Thematic Divisions in Book 4
1. Lanfranc2. Gregory VII3. William the Conqueror4. William Rufus5. Henry I6. Stephen and Henry II7. Frederick Barbarossa8. Thomas Becket9. Becket's letters10. Becket's martyrdom and miracles11. Events of 1172-7812. Waldensians13. Other incidents of Henry II's reign14. First year of Richard I's reign15. Strife at Canterbury16. Richard I and Third Crusade17. William Longchamp18. King John19. Henry III's early reign20. Innocent III and mendicant orders21. Papal oppression of the English Church22. Albigensian Crusade23. Hubert de Burgh24. Gregory IX25. Schism between Greek and Latin Church26. Papal exactions from England27. Louis IX on Crusade28. Frederick II29. Opponents of Papacy30. Robert Grosseteste31. Aphorisms of Robert Grosseteste32. Persecution of Jews33. Papal oppression and Alexander IV34. Conflicts in universities and mendicant orders35. Henry III and the barons36. Battle of Lewes37. Battle of Evesham38. End of baronial war39. Ecclesiastical matters and Edward prince of Wales goes on crusade40. Foreign events in Henry III's reign41. First seven years of Edward I's reign42. War with Scotland43. Philip IV and Boniface VIII44. Events of 1305-745. Cassiodorous's letter46. Pierre de Cugniere47. Death of Edward I48. Piers Gaveston49. The Despensers and the death of Edward II50. John XXIII and Clement VI51. Rebellion in Bury St. Edmunds52. Edward III and Scotland53. Edward III and Philip VI54. Edward III and Archbishop Stratford55. Events of 1341-556. Outbreak of the Hundred Years War57. Anti-papal writers58. Quarrel among mendicants and universities59. Table of the Archbishops of Canterbury
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354 [345]

K. Hēry. 3. Questiōs to the Fryers. A cōplaint against the Romish oppressors.

default, and Christ had fayled in making of his rule: but to put any default or failing in God, is blasphemye. If thou say that Christes rule, and that religion that saynt Iames maketh mencion of, is the perfitest: why holdest thou not than thylke rule wtout more. And why clepest þu the rather of S. Fraunces or saint Dominikes rule or religion, or order, then of Christs rule, or Christs order?

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Frere, canst thou anye defaulte assigne in Christes rule of the gospell (with the which he taught all men sekerly to be saued) if they kept it to her ending? MarginaliaDilemma.If thou say it was to hard, than sayest thou Christ lyed: for he sayd of hys rule: My yoke is soft, an dmy burden light. If you say Christes rule was to light, that may be assigned for no default, for the better it maye bee kept. If thou sayest that there is no defaulte in Christes rule of the Gospell, sithe Christ him selfe saith it is light and easy: what neede was it to patrons of freres, to adde more thereto? & so to make an harder religion to saue freres, then was the religion of Christes Apostles and his disciples helden and weren saued by. MarginaliaFriers would sit in heauen aboue the Apostles.But if they wolden that her freres saten aboue the Apostles in heauē for the harder religion that they kepen here: so woulde they sytten in heauen, aboue Christ himselfe, for the mo & strayt obseruances: than so shoulde they bee better than Christ him selfe, with mischaunce.

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Go now forth and frayne your clarkes, and ground ye you in Gods law, and gyf Iak an answer: and when ye han assoiled me that I haue said sadly in truth, I shal soyle thee of thine order, and saue thee to heauen.

If freres kun not or mow not excuse hem of these questions asked of hem: it seemeth that they be horrible gilty against God, and her euen Christen. For whych giltes and defaultes, it were worthy that the order that they call their order, were foredone. And it is wonder that men sustayn hem or suffer hem liue in such maner. For holy writ biddeth that thou do well to the meeke, & geue not to the wicked: but forbed to geue hem breade, least they be made thereby mightier through you.

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After these digressions, now to returne to the course of our story agayne. As Henry this king succeded K. Iohn his father, so after Innocent þe pope, came Honorius: thē Gregorius, &c. MarginaliaOtho the emperour set vp and deposed agayne by the pope.And after Otho the emperour (whom the pope had once set vp, and after depryued agayne) succeded Friderike the second, as is partly before touched. In the daies of these kyngs, popes and Emperours: it were to long to recite all that happened in England, but especially in Germany, betwixt pope Honorius, Gregorius and Friderike the emperour: the horrible tragedy wherof, were inough to fill a whole booke by it selfe. But yet we meane God willing, somwhat to touch concernyng these ecclesiasticall matters, first begynning wyth thys realme of England.

