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1583 [1583]

K. Edvvard. 6. The troubles and death of the Duke of Somerset.

Marginalia1552.
The blinde and miserable crueltie of the Portugales against a poore Englishe man.
tounges tormented this innocent Martyr, when they could do no more with their handes: yea for very madnes they would scarce tary vntill he were burned, but euery man as then could catch any peece of hym halfe burned, threw it into the Sea.

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MarginaliaA Popeholy fast for pacifying the wrath of theyr God of the Altar.This Sacrifice thus ended, the Clergy, to pacifie Gods wrath which they feared, for the violatyng of theyr altar appoynted a solemne fast of certein dayes, for penance to purge that fact, 

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Again Foxe is surprisingly correct. The archbishop of Lisbon had, in the aftermath of Gardiner's sacrilege, ordered that fasting and a penitential procession be held in every church in the diocese and also decreed forty days indulgence to all who confessed their sins at this time (I. da Rosa Pereira, 'O Desacato na Capela Real em 1552 e o processo do calvinista inglês peranto Ordinário de Lisboa', Annais da Academia Portuguesa da Historia 29 (1984), pp. 619-20).

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which fact rather should haue taught them to purge them selues & to put away their filthy Idolatry, and much rather they should haue fasted and repented for that their extreme cruelty they had shewed vnto the liuely member of Christ.

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Albeit this death of William Gardiner seemeth to haue profited very many of them litle or nothyng: yet for all that, there are some (as I haue heard diuers reporte) out of whose myndes the remembraunce of this constaunt Martyr can neuer be pulled, and is so freshe yet amongest them, as if it were now lately done: and finally, albeit it bee a good while since he was put to death, yet the memory of his death, as frutefull seede, hath taken such roote in some, that euen vnto this present day, he is a liuely and diligent preachyng vnto them, agaynst superstition and Idolatry vsed in theyr Churches. Ex testimonio N. Fildi, Pendigrace, & aliorum, qui rei gestæ interfuerunt.

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¶ The tragicall history of the worthy Lord Edward Duke of Somerset, Lord Protector, with the whole cause of his troubles and handlyng.

Marginalia1552.
The story of the Lord Protector Duke of Somerset.
AFter so many troublous matters 

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:Edward Seymour

Foxe's first narrative of Somerset's downfall was in Rerum, pp.210-14. This contained the account of the end of Thomas Seymour and the enigmatic record of Somerset's downfall along with the detailed account of his execution, which were all reprinted in 1563. The Rerum account also contained praise of Somerset's virtues which were elaborated on in subsequent editions. But it concluded with passages that would never be reprinted: a scathing assessment of the duke of Northumberland's career and downfall. Foxe not only blamed Northumberland for Somerset's execution, but he also intimated that Northumberland had poisoned Edward VI . These passages were undoubtedly deleted because of the swift rise in power and favour of Northumberland's sons Ambrose and Robert Dudley in the early years of Elizabeth's reign.

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Little was added to the 1563 narrative except for an extended comparison of the duke of Somerset with Humphrey duke of Gloucester, the uncle of Henry VI. Both men were regents for under-age monarchs and both were named Lord Protector. Both men were, at least in Foxe's view, upright men undone by the scheming machinations of their clerical opponents. In the 1570 edition, Foxe added a number of documents. Some of these came from a letter book of John Russell, the first earl of Bedford. A proclamation may have been obtained from the printer Richard Grafton. Other sources are harder to identify. Someone supplied Foxe with copies of two letters to the Lord Mayor and Common Council of London, one from Edward VI, the other from members of the Privy Council. This source also supplied Foxe with an account of deliberations in the Common Council in October 1549. And Foxe also obtained one of the many copies of the articles charged against Somerset in 1549.Foxe's account of Somerset helped lay the foundation for the longstanding historiographical tradition of Somerset as the 'good Duke', a man devoted to the reformation of Church and State. So great was Foxe's admiration of Somerset that he had to add a disclaimer to the 1570 edition, denying that he had intended to compare Somerset with Christ. But if Foxe had a hero, most unusually, this account did not have a villain. Even Foxe could not blame Stephen Gardiner for an execution performed by Edward VI's government. Foxe was not about to blame the godly Edward VI for Somerset's death. And, as noted above, Foxe was prevented by the power of the Dudley brothers from blaming their father, the duke of Northumberland, for Somerset's death. As a result, Foxe's contain focuses on Somerset's good death on the scaffold, but says little about how he came to be there.

