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1044 [1044]

K. Henry. 8. Persecution in Germanie. Henry Voes, John Esch, Martyrs.

FRom the first begynnyng of this whole booke and history hitherto (good reader) thou hast heard of many and sundry troubles and much busines in the Churche of Christ, concerning the reformation of diuers abuses and great errours crept into the same, namely in the Church of Rome, as appeareth by the doinges of them, in diuers & sundrye places, wherof mention hath bene made heretofore in this said history. MarginaliaThe corruption of the Sea of Rome, continually cryed out agaynst.For what godly mā hath there bene within the space of these fiue hundred yeres, either vertuously disposed, or excellently learned, whiche hath not disproued the misordered doinges and corrupt examples of the Sea and Bishop of Rome, from time to time, vnto the commyng of this Luther? 

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German martyrs

In its first edition, Foxe's martyrology had been published alongside that of Heinrich Pantaleon, a second volume ('Pars Secunda') to which Foxe's was the first. Albeit published in London and Basel respectively, they appeared by what must have been by prior arrangement on the same day. Between them lay an implied division of labour, with Foxe concentrating on the 'Acts and Monuments' of the English martyrs, whilst Pantaleon offered a broader 'European' perspective ('per Europam persecvtionvm' ran his title) with the witnesses of the martyrs divided up by nationalities and political entities ('per Regna & Nationes distributarum'). The two parts of the martyrology had, however, overlapped even in 1563. Foxe took the opportunity even then to integrate some martyr narratives from continental Europe into the first edition, especially where their narratives were readily available to him, or had become particularly well-known. He did so for a particular and important reason. If, as Tertullian had famously said, 'in the blood of martyrs lay the seed of the true church', it was important to Foxe's purpose to demonstrate that martyrdoms had occurred in the immediate aftermath of Luther's reformation. So Foxe included five such stories relating to Germany in the 1520s in his 1563 edition. Rather than incorporate them into his table of German martyrs in 1570, he deliberately kept them apart from it in order to emphasise that important point:-

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In the case of the 'account of 'Henry Voz & Iohn Esch frier Augustines' [Hendrich Voes; Jan van Essen] (1563, pp. 421-2) he based his account (indirectly) on an undated and anonymous short pamphlet, published shortly after their martyrdom and reissued in various different editions, one of which was ascribed to Martin Luther himself (F. van der Haeghen, T. J. I. Arnold, and R. Vanden Berghe, Bibliographie des martyrologes protestants néerlandais 2 vols (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1890), 1, p. 473 et seq.). Crespin had provided a short summary of it in the earliest edition of his martyrology, but Foxe did not use that as his source (Crespin/Benoit, 1, pp. 238-40). Pantaleon provided a further summary, basing his account, however, on the same source (Pantaleon, pp. 38-9). Both Foxe and Pantaleon give their source as 'Ex 6 tomo M. Lutheri, fol. 397'. This does not, however, correspond to the relevant volume of the collected works of Luther, edited by Philip Melanchthon (M. Luther, Tomus primus [-septimus] omnium operum Reverendi Domini Martini Lutheri [...] 7 vols (Wiitenberg: Iohannes Lufft, 1545, etc). It is possible that both Pantaleon and Foxe had used another edition of Luther's works, or that they had both copied the reference from somewhere else.

