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173 [172]

Kyng Ethelstane. Kyng Ethelstane. Britanus.

MarginaliaGuliel. de Regib.
The bringing vp of k. Edwards children.
nyng, and to the nedle, Guliel.de Reg. His sonnes he set to the study of learnyng, vt quasi Philosophi ad gubernandam remp, non iam rudes procederent: that is, to the ende, that they beyng as first made Philosophers, should be the more expert therby to gouerne the common wealth.

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¶ King Ethelstane, or Adelstane.

MarginaliaKyng Ethelstane, or Athelstane. 

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Foxe's sources for the reign of King Ethelstan were less plentiful. He used John Brompton's Chronicle (J. Brompton, 'Chronicon Johannis Brompton Abbatis Jornalensis.' In Historiæ Anglicanæ Scriptores X. [....], ed. by Roger Twysden (London, 1652), p. 837) and supplemented it with 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], book 2, ch. 131). The Latin charter relating the death of Duke Elfred as God's punishment for perjury comes from the same source (ch. 137).

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EThelstane or Adelstane, after the death of Edward hys father to whom he was base sonne: beganne his reigne in England, and was crowned at Kingston. He was a prince of worthy memory, valiaunt and wise in all hys actes, nothyng inferiour to his father Edward. In lyke worldly renowne of ciuile gouernaunce, ioyned with much prosperous successe, in reducyng this realme vnder the subiection of one monarchie. For he both expelled the Danes subdued the Scottes, and quieted the Welshmen, as well in Northwales, as also in Cornwale. The first enemy agaynst this Ethelstane was one Elfredus: who, with a faction of seditious persons conspiring against the said Ethelstane at Winchester, continently after the death of his father, wēt about to put out his eyes. Notwithstādyng the kyng escapyng that daunger: through the helpe of God, was at that time deliuered. Elfrede vpō the same beyng accused, fledde to Rome: there before the Pope to purge hymselfe by hys othe. Who beyng brought to the Church of S. Peter, and there swearing (or rather forswearyng) hymself to be cleare, which in deede was guilty therof: MarginaliaDuke Elfrede sodenly stroken by the hand of God for periury.sodenly vpon his othe fell downe, and so brought to the english house in Rome, within 3. dayes after departed. The Pope sendyng word to kyng Ethelstane, whether he would haue the sayd Eldred buried among christians or not: at length, through the perswasions of his frendes and kinsfolkes, it was concluded that he should be buried in christen buriall. This story although I finde in no other writers mentioned, but only in the chronicles of Guliel. Lib. de Regi. MarginaliaGuliel. lib. de Regib. in vita Ethelstani.yet forasmuch as it beareth the witnesse and wordes of the kyng himselfe, as testified in an old dede of gift, geuen to the monastery of Malmesbery: I thought the same the more to be of credite. The wordes of the king procede in this tenor as foloweth.

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¶ The copy of an olde writing of king Ethelstane testifieng of the miraculous death of duke Elfrede sodenly stroken by the hande of God for periury.

MarginaliaThe copie of an olde chart of k. Ethelstane.SCiant sapientes regionis nostræ, non has præfatas terras me iniuste rapuisse, rapinamq; Deo dedisse. Sed sic eas accepi, quemadmodum iudicauerunt omnes optimates regni Anglorum. Insuper & Apostolicus Papa Romanæ ecclesiæ Ioannes (Elfredo defuncto) qui nostræ fœlicitati & vitæ æmulus extitit, nequitiæ inimicorum nostrorum consentiēs: quando me volureūt (patre defuncto) cœcare in vrbe Wintonia, si non me Deus sua pietate eripuisset. Sed denudatis eorum machinamentis, remissus est ad Romanam ecclesiā, vt ibi se, coram Apostlico Ioanne iureiurando defenderet. Et hoc fecit coram altare sancti Petri. Sed facto iuramento, cecidit coram altare: & manibus famulorum suorum portatus est ad scholam Anglorum, & ibi tertia nocte vitam finiuit. Et tunc Apostolicus ad nos remisit, & quid de eo ageretur a nobis consuluit, an cum cæteris Christianis corpus illius poneretur. His peractis, & nobis renunciatis: optimates regionis nostræ cum propinquorum illius turma efflagitabant omni humilitate, vt corpus illius per nostram licentiam cum corporibus poneretur Christianorum. Nosq̀ flagitationi illorum consentientes Romam remisimus: & Papa consentiente, positus est ad cæteros Christianos, quamius indignus. Et sic iudicata est mihi tota possessio eius in magnis & in modicis. Sed & hæc apicibus literarum prænotauimus, ne quādo aboleatur, vnde mihi præfata possessio, quam Deo & sancto Petro dedi, donatur. Nec iustius noui, quam Deo & sancto Petro hanc possessionem dare, qui æmulum meum in conspectu omnium cadere fecerunt, & mihi prosperitatem regni largiti sunt. &c.

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MarginaliaAn. 927In the second yere of the reigne of kyng Adelstane, for an vnitie, and a peace to be had betwene the kyng and the Danes of Northumberlande: he maried to Sythericus their king hys sister, wherof mention is made before. But shortly after, within one yeare this Sithericus dyed. After whose death king Ethelstane seazed that prouince into his owne hand, puttyng out the sonne of the foresayd Sithericus called Alanus: who with hys brother Godfri- MarginaliaNorthumberland subdued to kyng Ethelstane. The Scots subdued to the kyng of England.bus fledde the one into Irelande, the other to Constantine kyng of the Scots. And when he had thus accorded with the Danes of Northumberland, he shortly made subiect vnto hym Constantine kyng of Scottes. But the sayd Constantine meeked hymselfe so lowly to the kyng, that he restored him to his former dignitie, saying, MarginaliaIt is more honour to make a kyng, then to be a kyng.that it was more honour to make a kyng, then to be a kyng.

