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IntroductionActually, this was not a common o...Foxe explains this calculation in...Actually Maxentius's death (at th...Licinius was deposed in AD 324, b...William Cary, a London clothworke...I.e., Joachim of Fiore (1130-c. 1...Prayer of the Ploughmani.e. 'kept his promise with him'....i.e. 'pasture' or 'pastures'....i.e. 'the Promised Land'.i.e. 'takes' or 'taken'.i.e. 'many times'....i.e. 'worships' or 'worshipping'....i.e. 'absolve'....i.e. 'may'....i.e. 'to shrive is to perform the...The term is used to mean guilty o...Foxe is probably correct in attri...i.e. 'decieved'....i.e. 'called'....i.e. 'led'....That is, according to the laws re...i.e. 'call' or 'calls'....i.e. 'care for'....i.e. 'promised'....In this context, the word means '...i.e. 'commandments'....i.e. this clause was omitted, alm...The decision not to modernize the...i.e. a 'merchant' or a 'purchaser...i.e. 'baptise' or 'baptised'....i.e. 'marriage'....i.e. 'idols'....i.e. 'naturally'....i.e. 'murderers'....i.e. 'they defile thy living imag...i.e. 'told' or 'declared'.i.e. 'dreams'....i.e. 'quickly'....i.e. 'grew mad'....i.e. 'promised'....i.e. 'know'....i.e. 'the Psalter'....i.e. 'judgement'....A lay man, not an evil or obscene...'Judge not, lest you also be judg...i.e. 'judge'....i.e. 'adultery'....i.e. 'took heed'....i.e. 'burn'....i.e. 'feared'....i.e. 'plead'....i.e. 'cunning' or 'subtle'.Before that....i.e. 'would not'....i.e. 'slaves'....i.e. 'injury'....i.e. 'say' or 'sayeth'....i.e. 'hear'....i.e. 'listening'....In this case, 'lewd' man means 's...i.e. 'inhabitant'....i.e. 'will not'....i.e. 'poorly'....i.e. 'repaid'....i.e. ' inwardly'....i.e. 'a Welsh leaper'....An 'irener' is a vagabond; this c...i.e. 'promises'....i.e. 'parsonages'....i.e. 'submissive'....St Anselm was archbishop of Cante...i.e. 'equally'....Henry of Huntingdon (c. 1088-c. 1...i.e. 'in the middle of''.This is a reference to Noah, his ...Johannes de RupecissaJohannes de Rupescissa (John of R...Jean Froissart (c.1337-c.1405), a...Foxe has dropped the ending of th...Ralph Fitz-RalphFoxe draws some of this meterial ...These articles are taken from one...These three propositions are take...This paragraph is taken from Bale...This paragraph is taken from Bale...This passage on Martin IV is take...The paragraphs on Boniface VIII a...The paragraph on Benedict XI is d...The paragraph on Clement V is dra...These excerpts from anti-mendican...Armachanus is the Latin form of F...Foxe is drawing all of what follo...Foxe now reprints Fitzralph's 'De...In these notes, which are entirel...The remaining biographical materi...Fitzralph died in Avignon (three,...This information about the Irish ...The following account of Fitzralp...Bale was a great admirer of John ...This prayer is not mentioned by B...The material on Innocent III and ...Gregory IX's bull is taken from M...Foxe drew the material on Celesti...This material on Alexander IV com...Nicholas OresmeFoxe is taking his account of Urb...At this time, the papal court was...This description of the wars of U...This is Cardinal Gil Ńlvarez Caur...This description of the wars of U...Everything that follows to the en...Actually 1363....Nicholas OresmeFoxe's account of St. Catherine o...Not the Society of Jesus (the Jes...Foxe is drawing this from the Par...The following paragraph on Gregor...The following two paragraphs on r...This material on the the efforts ...This is the first statute of Prov...This is the first statute of Prae...Foxe's account of St. Bridget of ...Anti-papal writersThis account of Militizius and of...This is Foxe's mistake. Flacius ...I.e., money or wealth. See Matth...Henricus de Hassia is Henrich of ...Jacobus Carthusianus is one of th...The following examples of the per...In 1329, Pope John XXII condemned...This is actually John of Paris, w...This volume never appeared in pri...The account of Mountziger is take...Latria is the worship that is res...Foxe drew his account of Nilus fr...I.e., against the Roman Catholics...Foxe is referring to Nilus Cabisl...Apparently through inadvertance, ...Parliament RollsFoxe took this letter from Colleg...Utas or Utaves are a form of the ...I.e., 20 January 1332....9 February 1351....This piece of anti-papal hyperbol...I.e., 20 January 1365....28 April 1376....That is a clause guaranteeing tha...John Wiclif's careerThis summary of Wiclif's opinions...This discussion of Wiclif's views...The following account of Gaunt's ...I.e., only...I.e. servants or adherents.This is a good example of Foxe ta...This is Foxe's very garbled versi...Wiclif's debates with John Kennin...In 1376 Wiclif received the prebe...The account of of the twelve lord...I.e., an ague or fever....Foxe's account of Alice Perrers, ...The passage describing John of Ga...The account of William Wykeham's ...The story that Wykeham told tales...Hugh Despenser, bishop of NorwichI.e. Lynn....Foxe's syntax is unclear here, bu...This is Foxe's characterization, ...I.e. cowards....End of Edward III's reignI.e., Lynn....This quotation is from College of...This is Foxe's opinion, not Walsi...Papal condemnation of WiclifMarsilius of Padua and John of Ja...These conclusions of Wiclif are t...This conclusion is a slap at the ...The following account, of Wiclif ...This passage was added in 1570; i...Wiclif's protestation is actually...Foxe's source for Wiclif's commen...Foxe is taking his material on th...Foxe very probably took these bri...Actually his grandfather's steps ...Foxe's account of Berton's persec...Foxe took these articles from Aru...Foxe is taking this date straight...Foxe is taking the copy of the bu...i.e. 22 May 1377....These letters are copied in Arund...Foxe took this letter from Arunde...Earthquake synod [1382]In fact, Wiclif was not present a...Foxe's source for this document i...24 articles attributed to Wiclif ...Note Foxe's concern in his margin...The names of the clerics condemni...Persecution of Lollards in OxfordThis account of the examinations ...I.e. 1382....Foxe is slightly in error here; J...This is Archbishop Courtenay's re...Unlike the warning to Hereford an...This note of the appearances of H...The following section, on a statu...This is Foxe's own analysis of th...Utas are octaves, that is the eig...This letter authorizing the archb...Foxe's account of Hereford's and ...The correct date is 26 June 1382....The condemnation and excommunicat...I.e., announcing, not denouncing ...This order is copied from Lambeth...Richard II's letter to Rygge is c...Richard II's second letter to Ryg...This letter is copied from Lambet...The date of this letter is actua...Foxe is refering to a description...Foxe is drawing on Archbishop Cou...These articles from Repingdon's s...Philip Repingdon's abjuration is ...Foxe is drawing his account of Jo...This is Robert Rygge, it is just ...This expression of uncertainty ab...Actually Nicholas Hereford appeal...This letter is copied from Lambet...This is not actual letter Richard...This brief description of the exa...This letter is taken from Archbis...The man's name was Lawrence Bedem...I.e. warning or admonition.This letter is taken from Archbis...Wiclif and Urban VIIn the Commenta...Foxe is quoting this passage from...Foxe is quoting Bale (In 1563, Foxe wrote a passage pra...Wiclif's response to questions pu...I.e., St. Bernard of Clairvaux in...In the Commenta...This letter is Wiclif's response ...Henry Despenser, the bishop of No...I.e., to enlist on a crusade....This a papal bull granting Henry ...This is a copy of a plenary indul...This account of Despenser's crusa...John of Gaunt, the most powerful ...Wiclif's supportersIf Hus is correct about this, it ...Foxe drew the names of these infl...Foxe is confused here. Sir John ...Foxe added the details of Northam...Foxe means a literal plague; when...This document, dated in 1406, is ...This passage demonstrates that wh...Foxe first printed this defence o...Since Hus wrote this defence in 1...Wiclif and the Council of ConstanceWoodford's articles against Wicli...In the RerumBecause Hus referred to Hildegard...At this point, the citation of Fl...This decree is taken from Ortwin ...This list of Wiclif's followers i...Laurence Bedeman or Beadman, not ...Foxe first printed this sentence ...I.e. a favourer or supporter, but...This list of articles is taken fr...Caveat lector, this phrase is a w...In every edition of the Foxe omits the key words here 've...The article following this one re...Actually 44 in Ortwin Gratius and...William SwinderbyTrefnant apparently had obtained ...Swinderby's answer to the charges...I.e., obedient, submissive.I.e., before, aforesaid.I.e., their parishioners.This would seem to indicate that ...This is a reference to Henry Desp...The following five documents are ...This is another indication that F...Foxe picks up in Swiderby's secon...Actually this trial took place in...The sentence condemning Swinderby...This appeal of his conviction, by...This is another gap caused by fla...The equivalent passage in the 156...This 'old storie' was College of ...I.e., John Buckingham, bishop of ...Foxe is alluding to to the early ...Swinderby was charged with sixtee...Foxe claims that this accusation ...Specifically out of the register ...The process against Swinderby in ...These are the charges made agains...Walter BruteHere begins a remarkable series o...Brut's criticism of ceremonies an...The following passages contain an...Foxe's marginal note is quite ing...Note that Foxe, in a marginal glo...Here Foxe interrupts Brut's disco...Foxe inserts a paragraph, again i...Foxe again interrupts Brut's text...The reference is to Pope Joan, an...The examination of Brut's article...The charges against Walter Brut a...Summaries of answers to Brut's wr...Woodford did write against Brut, ...This is confusing. What these ar...The 'instruments' which follow ar...Foxe has a marginal note here cla...Although, in a marginal note, Fox...Walter Brut's initial response to...Having been asked by Trefnant for...This use of astrology in the exeg...Archbishop Courteney's persecution of LollardsFoxe copied this bull of Bonifac...I.e., 17 Sept. 1395....Foxe copied this royal order for ...I.e., 1392...Foxe copied this letter from Rich...I.e., 1393....Archbishop Courtenay's visitation...Foxe eliminated one of the articl...The convent of St. Mary PrŤ in Leic...Foxe's account of Matilda, the an...As we have seen, Nicholas Herefor...This mandate is LPL, Courtenay Re...The letter is LPL, Courtenay Regi...Matilda was ordered to do penance...St. Mary Newarks, Leicester, was ...This letter is LPL, Courtenay Reg...Foxe's account of Peter Pateshull...Pateshull had been an Augustinian...Walsingham identified the rioters...As Foxe declares, he obtained thi...The four doctors of the Church we...Foxe copied this letter, allegedl...I.e., Acheron. In classical myth...This discussion of other examples...I.e., Vincent of Beauvais, a thir...Foxe copied this bull of Boniface...I.e., 17 Sept. 1395....Book of ConclusionsRichard II's letter to Boniface IXParliament Rolls for the reign of Richard IIAs Foxe notes, the information on...Deposition of Richard IIWilliam SawtreyRebellion against Henry IVJohn BadbyEx officio statuteArundel's ConstitutionsWilliam ThorpeJohn PurveyWimbledon's sermonHenry IV and Gregory XIIPersecution of Lollards and HussitesParliament Rolls for the reign of Henry IVDeath of Henry IVSir John OldcastleDefence of OldcastleDeaths of Arundel and Henry VJan HusCouncil of ConstanceExecution of HusLetters of HusJerome of PragueJohn Claydon and† Richard Turming, death of Oldcastl
Commentary on the Text for Book 5
Introduction

This introduction to Book Five, added in the 1570 edition, is of importance as one of the fullest statements of Foxe's apocalyptic interpretation of history given in the Acts and Monuments. Here Foxe clearly sets out his belief, derived from John Bale, that the thousand year binding of Satan described in Revelation 20, is a prophecy of a period of history which not only preceded the second coming of Christ, but also preceded the Reformation. But this introduction - along with Foxe's exegesis of Revelation 13 on 1570, pp. 138-9, 1576, pp. 101-2 and 1583, pp. 100-2 - marks an important break with Bale's and an original contribution to Protestant apocalyptic thought. Bale had interpreted the thousand-year binding of Satan as running from the nativity of Christ until AD 1000. Based on his under-standing of the 42 month period, described in Revelation 13, in which the Beast held dominion, Foxe calculated that the binding of Satan did not begin until the triumph of Constantine around 324 and ended just before the advent of Wiclif a thousand years later. (This had the result of foregrounding the historical significance both Constantine and Wiclif). The periodization of history outlined here not only undergirds the Acts and Monuments, but also the Eicasmi, Foxe's commentary on Revelation, written at the end of his life.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

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Actually, this was not a common opinion, but it was held by Bale and by Foxe until shortly before this passage was written. (On the first page of the 1570 edition, Foxe declares that the binding Satan began with the nativity of Christ).

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Foxe explains this calculation in more detail, and how he arrived at it, on 1570, pp. 138-9, 1576, pp. 101-2 and 1583, pp. 100-2.

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Actually Maxentius's death (at the battle of the Milvian Bridge) took place in AD 312.

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Licinius was deposed in AD 324, but he died a year later in AD 325.

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William Cary, a London clothworker, owned a number of manuscripts used as sources by Foxe. On Cary see Andrew G. Watson, 'Christopher and William Carye, Collectors of Monastic Manuscripts, and "John Carye"', The Library, 5th series, 20 (1965), pp. 145-42.

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I.e., Joachim of Fiore (1130-c. 1201), the Cistercian mystic and commentator on Revelation. Fiore was regarded by many Protestants, including Foxe and Bale, as a proto-Protestant.

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Prayer of the Ploughman

In what follows Foxe is reprinting The prayer and complaynte of the Ploweman (STC 20036), a treatise which was printed in Antwerp in 1531. This work was originally an anonymous Lollard tract against clerical abuses dating from the early fifteenth century. The editor (probably William Tyndale) of this work stated on the title page that it dated from 1300. Foxe is claiming here that it first appeared around 1360. Notice that Foxe barely mentions that he is drawing on a sixteenth-century edition of the work. He is anxious to emphasize its medieval origins in order to show that there was a 'True Church' opposed to the Papacy, even in the period before Luther.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

1570 Edition, page 515 | 1583 Edition, page 422[Back to Top]

i.e. 'kept his promise with him'.

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i.e. 'pasture' or 'pastures'.

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i.e. 'the Promised Land'.

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i.e. 'takes' or 'taken'.

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i.e. 'many times'.

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i.e. 'worships' or 'worshipping'.

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i.e. 'absolve'.

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i.e. 'may'.

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i.e. 'to shrive is to perform the sacrament of Confession'.

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The term is used to mean guilty or corrupt, not literally infected with leprosy.

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Foxe is probably correct in attributing the 1531 edition of this work to Tyndale. Firstly, it was printed in Antwerp and Tyndale was residing there at the time. In addition, an address to the reader (Prayer¬Öof the Ploweman, sigs. a2r-a3v) is signed by 'W. T.'.

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i.e. 'decieved'.

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i.e. 'called'.

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i.e. 'led'.

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That is, according to the laws regarding lepers given in the Old Testament, which demanded that those afflicted be isolated from the community.

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i.e. 'call' or 'calls'.

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i.e. 'care for'.

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i.e. 'promised'.

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In this context, the word means 'well worded' or 'eloquent'.

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i.e. 'commandments'.

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i.e. this clause was omitted, almost certainly inadvertently, after the second edition.

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The decision not to modernize the language of The prayer and complaynte of the Ploweman was made, as Foxe indicates, to reassure his readers - and his critics - that the document was genuine. However, it came at a price; it was a difficult read even in the sixteenth century. This may be why it was dropped from the 1576 edition, although it was restored in the 1583 edition.

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i.e. a 'merchant' or a 'purchaser'.

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i.e. 'baptise' or 'baptised'.

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i.e. 'marriage'.

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i.e. 'idols'.

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i.e. 'naturally'.

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i.e. 'murderers'.

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i.e. 'they defile thy living images and worship blind idols'.

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i.e. 'told' or 'declared'.

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i.e. 'dreams'.

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i.e. 'quickly'.

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i.e. 'grew mad'.

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i.e. 'promised'.

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i.e. 'know'.

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i.e. 'the Psalter'.

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i.e. 'judgement'.

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A lay man, not an evil or obscene man.

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'Judge not, lest you also be judged'.

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i.e. 'judge'.