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In the narrative of the martyrdom of Henry Zutphen [Heinrich Mullers van Zutphen], recounted in the 1563 edition (pp. 422-428), Foxe was once again relying on a martyr account which had been widely diffused in the form of a contemporary pamphlet, and published in Latin (1524) and German (1525) - see F. van der Haeghen, T. J. I. Arnold, and R. Vanden Berghe, Bibliographie des martyrologes protestants néerlandais 2 vols (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1890), 1, p. 541 et seq. As Foxe said, the story had already been told, at least in outline, in Sleidan (book 4) and the earliest edition of Crespin (1554) - see Crespin/Benoit, 1, pp. 245-247. He clearly knew, and had probably read, Luther's own account of it, partly through a consolatory letter to the faithful of Bremen, and which had appeared in the earliest published collection of Luther's letters in 1525 (M. Luther, Martini Lutheri Epistolarum farrago, pietatis et eruditionis plena [...] [Haganoae [Haganau]: Iohan Secer, 1525]) - see W. M. L. de Wette, ed. Martin Luther. Briefe, Sendschreiben und Bedenken 5 vols (Berlin, 1825-1828), 3, p. 65 etc. Although Foxe also referred the reader to Ludwig Rabus' martyrology (L. Rabus, Historien der Heyligen auserwölten Gottes Zeugen 3 vols [Strasbourg, 1554-1558], there is no sign that he ever consulted it himself, or had the language skills to read it directly. Pantaleon had provided a similar narrative of this martyrdom (Pantaleon, pp. 35-8).

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The account of the martyrdom of 'Iohn Castellane' (Jean Chastelain), which Foxe published in the earliest edition of his martyrology (1563, pp. 428-431) seems to have come from that published in the earliest edition of Crespin (1554, fol. 175), which Foxe follows very closely here. Chastelain was a native of Tournai who went to Lorraine and actively proselytized at Bar-le-Duc ('Barleduc'), Vitry in Partois ('Vittery in Partoise'), Chalon and Vic ('Vike') before being arrested and imprisoned at Goze ('Gorze') and the castle at Nomény ('Nommeny'). Pantaleon provided a similar narrative in his edition too (Pantaleon, pp. 40-42), deriving it from the same source.

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The 'history of a good pastoure, murthered for the preaching of the Gospel, wrytten by Ihon Oecolampadius' which followed in his earliest edition (1563, pp. 431-432) was also taken directly from the earliest edition of Crespin (Crespin [1554], fol. 154). Crespin ascribed it (and Foxe follows him) to a written narrative prepared by Johann Oecolampadius, the preacher in Basel. Pantaleon had also provided a version of the same narrative (Pantaleon, pp. 46-8). See Crespin/Benoit, 1, pp. 250-1.

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The same is also true of the following 'history of the death of a certaine minister which was drowned in the yeare of our Lord 1525. collected by Oecolampadius', reproduced in the earliest edition of Crespin (Crespin [1554], fol 158) and repeated by Foxe in his earliest edition (1563, pp. 432-3). In 1563, Foxe knew only that he was a minister in the Breisgau ('Brisgois'). However, when he came to repeat the narrative in 1570, he added the pastor's name - Peter Spengler - which he had found in Pantaleon's account of the same narrative (Pantaleon, pp. 48-51). Living in Basel, Pantaleon doubtless had access to written and oral sources which were able to substantiate some of the details of the Oecolampadius narrative.

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The following account of a 'history of a certen man of the Country wrongfully put to deathe Collected by the saide Ihon Oecolampadius' was also published by Foxe in his earliest edition (1563, pp. 433-5). It was the closest he came to engaging the attention of his readers in the link between the early protestant reformation and social conflict - the reference-point for the narrative being the Peasants' War in Germany, which had taken early and divisive root in south-west Germany, the region to which it relates. It had been published by Crespin in his earliest edition (Crespin [1554], fol. 166) and in Pantaleon (pp. 51-54).

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The next account of Wolfgang Schuch, a protestant pastor from Alsace ('Lotharing.') had first appeared in Ludwig Rabus' Historien der Märtyrer (Strasbourg, 1554). It was repeated in Crespin (1560) and Pantaleon, pp. 54-57. Foxe's account here was closely based on the latter, which explains why it appeared for the first time in the 1570 edition of Foxe's martyrology.The following narrative of the death of Johann Hüglein in Merssburg (near Constance) in 1527 had already been widely circulated in the reformation. A contemporary narrative of his trial and death had been published in Nuremberg in c.1527. It is from that, either directly or indirectly, that Sleidan derived his account (Sleidan [book 6], 1, p. 331), and a brief account of his death had also been included in Rabus, vol 6, p. 599 and Pantaleon, p. 60. Foxe seems to have consulted both Sleidan and Pantaleon for his details of it and it appeared for the first time only in the 1570 edition of Foxe's martyrology.