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Thomas S. Freeman

in this hystory aforepassed, commyng nowe to the lamentable and tragicall narration of the Lord Edward Duke of Someset, the kynges Vncle, and Protector of his person and of his Realme, I could not well enter into the story of hym, without some premonition first to all noble personages, of what honor or callyng so euer within this Realme, by way of hystory briefly to admonishe them, no man to plante any truste or assurance vpon the brickle pillors of worldly prosperitie, how hygh so euer it seemeth, consideryng that there is no state so hygh but it hath his ruine, no wisedome so circumspect, but it may be circumuēted, no vertue so perfect, but it may bee enuyed, neyther any mans trade so simple, but it may be begiled. MarginaliaWorldly prosperitie not to be trusted vnto.And therefore seeing the condition of mortall thinges is so, that no man can alwayes stand in this so ruinous a world: the surest way is euery man to chuse hys standing so, that his fall may be the easier. But because my purpose is (as I haue sayd in the stories before) to abridge and make short, I wil here stay, referring to the secrete consideration of that which remayneth further by me in this matter to be vttered: 
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This is an interesting (and rare) admission from Foxe that he knows more than he is saying. As has been previously noted, the standing of the duke of Northumberland (apart from other circumstances) would have induced Foxe to caution. In addition, however, Foxe had the reputation of William Cecil, who left Somerset's 'sinking ship' to become Northumberland's secretary, to consider, besides that of Edward VI, whom he extolled as a model of mercy and piety.

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and so falling in to the storye of the Lorde Protectour Duke of Somerset, we wyll (the Lord wylling) declare in order the originall and whole occasion of hys trouble and decay euen from the beginning.

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Kyng Edward, after that both hys father and mother were dead, had three Vncles left hym by hys mothers side, Edward, Thomas, and Henry Semer, of the which two first, one was made Protectour of the Realme, and the other hygh Admirall of þe same. MarginaliaConcorde maketh brethren strong.These two brethren, so long as they were knit and ioyned together in amitie and concorde, preserued both them selues, the kyng theyr Nephew, and the whole common wealth from the violence and feare of all daunger. But þe subtill olde Serpent 

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I.e., Satan. See Genesis 3.

alwayes enuying mans felicitie, through sclaunderous tounges sought to sow matter, first of discord betwene them, then of suspition, and last of all, extreme hatred: In so much that the Protector suffered hys brother being accused (whether truly or falsely the Lord knoweth) to bee cōdemned, and to lose his head. Wherby it came to passe (whether by the correction of Gods iudgemēt vpō him, 
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This suggestion that Somerset's death was a providential punishment for the execution of his brother, Thomas Seymour, was added in the 1570 edition (p.1545).

or whether that he after þe death of hys brother, & the King being yet but yong and tender of age, was the lesse able to shift forhimself) that not long after he was ouermatched and ouerthrowen of his enemies, & so cast into þe Tower, and at last lost his head also, to the great lamentation of many good men, as in the sequele of this hystory foloweth to be declared.

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MarginaliaSyr Thomas Semar Lord Admirall.For the better introduction of which historye, fyrst to begyn with the foresayd brother of the Lorde Protector, namely Sir Thomas Semer, hygh Admirall of England, and the Kinges Vncle, here is to bee vnderstand that he had maryed Queene Katherine late wife to K. Henry. VIII. of whō ye heard before pag. 1422. MarginaliaDispleasure betwene the Queene and the Duches of Somerset.Now it happened (vpō what occasiō I knowe not) that there fell a displeasure betwixt þe sayd Queene and the Duches of Somerset, MarginaliaDiscorde betwene the L. Protectour and the Lord Admirall hys brother.and therupon also in the behalfe of theyr wiues, displeasure and grudge began betwene the brethren. Which albeit thorough perswasion of frendes it was for a time appeased betwene them: yet in short space after (perchaunce not without the priuye setting forward of some which were backfriendes to the Gospell) it brake out agayne, both to the trouble of the Realme, and especially to the confusion of them both, as after it proued. 