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i.e. 'adultery'.

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i.e. 'took heed'.

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i.e. 'burn'.

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i.e. 'feared'.

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i.e. 'plead'.

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i.e. 'cunning' or 'subtle'.

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Before that.

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i.e. 'would not'.

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i.e. 'slaves'.

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i.e. 'injury'.

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i.e. 'say' or 'sayeth'.

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i.e. 'hear'.

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i.e. 'listening'.

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In this case, 'lewd' man means 'sinful' man..

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i.e. 'inhabitant'.

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i.e. 'will not'.

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i.e. 'poorly'.

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i.e. 'repaid'.

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i.e. ' inwardly'.

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i.e. 'a Welsh leaper'.

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An 'irener' is a vagabond; this clause was omitted, probably inadvertently, from the 1576 edition and all subsequent editions..

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i.e. 'promises'.

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i.e. 'parsonages'.

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i.e. 'submissive'.

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St Anselm was archbishop of Canterbury from 1089-1109 and imposed celibacy on the clergy in England.

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i.e. 'equally'.

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Henry of Huntingdon (c. 1088-c. 1157), a medieval chronicler.

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i.e. 'in the middle of''.

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This is a reference to Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives.

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Johannes de Rupecissa

Foxe drew the following anti-papal parable from Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Strasbourg, 1562), Appendix, pp. 30-32.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

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Johannes de Rupescissa (John of Roquetaillade - c.1310-c.1364) was a Franciscan friar, mystic and alchemist of the fourteenth-century.

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Jean Froissart (c.1337-c.1405), a fourteenth-century French chronicler.

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Foxe has dropped the ending of the story, as given by Flacius, in which Rupescissa warned the cardinals that nobles and princes would strip the Church of its possessions. Foxe may well have felt uncomfortable with this in view of the way in which prominent Elizabethans had enjoyed benefits from Church property themselves.

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Ralph Fitz-Ralph

Ralph Fitzralph was a conservative theologian, but his bitter enmity towards the mendicant orders made him an invaluable witness (from Foxe's point of view) to the alleged corruption of the medieval church. (Foxe makes this point emphatically in his notes following Fitzralph's 'Defensio curatorum'). The mendicant opposition to Fitzralph made him an even more valuable witness because it was possible to cast him in the role of a martyr (note the inaccurate claim that Fitzralph died in exile) although Foxe is careful not to call him one or to claim that Fitzralph's theology anticipated Protestants in any way. Foxe drew the biographical information on Fitzralph from Bale's Catalogus; the same work was the source for most of the details on the individual popes discussed. Foxe also drew a little material from Matthias Flacius' Catalogus testium veritatis. Foxe also exploited two medieval texts: Fitzralph's Defensio curatorum and Guillaume Saint-Amour's De periculis novissorum temporum.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

1570 Edition, page 523 | 1576 Edition, page 427 | 1583 Edition, page 431[Back to Top]

Foxe draws some of this meterial from Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Strausburg, 1562), pp. 408, 450-1 and 469, while he is also drawing on Bale, Catalogus, pp. 319 and 322. Foxe jumbles the writers listed here together, even though they wrote in different centuries. Also Guillaume of Saint-Amour was the sole author of De periculis novissimum temporum (1256), the anti-mendicant treatise under discussion.

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These articles are taken from one of the MS copies of De periculis novissimorum temporum.

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These three propositions are taken from Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Strausburg, 1562), p. 451.

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This paragraph is taken from Bale, Catalogus, p. 289.

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This paragraph is taken from Bale, Catalogus, p. 326.

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This passage on Martin IV is taken from Bale, Catalogus, p. 330.

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The paragraphs on Boniface VIII are taken from Bale, Catalogus, pp. 330-33.

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The paragraph on Benedict XI is drawn from Bale, Catalogus, p. 333.

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The paragraph on Clement V is drawn from Bale, Catalogus, p. 334.

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These excerpts from anti-mendicant are drawn from Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis, pp. 468-470.

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Armachanus is the Latin form of Fizralph's see, the archdiocese of Armagh.

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Foxe is drawing all of what follows on Fitzralph's dispute with the mendicant orders from Fitzralph's sermon, preached before Innocent VI, 'Defensio Curatorum', which Foxe then reprints.

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Foxe now reprints Fitzralph's 'Defensio curatorum'. Which of the numerous English or Latin versions of this work that Foxe consulted is anyone's guess, as he proceeded to reorder and restructure the work into what he considered a more appropriate form. Foxe remains faithful to the content, but not the format, of the original. (See 'Defensio Curatorum' in John Trevisa, Dialogus inter militum et clericum, ed. A. J. Perry, Early English Text Society, original series, 167 (London, 1925), pp. 39-93.

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In these notes, which are entirely his own composition, Foxe's makes it clear why he devoted so much space to Fitzralph and the 'Defensio curatorum': Foxe regarded it as a faithful description of the corruption not only of the mendicant orders but of the entire medieval church.

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The remaining biographical material on Fitzralph and the descriptions of those who oppossed him all come from Bale, Catalogus, p. 445.

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Fitzralph died in Avignon (three, not seven or eight years) after he made his final voyage there, but he was not in exile. Rather he was prosecuting his case in the papal court against the mendicant orders.

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This information about the Irish Bibles is Foxe's own addition to the account, as is his completely unfounded surmise that Fitzralph had something to do with them.

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The following account of Fitzralph's life - including the citations of Thomas Netter and other writers - is taken entirely from John Bale, Catalogus, pp. 443-5.

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Bale was a great admirer of John Baconthorpe and here he exaggerates Baconthorpe's influence on Fitzralph. Actually there was not much connection between the two men and when Fitzralph was a student at Oxford, Baconthorpe was in Paris.

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This prayer is not mentioned by Bale. It was appended to Fitzralph's Summa de questionibus Armenorum. Judging from Foxe's description he obtained a copy of the poem rather than a copy of the treatise.

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The material on Innocent III and Honorious III which follows is from Bale, Catalogus, p. 235. Bale cites 'Omnes utriusque sexus', but does not quote it verbatim.

1570 Edition, page 524 | 1576 Edition, page 427 | 1583 Edition, page 431[Back to Top]

Gregory IX's bull is taken from Matthew Paris' chronicle. (See Matthew Paris, Chronica majora, ed. H. R. Luard, Rolls Series, 7 vols. [London, 1872-88], vol. IV, pp. 512-17).

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Foxe drew the material on Celestine V and Innnocent IV from Bale, Catalogus, pp. 238 and 288, although one should note that even Bale does not imply any connection between Innocent IV's death and his opposition to the mendicant orders.

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This material on Alexander IV comes from Bale, Catalogus, p. 289.

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Nicholas Oresme

Foxe’s version of the sermon of Nicole Oresme is taken entirely from Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Strasbourg, 1562), pp. 512-519. Nicole Oresme (c. 1320-1382) was a cleric and scholar, most famous today for his writings on mathematics, astronomy and economics. He was also a protégé of Charles V and John the Good. In preaching this sermon to Urban V, Oresme was preaching to the choir; Urban vigorously tried to reform the abuses Oresme described. Ironically, the more reform-minded medieval clerics denounced ecclesiastical abuses, the more they supplied Foxe and Flacius with material to characterize the papacy and the medieval church as inherently evil.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

1570 Edition, page 532 | 1576 Edition, page 434 | 1583 Edition, page 438[Back to Top]

Foxe is taking his account of Urban V from Bale, Catalogus, pp. 437-8. Guillaume de Gimoard, who became Urban V, was a Frenchman with a distinguished career as a scholar and a diplomat. Because England, at this time controlled much of what is now south-western France, Guillaume’s father was an English subject, but he was not English.

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At this time, the papal court was in Avignon, not Rome.

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This description of the wars of Urban V comes from Sabellicus, in his Enneads (see Sabellicus, Opera omnia [Basel, 1560], cols. 817-21). Bale had referred to this account (Catalogus, p. 438), but he had not provided the details. Foxe felt that the issue of papal territorial aggression was sufficiently important for him to look up Bale’s source for himself.

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This is Cardinal Gil √Ālvarez Caurillo de Albornoz, whom Pope Urban V placed in charge of restoring papal control over the papal territories in Italy. While the papacy was in Avignon, its control over central Italy had been lost..

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This description of the wars of Urban V comes from Sabellicus, in his Enneads (see Sabellicus, Opera omnia [Basel, 1560], cols. 817-21). Bale had referred to this account (Catalogus, p. 438), but he had not provided the details. Foxe felt that the issue of papal territorial aggression was sufficiently important for him to look up Bale’s source for himself.

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Everything that follows to the end of Oresme’s sermon is a direct translation of Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Strasbourg, 1562), pp. 512-519.

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Actually 1363.

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Nicholas Oresme

In this section Foxe follows two lines of attack on the medieval church which he followed throughout the pre-Reformation section of the Acts and Monuments. The first was to cite medieval critics - in this case St. Catherine of Siena and St. Bridget of Sweden - of the papacy as proof of its corruption. Foxe's source for this was Matthias Flacius's Catalogus Testium Veritatis. The second was to attack the papacy for usurping the authority of princes and to recount the struggles of monarchs, particularly English monarchs, to re-assert their control over the clergy in their realms. In this section, Foxe draws on the Parliament Rolls to print legislation of Edward III, notably the statutes of Provisors and Praemunire, which increased royal control over the clergy.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

1570 Edition, page 537 | 1576 Edition, page 438 | 1583 Edition, page 442[Back to Top]

Foxe's account of St. Catherine of Siena is taken from Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Strausburg, 1562), p. 523.

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Not the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) but the Jesuati, a penitential order founded by St. John Columbini around 1366. The order followed the rule of St Augustine and specialized in caring for the sick. It was suppressed by Clement IX in 1668. This account of the Jesuati is drawn from Bale's Catalogus, p. 438.

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Foxe is drawing this from the Parliament Rolls. See Rotuli Parliamentorum, ed. J. Strachey et al., 6 vols (London, 1783), II, p. 337.

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The following paragraph on Gregory IX returning the papacy to Rome is drawn from Sabellicus, Enneads, 3 vols. (Basel. 1560), II, col. 824.

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The following two paragraphs on repeated, through inadvertence, a few pages later.

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This material on the the efforts by Edward III and his parliaments to limit papal jurisdiction in England, culminating in the statutes of Provisors and Praemunire, comes from the Parliament Rolls. See Rotuli Parliamentorum, ed. J. Strachey et al., 6 vols. (London, 1783), II, pp. 228, 283-5 and 377.

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This is the first statute of Provisors (1351), which barred any foreigner, particularly the pope, from appointing clergy to English benefices.

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This is the first statute of Praemunire (1353), which forbade appeals from English courts to Rome.

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Foxe's account of St. Bridget of Sweden is taken from Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Strausburg, 1562), p. 528.

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Anti-papal writers

This section describing various late medieval anti-papal writers isdrawn entirely from Matthais Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis and John Bale's Catalogus. Listing these writers not only underlined putative papal corruption, it also suggested that there were members of the True Church before Luther. Foxe often garbles the names or details of this figures, sometimes beyond recognition, because he knew nothing about them beyond what he read in Flacius. Yet, by including these figures, Foxe not only showed - to his own satisfaction at least - that there was a church before Luther, but that it included prominent and educated figures from all countries.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

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This account of Militizius and of the papal bull denouncing him comes from Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Strausburg, 1562), pp. 525-6.

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This is Foxe's mistake. Flacius declared that Militizius lived two hundred years before Hus, which would place him in the early thirteenth century.1366 was the date of Gregory XI's bull denouncing Militizius' heresies.

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I.e., money or wealth. See Matthew 6:4 and Luke 16.

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Henricus de Hassia is Henrich of Hesse (also known as Heinrich ofLangenstein, a fourtheenth-century German theologian and mathematician. Henricus de Iota is a virtually unrecognizable variant of Pierre d'Ailly, the famous fourteenth-century French theologian and philosopher. (Henricus is simply a mistake. 'Iota' is the Greek letter equivalent to 'I', which is roughly how Pierre's surname is pronoun-ced). Both men were hardly heterodox, but they were outspoken critics of ecclesiast-ical corruption and d'Ailly was a leading concialarist. Foxe took his accounts ofLangenstein and d'Ailly from Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Strausburg, 1562), p. 530.

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Jacobus Carthusianus is one of the names by which Jacob ofJ√ľterbogk, a fifteenth century theologian and canonist, was known. The book Foxe is citing is Jacob's De erroribus et moribus Christianorum (Lubeck, 1488). Jacob was rector of the University of Erfurt but he was not a bishop.

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The following examples of the persecution of members of the True Church (as Foxe saw it) came from Bale, Catalogus, pp. 207, 259, 359 and 500.

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In 1329, Pope John XXII condemned seventeen of Eckhart's teachings as heretical and eleven as suspicious. But Eckhart was never condemned as a heretic.

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This is actually John of Paris, who was French, not Bohemian. Foxe is simply repeating Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Strausburg, 1562), pp.523-4.

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This volume never appeared in print.

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The account of Mountziger is taken from Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Strausburg, 1562), p. 523.

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Latria is the worship that is reserved for God alone; Dualia, by contrast, is the reverence due to the saints and the Virgin Mary.

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Foxe drew his account of Nilus from Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Strausburg, 1562), p. 520.

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I.e., against the Roman Catholics.

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Foxe is referring to Nilus Cabislas, A briefe treatise, conteyning a playnedeclaration of the popes usurped primacy¬Ö, trans. T. Gressop (London, 1560), STC4325. This is a translation of Nilus Cabislas, De primatu papae. Flacius did not mention this translation; this citation is Foxe's insertion into the text.

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Apparently through inadvertance, the following two paragraphs were repeated after having been printed just a few pages earlier. The material in these paragraphs was taken from Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis(Strausburg, 1562), p. 524.

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Parliament Rolls

This section of the Acts and Monuments consists almost entirely of extracts taken from the Parliament Rolls in the Tower Records, of legislation enacted in the reign of Edward III curtailing papal jurisdiction over the English Church. (SeeRotuli Parliamentorum, ed. J. Strakey et al., 6 vols [London, 1783], II, pp. 143-5, 153-4, 162-3, 225, 228, 283-5, 289-90, 337-9 and 363-70). Foxe's purpose in presenting these documents was to demonstrate that papacy had placed an intolerablefinancial burden on the English and also to present Edward III as an examplar of the good monarch who fought papal attempts to 'usurp' royal power.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

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Foxe took this letter from College of Arms MS Arundel 7, which is a version of Thomas of Walsingham's Chronica majora. (See Thomae Walsingham,quondam monachi S. Alban, historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, 2 vols. [London,1863-4], I, p. 317.

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Utas or Utaves are a form of the word octaves; that is, the eighth dayfrom a religious feast day.

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I.e., 20 January 1332.

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9 February 1351.

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This piece of anti-papal hyperbole is in the statute and is not Foxe's invention (see Rotuli Parliamentorum, ed. J. Strakey et. al., 6 vols. [London, 1783],II, p. 228).

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I.e., 20 January 1365.

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28 April 1376.

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That is a clause guaranteeing that one reservation to a benefice tookprecedence over all others.

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John Wiclif's career

In the first edition of the Acts and Monuments, Foxe's account of the genesis of Wiclif's clashes with the Church consisted of a few nuggets of biographical data - Kenningham's attack on Wiclif, for example - and a great deal of assertion about the nobility of Wiclif and the base motives of his opponents. In the second edition, this was complemented by a detailed, if somewhat tendentious, account of Wiclif's position in the politics of the last days of Edward III's reign. Foxe derived all of this new material from BL, Harley MS 3634, a version of Thomas Walsingham's Chronica majora, which covered the years 1376-82. Foxe did not know that his source was written by Walsingham, but only that it was written by a monk of St. Alban's monastery and that is how he cites it. There were numerous versions of the Chronica majora and often Foxe would rely on the more detailed account in another manuscript version of Walsingham's chronicle - that contained in College of Arms MS 7. (Also Foxe seems to have owned Arundel MS 7, making it easier for him to access than BL MS Harley 3634, which he stated that he borrowed from Matthew Parker). The reason why MS Harley 3634 appealed to Foxe was that its bias worked in the martyrologist's polemical interest. When Walsingham began writing his chronicle, he was bitterly hostile to John of Gaunt, but his feelings toward the duke changed during the 1380s and later portions of his work portray him in a favourable light. Walsingham's animus towards Gaunt was of use to Foxe because it led the chronicler to emphasize the support Gaunt gave to Wiclif (whom Walsingham regarded as a detestable heretic). To Walsingham, this association was a powerful indication of Gaunt's corruption, but to Foxe it was valuable evidence that, from its beginnings, Lollardy had aristocratic, and even royal, support. This helped Foxe to remove any taint of subversiveness from Lollardy and also fit Foxe's theme that good princes opposed the Papacy and protected its critics. Chronicon Angliae, ab anno Domini 1328 usque ad annum 1388, ed. E. M. Thompson, Rolls Series 64 (London, 1874) contains a reliable edition of MS Harley 3634.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

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This summary of Wiclif's opinions is taken from the Chronicon Angliae, pp. 115-16.

