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669 [645]

K. Hen. 6. Thom. Rhedonēsis, Grunfelder, Radtgeber, &c. martyrs. The Coūcel of Basil.

the iudges. The Wolfe sate in iudgemente: the Lambe was accused. Why? because he had troubled the spring. But here neede not many wordes. This good Thomas, not beyng able to resist the malice of these mighty potentates, had offended inough, and was conuict and condemned to be burned: but in such sort, as first of al he should be depriued of all such degrees as he had taken to Priesthode: For it is counted an vnlawfull thyng, that a Priest should be punished with prophane punishmnet, when as notwithstandyng it is lawfull inough for Priestes to put any lay man to death, be he neuer so giltles.

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How religiously and earnestly do they forsee, that the maiesty of Priestly dignitie should not in any case be hurt? But how litle care haue they, that their consciences be not hurt with false iudgemētes, & oppressing the giltles? MarginaliaThomas degraded. Wherfore, before that he should come vnto punishment, this good man must be disgraded. The order and maner of this Popish degradyng is partly before touched in the story of William Taylor. fol. 636.

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MarginaliaTho. Rhedonēsis a Frēch man burned at Rome. After that it had pleased the Byshops to disgrade this man from the degrees wherewith before they had consecrated him, and thought not that sufficiēt, by and by after they depriued him of his life also, and burned hym. 4. yeares after that he came to Rome. In the yeare of our Lord 1436

¶ The burning of Tho. Rhedonensis.

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Commentary on the Woodcuts  *  Close
Foxe's account of the French Carmelite, Thomas of Rennes, who was burned in Rome in 1436, was taken from Crespin. In the first edition the woodcut used to illustrate his story was a repeat of that used for William Sawtry, with the words in the banderole changed to 'Lord help me'. When this block was used again for Sawtry in 1570, it had the original inscription ('Jesu have mercy') replaced at the same time that the woodblock was cut back on either side. Meanwhile from 1570 onwards one of the new single-column woodcuts was used for Thomas of Rennes. CUL copy: this martyr is dressed in white and his beard is coloured grey. His hair is brown but, on top, the thinning hair is grey. There is close attention to detail in his features, including liver spots in his bald patch. WREN: in this copy the martyr's hair and beard are greying also, although there is no additional detail of liver spots on his head.

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And thus through the crueltie of these most tyrannous Prelates, this blessed Martyr dyed. Albeit it is not to be thought that he died, but made a losse of this body, for a greatr gayne of saluation, before the iust iudgemēt of God: Neither is it to be doubted, but that he lyueth eternally vnder the aultar, with them whose bloud the Lord will reuenge, peraduēture to soone for some of them, whom the earth hath here so long holden vnpunished.

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MarginaliaHenry Grūfelder priest,
Henry Radtgeber priest,
Ioh. Draendorfe priest,
Pet. Thoraw
Mat. Hager,
Martyrs.
As this Thomas abouesayd suffered at Rome: so were diuers other in other places about Germany executed neare about the same tyme, after the burnyng of Iohn Hus: as Henry Grunfelder Priest of Ratispone. an. 1420. also Hēry Radtgeber Priest, in the same Citie. an. 1423. Iohn Draendorfe of noble byrth and a Priest, was burned at Wormes. an. 1424. Peter Thoraw, at Spire. an. 1426. Math. Hager, also suffered at Berline in Germany, not lōg after. Ex Balei Centur. sept.

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MarginaliaPope Eugenius. 4. After the death of Pope Martin, who reigned. 14. yeares, succeded Eugenius, the 4. of that name, about the yeare of our Lord. 1431. Of whom Antonius thus writeth, that he was much geuen to warres, as may well declare his conflictes and fightyng with the Romaines: also the batailes betwene the Venitians and the Florentians.

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This Pope began first to celebrate the Coūcell of Ba sill, which Councell Martin hys predecessour had before intended, accordyng to the institution of the councell of Cōstance. Notwythstandyng the sayd Eugenius perceauyng afterward thys Councell of Basill not to fauour hym and hys doynges, and fearyng some detriment to come to hym by the same, afterward laboured by all subtill practise to dissolue and interrupt the sayd Councell, and from Basill to translate it first to Ferraria, then to Florētia, more nere to hys owne sea of Rome. Concernyng the which Councell of Basill, for somuch as we haue begon here to make mention, it shall be no great digression out of the way, to discourse somethyng therof (the Lord so permitting) more at large, so much as for the most principall matters therof shall seeme sufficicient or necessary to be knowen.

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¶ Here followeth the order and maner of the Councell of Basill, touchyng the principall matters concluded therin, briefly collected and abridged here in this present booke: The rest whereof we haue referred vnto our former edition, wherein the full discourse of the whole disputation is to be sene more at large, for such as haue lyst and leisure to see more thereof. 
Commentary  *  Close
Council of Basel [I]

One of the the more important results of the Council of Constance was the decree 'Frequens', mentioned in Foxe's text, which mandated that a general council was to held at regular intervals. The Council, which was in session from 1431-49, met despite the implacable hostility of Eugenius IV, who tried to dissolve it. In 1439, as Foxe will relate, the Council elected their own pope (or antipope), Felix V. At this point, the Council had over-reached itself by initiating fears of a new schism and it rapidly lost support. Ultimately the Council was out-manoeuvred by Eugenius and accomplished few of its objectives. Yet it was remembered positively by Protestants for its attempts to reform the Church and to restrict papal authority. It is for these reasons, particularly the latter, that Foxe devotes so much attention to it.

