art thou come? Alban answered, MarginaliaThe constancie and zeale of Alban.what is that to you, of what stocke soeuer I am come of, if you desyre to heare the veritie of my religion, I do ye to wytte that I am a Christian, and apply my self altogether to that calling. Then sayd the Iudge, I would know thy name, and se thou tel me the same without delay. Then sayde he, MarginaliaThe confession of Alban.my parentes named me Alban, and I worship and honour the true & liuing God, which hath created al the world. Then sayd the Iudge fraught with furye, if thou wylt enioye the felicitie of this present life, do sacrifice (& that out of hand) to these mighty Gods. Alban replieth: these sacrifices which ye offer vnto deuils, can neither helpe them that offer the same, neyther yet can they accomplish the desires and prayers of their suppliantes: But rather shal they, what so euer they bee, þt offer sacrifice to these Idoles, receaue for their meede euerlastyng paynes of hell fyre. The Iudge, when he hearde these words, was passing angrie, and cōmaunded þe tormentors to whyp this holy Confessour of God, indeuoring to ouercome the constancie of his hart wt stripes, which had preuayled nothing with words. MarginaliaThe suffering & Martyrdome of Alban.And when he was cruelly beaten, yet suffered he the same paciently, nay rather ioyfully, for the lords sake. Thē when the iudge sawe that he woulde not with torments be ouercomen, nor be reduced from the worship of Christian religion, he commaunded him to be beheaded.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaSuperfluous miracles in this story writtē by Bede omitted.The rest that foloweth of this story in the narration of Bede, as of drying vp the riuer, as Albane went to the place of his execution: then of making a welspring in the top of the hill, and of the falling oute of the eyes of him that did behead him (with such other prodigious miracles mēcioned in his story) because they seme more legendlike, then truthlike: agayne, because I see no great profit, nor necessity in the relation therof, I leaue them to the free iudgement of the Reader, to thinke of them, as cause shall moue him.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaThe legend of S. Alban disproued.The like estimation I haue of the long story, wherin is written at large a fabulous discourse of al the doinges and miracles of S. Albane, taken out of the library of S. Albans, compiled (as ther is sayd) by a certayne Pagan, who (as hee sayth) afterwarde went to Rome, there to be baptised. But because in the beginning or prologe of the booke, the sayd wryter maketh mencion of the ruinous walles of the towne of Verolamium, cōtayning the story of Albanus, and of his bitter punishmentes: which walles were then falling down for age, at the writing of the sayd booke, as he sayth: Therby it semeth this story to be wrytten a great whyle after the martyrdome of Alban: eyther by a Britaine, or by an English man. If he were a Britaine, howe then did the latin translatour take it out of the Englishe tong, as in þe prologe he himself doth testify. If he were an englishman, how then did he go vp to Rome for baptisme, being a Pagan, when he might haue bene baptised amōg the Christian Britaines more nere at home.[Back to Top]
But among all other euidences and declarations sufficient to disproue this legendary story of S. Alban, nothing maketh more against it, then the very storye it selfe: as where he bringeth in the heade of the holy martyr to speake vnto the people after it was smitten of frō the body. Also where he bringeth in the Angels goyng vp, and comming downe in a piller of fire, and singing all the night long. Item in the ryuer which he sayth S. Alban made dry, such as were drowned in the same before in the bottome, were found aliue. With other such like monkish miracles & grosse fables, wherewith these Abbey Moonkes were woont in tyme past to deceaue the church of God, and to begyle the whole worlde for their own aduauntage. MarginaliaS. Alban fyrst Martyr in thys Realme of England.Notwithstanding this I wryte not to any derogation of the blessed and faythful martyr of God, who was the fyrst that I did euery fynde in this realme, to suffer martyrdome for the testimonye ofChrist. And worthy no doubt of condigne cōmendatiō, especially of vs here in this land: whose Christian fayth in the Lord, and charitie toward his neighbour: I pray God all we may follow. MarginaliaThe stories of the saintes corrupted with lyes.As also I wysh moreouer that the stories both of hym, and of all other Christian martyrs myght haue bene deliuered to vs simplye as they were, without the admixture of all these Abbeylike additions of Moonkish myracles, wherewith they were wont to paint out the glory of such saintes to the most, by whose offeringes they were accustomed to receaue most aduauntage.[Back to Top]
Flores historiumAs touchyng the name of the clearke mentioned in this story whom Alban receiued into hys house, I find in the english stories to be Amphibalus, although the latine authors name hym not, who the same tyme flying into Walles was also fette from thence agayne to the same towne of Verolamiū, otherwise called Verlancaster, MarginaliaThe Martyrdom of Amphibaluswhere he was martyred, hauing his belly opened, & made to runne about a stake, whyle all his bowels wer drawn out, thē thrust in with swords and daggers, & at last was stoned to death, as the foresaid legēd declareth
martyrs.Moreouer the same tyme with Alban, suffered also ij. citizens of the foresayde citie of Verlancaster, whose names were Aaron and Iulius: besyde other, wherof a greate number the same tyme no doubte, did suffer, althoughe our chronicles of their names doo make no rehersall.
The tyme of the martyrdome of this blessed Alban and the other, semeth to be about the second or iij. yeare of this tenth persecution, vnder the tyranny of Dioclesian, & Maximinianus Herculius, bearyng thē the rule in England, about the yeare of our Lord 301. before the commyng of Constantius to his gouernment. Where, by the way is to be noted, that this realme of Britayne beyng so christened before, yet neuer was touched with any of the other. ix. persecutions, before this tenthe persecution of Dioclesian and Maximinian. MarginaliaPersecution in this realme of Britaine.In whyche persecution our stories and Polichronicon do recorde, that all Christianitie almost in the whole Ilelande was destroyed, the churches subuerted, all bookes of þe scriptures burned, many of the faithful both men and womē were slayne. Among whom the first and chiefe ringleader (as hath bene sayd) was Albanus. And thus muche touchyng the martyrs of Britayne. Now frō England to returne again vnto other countryes, where this persecutiō did more vehemently raigne: we wil adde hereunto (the Lorde willing) the stories of other, although not of all þt suffred in this persecution (whiche were impossible) but of certayne most principall, whose singular constancie in their strong tormentes are chiefly renowmed in later histories: beginning first wt Romanus, the notable and admirable souldiour and true seruaunt of Christ, whose history set forth in Preudentius doth thus procede: so lamentably by him described, that it wyll be hard for any man almost wyth dry chekes to heare it.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaThe lamentable storie of Romanus MartyrPitiles Galerius with hys graunde Capitayne Asclepiades violently inuaded the citye of Antioch, entendyng by force of Armes to dryue all Christians to renounce vtterly their pure religion.
The Foxe Project was not able to complete the commentary on this section of text by the date by which this online edition was compiled (23 September 2008).