Critical Apparatus for this Page
View an Image of this PageCommentary on the Text
 
Person and Place Index  *  Close
Æthelburh (Ethelburga)

(fl. early C8) [ODNB sub Ine]

Queen of the West Saxons

Married Ine, king of West Saxons; said to have destroyed Taunton, earlier built by Ine [the destruction of Taunton in 722 may be connected with the challenge of the atheling Ealdberht].

Æthelburh, who wished to retire from the world into a convent, defiled and ruined the palace to illustrate to King Ine the transience of worldly things. He was persuaded to abdicate and become a monk. She became a nun and eventually abbess of Barking. [This seems to be a confusion with St Æthelburh (fl. 664).]1570, p. 169; 1576, p. 128; 1583, pp. 126-27.

[Back to Top]
 
Person and Place Index  *  Close
Adomnán (St Adomnán)

(627/8? - 704) [ODNB]

Of the Irish royal line; 9th abbot of Iona. Writer; wrote a life of St Columba

Adomnán made an ambassadorial visit to King Aldfrith of Northumbria. Adomnán used the Irish style of tonsure, but became convinced by Abbot Ceolfrith of the superiority of the English style. On his return, he reformed many churches to conform with English practice, but was unable to persuade the monks to alter their tonsure. 1570, p. 169; 1576, p. 127; 1583, p. 126.

[Back to Top]
 
Person and Place Index  *  Close
Aldfrith of Northumbria

(d. 704/5) [ODNB]

King of Northumbria (685 - 704/5)

Illegitimate son of Oswiu; half-brother of Ecgfrith; teacher and scholar in Ireland

Aldfrith recovered much that had been lost by his predecessors. 1570, p. 150; 1576, p. 112; 1583, p. 111.

He restored Wilfrid to the bishopric of York, but after about five years removed him again. 1570, p. 166; 1576, p. 125; 1583, p. 124.

 
Person and Place Index  *  Close
Ceolfrith

(642 - 716) [ODNB]

Monk; close to Wilfrid and Benedict Biscop; prior of Wearmouth 674

Abbot of Wearmouth and Jarrow (685 - 716); resigned and left for Rome in 716; died at Langres on the way

Coelfrith wrote to King Naiton of the Picts, advising him on the Roman practice of Easter and priests' tonsure. As a result of the letter, a proclamation was made and all priests and monks had their heads shaved according to the English custom. 1570, pp. 168-69; 1576, pp. 127-28; 1583, p. 126.

Coelfrith recounts in his letter how Adomnán, abbot of Iona, made an ambassadorial visit to King Aldfrith of Northumbria. Adomnán used the Irish style of tonsure, but became convinced by Abbot Ceolfrith of the superiority of the English style. On his return, he reformed many churches to conform with English practice, but was unable to persuade the monks to alter their tonsure. 1570, p. 169; 1576, p. 127; 1583, p. 126.

[Back to Top]

Pope Sergius I sent a letter to Ceolfrith, praising Bede's learning and asking that he be sent to Rome. 1570, p. 170; 1576, p. 128; 1583, p. 127.

 
Person and Place Index  *  Close
Ine of Wessex

(d. in or after 726) [ODNB]

Son of Coenred; king of the West Saxons (c. 694 - c. 726); codified law; abdicated in 726, died as a pilgrim in Rome

Ine succeeded Cædwalla, king of the West Saxons. [Foxe calls Cædwalla the last king of the Britons, but Cadwaladr ap Cadwallon, king of Gwynedd, was the legendary last king of the Britons.] 1570, p. 167; 1576, p. 126; 1583, p. 125.

Ine brought the Peter Pence into his realm. He introduced written laws. 1570, p. 169; 1576, p. 128; 1583, p. 127.

Queen Æthelburh, who wished to retire from the world into a convent, defiled and ruined the palace to illustrate to Ine the transience of worldly things. He was persuaded to abdicate. 1570, p. 169; 1576, p. 128; 1583, pp. 126-27.

Ine founded the abbey at Glastonbury. 1570, p. 177; 1576, p. 134; 1583, p. 133.

Ine went to Rome and became a monk. 1570, p. 149; 1576, p. 111; 1583, p. 110.

