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1126 [1126]

K. Henry. 8. The history of Merind. & Cabriers. The history of Angrongne, Luserne, &c.

cius was xx. yeares, before Innocent 3. and yet neither in the tyme of Pope Innocent, the order of these Dominicke Friers was approued, but in the tyme of Pope Honorius 3. who was xl. yeares after Pope Lucius. Agayn, Bernardus Lutzenbergensis, MarginaliaEx Bernard. Catal. hæret. affirmeth, that these Pauperes de Lugduno, or Waldenses beganne firste. an. 1218. Which if it be true, then must the other report of Aemylius be false, writyng of the secte of Pauperes Lugdunenses, to be refused by Pope Lucius the 3. who was longe before this, in the yeare of our Lord. 1181.

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Among other Authors whiche write of these Waldēses, Ioan. Sleidan. lib. 16. intreatyng of their continuaunce, and doctrine, thus writeth of them. MarginaliaSee the storye of Sleidan.There be (sayth he) in the French Prouince a people called Waldois. These of an auncient trade and custome among them, do not acknowledge the B. of Rome, and euer haue vsed a maner of doctrine somewhat more pure, then the rest, but especially since the comming of Luther, they haue encreased in more knowledge and perfection of iudgement. Wherfore they haue ben oftentymes complayned vpon to the king, as though they contemned the Magistrate, & would moue rebellion, with other such matter falsely surmised agaynst them, more of despite and malice, then of any iust cause of truth. There be of them certein townes and villages, among whiche Merindoll is one. Agaynst these Merindolians sentence was geuen, fiue yeares past, at Aix, beyng the hygh tribunall Seat, or iudgement place of Prouince, that all should be destroyed without respect of age or person, in such sorte, as that the houses beyng pluckt downe, the village should bee made playne, euen with the ground, the trees also should be cut downe, and the place altogether made desolate and desert. Albeit though it were thus pronounced, yet was it not then put in execution, by the meanes of certeine that persuaded the king to the contrary, namely one William Bellay, who was at the same tyme, the kinges Lieutenaunt in Piedmont. But at the last, the 12. day of Aprill. an. 1545. Iohn Minerius President of the Councell of Aix, callyng the Senate, read the kinges letters, commaundyng them to execute the sentence giuen. &c.

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MarginaliaThis confession worthy of perpetuall memorye, you shall see more largely set out, in Henr. Pātaleon, writing of the destruction of Cabriers and Merindol, and also in the French storye.Moreouer concernyng the confeßion, and the doctrine of the sayd Merindolians receaued of auncient tyme frō their forefathers the Waldenses, thus it foloweth in the sayd booke and place of Iohn Sleidan:

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At last (sayth Sleidan, after hee had described what great crueltie was shewed agaynst them) when the reporte hereof was bruted in Germanie, it offended the myndes of many: and in dede, the Suitzers, who were then of a contrary Religion to the Pope, entreated the king, that he would shewe mercy to such as were fled. Whereunto the sayd king Frances, made aunswere in this wise: pretending that he had iust cause to do, as hee did, inferryng moreouer, that they ought not to be carefull, what he did within his dominiōs, or how he punished his offendours, more thē he was about their affaires. &c. Thus hard was the king against thē, notwithstādyng (sayth Sledan) MarginaliaEx Ioan. Sledano. Lib. 16.that he, the yeare before, had receaued from the sayd his subiectes of Merindoll, a confeßion of their faith and doctrine. MarginaliaThe confession and fayth of the Waldēses in Merindoll.The Articles wherof, were, that they, accordyng to Christian faith, confessed, first God the father, creator of all thinges: The Sonne, the onely Mediatour and Aduocate of mankind. The holy spirite, the comfortour, and instructour of all truth. They confessed also the Churche, whiche they acknowled to bee the felowship of Gods electe, wherof Iesus Christ is the head. The ministers also of the Churche they did allowe, wishyng that such whiche did not their duety, should be remoued.

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And as touchyng Magistrates, they graunted likewise the same to be ordeyned of God, to defende the good, and to punishe the transgressors. And how they owe to him, not loue onely, but also tribute, and custome, and no man herein to be excepted, euen by the example of Christ, who payed tribute hym selfe. &c.

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Likewise of Baptisme, they confessed the same to be a visible, and an outward signe, that representeth to vs the renewyng of the spirite, and mortification of the members.

Furthermore, as touchyng the Lordes Supper, they sayd and confessed the same to be a thankes geuyng, and a memo-riall of the benefite receaued through Christ.

Matrimonye they affirmed to be holy and instituted of God, and to be inhibited to no man.

That good workes are to be obserued and exercised of all men, as holy Scripture teacheth.

That false doctrine, which leadeth men away frō the true worship of God, ought to be eschewed.

Briefly and finally, the order and rule of their fayth, they cōfessed to be the old & new Testamēt, protesting that they beleued all such thynges as are conteined in the Apostolicke Crede: Desiryng moreouer, the king to geue credite to this their declaration of their faith, so that what so euer was informed to him to the contrary, was not true, and that they would well proue, if they might be heard.

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And thus much concernyng the doctrine and confession of the Merindolians out of Sleidan: and also concernyng their descent and ofspring from the Waldenses.

