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1028 [1027]

K. Hen. 8. The storye of Iohn Fryth. Clarke, Sumner, Bayly, Goodman, Martyrs.
¶ The Storie, examination, death, and Mardome of Ihon Fryth. 
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John Frith

Foxe's treatment of the John Frith martyrdom provided him with the material (Frith's own writings, and those of his critics) to provide an exposition of protestant doctrines on purgatory and transubstantiation, supported by relevant patristic material, within the overall context of a narrative that emphasised his valiant steadfastness, intellectually and physically. The story was somewhat elaborated in the 1570 editions and subsequently, with Frith's beliefs examined in greater detail and the letter 'to his friends' printed in extenso. The story of the martyrdom of Andrew Huet ('Hewet'), who accompanied Frith to the scaffold, provided much less possibility for doctrinal elaboration, but he served to make the point that Frith's doctrines and steadfastness had been persuasive.

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Andrew ChibiUniversity of Leicester

Marginalia1533.
Iohn Frith Martyr.
AMongest al other chaunces lamentable, there hath bene none a great tyme whiche seemed vnto me more greeuous, then the lamentable death and cruell handlyng of Iohn Frith, so learned and excellent a young man, who had so profited in al kinde of learnyng and knowledge, that scarsely there was his equal amongest al his companions, and besides withal had such a godlynes of life ioyned with his doctrine, that it was hard to iudge, in whether of them he was more commendable, being greatly prayse woorthy in them both. But as touching his doctrine, by the grace of Christ, we wyl speake hereafter. Of the great godlynes which was in him, this may serue for experiment sufficiēt, for that notwithstanding his other manyfold and singular gyftes & ornaments of & þe mynd in hym most pregnāt, wherwithal he might haue opened an easie way vnto honor and dignitie, notwithstanding he chose rather wholy to consecrate hym selfe vnto the Church of Christ, excellently shewing forth & practising in hymself the precept so highly cēmended of the Philosophers, touching the life of man, which life they say is geuen vnto vs in such sort, that how much better & þe man is, so much the lesse he should liue vnto hym self, but vnto other, seruyng for the cōmon vtilitie, and that we shoulde thinke a great part of our byrth to be due vnto our parentes, a greater part vnto our countrey, & the greatest part of al to be bestowed vpon the Churche, if we wyl be counted good men. MarginaliaIohn Fryth first student in Cambrige. First of al he began his study at Cambridge. 

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Foxe omits the 1563 reference to Mary Hall.

In whō nature had planted being but a child, marueilous instinctions & loue vnto learning, whereunto he was addict. He had also a wonderful promptnes of wit, & a ready capacitie to receaue and vnderstand any thing, in so much that he seemed not to be sent vnto learnyng, but also borne for the same purpose: MarginaliaCommendation of Frythes learning. neither was there any diligence wanting in hym equall vnto that towardnes, or worthy of his disposition. Wherby it came to passe, that he was not only a louer of learnyng but also became an exquisite learned man. In the which exercise, when he had diligently laboured certaine yeares, not without great profite both of Latine and Greke, at the last he fel into knowledge and acquaintance with William Tyndall, through whose instructions, he first receiued into his hart the seede of the Gospell and sincere godlynes.

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MarginaliaThe College in Oxforde of Frydeswide, now called Christes Colledge. At that time Tho. Wolsey Cardinal of Yorke, prepared to build a College in Oxford, marueilous sumptuous, whiche had the name and title of Frideswide, 

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This refers to the Abbey of St Frideswide which, along with Wallingford Priory, was suppressed in 1525 to provide the necessary building funds. It is interesting to note that the college was subsequently suppressed in 1531 following the fall from grace of Wolsey and re-founded in 1532 as King Henry VIII's College and re-founded again in 1546 as Christ Church (the seat of the new diocese of Oxford).

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but now named Christes churche, not so much (as it is thought) for þe loue & zeale that he bare vnto learning, as for an ambitious desire of glory & renoume, & to leaue a perpetual name vnto þe posteritie. But that building, he being cut of by the stroke of death (for he was sent for vnto þe king, accused vpō certaine crimes, and in the waye by immoderate purgations killed him selfe) leaft partly begun, partly halfe ended & vnperfect, and nothing els saue only the kitchin was fully finished. Wherupon Rodulphus Gualterus a learned man 
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No mention of this man appears in the 1563 edition. He was Rodulphus Gualterus of Zürich, who published (among other things) the first translation of the Koran into German.

