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294 [294]

Actes and Monumentes Of the Church.
THE TRAGICAL and lamentable history of the Famous learned man & godly Martyr of Christ, maister Hierom of Prage, which was burned at Constance, for like cause and quarel as Maister Iohn Hus was. 1416. 
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Jerome of Prague

Apart from the martyrdom of Thomas Becket, it is arguable that no violent death in the Middle Ages caught the imagination of contemporaries as did that of Jerome of Prague. This was not due to Jerome's intrinsic importance, but to the remarkable fortitude he displayed at his execution. Poggio Braccioloini, the celebrated humanist, was an eyewitness to Jerome's execution, and although not sympathetic to Jerome's cause, he wrote a public letter, which circulated widely, comparing Jerome to Socrates. Therefore it is not surprising that Jerome was one of the relatively few non-British martyrs included in the Commentarii (fos. 78r-81v). Foxe cited Bernard of Luxembourg as his source, but he was an author whom Foxe did not use. It is probable that Foxe's source for this account was a short account by John Bale, who cited Bernard frequently. Foxe repeated this account in the Rerum (pp. 67-71). In the 1563 edition, Foxe replaced this material with an account of Jerome's martyrdom based on accounts of eyewitnesses contained in the two volume collection of documents relating to Jan Hus, the Johannis Hus et Hieronymi Pragensis confessorum Christi Historia et Monumenta, which was anonymously edited by Matthias Flacius, and printed in Nuremberg in 1558 (cf. Hus...Historia et Monumnenta, II, fos. 349r-354r). In the 1570 edition, Foxe reprinted this account, but he also added Poggio's more elegant, and famous, account of Jerome's death which was also printed in the Hus…Historia et Monumenta (fos. 358r-359r). The 1570 account of Jerome Prague was reprinted without change in the 1576 and 1583 editions of the Acts and Monuments.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

FOrsomuche as the varietie of mēs affections, by meanes of hatred of persones, oftentymes coming betwene, and other causes growing, doth often very ill, yea altogether fasly accumulate & gather the order of thinges done, far otherwise then in deade they weare done, & hath vsed & accustomed to diuulgate their fained doings vnto the posteritie. Therfore that the actes worthy of remēbraunce in these our daies, should not suffer none of þe for said incomodities & euils, & that the feruent & true confession of the truth with this worthy man Hierom of Prage, the feruent & stout chāpion of the Gospel, hath sealed with his blod & death, wherby also, as another Helias, he is caried without al doubtes in a fyrie chariot in to the paradise of infinite ioyes & pleasures, that the order of his death by þe hasty passing away of tyme, shold not escape away from the posteritie to come here after, that by no meanes this example of truthe & glas of stedfastnes, & perfit imitation, might by any meanes be taken away: I haue determined to gather together, albeit with a rude style þe actes & doings of the said maister Hierome, as he went vnto the councel of Constance, the which I my selfe did see & also heard there, & also were reported vnto me by suche true & credible men, as did heare and see the same at Constance, to the intent that the memory of this most worthy mā being the autor of truthe may hereafter be the more famously celebrate and remembred.

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The first Chapter.

MarginaliaMaister Hierō came of his owne good wil vnto Cōstāce.IN the yeare after the incarnatiō of our Lord 1415. the said maister Hierome greuously sorowing & lamēting the false & sinister sclaūder & reproche of þe glorious kingdom of Boheme, & also hearing tell of the manifest iniuries which were done vnto that mā of worthy memory maister Iohn Hus: frely of his own accord he came vnto Cōstance the. iiii day of April, vpon s. Ambrose the cōfessors day and there he at that time seing that Iohn Hus was denied to be heard, & that watche & wayte was layd for him on euery side, he departed to Iberling a citie of the Empire, vntill the nextday, the whiche citie was a myle of from Constance, & frō thence he wrote his letters by me vnto the king of Hungary & his barons, & also vnto the councell, moste earnestly requiring þt the king & the councell wold geue him a saufe conduct frely to come & go, MarginaliaThe saufe conducte was required but in vayne of þe Emperour& that he wold thē come in open audience to answere vnto euery man, if there were any of the councell þt wold lay any crime vnto him as by the tenor of his intimation, shal more at large appeare.

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When as the said king of Hungary was required thereunto as is aforesaid, being in the house of the Lord Cardinal of Cambray, he denied to geue maister Hierom any saufecōduict for certain causes by him then alleged. The deputies also of the four nacions of the councell being moued therunto by the Lords of þe kingdom of Boheme answered, we, saide they, wil geue him a saufeconduict to come, but not to departe, whose aunswers when they were reported vnto maister Hierome, he the next daye after wrote certaine intimations according to the tenor here vnder written, whiche he sent vnto Constance to be set vpon the gates of the citie, and vpon the gates of the churches and monasteries, and of the houses of þe Cardinals & other nobles & prelates. The tenor whereof her foloweth word for word in this maner.

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MarginaliaThe intimations of Ierom of Prage sette vp in places of the toune of Cōstāce.Vnto the most noble prince & lord the Lorde Sigismonde, by the grace of God king of the Romains, alwayes Augustus and of Hungary. &c. I Hierome of Prage maister of arte of the generall vniuersities of Parys, Collein, Heidelberg and Prage, by these my present letters doo notefie vnto the kyng together with the whole reuerent Councel, & as much as in me lieth, doo all men to vnderstand & knowe, that because of the crafty sclaunderers backbyters & accusers, I am ready frely of mine own will to come vnto Constance, there to declare openly before the whole councell, the puritie & sinceritie of my true faith and mine innocencie, & not secretly in corners before any priuate or particuler persone. Wherfore if there be any of my sclaunderers of what nation or estate soeuer he be, whiche will obiecte against me any cryme of error or heresie: let thē come forth openly, before me in the presence of the whole councel, and in their owne names obiecte against me, & Iwill be ready as I haue wrytten to aunswere openly and publikely before the whole councell for my innocencie, and to declare the puritie & sinceritie of my true faithe, and if so be that I shalbe founde culpable in any error or heresie, then I wyll not refuse openly to suffer suche punyshement as shalbe mete and comely for an Eronious persone, or an heretike.

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Wherfore I moste humbly beseche the Lord the kyng and the whole Sacred councell, that

I may
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