¶ The historye of the persecutions and warres agaynst the people called Waldenses or Waldois in the valleys of Angrongne, Luserne, S. Martin, Perouse, and others, in the countrey of Piemont, from the yeare. 1555. to the yeare of our Lord. 1561. 
Commentary  *  Close

Having dwelt extensively on the fate of the Vaudois in Calabria, and then Provence, it was natural for Foxe to turn to that of the Vaudois of the Hautes-Alpes. The habitation of the region was dictated by the steeply-sided mountain valleys which furnished passes through the Alps from France to Italy. The majority of the Vaudois communities in the later middle ages were concentrated to the east of the passes on the Italian (Piedmont) side, in the middle and upper reaches of the Chisone, and further south in the valleys of the Germanesca, the Pèllice, the Anrogna and the Luserna. The Piedmont was part of the duchy of Savoy although, during the period in question (from 1536 to 1559) it had fallen to a French invasion. The French kingdom set about creating its own institutions for the duchy, especially a Parlement (senior legal tribunal) in Turin. There were no changes, however, to the ecclesiastical jurisdictions. Foxe does not seem to have had a very clear sense of the geography of the region from his account.

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Foxe had not included any of this material in the 1563 edition. His usual repertoire of sources (Pantaleon, Sleidan, Crespin (1560)) for the Vaudois had not alerted him to the graphic recent history of those in the High Alps. By the appearance of the 1570 edition, however, he had access to the main source upon which he would rely for the whole of this long section. The Histoire des persecutions & guerres faites depuis l'an 1555 iusques en l'an 1561. contre le peuple appelé Vaudois, qui est aux valées d'Angrongne, Luserne, saint Martin, la Perouse & autres du païs de Piemont had been published in 1562, probably in Geneva. It was then translated into Italian (see Storia delle persecuzioni e guerre contro il popolo chiamato valdese... ed. E. Balmas and C.A. Theiller (Turin, 1975) and also Latin (Historia memorabilis persquutionum, etc. gallice primum in lucem edita - the translation being undertaken by Christophe Richard 'de Bourges'). The preface to the original French edition made it clear that the work was based on the narratives which had become current in Geneva through its growing contacts with the area, especially after the beginning of its missionary activity there in c.1555. The anonymous author emphasised that he had wanted to provide an unvarnished truth, replicating the accounts as they had been provided and without too much authorial intervention: 'Cette histoire a esté escrite en langage le plus simple qu'on a peu. Elle a esté recueillie par gens craignans Dieu, qui n'ont point amplifié les matières [….] On s'est contenté de vous reciter fidelement et en toute simplicité comment les choses se sont passées'. Foxe's narrative retains some of that quality.

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Mark Greengrass
University of Sheffield

PersecutersMartyrs.The Causes.

MarginaliaPersecution in the valley of Angrongne, Luserne, S. Martin, Perouse, in Piedmont.The Parla-
ment of
The Presi-
dent of S.
Monke, an
de la Tri-
The gen-
tlemen of
the Val-
The Col-
laterall of
The Col-
laterall de
The Duke
of Sauoy.
Monkes of
and many
moe, ene-
mies of
God and
of Sathan.

The Mar
tyrs of the
valley of
The Mar
tyrs of the
valley of
The Mar
tyrs of S.
The Mar
tyrs of Pe-
rouse, &
In the coū
trey of Pie
From the
yeare 1555
vnto 1561.

TO procede now further in
the persecution of these
Waldois, or Waldenses, you
haue heard hetherto, first how
they diuidyng them selues in-
to diuers coūtreys, some fled
to Prouince, and to Tolouse, of
whom sufficiēt hath ben sayd.
Some went to Piedmont, and
þe valley of Angrongne, of whō
it foloweth nowe to entreate
God wyllyng. Thus these
good men by long persecutiō,
beyng driuen from place to
place, were greuouslye in
all places afflicted, but yet
could neuer bee vtterly de-
stroyed, nor yet compelled to
yelde to the superstitious and
false religion of the Church of
Rome: but euer absteined frō
their corruption and Idola-
trie, as much as was possible,
and gaue them selues to the
worde of God, as a rule both
truly to serue him, and to di-
rect their lyues accordingly.
MarginaliaThe godly life of the Waldois.They had many bookes of
the old and newe Testament
translated into their lāguage.
Their Ministers instructed
them secretly, to auoyde the fu
ry of their enemyes, whiche
could not abyde the light: al-
beit they did not instructe thē
with such puritie as was re-
quisite. They liued in great
simplicitie, and with the sweat
of their browes. They were
quyet and peaceable among
their neighbours, absteynyng
from blasphemy, and propha-
nyng of the name of God, by
othes, & such other impietie:
frō leaud games, daūcyng, fil-
thy songes and other vices &
dissolute life, and conformed
their lyfe wholy to the rule of
Gods word. Their principall
care was alwayes that God
might be rightly serued & his
worde truly preached: In so

much, þt in our time, whē it pleased God to set forth the
light of his Gospell more clearely, they neuer spared
any thyng, to establishe the true and pure ministery of
the word of God & his Sacramentes. Which was the
cause þt Sathā with his ministers, did so persecute thē

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