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This discussion of Wiclif's views on the Sacrament is Foxe's insertion into the text and not from Walsingham.

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The following account of Gaunt's protection of Wiclif, Gaunt's angry encounter with Bishop Courtney, and the Londoners rioting against the duke, is all taken from Walsingham's Chronicon Angliae, pp. 117-26. Foxe follows Walsingham's account quite closely but his interpretation of events is the inverse of Foxe's: Walsingham viewed John of Gaunt and Wiclif as vilains, Foxe regarded them as heroes.

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I.e., only

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I.e. servants or adherents.

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This is a good example of Foxe taking his material from Walsingham, but reading a different interpretation into events.

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This is Foxe's very garbled version of the name Sir Aubrey de Vere.

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Wiclif's debates with John Kenningham, a Carmelite friar at Oxford, took place sometime around 1372-3. Foxe knew about the debates from the partial record of them in Bodley MS e Museo 86, fos. 8v-34r and from Bale, Catalogus, pp. The description of Wiclif going on to attack the Sacrament is from Bodley MS e Museo 86, fo. 35v.

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In 1376 Wiclif received the prebend of Caistor in Lincoln, but he was displaced by Philip Thornbury, the papal provisor in 1377. Wiclif's loss of this benefice appears to have been due to Thornbury having more influential supporters, not to Wiclif's religious beliefs. Foxe also fails to mention that Wiclif held the rectory of Lutterworth, Leicestershire, from 1374 until his death.

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The account of of the twelve lords and knights appointed to oversee Edward III's heir - the future Richard II - during his minority comes from the Chronicon Angliae, pp. 69-70.

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I.e., an ague or fever.

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Foxe's account of Alice Perrers, Edward III's mistress, is taken from the Chronicon Angliae, pp. 98-99 and 143.

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The passage describing John of Gaunt dismissing the council of twelve is taken from the Chronicon Angliae, p. 103.

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The account of William Wykeham's clash with John of Gaunt is taken from the Chronicon Angliae, pp. 106-7 and 114. Wykeham, who was the Lord Chancellor, was one of those seeking to dislodge John of Gaunt from power in the closing years of Edward III's reign.

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The story that Wykeham told tales that John of Gaunt was not really the son of Edward IIII is from Walsingham's Chronicon Angliae (p. 107), but the claim that Wykeham slandered Gaunt because of the duke's support for Wiclif is Foxe's invention and insertion.

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Hugh Despenser, bishop of Norwich

Foxe drew this account of an altercation between Henry Despenser, the bishop of Norwich and the town of Bishop's Lynn (now King's Lynn) from BL, Harley 3634, a version of Thomas Walsingham's Chronica majora which covered the years 1376-82. (Foxe obtained this manuscript from Matthew Parker). Although Walsingham had little use for Despenser, whom Walsingham depicted as immature, ignorant, arrogant and headstrong, Foxe liberally strewed adjectives and editorial judgements through this account, denigrating Despenser further than Walsingham had done. Foxe's purpose in relating this episode was, as he declared, to portray the temporal pride and claims to secular jurisdiction of the medieval clergy.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

1570 Edition, page 549 | 1576 Edition, page 448 | 1583 Edition, page 452[Back to Top]

I.e. Lynn.

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Foxe's syntax is unclear here, but what he is saying is that Despenser took offence that the mayor of Bishop's Lynn was acting as if he was the lord of the city, when, in fact, Despenser, as bishop of Norwich, was just that.

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This is Foxe's characterization, and it is not from Walsingham.

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I.e. cowards.

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End of Edward III's reign

Apart from some closing comments praising Edward III for thwarting papal claims to jurisdiction over and in the English Church, which appeared in all editions from 1570 onwards, the material in this section consisted of a writ sent by Edward III in 1374 ordering that a list be made of English benefices held by foreigners and a list, dated in 1379, of ecclesiastical benefices in England, which were held by the cardinals. These materials came to Foxe from the Tower records and were added to the 1583 edition. Foxe's purpose in presenting these materials was to show that papal authority over the English Church placed much of its revenues in foreign hands and materially weakened both the monarch and the kingdom.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

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I.e., Lynn.

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This quotation is from College of Arms MS Arundel 7, a transcript of Thomas of Walsingham's Chronica majora, covering the years 1377-82. (See Thomas Walsingham , quondam monachi S. Albani historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, 2 vols., Rolls Series 64 [1874], I, pp. 327-8).

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This is Foxe's opinion, not Walsingham's.

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Papal condemnation of Wiclif

Almost all of Foxe's account of Wiclif during the turbulent years of 1377-8 is taken from the version of Thomas Walsingham's chronicle contained in College of Arms MS 7. This MS was printed as the Historia Anglicana and reliably edited by H. T. Riley for the Rolls Society No. 28. 2 vols. (London, 1863-4). Although Foxe had this MS in his possession since the early 1550s - it was a work he drew on extensively for the Commentarii - he seems to have re-consulted it before composing this section of the 1570 edition, as new material from Arundel 7 is added to it. Gregory XI's letter to Richard II, the interventions of Sir Lewis Clifford and the London mob on Wiclif's behalf, Wiclif's protestation of his innocence, his conclusions and his commentary on the articles attributed to him, the deaths of Gregory XI and Archbishop Sudbury, and William Berton's persecution all appear in the Commentarii (fos. 10v-12r and 15r-27r) and are reprinted faithfully in Rerum (pp. 5 and 7-13) and in all editions of the Acts and Monuments. (Gregory XI's bull, Wiclif's commentary and the account of Berton's persecution are taken from the Fasciculi Zizaniorum but all the other material came from Arundel MS 7). A sharp denunciation of the iniquity of executing people deemed to be heretics was printed in the Commentarii (fos. 12r-15r), reprinted in the Rerum (pp. 6-7) and the 1563 edition, but was dropped thereafter. In the 1570 edition, Foxe added the articles from Wiclif's sermons, background to Gregory XI's bull and an expanded version of Wiclif's conclusions, all taken from Arundel MS 7. He also added a summary of the papal schism which broke out after Gregory XI's death, which is taken from Bale's Catalogus. There were no further changes to this material in subsequent editions.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

1570 Edition, page 550 | 1576 Edition, page 449 | 1583 Edition, page 454[Back to Top]

Marsilius of Padua and John of Jandun were two fourteenth century scholastics who attacked claims of papal power and jurisdiction. They would have agreed with Wiclif that princes had independent status from papal authority; they would not have agreed with Wiclif's sacramental theology.

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These conclusions of Wiclif are taken from Arundel 7; see Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, Rolls Society 28, 2 vols.(London, 1863-4), I, pp. 353-5. Foxe's version of them is accurate.

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This conclusion is a slap at the notorious Donation of Constantine; it is not saying that it is a forgery, it is saying that it lacks legal or moral validity.

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The following account, of Wiclif being summoned to Lambeth and of Sir Lewis Clifford's orders - Foxe does not say so, but Clifford was sent by Joan of Kent, the mother of the king - that Wiclif not be sentenced come from Arundel 7. (See Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, Rolls Series 28, 2 vols. [London, 1863-4], I, p. 356).

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This passage was added in 1570; it comes from Arundel 7 (see Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, Rolls Series 28, 2 vols. [London, 1863-4], I, p. 356).

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Wiclif's protestation is actually a preamble to his commentary on the articles attributed to him. Foxe had access to two sources that contained both the protestation and the commentary. These were Arundel 7 and the Fasciculi Zizaniorum. Foxe followed the longer version of the protestation in Arundel 7 (see Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, Rolls Series 28, 2 vols. [London, 1863-4], I, p. 357), although he gave the version of the commentary found in the Fasciculi Zizaniorum.

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Foxe's source for Wiclif's commentary on the articles attributed to him is the Fasciculi Zizaniorum (see Bodley Library MS, Musaeo 86, fos. 64v-66v). Foxe's version is an accurate reproduction of what is in the Fasciculi Zizaniorum.

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Foxe is taking his material on the pontificate of Urban VI from Bale, Catalogus, pp. 439-40 and 487.

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Foxe very probably took these brief mentions of the death of Archbishop Sudbury and of the succession of William Courtenay to his see, from Arundel 7 (see Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, Rolls Series 28, 2 vols. [London, 1863-4], I, p. 461 and II, p. 49).

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Actually his grandfather's steps - Richard II was Edward III's grandson.

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Foxe's account of Berton's persecution of Wiclif and his followers is taken from the Fasciculi Zizaniorum (Bodley Library MS, Musaeo 86, fos. 36r-39v).

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Foxe took these articles from Arundel MS 7 (see Historia Anglicana,ed. H. T. Riley, Rolls Society 28, 2 vols. [London, 1863-4], I, pp. 324-5). Foxe abridges these articles somewhat, but he is faithful to their general meaning.

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Foxe is taking this date straight from Arundel 7 (see Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, Rolls Society 28, 2 vols. [London, 1863-4], I, p. 345). Actually the bulls were received in Oxford a few days before Christmas 1377. As Foxe observes, after printing the bull, Gregory XI issued five bulls condemning the opinions of Wiclif; three of which were sent jointly to the archbishop of Canterbury and the bishop of London, a further one being sent to Richard II and the last one being sent to the chancellor of the University of Oxford. Foxe is reprinting the copy of the Oxford bull, contained in the Fasciculi Zianiorum.

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Foxe is taking the copy of the bull from the Fasciculi Zizaniorum - see Bodley Library MS, Musaeo 86, fos 63v-64r.

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i.e. 22 May 1377.

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These letters are copied in Arundel 7; see Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, Rolls Society 28, 2 vols. (London, 1863-4), I, pp. 348-52.

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Foxe took this letter from Arundel 7; cf. Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, Rolls Society 28, 2 vols. (London, 1863-4), I, pp. 352-3.

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Earthquake synod [1382]

Foxe's account of the Blackfriars council and his printing of the condemned articles of John Wiclif came from the Fasciculi Zizaniorum. This material was first published in the Commentarii (fos. 27r-29v) and reprinted in the Rerum (pp. 13-14) as well as all editions of the Acts and Monuments. Foxe also added two stories concerning near-miraculous events associated with Wiclif to the Rerum (p. 13); these stories were reprinted in the 1563 edition and then deleted. In the 1570 edition, Foxe also added additional material from the Fasciculi Zizaniorum and from the register of Archbishop William Courtney.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

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In fact, Wiclif was not present at the Blackfriars council.

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Foxe's source for this document is indeed Lambeth Palace Library, Courtney Register, fo. 25r.

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24 articles attributed to Wiclif were condemned by the Blackfriars Council. Ten were condemned as heretical. Foxe omits the sixth of these which stated the God ought to obey the devil. Needless to say, Wiclif believed no such thing and, in fact, similar charges were often made against notorious heretics. Foxe's source for these articles was the Fasiculi Zizaniorum (see Bodley Library MS, Musaeo 86, fo. 71r-v).

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Note Foxe's concern in his marginal notes, to qualify this article.

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The names of the clerics condemning these articles were only added in the 1570 edition; Foxe's source for this was the Fasciculi Zizaniorum (see Bodley Library MS, Musaeo 86, fo. 74r).

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Persecution of Lollards in Oxford

Foxe's description of events is not clear, so a word of explanation is in order. Robert Rygge, who was elected chancellor of Oxford in the first half of 1381, openly supported Wiclif's followers and associates in the university. Althouh Rygge was not a follower of Wiclif himself, he was an opponent of the friars, who were the chief adversaries of the Lollards. The friars, in turn, were supported by Archbishop William Courtenay. In 1382, Rygge appointed two of the chief Lollards in Oxford, Nicholas Hereford and Philip Repingdon, to preach the Ascension Day and Corpus Christi Day sermons respectively. The attacks on the friars in these sermons ignited a firestorm. At the same time, Rygge, citing Oxford's immunity from ecclesiastical jurisdiction, refused to publish either Courtenay's inhibitions against Wiclif's followers or the list of propositions attributed to Wiclif and condemned as heretical at the Blackfriars council. Rygge and his associate Thomas Brightwell were summoned before Courtenay and forced to submit. On 15 June, the Blackfriars decrees were published in Oxford, with the result that Wiclif's followers within the University were subject to prosecution. Rygge still did what he could for them, suspending the Cistercian Dr Henry Crump for attacking the Lollards. Rygge was summoned before the king's council in July and forced to reinstate Crump and investigate heresy in the University. On 15 June, when the Blackfriars decrees were published, Hereford, Repingdon and another Oxford Lollard, John Aston, were summoned before a second session of the Blackfriars council. On 1 July they were condemned as heretics and excommunicated. Aston and Repingdon publicly abjured on 18 November 1382. Hereford appealed to the pope and went to Rome where he was imprisoned.

In the Commentarii, Foxe drew on the Fasciculi Zizaniorum (Bodley Library MS Musaeo e 86) for an account of Rygge's protection of the Lollards at Oxford, and the prosecutions of Hereford, Repingdon and Aston (see Commentarii, fos. 29v-32r). This material was reprinted in the Rerum (pp. 14-15). In the 1563 edition, Foxe added praise of Oxford. In the 1570 edition, Foxe added detail, particularly on Hereford, Repingdon and Aston, taken from Archbishop Courtenay's register. This completely superseded the material on 1563 ( pp. 101-3) which was taken from the Fasciculi Zizaniorum and was less complete and accurate. In the 1583 edition, Foxe added a statute against the Lollards and a statute repealing it, both taken from the Tower records.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

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This account of the examinations of Nicholas Hereford, Philip Repingdon and John Aston before the Blackfriars council on 18 June 1382; see Lambeth Palace Library, Courtenay Register, fo. 28r.

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I.e. 1382.

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Foxe is slightly in error here; John Aston refused to provide a written defence of his views. What is printed below is the defence of Hereford and Repingdon from Archbishop Courtenay's register (Lambeth Palace Library, Courtenay Register, fo. 29r).

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This is Archbishop Courtenay's response to the defence presented by Nicholas Hereford and Philip Repingdon. It is an official warning that their views are unacceptable and will be pronounced heretical. The document is copied from Lambeth Palace Library, Courtenay Register, fo. 29v.

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Unlike the warning to Hereford and Repingdon, this warning to Aston, who presented only a verbal defence to the Blackfriars council, was followed by excommunication and condemnation for heresy. These documents are copied from Lambeth Palace Library, Courtenay Register, fos. 29v-30r.

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This note of the appearances of Hereford, Repingdon and Thomas Hillman before Archbishop Courtenay comes Lambeth Palace Library, Courtenay Register, fo. 30r.

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The following section, on a statute authorizing the arrest of unlicensed preachers, as well as Foxe's claim that the statute was invalid and the petition to repeal the stature, were all added only in the 1583. The statute and the petition came from the Tower Records (see Rotuli Paliamentorum, 6 vols. {London, 1783], III, p. 141).

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This is Foxe's own analysis of the validity of this statute and it is very similar to arguments that he made against the validity of anti-heresy legislation passed under Henry IV (see C 148/1). These arguments are anachronistic: they assume that because it was necessary for the Commons to assent to legislation in the sixteenth century, it was therefore necessary for them to have done so in the fourteenth century. Foxe's purpose here is a deeply personal one: to demonstrate that no valid anti-heresy laws had been enacted in England.

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Utas are octaves, that is the eighth day after a particular feast day. The Utas of St. Michael are the eighth day after the feast of St. Michael or 6 October.

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This letter authorizing the archbishop and his suffragans to imprison Wiclif's followers is copied from Archbishop Courtenay's register; see Lambeth Palace Library, Courtenay Register, fo. 31r.

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Foxe's account of Hereford's and Repingdon's sermons, and Rygge's initial defiance of Courtenay comes from the Fasciculi Zizaniorum (see Bodley MS Musaeo e 86, fos. 76r-77v).

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The correct date is 26 June 1382.

