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Malmesbury
 
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Malmesbury

[Malmesbery]

Wiltshire

OS grid ref: ST 935 875

168 [145]

Iohannes Scotus. King Alfrede deceaseth. Schismes amongest the Popes

bene approued by our iudgement: namely seeing the sayde Iohn (albeit he be sayde to be a man of great learning and science) in time past hath bene noted by common rumour, to haue bene a man, not of vpright or sounde doctrine, in certaine pointes. &c. For this cause the sayde Scotus, being constrained to remoue from Fraūce, came into England, allured (as some testifie) by the letters of Alured or Alfrede, of whom he was with great fauour entertained. and conuersant a great space about the king: til at length (whether before or after the death of the king it is vncertaine) he wēt to Malmesbery, where he taught certaine scholers a fewe yeares, by the which Schollers at laste most impiously he was murthered and slaine with their penkniues, MarginaliaIoannes Scotus slayne by hys owne scollers. and so died, as stories say, a Martyr, MarginaliaIoan Scotus a Martyr. buried at the sayd monastery of Malmesbury with this Epitaph.

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Clauditur in tumulo sanctus sophista Ioannes,
Qui ditatus erat iam viuens dogmate miro.
Martyrio tandem Christi condescendere regnum
Qui meruit, regnans secli per secula cuncta.

King Alfrede hauing these helpes of learned men about him, & no lesse learned also himself, past ouer his time not onely to great vtilitie and profite of his subiectes, but also to a rare & profitable example of other Christen kings and Princes, for them to follow. This foresaid Alfrede had by his wife called Ethelwitha, MarginaliaThis Ethelwitha builded first the house of Nunnes at Winchester. two sonnes: Edwarde and Ethelward, and three daughters: Elflena, Ethelgora, and Ethelguida: MarginaliaThe children of K. Alfrede. Quas omnes liberalibus fecit artibus erudiri. That is, Whome he set all to their bookes and study of liberall arts: as my storie testifieth. First Edward his eldest sonne succeeded him in the kingdome, The second sonne Ethelward died before his father. MarginaliaAll hys daughters learned. Ethelgora hys middle Daughter was made a Nunne. The other two were married, the one in Marceland, the other to the earle of Flanders.  

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For the death of Alfred, Foxe used as his main source John Brompton's 'Chronicle' (p. 818) and Roger Howden (p. 41; 50), supplemented (perhaps) by Matthew Paris' Flores (1, pp. 446; 477).

Thus king Alfred the valiaunt, vertuous and learned Prince, aftre he had thus Christianly gouerned the realme the terme of 29. yeares & 6. monethes, departed this life. v. Kal. Nou. MarginaliaThe decease of King Alfred. and lyeth buried at Winchester. An Dom. 901. MarginaliaAn. 901. Of whome thys I finde moreouer greatly noted and commended in historie, and not here to be forgotten, for the rare example therof touching this Alfrede: that wheresoeuer he was, or whethersoeuer he went, he bare alwaies about him, in his bosome or pocket, a litle booke cõtaining the Psalmes of Dauid, and certaine other Orasons of his owne collecting. Wheruppon he was continually reading or praying when soeuer he was otherwise vacant, hauing leisure therunto. Finally what were the vertues of this famous king, thys litle table here vnder written, which is left in ancient writing, in the remembraunce of his worthy and memorable life: doth sufficiently, in fewe lines containe.  
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The final epitaphs to the king were 'left in auncient writing' as part of Foxe's (perhaps unconscious) strategy of laying claims to truth by presenting the reader with the evidence in its most 'raw', and therefore 'pristine' state. The source for the first epitaph, with its interesting stoic overtones, was taken from the Parker manuscript of the Life of Asser. Foxe's citation differs somewhat from that in the printed edition, though it must have come from the same manuscript, suggesting he had not advance sight of any transcript copy of that publication. It is not to be found elsewhere. The second epitaph, Foxe had found in Henry of Huntington's Chronicle ((T. Arnold, ed. Henry of Huntingdon. Henrici Huntendunensis Historia Anglorum, the History of the English, by Henry, Archdeacon of Huntingdon, from B. C. 55 to A. D. 1154 [London: Rolls Series, 1879], book 5, ch. 13). It had also appeared in the 'Polychronicon' (book 6, ch. 3) but Foxe clearly took it from Huntingdon. It had originated in Asser's 'Life', and the Parker/Joscelyn publication of the latter in 1574 noted the cross-reference to Huntingdon (p. 35).