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After that the kingdom of England had bene subiected by king Iohn, as hath ben said, and made tributary to the pope and the Romishe church: it is incredible how the insatiable auarice and gredines of the Romains did oppresse and wring the commons and all estates and degrees of the realm 

Commentary  *  Close
Papal oppression of the English Church

In this account Foxe stated that after the events of King John's reign England was now a tributary to Rome. This is the crucial point to how Foxe deals with the reign of Henry III. Through heavy taxation, neglect of royal authority and trickery the Pope consistently sends Legates to collect tithes and taxes and to trample on English sovereignty. First, Foxe has published a statement drawn up by the English Bishops explaining why they are unwilling to pay the Pope. Extracted from Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora, ed. Henry Richards Luard, Rolls Series (7 vols., London, 1872-1884), vol. 4, pp. 35, 37-8. The story then follows the events during the visitation of Legate Otto (Otho) to England and how he abused his position at the 1240 council of Bishops in London. This account is told entirely from Matthew Paris' Chronica Majora vol. 3, pp. 97, 102-3, 412, 414-7, 419-441, 473; vol. 4, pp. 6-10, 31-2. The account begins with Otto calming a contention between the Archbishops of York and Canterbury as a means to assert his own authority and act almost as if he were a 'god' overseeing his flock. The account then details the various monies that the Pope required from England to finance his war against the Emperor Frederick II. The Pope also demanded that room be made in England for 300 Romans to be beneficed. This was a result of a promise he had made the Roman Bishops in return for their support of his war. This is an excellent example of how Foxe used Matthew Paris. His translation remains true to the original manuscript Latin, but through the use of marginalia and a sentence of explanation here and there the basic facts are transformed from that of a disgruntled monk unhappy with papal interference into a powerful polemical attack against papal disregard for English authority and their abuse of taxation to fund a war which has nothing to do with England. It is interesting to note that Legate Otto's mission to England was one of church reforms and reasserting the peace after the events of King John's reign. However, Matthew Paris' suspicion of papal interference meant that his account recorded very little of the true nature of the mission. For Foxe this was a much more useful interpretation of the events than was available in other sources.

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The second half of the account describes how the Pope ignored the Bishops pleas at the Council of Lyons (1245) for non-payment of tithes. The complaint, Foxe explains, was in regard to the high burden of taxation from Rome that was impoverishing the realm and acting against England's best interests abroad. In retaliation the Pope threatened to interdict England and Henry III until the king relented. This account is again extracted from Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora, vol. 4, pp. 526-9, 440-444, 558, 560-1, 580. The characterisation of Legate Otto is completed when Foxe extracted a story from Matthew Paris Chronica Majora, vol. 3 pp. 481-5 of how the Legate caused a riot at the University of Oxford.

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Although it is generally believed that Foxe did not have access to the Chronica Majora for the first edition (1563) the evidence in this section proves otherwise. Neither of the series of extracts that can be found in John Bale, Scriptorum Illustrium maioris Brytanniae …Catalogus (Basel, 1557) or Matthias Flacius Illyricius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Basil, 1556) can accommodate the detailed use of Matthew Paris in the first edition of the Acts and Monuments, especially in this section. Admittedly Foxe could have used Roger of Wendover for Legate Otto's arrival to England and the demand for two prebends from every cathedral church (Roger of Wendover, Liber qui dictiur Flores Historiarum, ed. Henry G. Hewlett, Rolls Series (3 vols., London, 1886-9), vol. 2, pp. 289,295-6) but the rest of this account falls outside of that chronicles chronological range. Matthew Paris, Historia Anglorum, ed. Frederick Madden, Rolls Series (3 vols., London, 1866-9), vol. 2, pp. 276-9 also covers those events, however, from that point on all of Foxe's text is more detailed than the summaries contained in the Historia Anglorum. These accounts do however conform perfectly to the Chronica Majora. For instance the Council at London in which Otto settled a dispute between the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and laid out a series of reforming statutes can be found only as short summaries in the Historia Anglorum, vol. 2, pp. 398, 400. Similarly the story of Otto causing a riot at Oxford can only be found in a summarised form in the Historia Anglorum, vol. 2, pp. 407-8. Both accounts are to be found in full in the Chronica Majora.

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A similar picture emerges from analysis of the account of King John (1563, fos. 71v-69v) by Thomas S. Freeman, 'John Bale's Book of Martyrs?: The Account of King John in Acts and Monuments', Reformation, vol. 3 (1998), pp. 175-223), in which it is shown that not all of the references to Matthew Paris in that account can be found elsewhere. It would appear, therefore, that a copy, section of a copy or detailed notes was obtained to compile the accounts of King John and Henry III.

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It is also interesting to note that Foxe has largely left the text from the first edition intact, when he appears to have had only limited access to Matthew Paris. For the second edition, where he had access to Matthew Parker's copies of the Chronica Majora (CCCC MS 16 and 26), Foxe produced an entirely new account which added to and repeated much of what is stated here.

