Critical Apparatus for this Page
Commentary on the Text
Names and Places on this Page
Unavailable for this Edition
178 [177]

K. Edgar. Dunstane. Monkerie. King Edgar. Monkes.

MarginaliaMonkishe dreames.Of such a lyke dreame we read, of the mother of Ethelstane: how the moone did sprynge out of her wombe, and gaue light to all England. Also of K. Charles the Emperour: how he was led by a thred to see the tormentes of hell. Likewise of Furceus the Heremite, mētioned in the third booke of Bede, who saw the ioyes of heauen & the. iiij. fires that should destroy the world: the one of lying, for breaking our promise made at baptisme. The secōd fire was of couetous. The third of dissentiō. The fourth was the fire of impietie & wrongfull dealing. Itē in like sort of the dreame of Dunstane, and of the same Ethelwold, to whom appeared the three byshops, Bristanus, Birinus, and Swithinus. &c. Item of the dreame of the mother of this Ethelwold, who beyng great with him, did see a golden Eagle flee out of her mouth. &c. Of the dreame likewise or the vision of king Edgar cōcerning the falling of the two apples, and of the pots, one being full, the other empty of water. &c Also of king Edward the confessor, touching the ruine of the land by the conquest of the Normands. We read also in the history of Astiages, how he dreamed of Cyrus. And likewise of many other dreames in the bookes of the mōkes and of the Ethnicke writers. For what cannot either the idle vanitie of mans head, or the deception of the lying spirite worke by man: in foreshewing such earthly euentes, as happen commonly in this present worlde? MarginaliaDreames not necessary to be regarded.
Difference of dreames.
But here is a difference to be vnderstood betweene these earthly dreames speaking of earthly thinges, and matters of humane superstition: and betweene other spirituall reuelations sent by God touchyng spirituall matters of the Church, pertayning to mans saluation. But to our purpose, by this dreame, and by the euent which followed after, MarginaliaHow and when monkes first began to swarme in England.
Dunstane, Ethelwold, Oswald, three setters vp of Monkishe religion.
it may appeare how and by what meanes, the multitude of Monkes began first to swarme in the Churches of England (that is) in the dayes of this Edgar, by the meanes of these three Byshops, Dunstane, Ethelwold, and Oswolde. Albeit Dunstane was the chiefest ryngleader of this race: yet Ethelwold being now byshop of Winchester, and Oswald byshop of Worceter, were not much behinde for their partes. By the instigation and counsel of these three aforesaid, kyng Edgar is recorded in histories to builde eyther new out of the ground, or to reedifie monasteries decayed by þe Danes, mo then. xl. MarginaliaXl. Monasteries builded & repared by K. Edgar.As the house of Ely, Glacenbury, Abington, Burgh by Stamford, Thorney, Ramesey, Wilton, Wenton, Winchome, Thamstocke in Deuonshyre, with diuers other mo. In the settyng vp and buildyng of the which, the foresayd Edelwolde was a great doer and a founder vnder the kyng. MarginaliaPriestes thrust out of Cathedrall houses, and Monkes set in.Moreouer, through the motion of this Dunstan and his fellowes: kyng Edgar in diuers great houses and Cathedrall Churches, where Prebendaries and Priestes were before: displaced the Priestes, and set in Monkes. Wherof we read in þe chronicle of Rog. Houedē, in wordes and forme as foloweth: Hic namq; Ethelwoldus Regem cuius eximius erat consiliarius ad hoc maximè prouocauit, vt clericos a Monasterijs expelleret, & monachos, sanctimonialesq; in eis collocaret. &c. MarginaliaRoger. Houedens. lib. Continuationum, post Bedā.That is: Ethelwold Byshop of Winchester who was then one of the kynges counsell, dyd vrge the kyng chiefly to expel Clerkes out of Monasteries, and in their rowmes to bestow Monkes and Nunnes. &c. whereunto accordeth likewise Historia Iornalensis, MarginaliaChronicō Iornalense.contayning the like effect in these wordes: Hoc anno Ethelwoldus Wint. & Oswaldus Wyrgornensis Episcopi, iussu Regis Edgari MarginaliaGulielmus. de gestis pontif. lib. 1.(clericis de quibusdā maioribus Ecclesijs expulsis) Monachos instituerunt, aut de eisdem clericis & alljs monachos in eisdem fecerunt. Gulielmus also writyng of the tyme of Dūnstane, maketh the matter somwhat more playne, where he sayth: Itaq; clerici multarum Ecclesiarum data optione, vt aut amictum mutarent, aut locis valedicerēt, melioribus habitacula vacuefacientes. Surgebant itaq; in tota insula, religiosorum monasteria, cumulabantur mole pretiosi metalli sanctorū altaria. &c. Thus þe secular Priests, beyng put to their choise, whether to chaūge their habite, or to leaue their rowmes: departed out of their houses, getting place for other better men to come in. Then the houses & Monasteries of Religious men through all the Realme, went vp apace. &c.

