Critical Apparatus for this Page
Commentary on the Text
Names and Places on this Page
Unavailable for this Edition
209 [209]

King Ethelstane. Britanus. K. Ethelstane. Edwyne. Actes and Monum. of the Church.

to Yorke, and so into the church of S. Iohn of Beuerly, to redeme his knife, which before he had left there for a pledge, at his going forth. MarginaliaA fabulous miracle falsely reported of K. Athelstane.In the which place he praying to God and to S. Iohn of Beuerley, that he myght leaue there some remembraunce, wherby they that cam after might know, that the Scots by right shuld be subdued to the English men: smote wyth swoord (they say) vpon a great hard stone standing neare about the castel of Dunbar, that with the stroke thereof the stone was cut a large elne deep (with a lye no lesse depe also, then was þe stroke in the stone). But of this poetical or fabulous story, albeit Polychronicon, Fabian, Iornalensis, and other mo constantly accord in the same: yet in Guliel, and Henricus, no mention is made at all. But peraduenture he that was the inuentor fyrst of thys tale of the stone, was disposed to lie for the whetstone: Wherfore in my mynde he is worthy to haue it.

[Back to Top]

 

Commentary  *  Close

Foxe is prepare to admit that many of his sources narrate the story of how Bristanus becomes Bishop of Wonchester and hears souls praying 'amen'. He had found it in Brompton's Chronicle (J. Brompton, 'Chronicon Johannis Brompton Abbatis Jornalensis.' In Historiæ Anglicanæ Scriptores X. [....], ed. by Roger Twysden [London, 1652], p. 838); 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 2, ch. 24; and the Polychronicon (J. R. Lumby, ed. Polychronicon Ranulphi Higden monachi Cestrensis: together with the English translations of John Trevisa and of an unknown writer of the fifteenth century [London: Rolls Series, 1879], book 6, ch. 6). It had been mentioned in Bale's Catalogus (p. 127) but Foxe gives more detail, if only to denounce the story as a 'fable'.

[Back to Top]
Of like truth and credite semeth also to be this that followeth about the same yeare & time, vnder the raign of king Ethelstane, being the. viij. yeare of his raygne, of one MarginaliaBristanus bishop.
An. 933.
Bristanus bishop of Winchester, who succeeded Frithstanus in the same sea, and gouerned that bishopricke. iiij. yeares. This Bristanus being a deuout bishop in praier and contemplation: vsed much among his solitary walkes, to frequent late the churchyard, praying for the soules there, and all Christē soules departed. MarginaliaA ridiculous miracle forged vpon Bristanus bishop of Winchester.Vpon a time, the sayd Bristanus after hys wonted maner proceeding in hys deuotions, when hee had done, came to requiescant in pace. Wherunto, sodainly a great multitude of soules answering together with one voice, said Amen. Of this miracle, albeit I haue not much to say (hasting to other matters) yet this questiō would I aske of some indifferent papist, which were not wilful, but of ignoraunce deceiued: MarginaliaA myracle of soules answering, Amen.if this multitude, which here aunswered Amen, were the soules of thē buried in þe church yard or not: If ye, thē how wer thei in purgatory, what time they were heard in that place aunswering Amen? Except we should thinke that Purgatorye was then in that churchyard at Winchester, where the soules were herd then so many answering and praying Amen. And yet this story is testified by the accord of writers of that time, Guliel. Polychron. Houedenus, Iornalensis, & other mo. Much like miracles and prophecies also we rede of Elphegus, which succeded him: but because we haste to other thynges, let these fables passe.

[Back to Top]

Ye heard a litle before, howe king Ethelstane after the death of Sithericus king of Northumberland, ceazed that land or prouince into hys owne hand, & put outo hys sonne Alanus: who after flyeng into Scotland, maryed the daughter of Constantine kyng of Scots. By whose styrryng and exhortation, he gathered a company of Danes, Scots, and other, and entered the mouth of Humber with a strong nauy of. 615. ships.

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaA sore battayle fought at Brimford.Wherof king Ethelstane with hys brother Edmūd hauing knowledge: prepared hys armye, and at length with him and hys people at a place called Brimābruch or Brimford: (where he fighting wyth them from morning to euen, after a terrible slaughter on both sides, as the lyke hath not bene sene lightlye in Englande) had at length the victorye. In which battayle were slayne fyue smal & vnder kynges, with Constantine kyng of Scots: and. xij. Dukes, with the more part of al the straungers which at that time they gathered to them. Here also our writers put in an other miracle in this battayle: MarginaliaAn other vnlike miracle of K. Athelstanes sworde.howe king Ethelstanes sword miraculousli fel into his sheath through the prayer of MarginaliaOdo Archbishop of CantOdo, then Archbishop of Cant.

[Back to Top]

Concerning this battayle, I finde in a certaine written Chronicle these verses: which because they shoulde not be lost, I thought not vnworthy here of rehearsall.

Transierat quinos, & tres, et quatuor annos,
Iure regens ciues, subigens virtute tyrannos:
Cum redit illa Lues Europæ noxia labes.