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Matthew Phillpott
University of Sheffield

, especially beneficed mē & such as had any thing of the church. Marginalia1230.Who, what for their domestical charges wtin þe realm, what for þe pope, what for the Legates, what for contributyng to the holy land, what for relaxations, and other subtile sleights to get away their mony: were brought into such slauery, captiuity, & penurye, that wheras the king neither durste nor might remedy their exclamations by himselfe: yet notwithstanding by his aduise, Symon Mountfort, and the Erle of Leicester and other noble mē (not forgetting what great greuances and distresses the realm was brought into by the Romaines) thought to worke some way, how to bridle and restraine the insatiable rauening of these gredye wolues. Wherfore they deuised their letter, geuīg strait commaundement to the religious men, and to suche ashad their churches to ferme: that henceforth they should not answer the Romaines of fuch fermes and rentes any more, but should pay the said fermes or rentes vnto their owne proctors appointed for the same purpose, as by their writings sent abrode to bishops or chapters, & other ecclesiastical houses, may appeare in this forme & effect as followeth.

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MarginaliaA cōplaynt of the nobles of Englād against the couetousnes of Rome.TO such and such a bishop, and such a chapter: al the vniuersitie and company of them, that had rather dye then to be confounded of the Romaines, wisheth health. How the Romains and their legates haue hetherto behaued themselues towarde you, and other ecclesiasticall persons of this realme of England, it is not vnknowne to your discretions, in disposing and geuing away the benefices of the realme after theyr owne lust, to the intollerable preiudice and greuaunce both of you and all other Englishmē. For where as þe collatiō of benefices should & do properly belōg to you & other your fellow bishops (ecclesiasticall persons) they, thundryng against you the sentēce of excōmunicatiō, that you should not bestow thē vpon any person of this realme, vntill in euery diocesse & cathedral church within the realme, fiue Romaines (such as the pope shal name) be prouided for, to the value of euery man an hundred poūdes by yere. Besides these, many other greuaunces the sayd Romanists do inflicte and inferre, both to the Laitye and Nobles of the realme, for the patronages and almoise bestowed by them & by their auncestours for the sustentatiō of the poore of the realm, and also to the cleargye and ecclesiasticall persons of the realme, touching their liuings and benefices. And yet the sayd Romanistes not contented wyth the premisses, doe also take from the cleargye of this realme, the benefices which they haue, to bestow them vpon men of their own countrey, &c.

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Wherfore, we considering the rigorous austeritie of these foresayd Romanistes, whiche once commyng in as straungers hither now take vpon thē not onely to iudge but also to cōdemne vs, laying vpon vs vnportable burdens, wherunto they wil not put to one of theyr own fingers to moue: laying therfore our heades together vpon a generall and full aduise had among our selues concernyng the same, haue thought good (although verye late) to resyst and wythstand them: rather, then to be subiect to theyr intollerable oppressions, and greater slauery more hereafter to be looked for. For the which cause, we straitly charge and commaund you, as your frends (goyng about to deliuer you, the church, the kyng, and the kingdō from that miserable yoke of seruitude) that you do not intermedle or take any part, concerning such exactions or rentes to be required or geuen to the sayd Romains. Lettyng you to vnderstande for truthe, that in case you shall (which God forbidde) be found culpable herein: not onely your goodes and possessions shall be in danger of burnyng, but also in your persons shal incurre the same perill and punishment, as shall the sayd romish oppressors themselues.Thus fare ye well.

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MarginaliaExample teaching neuer to take parte agaynst their king with forein power.☞ Thus much I thought here to inserte and notify concernyng this matter, for that not onely the greedye & auaritious gredines of the Romishe church mighte the more euidently vnto all English men appeare: but that they may learne by thys example, how worthy they bee so to be serued and plagued wyth theyr owne rod, which before woulde take no parte with their naturall kyng, agaynst forreyne power, of whom now they are scourged.

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To make the story more playne. In the raygne of this Henry the third (who succedyng as is sayd, after K. Iohn his father & had raigned, lvi. yeares) came diuers Legates from Rome to England: MarginaliaCardinal Otho Legate.Fyrst Cardinall Otho sent frō the pope wt letters to þe kyng, lyke as other letters also wer sēt to other places for exactiōs of mony.

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The kyng opening the letters and perceyuyng the contentes: aunswered that he alone could say nothing in the matter, which concerned all the clergy and commōs of the whole realme. Not long after, a councell was called at Westminster, where the letters beyng opened the forme was this. MarginaliaThe pope requyreth two prebendships in euery cathedrall church.Petimus in primis ab omnibus ecclesijs cathedralibus duas nobis pæbendas exhiberi, vnam de portione episcopi, & alterā de capitulo. Et similiter de Cœ nobijs vbi diuersæ sunt portiones Abbatis & conuentus: a conuentibus quantum pertinet, ad vnum monachū æquali

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