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The condemnation and excommunication of Hereford and Repingdon are taken from Archbishop Courtenay's register; see Lambeth Palace Library, Courtenay Register, fo. 30v.

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I.e., announcing, not denouncing in the modern sense of the word. This is an order from Archbishop Courtenay commanding that the excommunications of Hereford and Repingdon be announced at Paul's Cross. It is copied from Lambeth Palace Library, Courtenay Register, fo. 30v.

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This order is copied from Lambeth Palace Library, Courtenay Register,fo. 32r.

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Richard II's letter to Rygge is copied from Lambeth Palace Library, Courtenay Register, fo. 31r-v.

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Richard II's second letter to Rygge is copied from Lambeth Palace Library, Courtenay Register, fo. 31v.

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This letter is copied from Lambeth Palace Library, Courtenay Register, fo. 32r.

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The date of this letter is actually 30 July 1382. The letter is in Lambeth Palace Library, Courtenay Register, fo. 32r..

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Foxe is refering to a description of Repingdon's abjuration in Lambeth Palace Library, Courtenay Register, fo. 32v.

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Foxe is drawing on Archbishop Courtenay's register for his account of what transpired in the Convocation of 1382; see Lambeth Palace Library, Courtenay Register, fos. 33r-34r.

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These articles from Repingdon's sermon are taken from the Fasciculi Zizaniorum (see Bodley MS Musaeo e 86, fo. 76r). Foxe omits Repingdon's declaration that Wiclif's belief in the sacrament was in agreement with that of the Catholic Church.

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Philip Repingdon's abjuration is copied from Lambeth Palace Library, Courtenay Register, fo. 34v.

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Foxe is drawing his account of John Aston's refusal to plead or abjure from Lambeth Palace Library, Courtenay Register, fo. 32v.

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This is Robert Rygge, it is just that he is misidentified in Courtenay's register.

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This expression of uncertainty about John Aston's fate comes from a British Library, Harley MS 3634, a version of Thomas Walsingham's Chronica majora which Foxe obtained from Matthew Parker. This manuscript is printed as Chronicon Angliae, ed. E. M. Thompson, Rolls Series 64 (London, 1874); this material is on p. 350. This replaces Foxe's earlier account of Aston (on 1563, p. 102), which based largely on Bale's notes in the Fasciculi Zizaniorum (Bodley Library MS Musaeo e 86, fos. 80v-81r). For the record, Aston abjured in November 1382, but soon withdrew his recantation and resumed a career as a Lollard preacher. He died by 1407..

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Actually Nicholas Hereford appealed his case to Rome, and, evading arrest, journeyed there in person. Urban VI had him imprisoned, but Hereford escaped in 1385. He returned to England and was imprisoned in January 1387, but he was free by the summer. He remained an important disseminator of Lollard ideas, but he made his peace with the authorities. He held various offices in the Church, including a stint as chancellor of St. Paul's cathedral and as chancellor of the diocese of Hereford.

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This letter is copied from Lambeth Palace Library, Courtenay Register, fol. 69r.

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This is not actual letter Richard II wrote. It is instead a fictional composition - and described as such - which Foxe wrote and presents what he feels Richard II should have said.

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This brief description of the examinations of Rygge and Brightwell is taken from Archbishop Courtenay's register (Lambeth Palace Library, Courtenay Register, fo. 26v).

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This letter is taken from Archbishop Courtenay's register (Lambeth Palace Library, Courtenay Register, fos. 26v-27r).

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The man's name was Lawrence Bedeman; 'Readman' is a typographical error.

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I.e. warning or admonition.

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This letter is taken from Archbishop Courtenay's register; see Lambeth Palace Library, Courtenay Register, fo. 27v.

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Wiclif and Urban VI

In the Commentarii, Foxe wrote that Wiclif was banished (this is an error Foxe derived from John Bale), but that he returned to Lutterworth where he died.Forty years later, at the pope's command, Wiclif's bones were exhumed and burned and their ashes cast into a river (Commentarii, fos. 32r-v). This was based on information gleaned from Bale's writings (see Bale, Summarium, fos. 155r and 157v as well as Select Works of John Bale, ed. Henry Christmas, Parker Society (Cambridge, 1849), p. 394). In the Commentarii, Foxe also wrote praising Bale for his work in recovering Lollard documents and he produced Wiclif's letter to Urban VI which was copied from the Fasciculi Zizaniorum (cf. Bodley Library, Musaeo e 86, fo. 83r-v with Commentarii, fos. 33r-34v). Foxe also printed another document, copied from the Fasciculi Zizaniorum, Wiclif's public response to questions put to him by Richard II and the Privy Council (cf. Bodley Library, Musaeo e 86, fos. 66v-67v with Commentarii, fos. 34v-37r).

This material was reprinted without change in the Rerum (pp. 15-17) except that Foxe added a reference to the archbishop of Prague burning Wiclif's books; this came from Bale, Summarium fo. 157v (cf. Rerum, p. 15). This material was translated into the 1563 edition without any change. In 1570, Foxe, however, made some corrections, conceding that Wiclif may not have gone into exile and correcting the date of his death. Foxe also added an account of the disastrous 'crusade' Henry Despenser, the bishop of Norwich, led against the French; this account was taken from College of Arms MS Arundel 7, a version of Thomas of Walsingham's Chronica majora. The version of all of these documents and events in the 1570 edition was reprinted without change in 1576 and 1583.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

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In the Commentarii (fo. 32r-v) and the Rerum (p. 15) Foxe wrote that Wiclif had probably been exiled, that he returned home and died in Lutterworth in 1387. Foxe repeated this in the 1563 edition (p. 98). Foxe was basing this on Bale - although significantly, Foxe was more tentative about the exile than Bale had been (See Bale, Summarium, fos. 155r and 157v). In fact, Wiclif had not been exiled and Foxe replaced this with an even more tentative passage in the 1570 edition. In the second edition, Foxe also corrected the date of Wiclif's death to 1384.

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Foxe is quoting this passage from John Bale's The Image of Both Churches (see The Select Works of John Bale, ed. Henry Christmas, Parker Society [Cambridge, 1849], p. 394).

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Foxe is quoting Bale (Summarium, fo. 157v), not Aeneas Silvius Picclomini, for the archbishop of Prague burning Wiclif's books.

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In 1563, Foxe wrote a passage praising Bale for his work in recovering the works of Wiclif. In 1570 - the first edition of the Acts and Monuments printed after Bale's death - Foxe replaced this with a passage stating that he had discovered certain lost works of Wiclif. Of these, De veritate Scripturae was known to Bale, who had consulted the copy in Queens' College Cambridge (the Carmelite house in Cambridge where Bale had resided was just across the Cam). De Eucharistia confessio was part of the Fasciculii Zizaniorum which had belonged to Bale. There is a work by Wiclif titled De Ecclesia but this only survives in copies in Prague and Vienna. Foxe is probably referring to De fide catholica, which Bale referred to as De ecclesia catholica. In other words, Foxe was appropriating Bale's work. Interestingly, Foxe never compiled this projected collection of Wiclif's works.

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Wiclif's response to questions put to him by Richard II and the Privy Council is taken from the Fasciculi Zizaniorum (see Bodley Library MS Musaeo e 86, fos. 66v-67v). Foxe omitted much of Wiclif's reply, largely because of Wiclif's insistence that he believed in purgatory (cf. Bodley Library MS Musaeo e 86, fos 67v-68r).

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I.e., St. Bernard of Clairvaux in his De consideratione, which was written to Pope Eugenius III.

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In the Commentarii (fo. 32r-v) and the Rerum (p. 15) Foxe wrote that Wiclif had probably been exiled, that he returned home and died in Lutterworth in 1387. Foxe repeated this in the 1563 edition (p. 98). Foxe was basing this on Bale - although significantly, Foxe was more tentative about the exile than Bale had been (See Bale, Summarium, fos. 155r and 157v). In fact, Wiclif had not been exiled and Foxe replaced this with an even more tentative passage in the 1570 edition. In the second edition, Foxe also corrected the date of Wiclif's death to 1384.

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This letter is Wiclif's response to Urban VI's demand that he appear before the pope. Wisely, Wiclif decined to appear. The letter is reprinted from Bodley Library, Musaeo e 86, fo. 83r-v.

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Henry Despenser, the bishop of Norwich, had proposed - possibly at the instigation of Urban VI, to lead a military expedition into Flanders. To the English, this was simply another campaign in the Hundred Years War, with the strategic objective of harassing the French from the north. However, since the French were the chief supporters of the anti-pope Clement VII the expedition was also declared to be a crusade by Urban VI, who granted Despenser sweeping privileges to facilitate his raising and maintaining the expedition. (And since it was a crusade, most of the costs were shifted onto the clergy, thus pleasing both the Crown and the Commons who were delighted at thought of an inexpensive war). Foxe drew his account of the 'crusade from the version of Thomas Walsingham's Chronica majora in College of Arms MS Arundel 7 (cf the printed version in Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, Rolls Series 28, 2 vols. [London, 1863-4], II, pp. 76-80 and 88-100. Foxe is interested in the episode largely to demonstrate the bloodthirsty nature of the Papacy and its devotion to political, rather than spiritual, objectives. As a result, Foxe dramatically compresses Walsingham's narrative, rendering the account of military operations somewhat unclear.

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I.e., to enlist on a crusade.

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This a papal bull granting Henry Despenser extraordinary powers to further his 'crusade'. It is taken from College of Arms MS Arundel 7 (see Thomas Walsingham, Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, Rolls Series 28, 2 vols. [London, 1863-4], vol. II, pp. 76-8).

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This is a copy of a plenary indulgence granted by Urban II to those who took part in Despenser's 'crusade'. Foxe is copying this from College of Arms MS Arundel 7 (see Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, Rolls Series 28, 2 vols. [London, 1863-4], II, pp. 79-80).

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This account of Despenser's crusade is taken from College of Arms MS Arundel 7 (see Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, Rolls Series 28, 2 vols [London, 1863-4], II pp. 88-93. Foxe's concern throughout is to emphasize prelatical cruelty, not to supply a lucid narrative of military events. In a nutshell, in May 1383 Despenser won a victory over a French force near Dunkirk and he captured a number of towns in the area. During the summer he unsuccessfully besieged Ypres, losing a large number of his men. In August he rashly invaded Picardy but the arrival of a much larger French army under Charles VI forced him to surrender at Gravelines in mid September.

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John of Gaunt, the most powerful figure at court, opposed Despenser's expedition, preferring a campaign, to be led by himself, against French allies in Spain. Despenser was concerned that the king, under Gaunt's influence, was summoning him back to court to cancel his expedition.

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Wiclif's supporters

In the Commentarii, Foxe related that Wiclif had a number of supporters among the upper classes. These included six knights: John Clanvow, Lewis Clifford, Richard Stury, Thomas Latimer and William Neville, as well as John Montague, later the earl of Salisbury. Wiclif was also supported by the mayor of London, John Northampton, who was zealous in his prosecution of offenders against public morals. (See Commentarii, fos. 37v-38r). This material was reprinted without change in the Rerum (p. 18) and it was translated faithfully in the first edition of the Acts and Monuments. Foxe's source for these passages was the version of Thomas Walsingham's Chronica Maiora found in College of Arms MS Arundel 7. In the 1570 edition, Foxe added to this narrative by drawing on another version of Walsingham's Chronica Majora, this time in BL MS Harley 3634, for an account of the earl of Salisbury doing penance and for further details of Northampton's crack-down on vice. In the Rerum, Foxe also printed two documents, both drawn from the 1558 edition of Hus' writings which Matthias Flacius edited. These were a testimony putatively from Oxford University, attesting to Wiclif's learning and good character (Rerum, p. 24) and Hus's defence of Wiclif (Rerum, pp. 24-25). These documents were translated and reprinted in each edition of the Acts and Monuments.

Foxe's purpose in printing this material was twofold. The first was to demonstrate that Wiclif's followers were drawn from the elite and were not seditious rabble as Catholic polemicists charged. The second was to burnish Wiclif's reputation by demonstrating that his contemporaries and even the great (in Protestant eyes) Jan Hus admired and supported him.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

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If Hus is correct about this, it may indicate that the 'testimony' from Oxford was produced by English supporters of Wiclif.

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Foxe drew the names of these influential supporters of Lollardy from College of Arms MS Arundel 7, which was a version of Thomas of Walsingham's Chronica Majora. (See Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, Rolls Series 28, 2 vols [London, 1863-4], II, pp. 65, 216 and 244). These figures were - with the exception of Montagu - knights, not nobles, but they were all figures of importance at the court of Richard II. They were also a remarkably cohesive group, appearing in the records as co-feoffees, fellow executors and in other associations. As for their Lollardy, it appears to have covered a spectrum of belief. Beyond his association with the others, there is no evidence supporting Walsingham's accusations against Stury. The evidence about Montagu's religious beliefs is contradictory, but contrary to Walsingham, he travelled with a portable altar and attended Mass daily. Lollard sentiments have been read into a religious treatise written by John Clanvow. Lewis Clifford was a close associate of John of Gaunt, so Clifford's unquestioned interventions on behalf of Wiclif may have been politically motivated. But Lewis was an executor of Thomas Latimer's outspokenly heretical will and Clifford chose as his executors Sir John Oldcastle and two other suspected Lollards. William Neville intervened on behalf of Wiclif's follower Nicholas Hereford when he was arrested. Thomas Latimer was a known protector of several Lollards and owned religiously suspect books.

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Foxe is confused here. Sir John Montagu was the earl of Salisbury in question; he inherited the title in 1397. Foxe added the account of Montagu's contempt for the sacrament to the 1570 edition; he obtained it from another version of Thomas Walsingham's Chronica Majora, BL Harley MS 3634. (See Chronicon Angliae, ed. E. M. Thompson, Rolls Series 64 [London, 1874], p. 283).

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Foxe added the details of Northampton's activities as mayor to the 1570 edition, he drew them from BL Harley MS 3634, see Chronicon Angliae, ed. E. M. Thompson, Rolls Series 64 [London, 1874], pp. 349-52 and 377.

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Foxe means a literal plague; when this passage was written, London was suffering from an epidemic.

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This document, dated in 1406, is not from Oxford University and it was written by followers of Wiclif. The interesting question is whether it was composed by English or Bohemian admirers of Wiclif. Although the document's Oxford provenance is spurious, Foxe printed it in good faith. He copied the document from Johannis Hus et Hieronymi Pragensis confesorum Christi historia et monumenta, 2 vols. (Nuremburg, 1558), II, fo. 367v. Foxe first printed this document in Rerum, p. 24.

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This passage demonstrates that while the 1406 date of the letter may or may not be genuine, it was written before Wiclif's body was exhumed and burned in 1428. Further evidence will demonstrate that the 'testimony' was written before 1411.

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Foxe first printed this defence of Wiclif in the Rerum (pp. 24-25) and he derived it from Johannis Hus et Hieronymi Pragensis confessorum Christi historia et monumenta, 2 vols. (Nuremburg, 1558), I, fos. 108v-109v. It originally came from a work of Hus's, defending Wiclif against the 'calumnies' of 'John' (actually Peter) Stokes, an English Carmelite, written in 1411.

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Since Hus wrote this defence in 1411, and since Hus is citing the 'testimony' from Oxford, it follows that the 'testimony' was written before 1411 and that its 1406 date may well be genuine.

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Wiclif and the Council of Constance

The list of followers of Wiclif who were persecuted after his death, is taken from John Bale's notes in the Fasciculi Zizaniorum, and was first printed in the Commentarii. Most of the material that Foxe has on Wiclif and the Council of Constance, however, was added in the Rerum. The reason for this is that Foxe acquired the two sources that he would use for this material, Ortwin Gratius's collection of documents, the Fasciculis rerum expetendarum et fugiendarum (Cologne, 1535) and Matthias Flacius's edition (anonymously edited) of Jan Hus's writings, Johannis Hus et Hieronymi Pragensis confessorum Christi Historia et Monumenta (Nuremburg, 1558), while he was in exile, working on the Rerum. Foxe would use the former for the documents coming out of the Council of Constance and the latter for Hus's defense of Wiclif's doctrines. The material in the Rerum was translated into the 1563 edition without much change, apart from the articles of Wiclif which were condemned at Constance; Foxe saw fit to emend these. In the 1570 edition this material was somewhat re-arranged and Hus's long defence of Wiclif dropped. However, Foxe did add, in this edition, articles alleged against Wiclif by the Franciscan William Woodford, a contemporary of Wiclif's at Oxford and a bitter critic of his teachings. Woodford's articles were taken from Ortwin Gratius's compilation. There was no change made to the material on Wiclif and the Council of Constance in the 1576 edition. In the 1583 edition, Hus's defense of Wiclif, which had been omitted since 1563, was reinserted into the text.