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The next account was also of an early martyrdom from Bavaria. Georg Carpenter was a native of Emmendingen ('Emeryng') in Bavaria. He was burnt at Munich ('Munchen') on 8 February 1527. The account, with its circumstantiated details of his trial (including the debate with Conrad Schritter ['Scheitter'], the vicar of the cathedral church in Munich), had appeared for the first time in Crespin [1556], but Foxe acquired all his details of it from Pantaleon, pp. 61-3, and it appeared for the first time only in the 1570 edition of Foxe's martyrology.

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For the account of the martyrdom of Leonard Kayser, who may well have held Anabaptist beliefs, a contemporary pamphlet had provided the relevant details, published in Wittemberg in 1527. It was upon this account, either directly or indirectly, that the narrative of his martyrdom reached Pantaleon (pp. 63-4) which is where Foxe derived his own account. It appeared for the first time only in the 1570 edition of Foxe's martyrology.

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For the subsequent history of the martyrdom of Wendelmoet Claes [var: Classen], Foxe followed Crespin, Haemstede, Rabus and Pantaleon, deriving his account from the latter (p. 65). She was a native of Monnitendam ('Munchendam'), a small town in Holland. It is now evident, although it was perhaps difficult to discern this at the time, that she was a convinced Anabaptist. It appeared for the first time only in the 1570 edition of Foxe's martyrology.

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The final account from the first decade of the reformation concerned two martyrs from Cologne, Peter Fliested and Adolf Clarenbach, in September 1529. Foxe might have acquired the material here from Sleidan, but he more likely derived it from the account in Pantaleon, pp. 66-7. It appeared only for the first time in the 1570 edition of Foxe's martyrology.

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Mark Greengrass
University of Sheffield

Wherin this appeareth to me, and may also appeare no lesse to all godly disposed men, to be noted, not without great admiration, that seyng this foresayd Romishe Byshop hath had great enemies and gaynsayers continually from time to time, both speakyng and workyng, preachyng and writyng agaynst hym, yet notwithstandyng neuer any could preuaile before the commyng of this man. The cause wherof, although it bee secretly knowen vnto God, and vnknowen vnto men: yet so farre as men by coniectures may suppose, it may thus not vnlikely be thought: That where as other men before hym, speakyng agaynst the pompe, pride, whoredome and auarice of the Byshop of Rome, charged hym onely or most specially with examples and maners of lyfe: Luther went further with hym, chargyng him, not with life, but with hys learnyng: not with hys doynges, but with hys doctrine: not picking at the rine, but pluckyng vp the roote: MarginaliaThe Pope charged wt hersie by Luther.not sekyng the man, but shaking his Seate, yea and charging him with plaine heresie, as preiudiciall and resistyng plainely agaynst the bloud of Christ, contrary to the true sense and direct vnderstādyng of the sacred Testament of Gods holy word. For where as the fundation of our fayth grounded vpon the holy scripture, teacheth and leadeth vs to be iustified onely by the worthynes of Christ, and the onely price of his bloud: MarginaliaThe foundatiō of the popes doctrine contrarye to Christen fayth.the Pope proceding with a contrary doctrine, teacheth vs otherwise to seke our saluatiō, not by Christ alone, but by the way of mens meriting and deseruing by workes: Wherupon rose diuers sortes of orders and religious sectes amōgest men, some professing one thyng, and some another, and euery man sekyng his own rightuousnes, but few sekyng the rightuousnes of hym whiche is set vp of God to be our righteousnes, redemption, and iustification.

