any author for chronological inaccuracy may strike those familiar with the Acts and Monuments as breathtakingly brazen, but it was all a part of Foxe's continual attempts to erode the credibility of Vergil's history; a work that was both internationally respected and hostile to Lollardy and to the Reformation.. Foxe also notes the foundations of the Charterhouses at Sheen and Syon, along with the nunnery at Syon. His information is taken from Thomas of Walsingham (see Thomas of Walsingham, Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, 2 vols., Rolls Series 28 [London, 1863-4], II, pp. 300-301) but the editorial comments are his own. Foxe's account of the revival of the bill, in the 1414 Parliament, to disendow the Church, comes from Fabyan's chronicle. (See Robert Fabyan, The chronicle of Fabian [London, 1559], STC 10664, p. 390). Foxe favours Fabyan's account, because Fabyan voiced a conspiracy theory, later repeated by William Tyndale and William Shakespeare, that the clergy urged Henry V to invade France in order to distact the king from the disendowment of the Church. The story of the French sending the king tennis balls is not in Fabyan; Foxe probably took this from Edward Hall's chronicle. (See Edward Hall, The union of the two noble and illustre families of Lancastre and York [London, 1560], STC 12723a, fo. 41v). Foxe cites both Fabyan and Hall as sources for his exceedingly brief summary of Henry V's campaigns and death; the account could be based on either or both of them. What is noteworthy about this is Foxe's lack of interest in Henry V's martial exploits. To most English chroniclers and historians these were a source of national pride. But to Foxe, they merely served to conceal Henry's ultimate failure as a king: he protected the False Church and persecuted the True Church. Foxe's account of the deaths of Arundel and Henry V was introduced in the 1570 edition and remained unchanged in subsequent editions.

[Back to Top]

Thomas S. Freeman,
University of Sheffield

MarginaliaEx hist. S. Albani.Whose death followyng after the execution of these good men aboue recited, MarginaliaGods workes and punishmētes to be noted.by the meruelous stroke of God so sodenly, may seme somewhat to cleare their innocency, and that he was also some great procurer of their death, in that GOD would not suffer hym longer to lyue, strikyng hym with death incontinently vppon the same. But as I dyd

[Back to Top]
the
Go To Modern Page No:  
Click on this link to switch between the Modern pagination for this edition and Foxe's original pagination when searching for a page number. Note that the pagination displayed in the transcription is the modern pagination with Foxe's original pagination in square brackets.
Find:
Type a keyword and then restrict it to a particular edition using the dropdown menu. You can search for single words or phrases. When searching for single words, the search engine automatically imposes a wildcard at the end of the keyword in order to retrieve both whole and part words. For example, a search for "queen" will retrieve "queen", "queene" and "queenes" etc.
in:  
Humanities Research Institute  *  HRI Online  *  Feedback
Version 2.0 © 2011 The University of Sheffield