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180 [179]

K. Edgar. Monkes. King Edgarus Pacificus.

MarginaliaMonachi flagellantes.Flagellantes, going barefoote in long white linnen shirtes, wyth an open place in the backe, where they beat thēselues with scourges on the bare skinne euery day, before the peoples eyes, till the bloud ranne downe: saying that it was reuealed to them by an Angell, that in so scourging themselues, within. xxx. dayes &. xij. houres, they should be made so pure from sinne, as they were when they first receaued baptisme. Some starred Monkes. Some Iesuites, with a white gyrdle and a russet coule. Briefly, who can recken vp the innumerable sectes & disguised orders of their fraternities: some holding of S. Benet, some of S. Hierome. Some of Basil: Some of S. Bernard, some of S. Briget, some of S. Bruno, some of S. Lewes, as though it were not inough for Christen men to hold of Christ onely: so subiect were they to seruile rules, that no part of Christē libertie remayned among them. So drowned and suncke in superstition: that not onely they had lost Christes religion, but also almost the sense and nature of men. For where men naturally are and ought to be ruled by the discrete gouernment of reason in all outward doynges, wherein no one rule can serue for all men: the circunstaunce of tyme, place, person, and busines beyng so sundry and diuers. MarginaliaMōkes are subiect & ruled by the knocke of a bell.Cōtrary, amōg these: not reason but onely the knocke of a bell, ruled all their doynges: their rising, their sleepyng, their praying, their eatyng, their commyng in, their goyng out, their talkyng, their silence, & all together like insensible people, either not hauyng reason to rule themselues: or els as persons vngrateful to God, neither inioying the benefite of reason created in thē, nor yet vsing the grace of Christes libertie, wherunto he redemed them.

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Thus thou seest (gentle Reader) sufficiently declared, what the mōkes were in the primitiue tyme of the church, MarginaliaMonkes made spirituall ministers contrary to the old decrees and custome of the church.and what were the Monkes of the middle age, and of these our latter dayes of the Church. Whereunto ioyne this with all, that where the Monkes of elder time (as is sayd) were mere lay men, and no spirituall Ministers: Afterward Bonifacius the iiij. made a decree. an. 606. that mōkes might vse the office of preachyng, of Christenyng, of hearyng confessions, & also of assoylyng them of their sinnes. &c. So thē Monkes, who in the beginnyng were but lay men, and no spirituall ministers, forbidden by the generall Councell of Chalcedon (as is aboue related) to intermeddle with matters Ecclesiasticall: afterward in proces of time did somuch incroch vpon the office of spirituall ministers, that at length the Priestes were discharged out of their Cathedrall churches, and Monkes set in their places. Because that mōkes in those dayes, leadyng a strayghter lyfe, and professing chastitie, had a greater countenaunce of holynes amōg the people, then the Priests, MarginaliaPriestes in kyng Edgars tyme had wiues.who then in the dayes of kyng Edgar had wiues (at least so many as would) no law forbyddyng them to the contrary: till the tyme of Hildebrand called Gregory the vij. wherof more shalbe sayd (Christ willyng) in the booke next folowyng.

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And thus much by the way as touchyng the order and profession of monkes: now to turne in agayne, from whence we digressed (that is) to the matter of kyng Edgar: 

Commentary  *  Close

Foxe takes the positive elements in his assessment of King Edgar from a limited range of sources. His portrayal of the king's personality and rule, and the fact that wolves were hunted to extinction, all comes - as Foxe discreetly notes - from 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, chs 148 and 155). For the numbers of ships in King Edgar's fleet, his progresses round the kingdom, and his repression of alcoholism, Foxe drew on Roger Howden's Chronicle (W. Stubbs, ed. Chronica magistri Rogeri de Houdene 4 vols, Rolls Series [London, 1868], 1, p. 64. For the important passage on the homage to King Edgar from other rulers in the British Isles, Foxe furnishes a direct translation from John Brompton's Chronicle (although it had also been mentioned in Henry of Huntingdon and Fabian's Chronicle too) - J. Brompton, 'Chronicon Johannis Brompton Abbatis Jornalensis.' In Historiæ Anglicanæ Scriptores X. [....], ed. by Roger Twysden [London, 1652], col. 869.