Foxe's purposes in producing these documents were twofold. First of all, in many cases (and Foxe generally removed the exceptions), the teachings of Wiclif denounced as heretical, accorded reasonably well with Protestant beliefs and practices, thus helping to make the case that Protestantism was not an invention of Martin Luther's. Jan Hus's warm embrace of Wiclif's doctrines only strengthened this position. And the condemnation of Wiclif, the burning of his remains and the persecution of his followers helped establish Wiclif - somewhat against the odds - as a martyr and his enemies as members the False Church.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

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Woodford's articles against Wiclif come from Ortwin Gratius, Fasciculis rerum expetendarum et fugiendarum (Cologne, 1535), fo. 95v. These are reprinted in the 1570 and subsequent editions, with no significant alterations to the original.

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In the Rerum, Foxe printed Jan Hus's public defence of some of the articles charged against of Wiclif. These were taken from Johannis Hus et Hieronymi Pragensis confessorum Christi Historia et Monumenta, 2 vols. (Nuremburg, 1558), I, fos, 111r-121r and 124r-128r with Rerum, pp. 28-52. This material was translated with reasonable accuracy in 1563, but dropped from the next two editions. It was reprinted, however, in the 1583 edition.

1583 Edition, page 474[Back to Top]

Because Hus referred to Hildegard of Bingen in his defence of the seventeenth article attributed to Wiclif, Foxe inserts here, in the 1563 edition, the section on Hildegard from Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis [Strasbourg, 1562], pp. 391-3. (Confusingly, Foxe had already printed this material in 1563, fo. (71)r-v; 1570, pp. 340-341; 1576, p. 264 and 1583, pp. 260-261). The Hildegard passage would be reprinted, along with everything else in the 1563 version of Hus's defence of Wiclif, in the 1583 edition.

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At this point, the citation of Flacius ends and the text resumes with Hus's defence of Wiclif.

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This decree is taken from Ortwin Gratius, Fasciculis rerum expetendarum et fugiendarum (Cologne, 1535), fos. 150v-151r. It was reprinted in the Rerum (pp. 22-23) and translated in all editions of the Acts and Monuments.

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This list of Wiclif's followers is taken from notes John Bale made in the Fasciculi Zizianorum (see Bodley Library MS Musaeo e 86, fos. 61v-63v). This list first appears in Commentarii, fo. 44r-v. It was reprinted in Rerum, pp. 20-21 and was subsequently in each edition of the Acts and Monuments.

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Laurence Bedeman or Beadman, not Readman.

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Foxe first printed this sentence in the Rerum (pp. 21-22) ; it was then translated and reprinted in every edition of the Acts and Monuments. Foxe was reprinting this sentence, accurately, from Ortwin Gratius, Fasciculus rerum expetendarum et fugiendarum (Cologne, 1535), fo. 150r-v.

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I.e. a favourer or supporter, but also a protector or patron.

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This list of articles is taken from Ortwin Gratius, Fasciculus rerum expetendarum et fugiendarum (Cologne, 1535), fos 140v-148r. This list is printed accurately in Rerum, pp. 25-7, except that Foxe dropped the Council's commentary on each article, and he garbled the final article beyond recognition. But beginning with 1563 edition, Foxe felt free to omit or modify certain articles.

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Caveat lector, this phrase is a warning that Foxe is not reproducing all of these articles.

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In every edition of the Acts and Monuments, Foxe omitted an article following this one, which condemned the doctrine, supposedly held by Wiclif, that all things happen from necessity (i.e. and not by God's will); cf. Ortwin Gratius, Fasciculus rerum expetendarum et fugiendarum (Cologne, 1535), fo. 144r and Rerum, p. 26.

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Foxe omits the key words here 'vel episcopi autoritate' [or by the authority of a bishop]; cf. Ortwin Gratius, Fasciculis rerum expetendarum et fugiendarum (Cologne, 1535), fo. 147r and Rerum, p. 27. The reason for this alteration was that, in the Church of England, preachers needed to secure licenses from the bishops to preach.

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The article following this one read, according to Gratius. 'Omnes religiones indifferentur introductae sunt diabolo' [All religions, without distinction, were invented by the devil]; cf. Ortwin Gratius, Fasciculus rerum expetendarum et fugiendarum (Cologne, 1535), fo. 148r). In the Rerum (p. 27), Foxe changed this to the meaningless 'Omnes religiones privatae, indifferentur, introductae non sunt Christo' [All private religions, without distinction, were not invented by Christ]. In the Acts and Monuments, Foxe simply dropped the offending article entirely.

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Actually 44 in Ortwin Gratius and the Rerum, and, thanks to deletions, 41 in all editions of the Acts and Monuments.

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William Swinderby

In the Commentarii (fos. 60v-61r), Foxe wrote that he had read an account in a 'vetustae historiae' [old history] of an elderly priest burned in Smithfield in 1401. (The 'vetustae historiae' was, in fact, College of Arms MS Arundel 7, a version of Thomas of Walsingham's Chronica Majora). Foxe speculated that this elderly priest was William Swinderby and reprinted the reference to the 'vetustae historiae' and his opinion that it referred to Swinderby in the Rerum (pp. 59-60) and in all of the editions of the Acts and Monuments. But in the 1570 edition, Foxe added a great deal more material about Swinderby. His account of Swinderby's trial and abjuration in Lincoln is taken from the Fasciculi Zizianniorum. The remaining material, concerning Swinderby's 1391 appearances before Bishop John Trefnant of Hereford come from Bishop Trefnant's register. Comments by Foxe indicate that he consulted the actual register and made a copy from it, and furthermore, that he had borrowed the register and had to return it. It seems likely that Bishop John Scory of Hereford, who had been bishop of Chichester under Edward VI, and who went into exile under Mary, procured the register for Foxe. The 1570 account of Swinderby was reprinted faithfully, without change, in all subsequent unabridged editions of the Acts and Monuments. Foxe concluded his account with his persistently held, but erroneous belief that Swinderby was executed. In fact, Swinderby was condemned by Trefnant in 1391, escaped from custody, appealed to Richard II, and by March 1392 was being sought in Wales. He eluded his pursuers and later researchers, and vanished from the historical record.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

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Trefnant apparently had obtained a transcript of Swinderby's trial and condemnation in Lincoln.

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Swinderby's answer to the charges to the articles against him is taken from Trefnant's register; see Registrum Johannis Trefnant Episcopi Herefordensis, ed. W. W. Capes, Canterbury and York Society 20 (London, 1916), pp. 237-51.

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I.e., obedient, submissive.

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I.e., before, aforesaid.

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I.e., their parishioners.

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This would seem to indicate that Foxe was working from a copy of the Trefnant register.

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This is a reference to Henry Despenser, bishop of Norwich, who led an expedition against the French; see 1570, pp. 528-9; 1576, pp. 424-5 and 1583, p. 428.

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The following five documents are citations for Swinderby to appear before Bishop John Trefnant from 5 July to 16 August 1391. These documents are all taken from Trefnant's register; see Registrum Johannis Trefnant Episcopis Herefordensis, ed. W. W. Capes, Canterbury and York Society 20 (London, 1916), pp. 251-55.

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This is another indication that Foxe was working from a copy of Trefnant's register. Apparently he had a copy made for himself because he states that at one time the original had been in his hands. Presumably the original was sent to him but had to be returned. The gap in the copy was substantial; Foxe summarises the material until well into Swinderby's second defence to Trefnant. The missing material can be found in Registrum Johannis Trefnant Episcopis, ed. W. W. Capes, Canterbury and York Society 20 (London, 1916), pp. 255-64. It consists of another failure of Swinderby to appear, a mandate from Trefnant ordering Swinderby to appear, and a plea from Swinderby's supporters.

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Foxe picks up in Swiderby's second defence of the articles charged against him. This material is taken from the register of Bishop Trefnant; see Registrum Johannis Trefnant Episcopis Herefordensis, ed. W. W. Capes, Canterbury and York Society 20 (London, 1916), pp. 264-70.

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Actually this trial took place in 1382. Foxe's account of it was entirely derived from the Fasciculi Zizanniorum (see Bodley Library MS Musaeo e 86, fos. 81v-82v).

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The sentence condemning Swinderby is copied from Trefnant's register; see Registrum Johannis Trefnant Episcopis Herefordensis, ed. W. W. Capes, Canterbury and York Society 20 (London, 1916), pp. 270-1.

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This appeal of his conviction, by Swinderby to Richard II, and the next document, Swinderby's appeal to Parliament, are copied from Trefnant's register; see Registrum Johannis Trefnant Episcopis Herefordensis, ed. W. W. Capes, Canterbury and York Society 20 (London, 1916), pp. 271-8.

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This is another gap caused by flaws in Foxe's transcript of Trefnant's register.

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The equivalent passage in the 1563 edition is much more neutral; by 1570 Foxe was ready to denounce Henry IV as a usurper.

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This 'old storie' was College of Arms Arundel MS 7, a version of Thomas Walsingham's Chronica Majora. See Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, 2 vols., Rolls Series 28 (London, 1863-4), II, p. 247. Foxe's speculation that this unnamed figure, burned at Smithfiels in 1401, was Swinderby was unfounded.

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I.e., John Buckingham, bishop of Lincoln.

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Foxe is alluding to to the early modern belief that spiders ingested ordinary liquids and turned them into venom.

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Swinderby was charged with sixteen articles (reproduced in Registrum Johannis Trefnant, Episcopi Herefordensis, ed. W. W. Capes, Canterbury and York Society 20 {London, 1916], pp. 365-6). What Foxe is listing are the six errors and five heresies Swinderby abjured. Foxe presents them accurately - at least as they were presented in the Fasciculi Zizanniorum - but he re-arranges the order in which they are given.

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Foxe claims that this accusation was made falsely because it is the only one that Foxe disagrees with. Like almost all magisterial Protestants, Foxe held that a sacrament was binding even if the priest conducting it was in mortal sin. This was one area where many Lollards, including Swinderby, held views which Foxe felt were erroneous.

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Specifically out of the register of Bishop John Trefnant of Hereford. On 30 June 1391, Swinderby, who must have emigrated from Leicester to Herefordshire, appeared before Trefnant to answer charges of heresy. He was allowed to leave because he had been granted a safe conduct. In the following months Swinderby was summoned to appear again before Trefnant and refused, although he sent another document defending his position. In October, Swinderby finally appeared and submitted another, longer, defence of his position. He was then condemned for heresy.

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The process against Swinderby in June 1391 is taken from Trefnant's register; see Registrum Johannis Trefnant Episcopi Herefordensis, ed. W. W. Capes, Canterbury and York Society 20 (London, 1916), pp. 231-2.

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These are the charges made against Swinderby in June 1391. They are taken from Trefnant's register; see Registrum Johannis Trefnant Episcopi Herefordensis, ed. W. W. Capes, Canterbury and York Society 20 (London, 1916), pp. 233-6.

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Walter Brute

The background of Walter Brut, or Brit, remains obscure. From 1391-3, he was tried for heresy by John Trefnant, the bishop of Hereford, and most of our information about him comes from the records of that trial, which were preseved in Trefnant's register. Brut described himself as 'laycus' (layman) and 'agricola' (farmer) and as 'a Britonibus ex utraque parente originem habens' (having a Welsh origin from both parents); see Registrum Johannis Trefnant, Episcopi Herefordensis, ed. W. W. Capes, Canterbury and York Society (London, 1916), p. 285. But he was clearly well-educated, fluent in Latin, and with a ready knowledge of scripture, canon law and history. (The best discussion of Brut's background and education is Anne Hudson, '"Laicus litteratus": the paradox of Lollardy' in Heresy and Literacy, 1000-1530, ed. Peter Biller and Anne Hudson (Cambridge, 1994), pp. 222-6). Brut had also been previously cited for heresy by Archbishop William Courtenay and by Trefnant's predecessor, John Gilbert (see Registrum Trefnant, p. 279). Trefnant's heretic may have been the same person as Walter Bryt or Brit, an astronomer, who was a fellow of Merton College in 1379 (see ODNB sub 'Bryt, Walter'). Both the astronomer and the heretic were Welsh, both possessed the same not common Christian name and surname, and if the astronomer left Oxford to return to Hereford - perhaps because of unorthodox religious beliefs - it would explain his relative obscurity and his apparently truncated university career. Against this, astrology is completely absent from Bryt's astronomical writings but figures prominently in Brut's apocalyptic predictions.

If Brut was the former fellow of Merton, it would help explain the elaborate preparations Trefnant made for his trial. The bishop summoned two masters and three bachelors of theology, two doctors and of civil and canon law, drawn from the dioceses of Hereford, Worcester and Exter and the two universities. But Brut's eventual fate is unknown and despite its local significance, his trial faded from memory. Neither Bale nor any other Henrician or Edwardian Protestant had heard of Brut and Foxe did not mention him in either of his Latin martyrologies or in his 1563 edition. It was only when he gained access to the Trefnant register that Foxe learned of Brut and his trial. When he read this material, Foxe must have realized that God was indeed on his side. Here was a figure, from the dark period before Luther, who identified the Papacy with Antichrist and who believed that the Eucharist was primarily a memorial. But even the garden of Eden had serpents and there were aspects of Brut's thought that troubled Foxe, most notably, but not exclusively Welshman's insistence that the just laywoman, as well as layman, was a priest, that a woman had a duty to preach publicly and could even legitimately consecrate the Host. When it came to these passages, Foxe, displaying a sudden concern for the reader's patience - after reproducing page after page of Brut's arguments - and 'summarized' (i.e., omitted) Brut's more radical opinions on the subject. Foxe also registered caveats against Brute's denial that tithing was obligatory and that sworn oaths were not binding. Brut's writings presented Foxe with an unusually severe case of a frequent dilemma: how to present the views of an individual who possessed many beliefs Foxe admired along with some Foxe deplored. Simple misrepresentation was dangerous, because what Foxe wrote could always be compared to the original at some point. So Foxe (apart from the woman preachers, which was a bridge too far) usually presented what Brut said and than devoted considerable effort to interpreting it for the reader. The clash between the views of Brut, a remarkably independent, if not idiosyncratic, thinker and the much more conventional views of Foxe is compelling.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

1570 Edition, page 587 | 1576 Edition, page 481 | 1583 Edition, page 499[Back to Top]

Here begins a remarkable series of passages praising the Britains (i.e., the Welsh) for their Christian virtues and prophesying an important role for them in the battle against Antichrist.

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Brut's criticism of ceremonies and good works is interesting, but Foxe is stretching a point to hail it as justification by faith.

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The following passages contain an attack by Brut on tithes and Foxe's attempt, in a marginal gloss, to explain that what Brut really meant was that tithes could not be defended by citing Old Testament law.

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Foxe's marginal note is quite ingenious. Brut states that tithes are not valid by either Old Testament or New Testament law, but only by human law. Foxe agrees, but adds - which Brut did not intend - that human law alone was sufficient to make them valid.

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Note that Foxe, in a marginal gloss, weakens Brut's denial of the doctrine of a just war, to state that Brut was only attacking Crusades, not wars undertaken in defence of one's country.

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Here Foxe interrupts Brut's discourse with his own paragraph 'explaining' that Brut was denouncing wars undertaken by the Papacy, not all wars among Christians.

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Foxe inserts a paragraph, again interrupting Brut, to ensure that the reader understands that Brut's denunciation of the lack of charity among rulers and their making war against each other applies to the clergy and the Papacy, and not to secular magistrates.

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Foxe again interrupts Brut's text, this to summarize passages - Foxe says - for the sake of brevity. Actually Foxe is omitting what are the most radical and interesting passages Brut wrote: his arguments that women, as well men, were part of the Pauline priesthood of believers and that women had the authority and ability to preach and could, if no males were present, legitimately administer the Sacrament. (See Registrum Johannis Trefnant, Episcopi Herefordensis, Canterbury and York Society [London, 1916], pp. 345-7).

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The reference is to Pope Joan, an apocryphal figure, who in widely believed legend had disguised herself as a priest and become pope. An untimely pregnancy revealed her gender and she died (depending on the version of the story) either in childbirth or at the hands of an outraged mob.