[Back to Top]

After the kynges mynde was thus perswaded and incited by these Byshops to auaunce Monkery: MarginaliaOswald Bish. of Wyceter, and Archb. of Yorke.then Oswaldus Bishop of Worcetor, & also made Archbishop of Yorke, 

Commentary  *  Close

Foxe's sources for the early career of Oswald, bishop of Worcester and then archbishop of York, typify Foxe's counterpoint of monastic and secular chronicle sources. He uses Roger of Howden's Chronicle (W. Stubbs, ed. Chronica magistri Rogeri de Houdene 4 vols, Rolls Series [London, 1868], 1, pp. 62-3; 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 3, ch. 115); John Brompton's Chronicle (J. Brompton, 'Chronicon Johannis Brompton Abbatis Jornalensis.' In Historiæ Anglicanæ Scriptores X. [....], ed. by Roger Twysden [London, 1652], col. 868) and Fabian's Chronicle (R. Fabyan, The Chronicle of Fabian [London, 1559], book 6, ch. 194).

[Back to Top]
after the decease of Osaitellus, sui voti compos effectus (as Houeden writeth) hauyng his sea in the cathedrall Church there of S. Peter: MarginaliaThe policie of Oswald in driuing out priestes, to place in monkes.
An. 969.
Began first with fayre persuasions, to assay the myndes of the canons and Priestes: whether they could be content to chaunge their profession and to be made Monkes, or no: which whē he saw it would not take effect, he practised this pollicie with thē. Neare to the sayd church of S. Peter, within the Churchyard he erected an other Church of our Lady: which, whē he had replenished with Monkes, there he continually frequented: there he kept, MarginaliaGuliel. lib. 3. de Gest. pontifi.
Chron. Iornalense. in vita Edgari.
there he sat, and was euer there conuersant. By reason wherof the other Church was left naked and desolate, and all the people gathered there where the byshop was. The Priestes seyng themselues so to be left and neglected both of the Byshop and of the people, to whom nothyng remayned but shame and contempte: were driuen of shame either to relinquishe the house (such as would not enter the Monkish profession) or els to become Mōkes: such as had nothyng elles to stay vpon. After the like superstition (although not after þe same subtiltie) did Ethelwold also driue out the Chanons and Priestes frō the new Monastery in Winchester, afterward called Hida: & placed his monkes. So in Oxford, and in Mildune, with diuers other places moe: the secular Priests with their wiues were expelled to geue place to Monkes. The cause wherof is thus pretended in certaine story writers, whō I see also Fabian to follow: MarginaliaPrebēdaries and Priestes slack in their dutie.for that the Priests and Clerkes were thought slacke and negligent in their Church seruice, and set in Vicars in their steede, while they liued in pleasure, and misspent the patrimony of the Church after their owne lust. Then king Edgar gaue to the Vicars, the same land which before belonged to the prebendaries: who also not long after shewed themselues as negligent, as the other. MarginaliaPriestes voyded of Cathedrall churches, and mōks let in.Wherfore kyng Edgar (as mine authors write) by the consent of Pope Iohn. xiij. voyded clearely the Priestes, and ordained there mōkes. Although certaine of the nobles, and some of the Prelates were therewith not well contented, as in the Chapiter followyng may partly appeare.

