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218 [218]

K. Edgar. King Edgar a great maintainer of monkery. His concubines and bastardes.

these viij. kynges, euery person takyng an ore in hys hand to row him vp & downe the riuer to and frō the Church of S. Iohn vnto his palace againe, in token þt he was maister & Lord of so many prouinces: wherupō he is reported to haue sayd in this maner: Tunc deū posse successores suos gloriari se Reges Angliæ esse, cū tanta prærogatiua honorum fruerētur. MarginaliaThe glory of King Edgar reprehended.
Wherein Kinges ought to glory.
But in my minde this kyng had sayd much better, if he had rather sayd with S. Paul: Absit mihi gloriari, nisi in cruce Domini nostri Iesu Christi.

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MarginaliaKing Edgar a superstitious vpholder of Monkery.
Ex Edmere.
And thus haue ye heard hetherto touching þe cōmendation of kyng Edgar, such reportes as þe old Monkish writers thought to bestow vpon him, as vpō the great patrone of their Monkish Religion, who had builded so many Monasteries for them, as were Sondayes in þe yeare (as some say) or, as Edmer reporteth, but. 48.

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MarginaliaVices noted in King Edgar.Now on the other side, 

Commentary  *  Close

Foxe's assessment of King Edgar neatly balanced the positive elements which he had described with this equally weighted enumeration of his 'vices'. These had, at least in general terms, already been identified in Bale's Catalogus (p. 138) but Foxe identifies and elaborates on each of them in turn. His first vice was his support for the new monasticism, which Foxe doubtless could have picked up from Fabian's Chronicle (book 6, ch. 193), William of Malmesbury's Gesta Regum (book 2, ch. 149) or Ranulph Higden's Polychronicon (book 6, ch. 9). He very precisely, however, mentions that the king patroned 48 foundations, a number that he would only have found in one source - Eadmer's Vita Sancti Dunstani (Eadmer, 'Vita Sancti Dunstani.' In Memorials of St Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, ed. by William Stubbs [London: Rolls Series, 1874], p. 138. Manuscripts of Eadmer's works had been collected by Matthew Parker (now Corpus Christ College, Cambridge, MS 371). The likelihood is that John Joscelyn had provided Foxe with this material, or assisted Foxe in accessing it. After highlighting Edgar's cruelty, Foxe picked out the 'danger' attached to his welcoming of foreigners into England - material which came directly from William of Malmesbury's Gesta Regum (J. S. Brewer, and C. T. Martin, 'William of Malmesbury: Gesta Regum.' In Reigistrum Malmesburiense. The Register of Malmesbury Abbey, ed. by J.S. Brewer and C.T. Martin [London: Rolls Series, 1869-1880], p. 240) although it is also mentioned in Fabian's Chronicle as well. The issue would have resonated with Foxe's contemporaries because of the contested status in Elizabethan England of religious migrants. The further vice, the deflowering of maidens, Foxe came from William of Malmesbury's Gesta Regum (book 2, ch. 159). The vice of Edgar's encouragement of blind superstition came, in addition to William of Malmesbury's Gesta Pontificium and Roger of Howden's Chronicle, from Osbern's Vita Sancti Dunstani (chs 35-36) - pp. 113-115 and p. 251 of Memorials of St Dunstan, op. cit. A copy of Osbern's hagiography (BL Arundel MS 16) is heavily annotated by John Joscelyn and our presupposition is currently that he may have been Foxe's source for this component of the narrative.

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what vices in him were reignyng let vs likewise consider, accordyng as wee find in the sayd authors described which moste write to hys aduauncement. Wherof the first vice is noted to bee crueltie, as wel vpon others, as namely vpon a certein Earle beyng of his secret counsaile called Æthelwold. The story is this: Ordgarus Duke of Deuonshyre had a certaine daughter named Elfrida, whose bewtie beyng hyghly commended to the kyng, he beyng inflamed therwith, sent this foresayd Æthelwold (whom he especially trusted) to the partie, to see and to bryng hym word agayne and if her bewtie were such as was reported, willyng him also to make the match betwene them. MarginaliaKing Edgar circumuented by one of his owne counsell.Æthelwold well vewyng the partie and seyng her bewtie nothyng inferiour to her fame, and thinking first to serue his own turne, told al things cōtrary to the king. Wherupon þe king withdrawing his minde otherwise, in the end it came to passe that Æthelwold him selfe did mary her.