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Foxe's description of the victory of King Ethelstan over Constantine, King of the Scots, with the narrative of the former arriving in York and slicing a stone with his source, comes initially from Fabian's Chronicle (R. Fabyan, The Chronicle of Fabian [London, 1559], book 6, ch. 184) which itself cites 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. Foxe had apparently checked his other sources for this story, finding 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). Bale's Catalogus (pp. 126-7) had mentioned it but here is an example of where Foxe delves deeper, and examines the sources more closely.by Henry, Archdeacon of Huntingdon, from B. C. 55 to A. D. 1154 [London: Rolls Series, 1879], book 5, ch. 14).

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Not long after, the sayd Constantine king of Scottes dyd breake couenaunt with kyng Ethelstane. Wherfore he assembled hys knightes, & made toward Scotland. Where, he subduyng his enemies, and bringing them agayne vnto due subiection, returned into England with victory. Here by the way in some story writers (who forgettyng the office of historicians, seme to play the Poetes) is written & recorded for a maruell, that the sayd Ethelstane, returnyng out of Scotland into England, came to Yorke, and so into the church of S. Iohn of Beuerly, to redeme hys knife, which before he had left there for a pledge, at hys goyng forth. MarginaliaA fabulous myracle falsely reported of kyng Athelstane.In the which place he praying to God and to s. Iohn of Beuerley, that he might leaue there some remembrance wherby they that came after might know, that the Scots by right should be subdued to the English men: smote wyth sword (they say) vpon a great hard stone standing neare about the castle of Dunbar, that with the stroke thereof the stone was cut a large elne deepe (with a lye no lesse deepe also, then was the stroke in the stone). But of this poetical or fabulous story, albeit Polychronicon, Fabian, Iornalensis, and other mo constantly accorde in the same: yet in Guliel, and Henricus, no mention is made at all. But peraduenture he that was the inuentor first of thys tale of the stone, was disposed to lie for the whetstone: Wherefore in my mynde he is worthy to haue it.

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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'.

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Of lyke truth and credite semeth also to be this that foloweth about the same yeare and tyme, vnder the raigne of kyng Ethelstane, beyng the. 8. yeare of hys raigne, of one MarginaliaBristanus Byshop.
An. 933.
Bristanus byshop of Winchester, who succeeded Frithstanus in the same sea, and gouerned that bishopricke. 4. yeres. This Bristanus beyng a deuout bishop in prayer and contemplation: vsed much among hys solitary walkes, to frequent late the churchyard, praying for the soules there, and all christen soules departed. MarginaliaA ridiculous myracle forged vpō Bristanus Bish. of Winchester.Vpon a tyme, the sayd Bristanus after hys wonted maner proceeding in hys deuotions, when he had done, came to requiescant in pace. Wherunto, sodainly a great multitude of soules aunsweryng together with one voyce, said Amen. Of this miracle, albeit I haue not much to say (hastyng to other matters) yet this question would I aske of some indifferent papist, which were not wilfull, but of ignorance deceiued: MarginaliaA myracle of soules answering, Amen.if this multitude, which here answered Amen, were the soules of them buried in the churchyard or not? If yea, thē how were they in purgatory, what tyme they were heard in that place answering Amen? Excepte we should thinke Purgatory to be in the churchyarde at Winchester, where the soules were hearde then so many answering and praying Amen. And yet this story is testified by the accord of writers of that tyme, Guliel. Polychron. Houedenis, Iornalensis, & other mo. Much lyke miracles and prophecies also we reade of Elphegus, which succeeded him: but because we haste to other things, let these fables passe.

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Ye heard a little before, how kyng Ethelstane after the death of Sithericus kyng of Northumberland, seazed that land or prouince into hys owne hand, and put out hys sonne Alanus: who after flieng into Scotland, maried þe daughter of Constantine kyng of Scots. By whose stirryng and exhortation, he gathered a company of Danes, Scots, and other, and intred the mouth of Humber with a strong nauy of 615. ships.

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MarginaliaA sore battayle fought at Brimford.Wherof king Ethelstane with hys brother Edmunde hauyng knowledge: prepared his army, and at length leynying in fight with him and his people at a place called Brimābruch or Brimford: where he fighting with them from morning to euen after a terrible slaughter on both sides (as the lyke hath not bene sene lightly in England) had the victory. In which battaile were slayne fiue small and vnder kinges, with Constantine kyng of Scots: and xij. Dukes, with the more part of all the strangers which at that time they gathered to them. Here also our writers put in an other miracle in this battayle: MarginaliaAn other vnlyke miracle of K. Athelstanes sworde.how king Ethelstanes sword miraculously fell into his sheath through the prayer of Odo, then Archbishop of Canterbury.

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MarginaliaOdo Archbyshop of Cant.Concernyng this battayle, I finde in a certayne written chronicle these verses: which because they shoulde not be lost, I thought not vnworthy here of rehearsall.

Transierat quinos, & tres, & quatuor annos,
Iure regens ciues, subigens virtute tyrannos:

Cum
N.iij.
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