 
Person and Place Index  *  Close
Nechtan mac Derile (Naiton)

(d. 732) [ODNB]

King of the Picts (706 - 24, 729); succeeded brother Brude

Sought instruction from Ceolfrith of Wearmouth and Jarrow on coming into line with Roman practice

Ceolfrith wrote to him, advising on the Roman practice of Easter and on priests' tonsure. As a result of the letter, a proclamation was made and all priests and monks had their heads shaved according to the English custom. 1570, pp. 168-69; 1576, pp. 127-28; 1583, p. 126.

 
Person and Place Index  *  Close
Robert Fabyan

(d. 1513) [ODNB]

Chronicler; freeman in Drapers' Company 1476-7; auditor of the city of London's accounts 1486-7

Sheriff (1493); master of the Drapers' Company (1495 - 56, 1501 - 02); alderman (1494 - 1503); wrote Newe Cronycles

He is mentioned by Foxe: 1570, pp. 146, 149, 160, 169, 1304; 1576, pp. 108, 111, 120, 128, 1116; 1583, pp. 107, 110, 118, 126, 1141.

 
Person and Place Index  *  Close
William of Malmesbury

(c. 1090 - in or after 1142) [ODNB]

Historian, man of letters and Benedictine monk; reformer of monastic life and learning

William of Malmesbury praised the learning of Aldhelm, abbot of Malmesbury and bishop of Sherborne, placing him second only to Bede in his time. He also attributed many miracles to Aldhelm. 1570, p. 168; 1576, p. 126; 1583, p. 125.

He is mentioned by Foxe: 1570, pp. 148, 169, 176, 1301; 1576, pp. 110, 128, 133, 1113; 1583, pp. 132, 1138.

149 [126]

Obseruation of Easterday. Shauen crownes.

noted, that the said perfect fulnes of the moone beginnyng the thirde weeke, must happen either in the very euening of þe Equinoctial day, or after the Equinoctial day. For els if it happen either on the Equinoctiall day before the euening, or before the Equinoctial day, then it belongeth to þe last moneth of the last yeare, and not to the first moneth of the first yeare, and so serueth not to be obserued.

[Back to Top]

This rite and vsage in keping Easter day being receiued in the Latin church, began now to take place amōg the Pictes & Britaines, through the busie trauaile of Theodorus Cuthlacus, but namelye of Elbert the holy Monke, as they terme him: and of Colfrid Abbot of Sirwin in Northumberlande, which wrote to Narcanus, or Naitonus the King of Pictes, concerning the same: who also among other thinges writeth of the shauen crownes of Priestes, saying: MarginaliaWhy priestes crownes were shauen. Bede de. gest. lib. 5. that it was as necessary for the vow of a Mōke, or degre of a Priest, to haue a shauen crowne for restrainte of their lustes: as for any Christen man, to blesse him against spirits, when they come vpon him. Bede Lib. 5. The coppy of which letter as it is in Bede, I haue here annexed, not for any great reason therin conteined, but only to delite þe Reader with some pastime, in seing the fond ignorance of that Monkish age: the copy of the letter thus proceedeth.

[Back to Top]
¶ Of the shauing of Priestes, out of the fift booke of Beda the xxi. chap. 
Commentary  *  Close
Priest's tonsures to end of kingdom of Northumbria

When he came to write the later history of the Saxon heptarchy for the 1570 edition, Foxe chose to concentrate mainly on the history of three of them: Northumbria, Wessex and Mercia. In so doing, he followed the lead of Bale's Catalogus, which is his source for the unedifying history of the popes which concludes this section (Catalogus, pp. 104-6), including the 'donation of Pipinus', the 'great excommunications against Constantinus' and the 'veneration of images' and missel introduced by Pope Adrian. 'Images again maintained by the Pope to be men's Kalendars' and 'the order of the Romishe Massebooke when it came in' are Foxe's glosses to this material, thereby laying out more of the architecture for the Protestant reformation history which is to follow. At the beginning of this passage, however, Foxe chose to include an integral passage from Bede's Ecclesiastical History (book 5, ch. 21 - pp. 547-553) on 'the shauing of priestes'. Foxe accompanied it with critical marginal glosses ('much sayd nothing proued' and 'See how these shauelings would father their shauing vpon Peter, which is neither found in scripture nor in any approued story, but onelye in paynted clothes') and then followed it with 'a note to admonish the reader' in which he explained his purpose: 'By thys Monkishe letter aboue prefixed, voyde of all Scripture, of all probation and truth of historye, thou mayest note, gentle reader: how this vaine tradition of shauen crownes, hath come vp, and vpon how light and trifling occasion', the result of 'the dreaming phantasies of Monkes of that time'. The issue was one that had raised significant controversy at the time of the Dissolution, and was still in contention in reformation polemic. Foxe's decision to include a critical edition of the material is to be seen as a contribution to that debate.