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaThe differēce order, and institution of monkes examined.But for somuch as we haue entred into the mention of Monkes and Nunnes, and of their professiō, which I see so greatly in our Monkish stories commended: 

Commentary  *  Close

Foxe mentions an elaborate range of source here. These almost certainly were drawn indirectly from the Magdeburg Centuries, [Century V], p. 81; 1327-1334 (Cassianus); 702 (Augustine); and Cluniac monasticism (732-3).

least perhappes the simple Reader may be deceaued thereby, in hearing the name of Mōkes in all histories of tymes to be such an auncient thyng in Christian lyfe) euē from the primitiue Church after the Apostles tyme) both commonly recited, & well receaued: therfore to helpe the iudgement of the ignorant, and to preuent all errour herein: It shall not be vnprofitable, in followyng the present occasion here geuen (by way of a litle digression) to entermedle somewhat concernyng the originall institution of Monkes: what they were in the old tyme, which were called Monachi, wherein the Mōkes of the primitiue tyme, did differe from the Monkes of the middle time, & from these our Mōnkes now of this latter age. Moreouer wherein all these three do differ from Priestes (as we call them) and from men of the Clergy. Wherfore to aūswere to the superstitious scruple of such, which alledge the old antiquitie of the name and title of Monkes: first I graunt, the name and order of Monkes to be of old continuaunce, duryng neare from the time of. 300. yeares after Christ. Of whom diuers old authors do record, as Augustinus, Hieronymus, Basilius Magnus, who was also himselfe one of the first institutors and commenders of that superstition. Chrysostomus, Nazianzenus, Euagrius, Sozomenus, Dionysius, & diuers other. MarginaliaTwo sortes of monkes in the prymitiue Church.In the number of these Mōnkes (which then were deuided into Hermites or Anachorites, and into Cœnobites) were Antonius, Paulus, Ioannes, with diuers other recluses: Amōg the which was Hierome, Basile, Macarius, Isidorus, Pambus, Nilammon, Simeon, with infinite other: both in Palestina, Syria, Thebaide, Mesopotamia, in Egypt, in Africa, and Scythia. In somuch that Cassianus, Lib. 2. cap. 4 de Canon. Noctur. orat. MarginaliaCassianus. lib. 2. cap. 4. de. canon Noctur. orat.maketh mentiō of a certaine Monastery in Thebaide, wherin were aboue. 5000. monkes vnder the gouernmēt of one Abbot. And here also in England mention is made before of Bangor, wherin were two thousand and. 200. Monkes vnder one mans ruling, in the yeare of our Lord. 596. Whereby it appeareth, that Monkes were then, and. 200. yeares before in the primitiue tyme of the Church. But what Monkes these were, is to be considered. Such as either by tyranny of persecution were driuen into solitary and desert places, or els such as not constrained of any, but of their owne voluntary deuotion (ioyned with some superstition among, for the loue they had to spiritual contemplacion, and for hatred of the wicked world) withdrew themselues from all cōpany: either hauyng nothyng to themselues proper, or els all thynges common with other. And all these were then nothyng els but lay men. MarginaliaTwo sortes of laymen. Monkes in the olde time were no other but lay men, leadynge a stricte lyfe.Of which lay men there were two sundry sortes: one of the vulgare and common people, which onely were partakers of the Sacramentes: the other in followyng a Monasticall kynde of life, were called Monkes (beyng nothyng but lay men) leadyng a more seuere and strayghter trade of lyfe, then the other: as may sufficiētly appeare by August. Lib. de moribus Ecclesiæ cap. 13. Item Lib. de operibus Monachorum. Item Epistola ad Aurelium. MarginaliaAugust. de mor. ecclesiæ.
Hieronym. ad. Heliodor.
Also by Hierome ad Heliodorum, writyng these wordes: Alia Monachorum est causa, alia clericorum. Clerici pascūt oues,

[Back to Top]
ego
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