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The examination of Brut's articles and Brut's submission are taken from Trefnant's register; see Registrum Johannis Trefnant, Episcopi Herefordensis, Canterbury and York Society (London, 1916), pp. 359-60.

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The charges against Walter Brut are taken from Trefnant's register; see Registrum Johannis Trefnant, Episcopi Herefordensis, ed. W. W. Capes, Canterbury and York Society (London, 1916), pp. 278-83.

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Summaries of answers to Brut's writings appear in Trefnant's register; they were written by John Neuton, the chancellor of Cambridge University and William Colvyll, one of his predecessors. (See Registrum Johannis Trefnant; Episcopis Herefordensis, Canterbury and York Society [London, 1916], pp. 368-76 and 376-94). But Neuton and Colvyll almost certainly attended Brut's trial rather than, as Foxe states, Brut's writings were sent to them in Cambridge.

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Woodford did write against Brut, but it is not mentioned in Trefnant's register. Foxe must have picked this up from Ortwin Gratius's pronting of Woodford's list of articles against Wiclif, where Woodford mentions his writings against Brut. (See Ortwin Gratius, Fasciculis rerum expetendarum et fugiendarum [Cologne, 1535], fo. 95v). Foxe printed Woodford's list - copying Gratius - in 1570, p.551; 1576, pp. 444-5 and 1583, p. 450.

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This is confusing. What these are articles the Lollard Wlliam Swinderby had previously abjured before Trefnant. The reason they are coming up in Brut's trial is that he was charged with having defended these heretical articles. Foxe is cross-referencing the reader to his previous account of Swinderby, where these same articles are given.

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The 'instruments' which follow are affadavits by witnesses to various heretical words or actions of Brut; they are copied from Registrum Johannis Trefnant, Episcopi Herefordensis, ed. W. W. Capes, Canterbury and York Society(London, 1916), pp. 283-5.

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Foxe has a marginal note here claiming that this article is false. As Brut's later response will show, it is accurate, but Foxe did not want his godly proto-Protestant subverting the economic foundations of the Church of England and endangering the livelihood of its preachers.

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Although, in a marginal note, Foxe denounces this article as false, Brut's defence of his beliefs, will show that the chargewas not without foundation. The denial of the legitimacy of oaths characterized the Anabaptists and Foxe did not want his godly Lollards identified with Anabaptists.

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Walter Brut's initial response to the charges against him is taken from Trefnant's register; see Registrum Johannis Trefnant, Episcopi Herefordensis, ed. W. W. Capes, Canterbury and York Society (London, 1916), pp. 285-9. What is truly startling in this response - and what ialmost certainly is the reason why Trefnant demanded a further explanation by Brut of his beliefs - is identification of the papacy itself, and not an individual pope, with Antichrist. This was a Protestant common-place, but a much rarer belief in the Middle Ages.

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Having been asked by Trefnant for a more detailed explanation of his beliefs, Brut readily responds. He begins with more detail on his Apocalyptic beliefs, which not only refute most features of medieval tradition regarding the Antichrist (e.g., that Antichrist is a human , born of the tribe of Dan, that he will slay Enoch and Elijah), but which also place the Welsh at the centre of opposition to Antichrist, because they excel everyone in strength, courage and steadfast faith. From there, Brute went on to attack the clergy, deny papal claims to temporal authority, maintain that auricular confession was not based in Scripture and to maintain that the Eucharist was a memorial,. All of this material, Foxe prints accurately, although, in marginal notes he tries to spin aspects of Brut's thought, such as the Lollard's denunciation of tithes or of just wars. Where Foxe draws the line, is in Brut's defence of the duty of women to preach, which Foxe deletes. Brut's defence is taken from Trefnant's register; see Registrum Johannis Trefnant, Episcopis Herefordensis, ed. W. W. Capes, Canterbury and York Society (London, 1916), pp. 289-358.

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This use of astrology in the exegesis of the end times may militate against Walter Brut being Walter Bryt, the astronomer. Note how Foxe, who was outspokenly critical of astrology, but who admired Brut's apocalyptic beliefs, seeks, in a marginal note, to interpret Brut's astrological passages as allegorical.

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Archbishop Courteney's persecution of Lollards

In the 1570 edition, Foxe introduced further material from the register of John Tefnant, bishop of Hereford: a letter denouncing the former Lollard Nicholas Hereford, another letter purportedly written by Satan to the English clergy, two bulls from Boniface IX and two letters of Richard II. Foxe also added to this edition: documents related to Archbishop William Courtenay's visitation of Leicester in 1389 (taken from Courtenay's register) an account of Peter Pateshull's attack on the friars (which Foxe took from College of Arms MS Arundel 7) and a summary of Archbishop Thomas Arundel's funeral sermon for Richard II's queen Anne of Bohemia (which Foxe took from a MS in the Durham Cathedral Library). All of these documents added to the picture Foxe wished to create of the ubiquity of Lollard beliefs and the savage persecution they encountered.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

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Foxe copied this bull of Boniface IX from Bishop John Tefnant's register; see Registrum Johannis Trefnant; Episcopi Herefordensis, ed. W. W. Capes, Canterbury and York Society (London, 1916), pp. 406-7.

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I.e., 17 Sept. 1395.

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Foxe copied this royal order for the arrest of William Swinderby and, another Lollard, Stephen Bell from Bishop John Trefnant's register; see Registrum Johannis Trefnant, Episcopi Herefordensis, ed. W. W. Capes, Canterbury and York Society (London, 1916), pp. 408-9. Although the letter was written in 1392, Foxe presents it after the 1395 bulls from Boniface because that is the order in which these documents appear in Trefnant's register.

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I.e., 1392

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Foxe copied this letter from Richard II to Sir John Chandos and other Hereford gentry from Bishop John Trefnant's register; see Registrum Johannis Trefnant, Episcopi Herefordensis, ed. W. W. Capes, Canterbury and York Society (London, 1916), pp. 410-11. Although this letter was written in 1393, Foxe presents it after the 1395 bulls from Boniface IX because that is the order in which these appear in the register.

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I.e., 1393.

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Archbishop Courtenay's visitation of Leicester commenced in late October 1389. Foxe based his account of this visitation on documents copied into Courtenay's register. The names of the accused Lollards, the articles with which they were charged and the excommunication of the Lollards are all taken from LPL, Courteney Register, fo. 139r-v.

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Foxe eliminated one of the articles charged against the Lollards: 'Quod decimae non debent solvi rectoribus vel vicariis quamdiu sunt in peccato mortali' [That tithes should not be paid to rectors or vicars while they are in mortal sin] (LPL, Courtenay Register, fo. 139r). Apart from his usual sensitivity to Lollard denunciations of tithes, Foxe was also concerned with the implications of parishioners judging whether or not their priests were in a state of mortal sin.

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The convent of St. Mary Prè in Leicester.

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Foxe's account of Matilda, the anchoress, is a little unclear; I suspect that Foxe was confused by the Latin of the register, which is less than explicit. Matilda was literally kept in a sealed chamber (voluntarily, as a renunciation of the world). Archbishop Courtenay is ordering that Matilda be taken out of her sealed room and held in custody at the convent of St. Mary Prè until he would summon her.

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As we have seen, Nicholas Hereford was one of Wiclif's earliest disciples at Oxford. He had been forced to recant and apparently he was one of the scholars Bishop Trefnant summoned to examine Walter Brut. This anonymous letter, however, appears to have been written, not only to upbraid Hereford for backsliding, but to defend William Swinderby's teachings; possibly Hereford had publicly attacked those. Foxe copied the letter from Trefnant's register; see Registrum Johannis Trefnant, Episcopi Herefordensis, ed. W. W. Capes, Canterbury and York Society (London, 1916), pp. 394-6.

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This mandate is LPL, Courtenay Register, fo. 142r.

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The letter is LPL, Courtenay Register, fo. 141v.

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Matilda was ordered to do penance and then sealed back in her chamber.

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St. Mary Newarks, Leicester, was not a cathedral church; it was a collegiate foundation.

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This letter is LPL, Courtenay Register, fos. 144r-145r.

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Foxe's account of Peter Pateshull's attack on the friars is taken from College of Arms MS Arundel 7; see Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, Rolls Series 28 (London, 1863-4), II, pp. 157-9.

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Pateshull had been an Augustinian friar; he purchased an appointment as papal chaplain from Disse; this post released Pateshull from his order.

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Walsingham identified the rioters as Lollards; Foxe identifies them as Londoners. The former is implying that Pateshull's supporters were heretics, the latter that they were an outraged citizenry.

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As Foxe declares, he obtained this sermon from a manuscript in Durham cathedral library, which he obtained from Matthew Parker.

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The four doctors of the Church were Jerome, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine and Gregory the Great.

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Foxe copied this letter, allegedly sent by Satan to the English clergy, congratulating them on the splendid job they were doing in promoting evil, from Bishop John Trefnant's register. (See Registrum Johannis Trefnant, EpiscopiHerefordensis, ed. W. W. Capes, Canterbury and York Society (London, 1916), pp. 401-5). The register claims that it is Lollard production, but as Foxe later observes, such letters were a common medieval literary device. This letter, while profoundly anticlerical, does not display any theological beliefs that are distinctively Lollard.

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I.e., Acheron. In classical mythology, this was one of the rivers of the Underworld, later it became a synonym for hell.

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This discussion of other examples of letters from Satan is taken virtually word-for-word from Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Strassburg, 1562), pp. 546-7.

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I.e., Vincent of Beauvais, a thirteenth-century Dominican and author of an enormously popular universal history, the Speculum historiale.

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Foxe copied this bull of Boniface IX from Bishop John Trefnant's register; see Registrum Johannis Trefnant, Episcopi Herefordensis, ed. W. W. Capes, Canterbury and York Society (London, 1916), pp. 405-6.

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I.e., 17 Sept. 1395.

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Book of Conclusions

The 'book of Conclusions' or The Twelve Conclusions, as they are more generally known, were posted to the doors of Westminster Hall and also St. Paul's in London during the session of Parliament in the first months of 1395. Foxe's source for the background to these events was the brief account in College of Arms MS Arundel 7 (a version of Thomas of Walsingham's Chronica majora - see Thomas of Walsingham, Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, 2 vols., Rolls Series 28 [London, 1863-4], II, P. 216). Foxe drew on the Latin version of this text in the Fasciculi Zizanniorum (see Bodley MS e Musaeo 86, fos. 87r-89r), which was reprinted exactly in the Commentarii (fos. 108-115v) and the Rerum (pp. 76-9). The points contained in The Twelve Conclusions - attacks on clerical wealth, compulsory clerical celibacy, the 'feigned miracle' of transubstantiation, prayers for the dead, pilgrimages and auricular confession - caused Foxe no discomfort and, as a result, his versions of the text follow this close quite closely, apart from minor deletions to the last conclusion. The conclusions were translated in the 1563 edition. In the 1570 edition, Foxe collated this version with a version of one of the copies of Roger Dymmock's Liber contra duodecim errores et hereses Lollardorum. The 1570 version of the twelve articles was reprinted, without change, in 1576 and 1583.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

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Richard II's letter to Boniface IX

Foxe states that he obtained this letter from Richard II to Pope Boniface IX from a portion of a manuscript from Durham. (It is worth remembering that Foxe's close friend James Pilkington was the bishop of Durham; he probably sent this letter to Foxe in answer to a request from Foxe for documents that could be used in the Acts and Monuments). The letter, apparently written around 1379, was an expression of Richard's concern over the Great Schism. Foxe overread the contents of the letter to see it as an expression of claims of royal sovereignty over the Papacy. Foxe's conclusion, that Richard's mentioning a reference to the 'great departing away' of 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 (commonly considered a prophecy of Antichrist) meant that the king was prophesying the destruction of the Papacy, is particularly tendentious.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

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Parliament Rolls for the reign of Richard II

Foxe concluded the accounts of the reigns of late medieval English monarchs with notes extracted from the Parliament Rolls. These were stored in the Tower and Foxe gained access to them through the co-operation of William Bowyer who was effectively Keeper of the Tower Records from 1563-1570. (See Rotuli Parlamentorum, ed. J. Strachey et al., 6 vols. [London, 1783], III, pp. 18-20, 96, 214, 246-7, 264, 270, 304 and 341) The Parliamentary legislation Foxe accurately records is concerned with the usual late medieval efforts to curtail papal jurisdiction over English benefices and to grant the revenues from papal taxation to the Crown. But Foxe also adds a more unusual note, one not drawn from Parliamentary records, which emphasizes that the kings of England, not the papacy, held the right to episcopal appointments in England. Foxe notes that this material was supplied to him by Matthew Parker and it is apparent that Parker was using Foxe's work to showcase his research and the conclusions it was intended to buttress.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

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As Foxe notes, the information on the royal appointment of bishops came from Matthew Paris and was almost certainly the product of research sponsored by the archbishop and not Foxe. Foxe cites William of Malmesbury and Matthew Paris as his sources, but he is almost certainly just quoting from Paris's notes. Moreover two of the examples cited are in neither work, but were probably taken from Bede and from Symeon of Durham.

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Deposition of Richard II

Although the Acts and Monuments was an ecclesiastical history, Foxe devoted a great deal of space to the fall, deposition and death of Richard II. Foxe stated his reasons for this apparent disgression - to satisfy the curiosity of his readers and to provide a cautionary example for other monarchs to heed. (One can readily assume that the second reason was more pressing with Foxe than the first). Perhaps above all, Foxe wanted his readers (especially those of high rank) to remember the most fundamental lesson to be drawn from the fall of Richard: that it was caused by God's anger with Richard because the king did not sufficiently protect the Lollards. (The warning to Elizabeth, at a time when Foxe and other Protestants were urging her to protect Protestants in the Netherlands and France, and also to reform the English church thoroughly, is unspoken but unmistakeable). But Foxe pointed to other secondary reasons (often with strong didactic overtones) for Richard's downfall. One was Richard's reliance on evil counsellors and favourites, which led to quarrels with his nobles. Another was Richard's bad relations with the citizens of London, which Foxe attributed, in part, to their support for Wiclif and his followers. A third reason was the suspicion and fear that followed Richard's murder of his uncle Thomas of Woodstock. Foxe cites Fabyan's chonicle, the 'chronicle of S. Albans' and, rather airily, 'the kings records' and 'other histories at large'. In actual fact, apart from one item taken from Fabyan's chronicle (that Thomas Percy, earl of Worcester and other members of Richard's household deserted the king; see The chronicle of Fabian (London, 1559, STC 10664, p. 345), all of Foxe's account is taken from what he calls the chronicle of St. Albans. This is College of Arms Arundel MS 7 (see Thomas of Walsingham, Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, 2 vols., Rolls Series 28 [London, 1863-4], II, pp. 140-1, 148-50, 152-3, 156, 160, 165-7, 172-4, 207-11, 213, 223-5,227-8, 232-5, 237 and 245-6).

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

1570 Edition, page 633 | 1576 Edition, page 520 | 1583 Edition, page 536[Back to Top]
William Sawtrey 

In the Commentarii, Foxe printed a note on William Sawtre, the first Lollard martyr; the note had been written by John Bale in the margin of the Fasciculi Zizaniorum (cf. Commentarii, fo. 115v with Bodley Library MS e Musaeo 86, fo. 62r-v). Foxe's account of Sawtre in the Commentarii also included seven articles for which Sawtre was condemned; this was also taken from the Fasciculi Zizaniorum ((Bodley MS e Musaeo 86, fos. 96v-97r). This account was reprinted exactly in the Rerum (p. 79). In the 1563 edition, Foxe reprinted this material but added a royal decree against Sawtre, which was probably taken from London diocesan records. In the 1570 edition the 1563 account was reprinted, but the earlier process against Sawtre and his recantation as well as Sawtre's examinations by Archbishop Arundel and the sentence against Sawtre were all added. Foxe took all of these documents from Archbishop Arundel's register (Lambeth Palace Library Arundel Register, vol. II, fos. 178r-181r). This account was reprinted without change in subsequent editions.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

1570 Edition, page 635 | 1576 Edition, page 522 | 1583 Edition, page 538[Back to Top]
Rebellion against Henry IV

Foxe had mixed feeling about Richard II, largely based on the king's treatment of the Lollards. Foxe saw Richard as more inclined to persecute the Lollards than was his predecessor Edward III (a good king, in Foxe's view), but coming well short of the lethal ferocity of Henry IV. Foxe regards Henry IV as a usurper and an evil king (largely because of the passage of De heretico comburendo in 1401 and the sharp prosecution of heresy in his reign). In Foxe's worldview, such wickedness cried out for providential chastisement and Foxe saw this reflected in the brevity and instability of Henry's reign. This, and the desire to convey the always timely lesson that persecutors of the True Church did not prosper, led Foxe to focus on the conspiracies and rebellions of Henry IV's reign.