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Foxe blamed the falling out between the Seymour brothers as being due to ill-feeling between their wives. It is disingenuous to the point of mendacity. Thomas Seymour had already defied the King and the Privy Council by marrying Henry VIII's widow. He had been involved in a sexual scandal with Princess Elizabeth and he had been plotting an (admittedly ill-conceived) coup. But it is easy to see why Foxe preferred not to air this 'dirty laundry' in public.

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Fyrst to the Lorde Admirals charge it was layde that hee purposed to destroy the young kyng, and translate the crowne vnto him selfe, MarginaliaThe Lord Admirall beheaded at Tower hill.and for the same being attainted and condemned, dyd suffer at Tower hyll the. xx. of March, an. 1549. As many there were which reported that the Duches of Somerset had wrought hys death: so many moe there were, who misdoubting the long standing of the Lord Protector in his state and dignitie, thought and affirmed no lesse, MarginaliaEn quò discordiæ fratres perducit miseros.but that the fall of the one brother would be the ruine of the other: the experiment wherof as it hath often bene proued, so in these also eftsoones it ensued.

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It was not long after the beheading of the Lorde Admirall, but insurrections began to kyndle the same yeare in diuers quarters of the Realme, as is aboue storied. By the occasion whereof the Lord Russel, lord priuy Seale, was sent to the west partes, & Lord Dudley Earle of Warwike MarginaliaIohn Dudley Earle of Warwicke afterward Duke of Northumberland. was sent with an armye into Northfolke: where both he him selfe and a great number of Gentlemen that were wyth him, meeting wyth the Rebels were in great daunger: notwithstanding in the ende the ouerthrowe was geuen to the Rebels, which was about the beginning of September. 1549. After this victorie achiued, in þe next moneth following, which was October, how the matter fell out betwene the Lord Protector and certayne other Lords, I know not, MarginaliaDiscorde betwene the Earle of Warwicke and the L. Protector.but at the returne of the Earle of Warwike aforesaid, great working and consultation there was among the Lordes, assembling them selues in the house of maister Yorke, and at Baynardes Castell, and in the Lord Maiors house at London, against the Lord Protector remayning then with the kyng at Hampton Court. Of the which busines and trouble thus the Lord Protector writeth in hys letters to the Lord Russell in the West countrey as followeth. 

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By 1570, Foxe had in his possession a letter book which had belonged to John Russell, the first earl of Bedford. (This was almost certainly given to Foxe by Francis Russell, the second earl, a zealous Protestant with close ties to some of Foxe's closest friends). The papers in the letter book survive among the Petyt MSS in the Inner Temple Library (Petyt MS 538/46, fos. 431r-470r) and cover the period June to October 1549. During this time Russell was campaigning in the southwest against the Prayer Book rebels and then summoned back home (with his soldiers) to support Somerset against the other nobles. (In the event, Russell sided with Northumberland - then only the earl of Warwick - against Somerset, a fact which Foxe discreetly does not mention). In fact, Foxe's use of Russell's letters is highly selective. He not only prints only the ones dealing with Somerset's fall, but he edits them in such a way as to place both Somerset and Russell in the best possible light.

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¶ A letter of the Lorde Protector to the Lorde Russell Lorde priuie Seale, concerning troubles working against him.

MarginaliaA letter of the Lord Protector to the Lord priuie Seale.AFter our right 

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This is an accurate reprinting of Inner Temple Library, Petyt MS 538/46, fo. 467r-v except that Foxe omits a postscript in which Somerset denied rumours that he was committed to the Tower and that the Mass was to be restored.

harty commendations to your good Lordship: here hath of late risen such a conspiracie against þe kings Maiestie & vs, as neuer hath bene seene, the which they can not mayntaine, but wyth such vaine letters and false tales surmised, as was neuer ment nor entended on vs. They pretende and say, that we haue sold Bolloigne to the French, and that we do wythholde wages from the souldiers, and other such tales and letters they doe spread abroad (of the which if any one thing were true, we would not wysh to lyue) the matter now being brought to a maruelous extremitie, such as we would neuer haue thought it could haue come vnto, especially of those mē towardes the kings Maiesty & vs, of whō we haue deserued no such thing, but rather much fauour and loue. But the case being as it is, thys is to requyre and praye you to hasten you hether, to the defence

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