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Not long aftert, he kyng vnderstandyng farther by the complayntes and rumors of certeine, how he was preuented and beguyled, set a fayre face vpon the matter before Æthelwold, & merely iestyng with him, told him how he would come & see his wife, and in deede appointed þe day when he would be there. Æthelwold þe husbād perceauing this matter to go hardly with him, made hast to his wife, declaryng to her the commyng of the kyng, and also openyng the whole order of the matter how he had done, desired her of all loue, as she would saue hys lyfe, to disgrace and deforme her selfe with garments and such attyre, as the kyng might take no delityng in her. Elfrida hearyng this, what dyd she but contrary to the request of her husband and promise of a wyfe, agaynst the kynges commyng trymmed her self at the glasse, & decked her in her best array. Whom when þe king beheld, MarginaliaCrueltie in King Edgar noted.he was not so much enamored wt her, as in hatred with her husband who had so deceaued hym. Wherupon the kyng shortly after makyng as though he would go to hunt in the forest of Harwood, sent for Æthelwold to come to him vnder the pretense of huntyng & there ran hym throw and slue hym. After this the bastard sonne of Ethelwold comming to him, the kyng asked him how he lyked that huntyng. Who aunswered agayne: That which pleaseth the kyng, ought not to displease hym. For the death of which Ethelwold, Elfrida afterward builded a Monastery of Nunnes in remission of sinnes.

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MarginaliaGreat detriment happening in this Realme by K. Edgar.An other fault which Malmesbery noteth in hym, was the commyng in of straungers into this land, as Saxons, Flemmynges, and Danes, whō he with great familiaritie retained, to the great detriment of this land, as the foresayd story of Malmesbery recordeth: whose wordes be these. Vnde factū est, vt fama eius per ora omnium volitante, alienigenæ, Saxones, Flandritæ, ipsi etiam Dani huc frequenter annauigarent, Edgaro famares effecti: quorum aduentus magnum prouincialibus detrimētum peperit. Inde meritò iureq; reprehendunt eum literæ. &c. MarginaliaW. Malmesb.That is: wherby it happened, þt diuers straungers outof foreine countreis, allured by his fame, came into the land, as Saxons, Flemmynges, & Danes also all which he retained with great familiaritie. The commyng of which straungers wrought great damage to þe realme, and therfore is Edgar iustly blamed in storyes. &c. wt þe which reprenhension all þe Saxon storyes also do agree.

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MarginaliaThe incontinent lyfe of K. Edgar.
The Concubines and bastardes of K. Edgar.
The thyrd vice to hym obiected was his ncontinēt and lasciuious lust in deflouryng maydes, as first of a Dukes daughter beyng a Nunne and a virgin named Wlfrida or Wlftrude, of which Wlfride was borne MarginaliaEditha base daughter of Wlfrid þe kings lemman..Editha, a bastard daughter of Edgar. Also of an other certeine virgin in the towne of Andeuar, who was priuily conueyed into his bedde by this meanes. The lasciuious kyng commyng to Andeuar, not far from Winchester, & thinkyng to haue his pleasure of a certeine Dukes daughter of whose bewty he heard much speakyng, commaunded the mayd to be brought vnto hym. The mother of the virgin greued to haue her daughter made a concubine, secretly by night conueyed to the kynges bed in stead of her daughter, an other mayden of bewty and fauour not vncommely: Who in the mornyng rysing to her worke, and so beyng knowē of the kyng what she was, had graunted vnto her of the kyng such libertie and fredome, that of a seruaunt she was made mistres both to her master and also to her mistres. Ex Mat. Paris. lib. de Regib.