This account of the turmoils of Henry IV's reign was first printed in the 1570 edition and was unchanged in subsequent editions. Foxe cites two sources for two different lists of nobles executed for conspiring against Henry; the 'story of St. Albans', that is College of Arms MS Arundel 7, a version of Thomas of Walsingham's Chronica majora (see Thomas of Walsingham, Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, 2 vols., Rolls Series 28, II, 244-45) and a 'lib. cui. tit. Calendarium Bruti', which must be one of the numerous continuations of the Brut in Latin. (The list of nobles in both versions is inaccurate and confusing. John Holland, the earl of Huntingdon and duke of Exeter, conspired with his nephew Thomas Holland, the earl of Kent, and with the earl of Salisbury against Henry IV in 1400. Kent and Salisbury were killed in battle; Exeter was executed). Foxe took his account of the 1403 conspiracy and 1405 rebellion from Arundel 7 (see Historia Anglicana, pp. 269-70 and 279). The libel against Henry IV posted on church doors was taken from a chronicle which Foxe called the 'Scala Mundi'. This actually a 'Compilatio de gestis brittanorum et anglorum' in College of Arms MS Arundel 5 (the libel is on fos. 163r-164v). Foxe called this chronicle the 'Scala Mundi' because Arundel 5 begins with a medieval chronological table entitled the 'Scala Mundi'.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

1570 Edition, page 640 | 1576 Edition, page 526 | 1583 Edition, page 542[Back to Top]
John Badby

John Badby has the melancholy distinction of being the first person in England to be burned under the statute De heretico comburendo (1401), which established heresy as a capital crime. (William Sawtre, executed, in 1401, had to be executed by royal command as the statute had not come into force). Foxe's account of Badby is a little confusing (because Foxe had access only to one set of records), so a word of background is in order. John Badby was a craftsman of the diocese of Worcester who came to the attention of the authorities through his outspoken denial of the doctrine of transubstantiation. Badby was summoned before the bishop of Worcester in 1409 and ultimately convicted of heresy. At another time, matters might have been resolved at a local level, probably with a less lethal denouement. Unfortunately for Badby, the prince of Wales (the future Henry V) had become the dominant political figure in the kingdom and he was anxious to dispel rumours and expectations (fostered by his friendship with Sir John Oldcastle and other 'Lollard knights') that he might further the Lollard cause. He sought a means to demonstrate his orthodoxy, and the prosecution of a notorious Lollard provided one. Badby was summoned before a convocation of clergy on 1 March 1410 (not 1409, as in Foxe) and subjected to a show trial. He was condemned and on 5 March 1410 he was executed, after refusing a royal pardon.

Foxe first mentioned an unnamed 'faber' (craftsman) being burned in 1410 and also the refusal by the condemned man to accept a pardon offered by the prince of Wales, in the Commentarii (fos. 61r-62r). Foxe's source for this was College of Arms MS Arundel 7, a version of Thomas of Walsingham's Chronica majora (see Thomas of Walsingham, Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, 2 vols., Rolls Series 28 {London, 1863-4), II, p. 282). This account was reprinted in the Rerum (p. 60) and translated in the 1563 edition. In the 1570 edition, Foxe added details taken from Archbishop Arundel's register: the articles charged against Badby at Lambeth, his answers to them, his examination by Arundel, his condemnation and even a few details about his execution - i.e., that the chancellor of Oxford presided over it and that the prior of St Batholomew the Great brought the Host to Badby at the stake. (Cf. Lambeth Palace Library, Arundel Register, II, fos.126v-127v). No further changes were made to the account of Badby in subsequent editions.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

1570 Edition, page 642 | 1576 Edition, page 528 | 1583 Edition, page 544[Back to Top]
Ex officio statute

Although Foxe identifies the statute he is printing as 'Ex Officio', it is actually 'De heretico comburendo', the 1401 statute which defined heresy as a capital offence to be punished by burning at the stake (anno 2. Hen IV., cap xv). Foxe compared this statute with the laws decreed by the Roman emperors against the early Christians. Foxe believed and stated that these persecutions were to be exactly equated and that Satan was the direct instigator of both persecutions. Foxe introduced this statute in the 1570 edition and it was reprinted without change in all subsequent editions.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

1570 Edition, page 645 | 1576 Edition, page 530 | 1583 Edition, page 547[Back to Top]
Arundel's Constitutions

Although Archbishop Courtney's actions had largely driven the first generation of Wiclif's followers at Oxford either out of the university or back into conformity, by Henry IV's reign it was a presence, although an underground one, at the university. (Ultimately Arundel would impose his authority over the university in 1411, but that need not concern us here). In 1407 Archbishop Thomas Arundel summoned a convocation to Oxford in 1407, which drafted a series of 'constitutions', designed to prevent the spread of heresy. (Although the 'constitutions' were drafted in 1407, they were not issued until 1409). These 'consitutions' were essentially a two-pronged attack on heresy at both the popular level and within the universities. At the popular level, the constitutions displayed an alarm against the dissemination of heretical teachings in the vernacular. The translation of any scriptural text into English was banned, as was the ownership of a such a translation without the express approval of the diocesan. Preaching was confined to those who had obtained an episcopal licence and banned on clerical vices before the laity. No preacher was to cast doubt on the teachings of the Church regarding the sacraments. A number of provisions concerned the universities; the most important of these mandated enquiries about the views of every student in an Oxford hall on a monthly basis. The enforcement of these provisions was irregular, but there can be no doubt that it was decisive in driving heresy out of the universities. The 'constitutions' also widened the scope of heresy investigations by making the possession of vernacular translations of Scripture heretical. Foxe was interested in these 'constutions' as proof of the repression and cruelty of the Catholic church. He first printed them in the 1570 edition, having obtained them from Thomas Arundel's register. (See Arundel Register, Lambeth Palace Library, II, fos. 10r-12v).

Thomas S. Freeman,
University of Sheffield

1570 Edition, page 646 | 1576 Edition, page 531 | 1583 Edition, page 547[Back to Top]
William Thorpe

William Thorpe's account of his informal examination by Archbishop Thomas Arundel, on 7 August 1407, is one of the very few accounts by a Lollard of their persecution. As such it was of considerable interest to evangelicals anxious to demonstrate that there were 'true' Christians before Luther. Thorpe's account appeared in print, from the Antwerp press of Hans Luft around 1530. It was probably edited by William Tyndale, George Constantine or both. This version of Thorpe's examination formed the core of Foxe's account of Thorpe.

In the Commentarii, Foxe printed an abridged version of the 1530 version of Thorpe's examination (fos. 116r- 156v). This abridged version was copied from Bale's translation written in Bodley Library MS e Musaeo 86, fos. 108v-110v). The Commentarii account was reprinted almost exactly in the Rerum (pp. 79-96). In the 1563 edition, Foxe had obtained a copy of the 1530 version of Thorpe's examinations. Foxe stated that he was printing Thorpe's examination as it had been printed by William Tyndale. Foxe then reprinted The examinacion of Naster William Thorpe, ed William Tyndale? or George Constantine?, (Antwerp, 1530?), STC 24045, in its entirety. In the 1570 edition, Foxe declared that he would rather have printed an original version of Thorpe's examinations, but all he could obtain was Tyndale's version. Foxe also stated that David Whitehead, a prominent Protestant preacher, had seen a copy of an MS copy of the work in George Constantine's hands before it was printed. Apart from these changes, the account of Thorpe in the 1570 edition repeated that in the 1563 edition. The 1570 account of Thorpe was reprinted, without alteration, in subsequent editions.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

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John Purvey

In the Commentarii (fo. 43r-v), Foxe wrote a brief account of John Purvey, describing his persecution by the authorities, and summarised his writings. This was based on a brief biography of Purvey written by John Bale in Bodley Library MS e Musaeo 86, fo. 62v and notes on Purvey's wrings on fo. 91v. This material was reprinted in the Rerum (p. 20). In the 1563 edition, Foxe translated this material and added the articles that Purvey recanted (these were taken from e Musaeo 86. fos. 91v-95r). In the 1570 edition, Foxe reprinted all of the earlier material and added a fuller list of 'heretical' statements compiled from Purvey's writings by the Carmelite Richard Lavingham. This new material was taken from e Musaeo 86, fos.95r-96v. For the most part, Foxe reprinted this material accurately, although he surreptitiously omitted passages in which Lavingham maintained that Purvey had declared that lay people could legimately administer the sacraments. The 1570 account of Purvey was reprinted without change in subsequent editions of the Acts and Monuments. A note of caution should be added, however: Anne Hudson has pointed out how little is known of Purvey and has been persuasively sceptical about the attributions of anonymous Lollard writings to him (see Anne Hudson, 'John Purvey: A Reconsideration of the Evidence for his life and Writings' in Lollards and their Books [London, 1985], pp. 85-110).

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

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Wimbledon's sermon

Thomas Wimbledon's Paul's Cross sermon, preached in 1387 or 1388, was circulated widely in manuscript in the late Middle Ages. Its apocalyptic tenor and impassioned call for clerical reform caught the imagination of English evangel-icals, anxious to find evidence of the True Church before Luther. These evangelicals believed that Wimbledon's sermon - and it is important to remember that they did not know that Wimbledon was the author - was a Lollard work. The sermon was first printed by an evangelical, John Maylor, sometime around 1541. (For evangelical interest in this sermon and its early printing history, see Alexandra Walsham, 'Inventing the Lollard Past: The Afterlife of a Medieval Sermon in Early Modern England', Journal of Ecclesiastical History 58 [2007], pp. 628-655). There were five editions of the sermon printed before Foxe's 1563 edition. In his first edition, however, Foxe reprinted the first edition of the sermon. This can be seen in the fact that - most unusually - reprinted most of the marginal notes, as well as the text, of this edition. However, Foxe made a careless error: he reprinted the title page of the work, but where the title page stated that the sermon was preached in MCCCLXXXVII, Foxe stated that it was preached in 1388. In the 1563 edition, Foxe tentatively speculated that the sermon was authored by John Wiclif. While working in the records of Archbishop William Courtenay between the 1563 and 1570 edition, Foxe discovered 'an old worne copy' of the work and learned that it had been written by Richard Wimbledon. Foxe printed his discovery in the 1570 edition, replacing the sixteenth century version he had reprinted in 1563. He also identified Wimbledon as the author. Interestingly, as Alexandra Walsham has observed, although Foxe knew that the sermon was preached around 1388, he printed it just after the account of William Thorpe, thereby subtly associating Wimbledon's sermon with persecution and martyrdom. The 1570 version of the sermon, and its placement, were repeated in all subsequent editions of Foxe.

Thomas S. Freeman,
University of Sheffield

1570 Edition, page 674 | 1583 Edition, page 571[Back to Top]
Henry IV and Gregory XII

Generally Foxe's material on individual popes came either from John Bale's Catalogus or Matthias Flacius's Catalogus testium veritatis. In the case of Gregory XII and Alexander V, however, Foxe took all of his information from College of Arms MS Arundel 7, which was one version of Thomas of Walsingham's Chronica majora. The only exception to this is the discussion of the duration of the Great Schism, which comes from John Bale, Catalogus, pp. 439-41. Everything else, including the letter from Henry IV to Gregory XII, comes from Arundel 7. (See Thomas of Walsingham, Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, 2 vols., Rolls Series 28 [London, 1863-4], II, pp. 275, 279-80, 281 and 284). Foxe's account of Gregory XII first appeared in the 1570 edition and it was reprinted, without change, in all subsequent editions. Foxe's purposes in printing this account were simply to portray the Papacy in a bad light. Foxe highlights the inability of Gregory XII and other popes to set aside their personal interests, even to end the schism. Along the way, Foxe was also able to denounce papal political ambitions, their use of miolitary force and even to sarcastically contrast the lavish granting of promises of eternal life (indulgences) by the popes with their strikingly ephemeral pontificates.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

1570 Edition, page 679 | 1576 Edition, page 555 | 1583 Edition, page 576[Back to Top]
Persecution of Lollards and Hussites

For the next few pages, Foxe weaves together two separate strands of material. The first is an account of Alexander V summoning Jan Hus to Rome, and then, when Hus refusd to comply, the pope's ordering the archbishop of Prague to ban all pro-Wiclifite writings in Bohemia and finally of Hus's denunciation of the papal order. All this material came from Johannes Cochlaeus's history of the Hussite wars. (See Johannes Cochlaeus, Historiae Hussitarum [Mainz, 1549], pp. 19-21). The second strand of material is a series of episodes where fourteenth-century English bishops were demonstrating what, to Foxe, was intolerable arrogance in insisting upon either outward deference (such as the having bulls rung in their honour on visitations) or enforcing their tithes and rents with ecclesiastical sanctions such as penance. Foxe took these instances from various archiepiscopal registers. Archbishop Arundel's letter authorizing an indulgence of 40 days to everyone who said five Pater and Aves at the morning bells, is taken from bishop Reginald Braybook's register (London Guildhall Library MS 9531/3, fo. 303A-B). Arundel's commission to suspend certain London churches is from Lambeth Palace Library, Arundel Register I, fol. 392A and his mediation between the bishop of Worcester and his prior is from Lambeth Palace Library, Arundel Register I, fol. 441A. Archbishop Chichele's letter to the abbot of St. Alban's is taken from his register. (See The Register of Henry Chichele, ed. E. F. Jacob, 4 vols. [Oxford, 1943-7], IV, p. 278). Courtney's penance, imposed upon his defaulting tenants, is taken from Lambeth Palace Library, Courtney Register, fol. 337B. This material first appeared in the 1570 edition and was reprinted, without change, in subsequent editions.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

1570 Edition, page 679 | 1576 Edition, page 555 | 1583 Edition, page 577[Back to Top]
Parliament Rolls for the reign of Henry IV

Foxe added this material on Parliamentary legislation curtailing papal jurisdiction to the 1570 edition and it remained unchanged in subsequent editions. Foxe's purpose in reproducing this material was fairly straightforward; he wished to demonstrate that papal claims to secular jurisdiction had been challenged even in the centuries before Luther. Unsurprisingly, Foxe drew much of this material from the Parliament Rolls. (See Rotuli Parliamentorum, ed. J. Strachey et al., 6 vols. {London, 1783], III, pp. 419, 594, 595 and 614-16). Foxe had access to the Rolls, which were part of the Tower Records, through his friend William Bowyer, who was effectively Keeper of the Tower Records from 1563-1570. But Foxe also drew the bill to deprive the church of its temporalities, which was advanced in the 1410 Parliament, from Robert Fabian's chronicle (see The chronicle of Fabian [London, 1555], STC 10664, pp. 386-7). Interestingly, Foxe also cites Thomas of Walsingham's chronicle as a source for the bill. Walsingham mentions the bill, claiming that it misrepresented the wealth of the Church, but he does not print it (see Thomas of Walsingham, Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, 2 vols., Rolls Series 28 {London, 1864-5], II, pp. 282-3).