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MarginaliaIustification by fayth, reuiued by Luther.Martin Luther therfore vrging and reducyng thyngs to the foundation and touchstone of the Scripture, opened the eyes of many, whiche before were drowned in darkenes. Wherupon it can not be expressed what ioye, comfort, and consolatiō came to the hartes of men, some lying in darkenes and ignoraunce, some wallowyng in sinne, some beyng in dispayre, some macerating them selues by workes, and some presumyng vpon theyr owne righteousnes, to behold that glorious benefite of þe great libertie and free iustification set vp in Christ Iesus. And briefly to speake, the more glorious the benefite of this doctrine appeared to the world after long ignoraūce, the greater persecution folowed vpon the same. And where the elect of God tooke most occasion of comfort and of saluation, therof the aduersaries tooke most matter of vexation and disturbaunce: As commonly we see thee true worde of God to bryng with it euer dissension and perturbation, and therfore truly it was sayd of Christ, that he came not to sende peace on earth, but the sworde. MarginaliaMath. 10.And this was the cause, why that after the doctrine and preachyng of Luther, MarginaliaGreat persecution after the doctrine of Luther.so great troubles and persecutions folowed in all quarters of þe world: wherby rose great disquietnes among the prelates, and many lawes and decrees were made, to ouerthrowe the same by cruell handlyng of many good & Christian mē. Thus, while authoritie armed with lawes & rigour, did striue agaynst simple veritie, lamentable it was to heare how many poore men were troubled and went to wracke, some tost from place to place, some exiled out of the land for feare, some caused to abiure, some driuen to caues in woodes, some racked with torment, and some pursued to death with fagot and fire. Of whom we haue now (Christ willyng) in this history folowyng to entreat, first beginning with certayne that suffered in Germanie, and then to returne to our owne stories, and Martyrs here in England.

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¶ Henry Voes, and Iohn Esch, Frier Augustines.

MarginaliaTwo Fryers burned at Bruxelles.IN the yeare of our Lord. 1523. two yonge men were burnt at Bruxelles, the one named Henry Voes, being of the age of 24. yeares, and þe other Iohn Esch, which before had bene of þe order of þe Augustine Friers. MarginaliaEgmondanus, and Hochestratus, doctors of Louain: persecutours.They were disgraded the first day of Iuly, and spoyled of their Friers wede, at the sute of Egmondanus the Popes Inquisitor, and the diuines of Louain, for that they would not retract and deny their doctrine of the Gospell, which the Papistes call Lutheranisme. Their examiners were Hochestratus and other, who demaunded of them, what they did beleue? They sayd the bookes of the old Testament, and the new, wherein were conteined the Articles of the Crede. Then were they asked whether they beleued the decrees of the Councels and of the fathers? They sayd, such as were agreyng to the Scripture, they beleued. MarginaliaTheir examination.After this they proceded further, askyng whether they thought it any deadly sinne, to transgresse the decrees of the fathers, and of the Byshop of Rome? That (sayd they) is to bee attributed onely to the preceptes of God, to binde þe conscience of man or to loose it. Wherin when they constantly persisted, & would not turne, they were condemned and iudged to be burned. Then they began to giue thankes to God their heauenly father, which had deliuered them through his great goodnes, from that false and abominable priesthoode, and had made them priestes of his holy order, receauyng them vnto him as a sacrifice of sweet odour. Then there was a Bill wrytten, whiche was deliuered vnto them to read openly before the people, to declare what fayth and doctrine they helde. MarginaliaThe cause of their accusation and Martyrdome.The greatest errour that they were accused of, was that men ought to trust onely in God, for somuch as mē are lyers and disceatfull in all their wordes & dedes, and therfore there ought no trust or affiāce to be put in them.

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¶ Henry Voes, and Iohn Esch, Frier Augustines.
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As they were led vnto the place of execution, whiche was þe first day of Iuly, they went ioyfully and merely, making continuall protestatiō þt they died for the glory of God &the doctrine of þe Gospell, as true Christiās beleuing and following þe holy Church of þe sonne of God, saying also that it was þe day which they had long desired. After they were come to the place where they should be burned, and were dispoyled of their garmentes, they taried a great space in their shirtes, and ioyfully embraced the stake that they should be bound to, patiently and ioyfully enduring

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