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Foxe's account of the Council of Basel was added to the 1563 edition. There is no section about it in either of his two Latin martyrologies. Apart from background material on Martin V, Cardinal Julian and the council at Ferrara, all of which came from Caspar Peucer's continuation of Carion's chronicle (see Chronicon Carionis, ed. Philip Melancthon and Caspar Peucer [Wittenburg, 1580], pp. 634-5), it was taken entirely from the first book of Aeneas Sylvius Picclomini's commentaries on the council. The commentary is devoted to events in the year 1439, when Picclomini was actually attending the council. At this point in his life, Picclomini, who later became Pope Pius II, was an ardent conciliarist and his approving account of the council was quite congenial to Foxe.

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As a result, in the 1563, Foxe followed the first book of Picclomini's account quite closely, although he abridged it. (Foxe would have been able to consult it in Ortwin Gratius' Fasciculus rerum expetendarum ac fugiendarum, where it was printed, or in the 1571 edition of Pius II's Opera omnia, both of which works he is known to have used. For a modern edition of this work, see Aeneas Sylvius Picclomini, De Gestis Concili Basiliensis Commentarium libri II, ed. Denys Hay and W. K. Smith, Second edition [Oxford, 1992]). In the 1570 edition, Foxe further abridged his already abridged version of Picclomini's text. The 1570 version was reprinted without further changes in subsequent editions.

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Most of Foxe's abridgements were relatively innocuous and were made simply to save paper in a book that was expanding to an alarming length. But some of Foxe's deletions were more tendentious. For example, Picclomini relates that Louis d'Aleman, the cardinal of Arles, president of the Council, and a staunch anti-papalist, at a critical juncture, 'quod erat futuram, plurimasque sanctorum reliquias tota urbe perquiri iussit…quae res maxime devotionem adauxit intantum ut vocato postmodum de more Spiritu Sancto nemo lachrymas continuerit' ['considered what was going to happen, and had ordered search to be made for the very many relics of the saints throughout the whole city….This so greatly increased the devotion that when, as usual, the Holy Spirit had been invoked, nobody restrained his tears'] (Picclomini, Commentarium, ed. Hay and Smith, pp. 178-9). Foxe's version of this passage ran: 'Arlatensis considered before what would come to passe. And after theyr prayers made unto almightie GOD, wyth great tears and lamentation that he would send them his holy spirit to aid and assist them, they were greatly comforted and encouraged' (1563, p. 319). Foxe did not want his godly, anti-papalist venerating relics, so this inconvenient passage was simply rewritten.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

MarginaliaThe Coūcell of Basill.
Ex Ænea Syluio.
Ex Chochleo in Hist. Hußit.
Et ex paralipom.
Abbat. Vrsperg.
IN the 39. session of the Councell of Constance (as is before mencioned pag. 573.) it was decreed and prouided concernyng the order and tymes of suche generall Councelles as shoulde hereafter follow: The first that shoulde nexte ensue, to be kept the fift yeare after the saide Councell of Constance: the second to be holden þe vij. yeare after that, and so orderly all other to follow successiuely frō x. yeare to x. yeare. Wherfore accordyng to thys decree, folowed a generall Councell, fiue yeares after the Councell of Constance, celebrate and holden at Sene vnder pope Martine, an. 1424. but it soone broke vp. After the which Coūcell, the terme of vij. yeares beyng expired, an other councell was called at Basill, in the yeare of our Lord 1431. The which councel is noted to haue bene the most troublesome, and to haue endured longer then any other Councell before tyme celebrate and holdem in the church. This coūcell continued almost the space of xvij. yeares: wherein it was concluded, as before in the councell of Constance, that the generall Councels were aboue the Pope, and both of these two Councels did attribute the chiefe authoritie in decreeing and determining vnto the generall councel: which is the cause that the contraryepart doth derogate so much from the authoritie of thys present Councell.

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MarginaliaThe death of Pope Martin. When as Pope Martine the fift had apointed Iuliā, Cardinall and Deacon of S. Angel, hys Legate, to celebrate and holde a generall Councell at Basill for the reformation of the Church, and rooting out of heresies, within short space after Pope Martine died, MarginaliaPope Eugenius 4. in whose seat Eugenius the fourth succeeded, who confirmed vnto the saide Cardinall Iulian, the same authoritie which his predecessor before had geuen hym. Vnto this Councell of Basill beyng begon, came the Emperour Sigismūd, who during hys lyfe tyme, with hys presence and autoritie did protect and defend the sayd Synode. After the Emperours death, Pope Eugenius altering hys former mynde and purpose, would transport the councell vnto Bononie, and thereby hindred the successe of the Councell of Basil. And first he held a contrary councell at Feraria, & afterward at Florence: For after the death of the Emperour Sigismund, there was no Princes or noble men, that had any care or regard of the councell. MarginaliaPope Eugenius seketh to dissolue the councell of Basill. Eugenius the Pope pretended causes, as touchyng the Greeks, which should come vnto the councell, and the vniting of their Church vnto the West church, the which Greekes would in no wyse passe the Alpes: Also as touching his owne incōmoditie, that he could not come vnto Basil beyng so long a iourney, and that all hys men myght haue easie accesse vnto Bononia, and that amongest the Germaines (which in their owne countrey are so intractable) nothyng can be attempted for their reformation: whereupon he cited Cardinal Iulian and the Fathers of the councell vnto Bononia, vnder great penaltie. MarginaliaDissension betwene the councell of Basill and pope Eugenius. They agayne cited the Pope, that either he shoulde come himselfe vnto the councell, or send Ambassadors vnder the lyke penaltie. For thys cause the the Ambassadours of Albert kyng of the Romaynes. and of the other Princes of Germany, assembled together first at Norenberge, and when as they could determine nothyng there, they assembled agayne at Frankford, to appease the dissension betwene the councell and the Pope: for it was thought, that the Electors of the Empire might best assemble and meete in that place. In the meane time, the Emperours Ambassadours and the Ambassadours of the Electors, went vnto Basill,

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