Iam cubat in terris fera barbaries Aquilonis,
Et iacet in campis pelago pirata relicto,
Illicitas toruasq; minas

Analanus anhelans,
MarginaliaAnalantBacchanti furiæ, Scotorum rege volente,
Commodat assensum Borealis terræ serenum.
Et iam grande tument, iam terrent aera verbis,
Cedunt indigenæ, cedit plaga tota superbis.
Nam quia rex noster fidens alacrisq; iuuenta,
Emeritus pridem detriuerat ocia lenta,
Illi continuis fœdabant omnia prædis,
Vrgentes miseros iniectis ignibus agros.
Marcuerant totis viridantia gramina campis,
Aegra seges votum deluserat agricolarum.
Tanta fuit peditum, tam barbara vis equitantum,
Innumerabilium, concursus quadrupedantum.
Exciuit tandem famæ querimonia regem,
Ne se cauterio tali pateretur inuri.
Quod sua barbaricæ cessissent arma secuir,
Nec mora, victrices ducentia signa cohortes,
Explicat inuentum vexilla ferocia centrum,
Iuncta virum virtus, decies bis milia quina,
Ad stadium belli comitantur præuia signa.
Hicq; ciet strepitus armatorum legiones.
Terruit insignis venientum fama latrones.
Vt posita proprias præda repetant regiones.
At vulgus reliquum miseranda strage peremptum,
Infecit bibulas tetris nidoribus auras.
Fugit Analasus de tot modo millibus vnus. &c.
 

Commentary  *  Close

Foxe had gained most of his details on the Battle of Brimanbruch from Roger Howden's Chronicle (W. Stubbs, ed. Chronica magistri Rogeri de Houdene 4 vols, Rolls Series (London, 1868), 6, p. 54) or from Fabyan's Chronicle (R. Fabyan, The Chronicle of Fabian [London, 1559], book 6, ch. 184) or Matthew Paris' Flores (H. R. Luard, ed. Matthew Paris. Flores Historiarum 3 vols [London: Rolls Series, 1890], book 6, ch. 185). This verse, however, he took from 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], mbook 2, ch. 135).

[Back to Top]

[Back to Top]

After this victory thus obtayned of the Danes and Scots: King Ethelstan also subdued (or at least quieted) the North britains. 

Commentary  *  Close

Foxe's brief evocation of how Ethelstan gained control of North and South Britain came from Fabian's Chronicle (R. Fabyan, The Chronicle of Fabian [London, 1559], book 6, ch. 185).

MarginaliaThe north Britaines brought tribute.Whom he conuenting together at Herford (or there about) forced thē to graunt vnto hym, as a yearely tribute xx. pounde of gold: three hundreth pound of siluer: and of heades of nete. xxv. hundreth: wt haukes and dogs, to a certayne number. This done, he went to Exceter, MarginaliaThe South Britaines subdued.and there likewyse subduing the south Britaines, about Exceter and Cornwalle: repayred the walles of Exceter with sufficient strēgth, & so returned.

[Back to Top]

 

Commentary  *  Close

Foxe's account of the drowning of Ethelstan's brother Edwin comes from Matthew Paris' Flores (H. R. Luard, ed. Matthew Paris. Flores Historiarum. 3 vols. (London: Rolls Series, 1890), 1, pp. 493-4, it not being mentioned in the other sources that he used to construct this section.

Among these victorious and noble actes of this king: One blot there is of hym written and noted, wherin he is as much worthy to be reprehended, as in the other before to be commended (that is) the innocent death & murther of his brother Edwine. The occasion thereof was this. King Edward aforenamed their father, in þe tyme of hys youth, cōming by a certayne village or grange, where he had bene noursed and brought vp of a chylde: thought of curtesy to go see how his nurse did. Where he entreing into the house, espied a certayne yong damsell bewtyfull and right seemelye attyred, Egwina by name. This Egwina before being a poore mans daughter, had a vision by night, that of her body sprang suche a bright light of the moone, that the bryghtnes thereof gaue light to the realme of England. By reasō wherof, she was taken into the foresayde house, and daynetelye brought vp in steede of their own daughter: for hope of some commoditie to ensue therby, as afterward it cam to passe. MarginaliaK. Ethelstane seketh the death of his owne brother.For king Edward (as it is declared) comming into the house, and rauished with the beuty of the mayden: begat of her the same night this Ethelstane. Wherfore the sayd Ethelstane beyng thus basely borne of Egwina, the first wyfe to Edwarde (as is sayde) before he was marryed to her: and fearyng his next brother Egwyne whych was rightly borne (especiallye being styrred thereunto through the sinister sugiestion of his butler) did cast such displeasure to the foresayd Egwin hys brother, that beyng yet but yong, that (notwithstāding his innocent submission and purgation made against hys accusers) he caused hym to bee set in an olde rotten boate in the broade sea (onelye with one Esquier wyth hym) without anye tackling or other prouision to the same. Where the yong & tender prince being dismaid

[Back to Top]
wyth
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