[Back to Top]

For the mainly secular narrative of the later Saxon heptarchy, Foxe returned to the preferred sources which he had used elsewhere in book 2 - Fabian's Chronicle, and that of John Brompton. They were not used uncritically, however. Foxe often supplemented them, or compared them with the other 'monkish' sources at his disposal. So, for the reign of Iue, king of the West Saxons, he used William of Malmesbury's Gesta Regum (J. S. Brewer, and C. T. Martin, 'William of Malmesbury: Gesta Regum.' In Reigistrum Malmesburiense. The Registor of Malmesbury Abbey, ed. by J.S. Brewer and C.T. Martin [London: Rolls Series, 1869-1880], book 1, ch. 36, and an additional choice detail on Peter's Pence added from Mathew Paris's Flores Historiarum (H. R. Luard, ed. Matthew Paris. Flores Historiarum 3 vols [London: Rolls Series, 1890], 1, p. 369). For Iue's law-code - which he returned to in book 6 (1570, p.923) - he used John Brompton's text (J. Brompton, 'Chronicon Johannis Brompton Abbatis Jornalensis.' In Historiæ Anglicanæ Scriptores X. [....], ed. by Roger Twysden [London, 1652], fols 759-761) rather than Lambard's Archaionomia (fols 1-18v).

[Back to Top]

Foxe's generous assessment of Bede is interesting. Although Foxe often chose not to rely on Bede as his source, there was much he could readily admire in his Ecclesiastical History and in his commitment to scholarship in the pursuit of truth. He was 'a man of worthy and venerable memorie'. Foxe used Bede's own words (from the Ecclesiastical History, book 5, ch. 24) to prove that he was a native of the British Isles. He furnished the letter from Pope Sergius, citing it in the Latin original as he found it in William of Malmesbury's Gesta Regum (book 1, ch. 58) to prove 'in what price and estimation Bede was accepted, as well in the court of Rome as in other places besydes'. His summary of Bede's achievements is paraphrased from the same source. Foxe's subsequent summary of the decrees of the synod of Cuthbert in 747 came directly from William of Malmesbury's Gesta Pontificium (N. E. S. A. Hamilton, ed. William of Malmesbury. Willemesbiriensis Monachi De Gestis pontificium Anglorum [...] [London: Rolls Series, 1870], book 1, chs 5-6). For the later history of the kings of Mercia and Wessex, Foxe omitted a good deal 'because thei concern rather political affayres & do not grealy appertayne to the purpose of this Ecclesiastical History'. He relied here mainly on Brompton's Chronicle (cols 774-5) and Fabian (book 6, chs. 150-1), noting (however) at two points that Fabian's Chronicle contained errors. It was not Offa but Kenulphus that had imprisoned King Egbert of Kent. Foxe had returned here to William of Malmesbury's Gesta Regum (book 1, ch. 95) and preferred the latter's account of what happened. Again, when it came to Fabian's description of the imprisonment of King Egbert, Foxe doubted his veracity ('a place of Fabian doubted'). In this instance, he not only checked the account against William of Malmesbury's, but also probably against Ranulph Higden's Polychronicon (book 5, ch. 27).