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who folowyng the counsell and leadyng of Dunstane, & the foresayd Ethelwold byshop of Winchester, was somwhat therby inclined to superstition. MarginaliaThe worthy acts of kyng Edgar.But otherwise of his owne nature, wel geuen to all vertues and princely actes worthy of much commēdation, and famous memory. MarginaliaThe king a good iusticiarie.So excellēt was he in iustice, and sharpe in correctiō of vices (as well in his magistrates, as other subiects) that neuer before his dayes was lesse felony by robbers nor lesse extortion or bribery by false officers. Such prouinces and Lordshyps as were not yet come vnder the kynges subiection: he vnited and adioyned to his dominion. MarginaliaEngland reduced into one full and perfect monarchy.And so made one perfect monarchy of the whole Realme of England, with all the Ilelandes and borders aboute the same. Such as were wicked he kept vnder: he repressed them that were rebels: the godly he mainteined: he loued the modest: he was deuout to God: and beloued of hys subiects, whom he gouerned in much peace and quietnes. And as he was a great seker of peace, so God did blesse him with much aboundaūce of peace and rest from all warres: so that as the history recordeth of him, Nullas insidias domesticorum, nullum exterminium alienorū senserit, MarginaliaEdgarus Rex Pacificus.for the which, he was called Pacificus: He neither tasted of any priuie treason among his subiectes, nor of any inuasion of foreine enemies. So studious he was of the publike profite of his Realme, and fruitfull in his gouernmēt: that as the sayd story testifieth of hym, Nullus fere annus in Chronicis præteriit, quo non magnum & necessarium patriæ aliquid fecerit: No yeare passed in all the tyme of his reigne wherein he did not some singular and necessary commoditie for the common wealth. &c. A great mayntenyer he was of Religion, and learnyng: Marginaliaking Edgar & K. Alfrede compared together.not forgettyng herein the foresteppes of kyng Alfred his predecessor. Among his other princely ver-tues, this is chiefly to be regarded: þt where as other princes cōmonly in much peace and quietnes are wont to grow into a dissolute negligence of life, or obliuion of their charge committed vnto them: This kyng in continuance of peace (that notwithstandyng) kept euer with him such a watch, and a vigilant seuerity ioyned with a semely clemency, that I can not here but recite the witnes of our story writers, testifiyng of his vigilant care ouer the cōmon wealth: which was so great, Vt nullū cuiuscumq; dignitatis hominem leges eludere impune permitteret. i. MarginaliaA note for mē of nobilitie to marke.That he would suffer no man of what degree of nobilitie so euer he were, to dally out his lawes without condigne punishment. &c. And foloweth more in the same author. Nemo eius tempore priuatus latro, Nemo popularis prædo, nisi qui mallet in fortunas alienas grassari propriæ vitæ dispēdio. &c. MarginaliaA notable example of a prince, to admonish all princes what to doe.In all his time there was neither any priuey pyker, nor opē theefe: but he that in stealyng other mens goodes, would venter & suffer (as he was sure) the losse of his owne life. &c. Guliel. de Reg.

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Moreouer as the studious industrie of this Prince was forward in all other pointes: so his prudent prouision did not lacke in this also, MarginaliaWolues first driuen out of England.in driuyng out the deuouryng and rauenyng Wolues, through out all his land. Wherin he vsed this policie: In causing Ludwallus Prince or kyng of Wales, to yeld to him yearely by way of tribute. 300. Wolues. By meanes wherof within the space of iiij. yeares after, in England & Wales, might scantly be found one Wolfe a lyue.

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MarginaliaThe prouisiō of k. Edgar in keeping the seas.This Edgar among other of his politike deedes, had in readines. 3600. shyppes of warre, to scoure the Seas in the sommer time: wherof. 1200. kept the East seas: as many to defend the West side: agayne as many on the Southseas, to repulse the inuasion of foreine enemies. Moreouer in winter season, the vse and maner of this vertuous kyng was this: duryng all the tyme of his life, to ryde ouer þe land in progresse, searchyng and inquiring diligently (to vse here the wordes of myne author) Quomodo legum iura, & suorum statuta decretorum obseruarentur: & ne pauperes a potentibus præiudiciū passi opprimerentur. MarginaliaA notable example in a prince, for all good princes to marke & to follow.That is. How his lawes and statutes by him ordeined were kept, and that the poore should suffer no preiudice or be oppressed any maner of wayes by the mightier. &c. Briefly as I see many things in this worthy prince to be commended: so this one thing in him I can not but lament. To see him lyke a Phenix to flee alone, that of all his posteritie so few there be that seeke to keepe him company. And although I haue shewed more already of this kyng, then I thinke will well be folowed, yet this more is to be added to þe worthynes of his other actes. That where as by the multitude of the Danes dwelling in diuers places of England, much excessiue drinking was vsed, wherupon ensued dronkenes, and many other vices, to the euill example and hurt of his subiectes: MarginaliaThe deuise of K. Edgar to auoyde dronkennes.he therfore to preuent that euill, ordeined certaine cuppes, with pynnes, or nayles set in them, addyng therunto a law: that what persō dranke past that marke at one draught, should forfayte a certaine peny. Wherof one halfe should fall to the accuser, and the other halfe to the ruler of the borough or towne, where the offence was done.

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It is reported of this Edgar by diuers authors, that about the. xiij. yeare of his reigne, he beyng at Chester: viij. kinges (called in histories Subreguli) to wit, petykynges, or vnderkynges: came and did homage to him. MarginaliaViii. kynges do homage to K. EdgarOf whom the first was the kyng of Scottes, called Kinadius: Macolinus of Cumberland. Mackus or Mascusinu, kyng of Moniæ, and diuers other Ilandes: and all the kynges of Wales, the names of whom were Dufual, or Dunewaldus, Sifreth, Huwall. Iacob, Vikyll, Iuchell. All which kyngs after they had geuen their fidelitie to Edgar: the next day followyng (for a pompe or royaltie) he entred with these aforesayd kynges into the riuer of Dee. Where he sittyng in a boate tooke the rule of the helme, and caused these viij. kyngs, euery person takyng an ore in his hand to row him vp & downe the riuer to and from the Church of S. Iohn vnto his palace agayne, in tokē that he was maister and Lord of so many prouinces: wherupon he is reported to haue sayd in this maner: Tunc demum posse successores suos gloriari se Reges Angliæ esse, cum tanta prærogatiua honorum fruerētur. MarginaliaThe glory of k. Edgar reprehended.
Wherein kinges ought to glory.
But in my mynde this kyng had sayd much better, if he had rather sayd with S. Paule: Absit mihi gloriari, nisi in cruce Domini nostri Iesu Christi.

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Marginaliak. Edgar a superstitious vpholder of Monkery.
Ex Edmere.
And thus ye haue hearde hetherto touchyng the commendation of king Edgar, such reportes as the old Monkish writers thought to bestowe vpon hym, as vppon the great patrone of their monkish religion, who had builded so many monasteries for them, as were sondayes in the 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 hym were reignyng let vs likewise consider, according as we finde in the

sayd
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