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Death of Henry IV

Foxe's accounts of the death of Henry IV and the accession of Henry V were both added in the 1570 edition and remained unchanged in subsequent editions. Foxe cited a chronicle that it has been impossible to trace - Foxe only notes that the chronicle began with the words 'That all men called' - for the story of Henry IV's death and the prophecy that he would die in Jerusalem. Undoubtedly Foxe related this story, and went to the trouble of repeating it from a minor chronicle, because it offered an example of the dangers of false prophecy - a topic which Foxe discussed at some length elsewhere (see 1570, pp. 848-52; 1576, pp. 692-4; 1583, pp. 717-19). Foxe drew his account of the accession of Henry V and the 1413 convocation from Thomas of Walsingham's chronicle (see Thomas of Walsingham, Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, 2 vols., Rolls Series 28 [London, 1864-5], II, p. 290). But the most remarkable thing about Foxe's account is his declaration that he would not discuss Henry exploits or conquests in France. To almost all Tudor writers Henry V was a great hero, but, because of his persecution of the Lollards, to Foxe he was fundamentally a bad king, not worthy of praise.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

1570 Edition, page 684 | 1576 Edition, page 559 | 1583 Edition, page 581[Back to Top]
Sir John Oldcastle

Foxe's first account of Sir John Oldcastle came in the Commentarii (fos. 90v-107v). Apart from praise of Oldcastle, this material consisted of the process against Oldcastle which was described in a letter from Archbishop Arundel to the bishop of London, which was contained in the Fasciculi Zizaniorum (Bodley Library MS Musaeo e 86, fos. 101v-105v). In the Rerum (pp. 100-106), Foxe reprinted this material, adding material from Fabyan's chronicle on Oldcastle's confrontations with the clergy before his revolt. (See Robert Fabyan, The Chronicle of Fabian [London, 1559], STC 10664, p. 390). It is interesting that Foxe apparently did not have access to John Bale's Brief Chronicle, a hagiography of Oldcastle, during his exile. He remedied this in his first edition. There he replaced the account of Oldcastle in his Latin martyrologies with a reprinting of all of Bale's Brief Chronicle, except for the preface and the conclusion. (See John Bale, A brefe chronycle concernyng the examination and death of the blessed martir of Christ sir Johan Oldcastel [London, 1548?], STC 1278, B3r-G2v). Foxe also added a brief account of Arundel's death, which was taken from John Bale's Catalogus (p. 577). In 1570, Foxe reprinted this material but with a few changes. He dropped the beginning of Bale's Brief Chronicle and replaced it with an account of the 1413 Convocation drawn from College of Arms MS Arundel 7, a version of Thomas Walsingham's Chronica majora. (See Thomas Walsingham, Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, 2 vols., Rolls Series 28 [London, 1863-4], II, p. 291). Foxe also deleted some of the more sharply anticlerical passages in the Brief Chronicle. The 1570 version of the account of Oldcastle was repeated without change.in the 1576 and 1583 editions.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

1570 Edition, page 685 | 1576 Edition, page 560 | 1583 Edition, page 581[Back to Top]
Defence of Oldcastle

In his influential attack on the Acts and Monuments, Nicholas Harpsfield repeatedly declared that Oldcastle was not a religious martyr, but was a traitor who raised a rebellion against the Crown and who deservedly met a traitor's death (Dialogi sex, pp. 747, 833, 837 and 953-4). Harpsfield supported these claims by citing the chronicles of Robert Fabyan and Edward Hall. In the 1570 edition, Foxe responded directly to these charges with a mixture of special pleading and incisive research. After a bitter diatribe against Alan Cope (Harpsfield's work was printed under Cope's name, and in 1570, Foxe believed that Cope was the author of the Dialogi sex) and rather improbable denials that there had been been a rebellion at all, Foxe gets down to the heart of his rebuttal. This falls into two parts. The first part consists of a printing and analysis of crucial documents: the statute 2 Henry cap. 7 (which deals with the rebellion), the commission against Oldcastle and his indictment. The second part of Foxe's rebuttal was an ingenious, if rather tendentious attack on the credibility of the chroniclers Fabyan and Hall, and on chronicles in general. Foxe also attacks the credibility of Polydore Vergil. It should be remembered that Foxe would, despite his professed doubts, make great use of all these sources when it suited his purposes. What appears to be impressive source criticism is merely sophisticated polemic. In fact, this section shows Foxe at both his best and his worst as a historian: on the one hand, his finding of documentary evidence to support his claims, and, on the other hand, his willingness to twist their contents and contexts to support his claims. Finally, Foxe also attacked the validity of De heretico comburendo, the statute mandating the death penalty for heresy. This was not directly germane to Foxe's rebuttal of Harpsfied, instead, it reflects his intense opposition to capital punishment in all heresy cases. This material remained unchanged in all subsequent editions.

Thomas S. Freeman,
University of Sheffield

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Deaths of Arundel and Henry V

Foxe's account of the deaths of Archbishop Thomas Arundel and of Henry V served a surprising number of polemical purposes. Foremost among these was, of course, the death of a persecuting archbishop which Foxe contrived to construct as providential retribution. Foxe did this partly by noting that Arundel died before Sir John Oldcastle, whom he had condemned, and partly by depicting the archbishop's death as particularly nasty. To achieve the latter objective, Foxe quoted, via Bale's Catalogus (p. 557), Thomas Gascoigne's Theological Dictionary. (Foxe states elsewhere in the Acts and Monuments - in his account of Reginal Pecock - that he did not have access to Gascoigne's work). He also took the opportunity to take a swipe at Polydore Vergil for misdating the death of Thomas Arundel to 1415, rather than the correct date of February 1414. (See Polydore Vergil, Anglica historia [Basel, 1555], p. 441). Foxe's criticisms of any author for chronological inaccuracy may strike those familiar with the Acts and Monuments as breathtakingly brazen, but it was all a part of Foxe's continual attempts to erode the credibility of Vergil's history; a work that was both internationally respected and hostile to Lollardy and to the Reformation.. Foxe also notes the foundations of the Charterhouses at Sheen and Syon, along with the nunnery at Syon. His information is taken from Thomas of Walsingham (see Thomas of Walsingham, Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, 2 vols., Rolls Series 28 [London, 1863-4], II, pp. 300-301) but the editorial comments are his own. Foxe's account of the revival of the bill, in the 1414 Parliament, to disendow the Church, comes from Fabyan's chronicle. (See Robert Fabyan, The chronicle of Fabian [London, 1559], STC 10664, p. 390). Foxe favours Fabyan's account, because Fabyan voiced a conspiracy theory, later repeated by William Tyndale and William Shakespeare, that the clergy urged Henry V to invade France in order to distact the king from the disendowment of the Church. The story of the French sending the king tennis balls is not in Fabyan; Foxe probably took this from Edward Hall's chronicle. (See Edward Hall, The union of the two noble and illustre families of Lancastre and York [London, 1560], STC 12723a, fo. 41v). Foxe cites both Fabyan and Hall as sources for his exceedingly brief summary of Henry V's campaigns and death; the account could be based on either or both of them. What is noteworthy about this is Foxe's lack of interest in Henry V's martial exploits. To most English chroniclers and historians these were a source of national pride. But to Foxe, they merely served to conceal Henry's ultimate failure as a king: he protected the False Church and persecuted the True Church. Foxe's account of the deaths of Arundel and Henry V was introduced in the 1570 edition and remained unchanged in subsequent editions.

Thomas S. Freeman,
University of Sheffield

1570 Edition, page 721 | 1576 Edition, page 590 | 1583 Edition, page 611[Back to Top]
Jan Hus

Starting with Martin Luther and his followers, the Protestant Reformers had hailed Jan Hus as an important, arguably the most important, proto-Protestant of the entire Middle Ages. This it seems a little surprising that Foxe had only a relatively brief account of Hus and his teachings in the Commentarii (fos. 62v-78r). This account was based on John Bale's notes in the Fasciculi Zizaniorum (see Bodley Library MS Musaeo e 86, fos. 128r-135r); Bale, in turn drew them from the inquisitorial manual of Bernard of Luxemburg, which explains the emphasis on Hus's doctrines in this account. Foxe reprinted the account of Hus in the Rerum (pp. 61-67) without change. In the 1563 edition, however, Foxe rewrote this account with material from the Catholic polemicist Johannes Cochlaeus's history of the Hussite wars. This described how Hus was denounced as a heretic to the antipope John XXII, how he was summoned to Rome, and how Weceslaus IV of Bohemia prevented his going there - see Johannes Cochlaeus, Historia Hussitarum (Mainz, 1549), pp. 19-24). In the 1570 edition, Foxe drew further on Cochlaeus to describe the spread of Hus's teachings in Bohemia, the initiatives from the University of Prague to stop Hus and his followers, the division of Prague into pro-Hus and anti-Hus factions, Hus's objections to the a decree from the University of Prague against him and to reprint John XXIII's letter to Wenceslaus, urging the king to crack down on Hus (Cochlaeus, Historia Hussitarum, pp. 22-3, 25, 29-33, 38-50, 53-54 and 56-66). This account of Hus before the Council of Constance was unchanged in subsequent editions.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

1583 Edition, page 612[Back to Top]
Council of Constance

Foxe's account of the Council of Constance served two basic purposes. The first was to provide a background for the executions of Jan Hus and Jerome of Prague. Secondly the account allowed Foxe to provide more details of the Great Schism as well as of papal politics and scandals. One indication of Foxe's readiness to develop the latter theme was the inclusion, first in the 1563 edition, of a story of an owl appearing at a council in Rome and being regarded as an evil spirit by antipope John XXIII, who summoned this council and was to summon the Council of Constance. Foxe obtained this story from Ortwin Gratius, Fasciculus rerum expetendarum et fugiendarum [Cologne, 1535], fo. 201r. In the 1563 edition , the account of the Council of Constance itself was taken from Casper Hedio's continuation of the chronicle of Conrad of Lichtenau. (See Conrad of Lichtenau, Abbatis Uspergensis chronicum, ed. Conrad Hedio [Basel, 1569], pp. 373-4 and 379-81). The letter of the 54 Moravian nobles also came from Hedio (pp. 381-84). Also included in the 1563 edition was an account of Hus attending the Council on receipt of a safe-conduct from the Emperor Sigismund, the proceedings against Hus at the Council and Hus's condemnation. All of this material came from Johannis Hus et Hieronymi Pragensis confessorum Christi Historia et Monumenta, ed Matthias Flacius, 2 vols. (Nuremburg, 1558), I, fos. 1v-27v. In the 1570 edition, Foxe deleted some documents from this material: two testimonials as to Hus's good character, presented at the Council and a document concerning an earlier hearing on Hus's heresies held by the Archbishop of Prague. But Foxe also added a rebuttal of Catholic arguments justifying the execution of Hus despite the safe conduct. The 1570 account of the Council of Constance and Hus's trial there was repeated without change in the 1576 edition. In the 1583 edition, this account was repeated but the two testimonials on behalf were re-inserted.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

1570 Edition, page 727 | 1576 Edition, page 596 | 1583 Edition, page 617[Back to Top]
Execution of Hus

Interestingly, although Foxe has a fair amount to say in the Commentarii and in the Rerum about Hus, his first Latin martyrologies had very little to say about Hus's execution per se. This situation changed dramatically in the 1563 edition, as Foxe made full use of the magnificent two volume Johannis Hus et Hieronymi Pragensis confessorum Christi Historia et Monumenta, edited anonymously by Matthias Flacius and printed in Nuremburg in 1558. All of Foxe's account in 1563 of Hus's reaction to his condemnation, his degradation, Hus's execution, his behaviour and the crowd's reactions to it are taken from this work, even including the comparison of Hus to Hercules. (See Hus¬ÖHistoria et Monumenta, I, fos. 28r-29r and 346v-347r). In the 1570 edition, Foxe repeated Johannes Cocleaus's speculation that the ultimate source of this account of Hus's martyrdom was Jan Prizibram; Foxe drew this from Johannes Cochlaeus, Historiae Hussitarum (Mainz, 1549), pp. 74-5. Foxe also added a letter from the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund (who was also the king of Bohemia) to the Bohemian nobles, absolving himself from any responsibility for Hus's execution. This letter is translated from Cochlaeus's Historia Hussitarum, pp. 156-7. The 1570 account of Hus's martyrdom was reprinted without change in subsequent editions of Foxe.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

1570 Edition, page 760 | 1576 Edition, page 623 | 1583 Edition, page 647[Back to Top]
Letters of Hus

In the 1570 edition, Foxe expanded his account of Jan Hus, the Czech reformer, by including a series of his letters. These epistles were all taken from the two volume collection of documents on Hus, edited anonymously by Matthias Flacius and printed in Nuremburg in 1558. (Johannis Hus et Hieronymi Prgaensis confessorum Christi Historia et Monumenta, I, fos. 57r, 58v-59v, 60v-62v, 66v-69r, 71r, 72v - 73r, 75v, 101r-v and 418r). These letters elaborated further on the sensitive issue of Hus's safe conduct and portrayed the clergy as bloodthirsty persecutors. They also denounced the papacy as antichrist and contained several 'prophecies' by Hus of the eventual reform of the church. But above all these letters provide moral exhortation -particularly to priests and nobles - to constancy and godly living. As with the letters of the English martyrs, Foxe printed the letters of Hus as much for moral instruction as for their polemical content.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

1570 Edition, page 763 | 1576 Edition, page 626 | 1583 Edition, page 650[Back to Top]
Jerome of Prague

Apart from the martyrdom of Thomas Becket, it is arguable that no violent death in the Middle Ages caught the imagination of contemporaries as did that of Jerome of Prague. This was not due to Jerome's intrinsic importance, but to the remarkable fortitude he displayed at his execution. Poggio Braccioloini, the celebrated humanist, was an eyewitness to Jerome's execution, and although not sympathetic to Jerome's cause, he wrote a public letter, which circulated widely, comparing Jerome to Socrates. Therefore it is not surprising that Jerome was one of the relatively few non-British martyrs included in the Commentarii (fos. 78r-81v). Foxe cited Bernard of Luxembourg as his source, but he was an author whom Foxe did not use. It is probable that Foxe's source for this account was a short account by John Bale, who cited Bernard frequently. Foxe repeated this account in the Rerum (pp. 67-71). In the 1563 edition, Foxe replaced this material with an account of Jerome's martyrdom based on accounts of eyewitnesses contained in the two volume collection of documents relating to Jan Hus, the Johannis Hus et Hieronymi Pragensis confessorum Christi Historia et Monumenta, which was anonymously edited by Matthias Flacius, and printed in Nuremberg in 1558 (cf. Hus...Historia et Monumnenta, II, fos. 349r-354r). In the 1570 edition, Foxe reprinted this account, but he also added Poggio's more elegant, and famous, account of Jerome's death which was also printed in the Hus¬ÖHistoria et Monumenta (fos. 358r-359r). The 1570 account of Jerome Prague was reprinted without change in the 1576 and 1583 editions of the Acts and Monuments.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

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John Claydon and  Richard Turming, death of Oldcastle

In the Commentarii (fo. 62v), Foxe had a brief account of 'William' Claydon, which describes him being burned in 1414 as a heretic. This brief, account, including the erroneous first name of the victim, was taken from College of Arms MS Arundel 7. (See Thomas of Walsingham, Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, 2 vols., Rolls Series 28 [London, 1863-64], II, p. 307). In the Rerum (p. 60), Foxe repeated this account, although he corrected Claydon's first name to John. Later in the Rerum (p. 109), however, Foxe gave an account of the burning of John Claydon and Richard Turmyn, for which he cited Fabyan's chronicle as the source. (And, in fact, was clearly did draw this information from Fabyan; see Robert Fabyan, The Chronicle of Fabian [London, 1559], STC 10664, p. 390). In the 1563 edition, Foxe dropped the brief entry taken from Walsingham and reprinted the notice taken from Fabyan. In 1570, Foxe greatly expanded his account of the unfortunate pair by drawing on the register of Archbishop Chichele for Claydon's background, trial and examination. (See The Register of Henry Chichele, ed. E. F. Jacob, 4 vols. [Oxford, 1943-47], IV, pp. 132-8). He also printed Arcbishop Chichele's proclamation against the Lollards from the same source (Chichele Register, III, pp. 18-19). Foxe also delved deeply into Chichele's register for other accounts of accused heretics being imprisoned, questioned and being forced to recant (Chichele Register III, pp. 15-16, 25, 44, 187- 208 and IV, pp. 138-40, 155-8, 192-3, 203-4 and 297-301). Claydon and Turmyn were the only accused heretics among this group who were executed, but these additional episodes, no matter how inconsequential, provided evidence that there were members of the True Chuch before Luther and that the Catholic clergy were zealous in persecuting them. It should also be remembered that the episodes Foxe lists (although Foxe does not make this clear) extended over thirteen years.

Foxe intensified the theme of persecution by recording, with these other prosecutions, the arrest and execution of Sir John Olcastle. In the 1563 edition this consisted of an account of these events, previously printed in the Rerum (pp. 106-7), which was based on The Chronicle of Fabian (pp. 390 and 389 [recte 397]). To this Foxe added the account of Oldcastle's execution, which was taken from John Bale, A brefe Chronycle concerning the examination and death of the blessed martir of Christ sir Johan Oldcastel (London, 1548?), STC 1278, sigs F8v-G1r. In the 1570 edition, however, Foxe replaced this account of Oldcastle's martyrdom with a defence of him against the charge made by Nicholas Harpsfield that Oldcastle had been a traitor.

There were no further changes made to any of this material in subsequent editions of the Acts and Monuments.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

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