[Back to Top]

Matthew Phillpott and Mark Greengrass
University of Sheffield

MarginaliaThe copy of a Monkish letter of Colfride to King Naiton for the shauing of Priestes crownes. COncerning the shauing of Priests (wherof you wryte also vnto me) I exhort you that it be decently obserued according to the Christian faith. We are not ignorant that the Apostles were not al shauen, after one maner, neither doth the Catholicke Church at this day agree in one vniforme maner of shauing, as they do in faith, hope and charity. Let vs consider the former time of the Patriarches, and we shall finde that Iob (an example of patience) euen in the very point of his afflictions, did shaue his head: and he proueth also: that in þe time of his prosperitye, he vsed to let his heare grow. And Ioseph an excellent Doctour & executor of chastity, humilitie, pietie and other vertues: whē he was deliuered out of prison & seruitude was shauen: MarginaliaHow proueth he that the Apostles Iob and Ioseph were shauen. Much sayd, nothing proued. wherby it appeareth that whilst he abode in prisō he was vnshauen. Behold both these being men of god did vse an order in the habite of their body one contrary to the other, MarginaliaDiuersitie of rites hurteth not the Church. whose consciences notwithstanding within did wel agree in the like grace of vertues. But to speake truely and [illegible text]frely the difference of shauing hurteth not such as haue a pure faith in the Lord, & sincere charity, towardes their neighbor: especially for that there was neuer any controuersie amongst the Catholike fathers about the diuersitie thereof, as there hath beene of the difference of the celebration of Easter and of faith. MarginaliaSee how these shauelinges would father their shauing vpon Peter, which is neyther found in Scripture, nor in any approued story, but onely in paynted clothes. But of all these shauinges that wee fiynde either in the Churche or els where: there is none in mine opinion so much to be followed & embraced, as that which he vsed on his head, to whō the Lord said, thou art Peter, and vpon this rocke I will builde my Church and the gates of hel shall not preuaile against it, & I will gyue thee the keyes of the kingdome of heauen. And contrarywise there is no shauing so much to be abhorred and detested as that which he vsed to whom the same S. Peter said, thy money bee with thee to thy destruction, because thou thinkest to possesse the gift of God by thy money, therefore thy part nor lot is not in this worde. MarginaliaWhy Priestes and Monkes be shauen in the crowne. The shauing of the crowne what it representeth. Neither ought we to bee shauen on the crowne onely because Saint Peter was so shauen, but because Peter was so shauen, in the remembraunce of the Lords Passion: therfore we that desire by þe same Passion to be saued, must weare the signe of the same passion with him vpon the top of our head which is the highest part of our body. For as euery Church that is made a Church by the death of the Sauiour, doth vse to beare the signe of the holy crosse in the front: that it maye the better by the defence of that banner, bee kept from the inuasions of euill spirits: MarginaliaHow doth the signe of the crosse defend Churches from euill spirites, when it cannot keepe them from euill Priestes? & by the often admonition therof, is taught to crucifie the flesh, with the concupiscence of the same: In like maner it behoueth such as haue þe vowes of Monkes and degres of the Clergy, to bind them selues with a straiter bit of continencie for the Lords sake. And as the Lord bare a crowne of thorne on his head in his passion, wherby he tooke & caried away from vs the thornes and prickes of our sinnes: so must euery one of vs by shauing our heads, patiently beare and willinglye suffer, the mockes and scorners of the worlde for his sake: MarginaliaIf shauing of the crown doth teach men patience in suffering how commeth it that we see none more washpish and irefull then these shorne generations, of Monkish vipers. That wee may receaue the crowne of eternall life, which God hath promised to all that loue him, & shall by shauing their corporal crownes beare the aduersity, & contemne the prosperity of this worlde. But the shauing which Symon Magus vsed, what faithful man doth not detest together with his magicall art? The which at the first apparance hath ashew of a shauen crowne, but if you marke his necke, you shal finde it curtailed in such wise as you will say it is rather meete to be vsed of the Symonistes then of the Christians. MarginaliaSimon Magus shauen as he sayth. And such (of foolish men) be thought worthye of the glory of the eternall crowne, whereas indede for their yll liuing they are worthy not only to be depriued of the same but also of eternall saluation. MarginaliaThe difference betweene the shauing of Peter and Simon Magus. I speake this not against thē that vse this kinde of shauing, & liue Catholikely in fayth and good workes, but surely I beleeue there be diuers of them be very holy and godly men. Amongst the which is Adamnan, the Abbot and worthy Priest of the Columbians: who when he came Embassadour from his country vnto king Alfride desired greatly to see our Monastery: where he declared a wonderful wisedowe, humilitie and Religiō both in his maners and wordes. Amongest other talke I asked him why he, that did beleue to come to the crown of life þt should neuer haue end, did vse contrary to his belief a definite Image of a crowne on his head. And if you seke (quoth I) the felowship of S. Peter, why doe you vse the fashion of his crowne whom S. Peter did accurse, and not of his rather with whom you desire to liue eternally? Adānā answered saying: you know right well brother though I vse Symons maner of shauing, after the custome of my country, yet doe I detest & with all my heart abhorre hys infidelitie. I desire notwithstanding to imitate the footesteps of the holy Apostle as far forth as my power wil extend. Then said I: MarginaliaIn outward habite christians ought not to resēble wicked doers. I beleeue it is so. But then is it apparaunt you imitate those thinges which the Apostle Peter did frō the bottom of your hart, if you vse the same vpon your face that you know he did. For I suppose your wisedome vnderstandeth that it is right decent, to differ in the triming your face or shauing, frō his whom in your hart you abhorre. And cōtrariwise as you desire to imitate the doings of him whom you desire to haue a * Marginalia* There is but one mediator betweene God and man Christ Iesus. mediator betweene God & you, so it is meete you imitate the maner of his apparell and shauing. Thus much saide I, to Adamnan, who seemed then well to like our Churches: in so much that he returning into Scotland, reformed many of his churches there, after our celebratiō, albeit he could not do so amongst the Monks, with whom he had special authority. He endeuoured also to haue reformed their maner of shauing if he had bene able. MarginaliaThe Scottish monkes and the Englishe monkes differed in their shauing. And nowe (O King) I exhort your maiestie to labor together with your people (ouer whom the King of Kinges and Lorde of Lordes hath made you gouernor, to imitate likewise in all these points the Catholicke and Apostolical churches. So shall it come to passe that in the end of this your temporall kingdome þe most blessed prince of the Apostles shall opē you the gates of the heauenly kingdome together with the other elect of god. MarginaliaIf Peter shall let in the elect of God into heauen, Christ then serueth in little stede. The grace of the eternal king preserue you most derely beloued sonne in Christ long time to reigne ouer vs to the great tranquility of vs all.