, being then in Oxford, and beholding the College, said these words in Latine: MarginaliaThe saying of Rodulphus Gualterus touching the Cardinals Coledge.Egregium opus Cardinalis iste instituit collegū, & absoluit popinam. Howe large and ample those buildings should haue bene, what sumptuous cost shoulde haue bene bestowed vpō þe same, may easily be perceiued by that whiche is already builded, as þe kitchin, the hal, & certaine chambers, where as there is such curious grauing & workmanshp of stonecutters, that all things on euery side did glytter for the excellēcie of þe workmāship, for the fines of the matter, with þe gilt antikes, þe embossinges, in so much that if al the rest had ben finished to that determinate ende as it was begunne, it might wel haue excelled not onely all Colleges of studentes, but also palaces of Princes. This ambitious Cardinall gathered together into that College, what soeuer excellent thing there was in þe whole realme, either vestments, vessels or other ornaments, beside prouision of al kind of precious things. Besides that, he also appoynted vnto that company all such men as were found to excel in any kind of learnyng & knowledge. Whose names to recite al in order, would be too long. 
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The text is similar to the 1563 edition, except here (below) Foxe lists more names.

The chiefe of them which were called from Cambridge were these.

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M. Clarke, Maister of art, of xxxiiij. yeares of age.
M. Fryer, afterwarde Doctor of Phisicke, after that a
strong papist.
M. Sumner, maister of Art.
M. Harman, maister of Art and after felow of Eaton
College, after that a papist.
M. Bettes, maister of Art, a good man and zelous, and
so remayned.
M. Coxe, maister of Arte, who conueyd hym selfe
away toward the North, and after was Scholemai-
ster of Eaton, & then Chaplaine to D. Goodrich
Bishop of Ely, and by hym preferred to K. Hen-
rie, and nowe Bishop of Ely.
Iohn Frith, Bacheler of Art.
Bayly, Bacheler of Art.
Goodman, who being sicke in the prison with the
other, was had out, and dyed in the towne.
Drumme, who afterwardes fell away, and forsooke
the truth.
Thomas Lawney, Chapleine of the house, prisoner
with Iohn Frith.

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To these ioyne also Tauerner of Boston, the good Musician, 

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The identifiable names are John Clerke (senior canon), Henry Sumner, Godfrey Harman, William Bettes, Richard Cox, John Fryer, William Baily, John Frith, Michael Drumm, John Radley, Thomas Lawney and John Taverner. See Brian Raynor, John Frith: Scholar and Martyr (Peterborough, 2000), p.60].

MarginaliaThis Tauerner repented hym very much that he had made songes to popishe ditties in the tyme of his blindnes. besides many other called also out of other places most piked young men of graue Iudgement and sharpe wittes, who conferring together vppon the abuses of religion, beyng at that tyme crept into the Churche 
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This refers to the scandal of 1528, in which a number of indexed books were found to be in circulation at the college. See Eric Ives, The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn (Oxford, 2004), p.267.

, were therfore accused of heresie vnto the Cardinal, and cast into a prison, within a deepe caue vnder the ground, of the same College, where their salt fishe was layde, so that through the filthy stinche thereof, they were al infected, and certaine of them takyng their death in the same prison, shortly vpō the same being taken out of the prison into their chambers, there deceassed.

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MarginaliaPersecuters. The troublers and examiners of these good men were these, Doct. London, Doct. Higdon, Deane of the same College, and Doct. Cottesford, Commissary. 

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These men are Dr John London, warden of New College (c.1526), Dr John Higden, president of Magdalen College (1516-25) and dean of Cardinal College, and Dr Thomas Cottesford, Commissary.

MarginaliaM. Clarke, M. Sūner, Syr Baily, killed through imprisonment. Maister Clarke, maister Sumner, and Syr Bayly eating nothing but salt fishe from February, to the middest of August, dyed all three together within the compasse of one weeke. 

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Clarke died in the custody of Bishop Longland of Lincoln.

Master Bettes a wittye man, hauyng no bookes founde in hys Chamber, throughe entreatie and suretye gote out of prison, and so remaynyng a space in the College, at last slipt away to Cambrige, and after was Chapleine to Queene Anne, and in great fauour with her. 

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William Betts was chaplain to Anne Boleyn - see Eric Ives, The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn (Oxford, 2004), p.266.

Tauerner, although he was accused and suspected for hyding of Clarkes bookes vnder the bordes in his schole, yet the Cardinal for his musicke excused hym, saying, that he was but a Musician and so he escaped. 