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An other concubine he had also besides these aforesayd, which was Egelfleda, or Elfleda, called Candida (the white) daughter of Duke Ordmere (as W. Malmesb. recordeth) she beyng also a professed Nunne, MarginaliaEdward borne in bastardie of Elflede, king Edwards concubine.of whom he begot Edward in bastardy. For the which he was enioyned by Dunstane vij. yeares of penaunce. After which penaunce beyng complete, then he tooke to hym a lawful wife (as Malmesb. sayth) Elfritha, the mother of Edmund and Æthelred, or otherwise called Egelred, wherof more shalbe sayd (the Lord willyng) hereafter.

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MarginaliaKing Edgar a great mainteyner of monkery.Ouer and besides all these vices noted and obiected to kyng Edgar in our Monkish storywriters, I also obserue an other no lesse, or rather greater vice then the other afore recited, which was blynd superstition and Idolatrous Monkery brought into the Church of Christ, with the wrongfull expulsing of lawfull maried Priestes out of their houses. Whereupon what inconueniēces ensued after in this Realme, especially in the house of þe Lord, I leaue it to the consideration of them which haue heard of the detestable enormities of these religious votaries. The occasion wherof first & chiefly beganin this Edgar, through the instigation of Dunstane & his felowes, who after they had inueigled the kyng and had wrought hym to their purpose, they caused hym to call a Councell of the Clergy: MarginaliaKing Edgar seduced by Dunstane, and Ethelwold B. of Winch.where it was enacted and decreed, that the Canons of diuers Cathedrall Churches, colleginars, persōs, vicars, priests, & deacons with their wiues and children either should gyue ouer that kynd of lyfe, or els giue roome to Monkes &c. For execution of which decree ij. principall visitors were appointed, Athelwold or Æthelwold B. of Winchester, and Oswald Byshop of Worcester, as is partly before touched, pag. 201. Osbernus in vita Dunstani, Malmesb. De vit pontif. Rog. Houed.

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MarginaliaEx Osberno in vita Dunstani. Fol. 25. Malmesb. Houedano & alijs.And thus much concernyng the history of kyng Edgar, 

Commentary  *  Close

Foxe's narrative of the penance forced upon King Edgar by Dunstan, and his subsequent elaboration upon the errors in the monastic chronicle records ('Monkysh story writers') relating to King Edgar seems to have been based on more extensive research than Foxe undertook for the rest of book 3. The citation from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle could have come from John Brompton's Chronicle (J. Brompton, 'Chronicon Johannis Brompton Abbatis Jornalensis.' In Historiæ Anglicanæ Scriptores X. [....], ed. by Roger Twysden [London, 1652], col. 868, but Foxe's reference is quite precise: 'Ex chronico Saxonico Ecclesiae Wigornensis (i.e. Worcester). This is the Worcester version of the Chronicle, now BL MS Cotton Tib. B IV, fols 3-86; 88-90, which had belonged to Archbishop Matthew Parker (listed as J1.14 in T. Graham, and A. G. Watson, The recovery of the past in early Elizabethan England. Documernts by John Bale and John Joscelyn from the Circle of Matthew Parker, Cambridge Bibliographical Society Monograph, No. 13 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 58). We suppose that access to the manuscript, or information about it, had been furnished by John Joscelyn to Foxe. Other materials for this section come from Osbern's Life of Dunstan (Eadmer, 'Vita Sancti Dunstani.' In Memorials of St Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, ed. by William Stubbs [London: Rolls Series, 1874], ch. 35, pp. 111-112 and William of Malmesbury's Gesta Regum (book 2, chs 157-8). Some indications as to this material may have come from Bale's Catalogus, pp. 131-6 or the English Votaryes, pp. 64-5.

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and of such thyngs as in his tyme happened in the church. Which Edgar after he had entred into þe parts of Britanie to subdue the rebellion of the Welchemē, and there had spoiled the countrey of Glamorgan, and wasted the coūtrey of Ono, MarginaliaThe death of K. Edgar.within x. dayes after, whē he had reigned the space of xvj. yeares, dyed, and was buried at Glasenbury, leauyng after him ij. bastardes, to wytte, Edith and Edward: & one sonne laufully begotten, named Æthelred, or otherwise by corruption called Egelred: For Edmund the elder sonne dyed before his father.

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Ye heard before how king Edgar is noted in all storyes to be an incontinent lyuer in deflouryng maydes

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s.j.
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