[Back to Top]

When this letter was read before king Nayton wyth other of his learned men, and diligentlye translated into his proper language, he semed to reioyce very much at the exhortation herof, insomuch as rising vp from among his noble men, he kneled on the ground and gaue God thankes that he had deserued to receaue so worthye a presente out of England, & so caused it forthwith by publike proclamation to be writen out, learned, & obserued throught out all the prouinces of the Pictes, defacing the errours that had bene vsed there by the space of 700. and 4. yeares. For all the ministers of the altar & all Monkes, were shauen, on the crowne. And al the people reioiced for the new dyscipline of the most blessed Prince of the Apostles, S. Peter which they had receaued.

[Back to Top]

Marginalia A note to admonish the reader. ¶ By this monkish letter aboue prefixed, voide of all Scripture, of all probation & truth of history, thou maiest note gentle Reader: howe this vaine tradition of shauen crownes hath come vp, & vpon how light and trifling occasion: which in very deede was none other but the dreaming phantasies of Monkes of that time, falsely grounding vpon the example of Peter: when by no olde monument of any aūtient record they can euer proue, either Peter or Symon Magus to haue bene shauen. Moreouer in the said leter also is to be noted, how the Scottish Clergy at that season, did weare no such Priestly crownes, as our English Churchmen then did.

[Back to Top]

But to cut of this matter of shauing, more worthy to be laught at thē to be storied, let vs now againe returne where as we left at king Iue, of whom W. Malmesbery, and Fabian in his chronicle do record MarginaliaFabia. cap. 141. Guliel. Malmesb. de. Reg. that whē the foresaide Iue had ruled the west saxons by þe term of 37. yeares, by the importunate perswasion, and subtile policie of his wife Ethelburga, was allured to go to Rome, & there to be made a Monke. Which Ethelburga after she had a long tyme la-

[Back to Top]
boured
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