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As noted in the 1563 edition commentary, Taverner was recruited (as early as 1524 but declined the offer until 1526) and became the 'Informator Choristarum' (or director of music and instructor of the choristers) - a prestigious position. He is now recognized as one of the most influential musicians of the period and, although later arrested for holding heretical views, his talent, ignorance of theological matters, and Wolsey's opinion that Lutheranism was exclusively a clerical issue saved him from death. See TNA, State Papers 1/47, fol.111A. For more details on his music, see the biography at http://www.classical.net/music/comp.lst/ taverner.html or the listing in David M Greene, Greene's Biographical Encyclopedia of Composers (London, 1985), pp.30-1. Also see, Roger Bowers, 'Taverner, John (c.1490-1545)', in ODNB (Oxford, 2004), 53, pp.836-40.

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After the death of these men, Iohn Frith with other, by the Cardinalles letter, whiche sente woorde that he woulde not haue them so straightly handled, were dismissed out of prison vppon condition, not to passe aboue tenne myles out of Oxforde. Which Frith after hearing of the examination of Dalaber MarginaliaOf this Dalabar, reade more in the story of Tho. Garret. and Garret, whiche bare then fagottes 

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This refers to the abjurations of Anthony Dalaber - a bookseller - and Thomas Garrett in 1528.

, went ouer the sea, and after two yeares 
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Frith was released from imprisonment in 1528 and spent the next four years travelling Europe, sometimes in the company of William Tyndale. He was, for instance, with Tyndale at Marburg and Antwerp, but Frith also travelled around the centres of Reformed Protestantism (e.g., Basel and Zurich). The influence of Oecolampadius is obvious in his later doctrine.

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he came ouer for exhibition of the Prior of Readyng, (as is thought) and had the Prior ouer with hym.

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Being at Readyng it happened that he was there taken for a vacabond, & brought to examination: MarginaliaIohn Fryth set in the stockes at Reading. where the simple man whiche coulde not craftily enough colour hym self, was set in the stockes. Where after he had sitten a long tyme, and was almost pined with hunger, and woulde not for all that declare what he was, MarginaliaLeonard Coxe, Schole maister of Readyng. at the last he desired that the Scholemaister of the towne might be brought to hym, whiche at that tyme was one Leonard Coxe, a man verye wel learned. 

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There may be more to the story here than Foxe relates. Although not mentioned in S F Ryle's biography of Cox in the ODNB (but according to Frederic Carpenter), Cox (Coxes or Cockes) was a friend of both Erasmus and Melanchthon. In 1524, he was the schoolmaster of Reading Grammar School and was much noted for his The Arte or Crafte of Rhethoryck which was the first such book published in England in the vernacular. Much of it is a translation of Melanchthon's Institutiones Rhetoricae (1521). While Ryle notes its publication in 1530, Carpenter notes that this was a second edition. See Frederic Ives Carpenter, 'Leonard Cox and the First English Rhetoric', in Modern Language Notes 13:5 (May 1898), pp.146-7 and S F Ryle, 'Cox, Leonard', in ODNB, 13, pp.854-6].

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As soone as he came vnto hym, Fryth by and by began in the Latine tongue to bewaile his captiuitie.

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The Scholmaister by and by beyng ouercome with his eloquence, dyd not onley take pitie and compassion vpon hym, but also beganne to loue and embrace suche an excellent wytte and disposition vnloked for, especially in such a state & miserie. Afterward, they conferryng more together vppon many thinges as touchyng the Vniuersities, Scholes, and tongues, fell from the Latine into the Greeke, wherein Frith dyd so inflame the loue of that Scholmaister towardes hym, that he brought hym into a marueilous admiration, especially when as the Scholmaister hearde hym so promptly by hart, rehearse Homers verses out of his first booke of Iliades 

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The earliest translation of Homer's Iliad into English was in 1598 by the dramatist George Chapman.

. Whereuppon the Scholemaister wente with all speede, vnto the Magistrates, greeuously complaynyng of the iniurie whiche they dyd shewe vnto so excellente and innocente a young man. MarginaliaIohn Frith through the helpe of the Scholmaister, was deliuered out of the stockes. Thus Frith, through the helpe of the scholmaister, was freely dimitted out of the stockes, & set at libertie without punishement. MarginaliaSyr Tho. More a deadly persecuter of Iohn Fryth. Albeit this his safetie continued not long, thorow the great hatred and deadly pursuit of sir Tho. More, who at that tyme being Chauncelour of Englande, persecuted hym both by land and sea, besetting al the wayes and hauens, yea & promising great rewardes, if any man could bring hym any newes or tydinges of hym.

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Thus Frith beyng on euery part beset with troubles, not knowyng whiche way to turne hym, seeketh for some place to hyde hym in. Thus fleeing from one place to an other, and often chaunging both his garmentes and place, yet coulde he be in safetie in no place, no not long amongest

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