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In Regem Alfredum, & virtutum illius claram memoriam.

FAmosus, Bellicosus, Victoriosus: Viduarum, pupillorum, & orphanorum pauperumque prouisor studiosus, Poetarum Saxonicorum peritissimus: Suæ genti Charissimus: Affabilis omnibus: Liberalissimus: Prudentia, fortitudine, temperantia, Iustitia præditus: in infirmitate, qua continuè laborabat pacientissimus: In exequendis iudicijs indagator discretissimus: In seruicio Dei vigilantissimus & deuotissimus: Anglosaxonum Rex Alfredus, pijssimi Ethelulfi filius. 29. annis sexque mensibus regni sui peractis mortem obijt. Indict. 4. Quinto Kalend. Nouemb. feria quarta, & Wintoniæ in nouo monasterio sepultus immortalitatis stolam, & resurrectionis gloriam cum iustis expectat. &c.

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Moreouer in the Historie of Henricus Huntingtonensis, these verses I finde wrytten in the commendation of the same Alfrede: made (as I suppose and as by his words appeareth) by the sayd author, whereof I thought not to defraude the reader: the wordes whereof here follow.

Epitaphium Regis Alfredi.

Nobilitas innata tibi probitatis honorem,
Armipotens Alfrede dedit, probitasque laborem.
Perpetuumq; labor nomen, cui mixta dolori
Gaudia semper erant, Spes semper mixta timori.
Si modò victor eras, ad crastina bella pauebas:
Si modò victus eras, ad crastina bella parabas.
Cui vestes sudore iugi, cui sica cruore.
Tincta iugi, quantum sit onus regnare probarunt.
Non fuit immensi quisquam per climata mundi,
Cui tot in aduersis nil respirare liceret.
Nec tamen aut ferro contritus ponere ferrum,
Aut gladio potuit, vitæ finisse dolores.
Iam post transactos vitæ regniq; labores,
Christus ei sit vera quies, sceptrumq perenne.

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MarginaliaEtheredus, Pleimundus, Athelmus, Vlfelmus, Odo. Archb. of Canterbury. In the storie of this Alfred, a little aboue, mention was made of Pleimundus Scholemaster to the sayde Alfrede, and also Byshop of Caunterbury, succeeding Etheredus, there Byshoppe before him. Which Pleimundus gouerned that Sea, the number of xxxiiij. yeares. After Pleimundus succeeded Athelmus, and sate xij. yeares. After him came Vlfelmus xiij. yeares. Then followed Odo a Dane borne, in þe sayd Sea of Caunterb. and gouerned þe same xx. yeares, being in great fauoure with King Athelstane, king Edmund, and Edwine, as in processe hereafter (Christ willing) as place & order doth require, shall more at large be expressed.

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Papal Schisms

The purpose of this passage, articulated first by Foxe in the 1570 edition and headed 'sedition among popes' is not difficult to discern. Through the murky and brutal politics of the ninth and tenth-century papacy ('these monstruous matters of Rome'), Foxe sought to provide a historically incontrovertible case against the 'character indelebilis' or 'indelible mark' of priestly ordination, in the case of the papacy sometimes elevated by high Papal theorists of the central Middle Ages into a charism of infallibility, reinforced by the unbroken succession to the see of St Peter (Brian Tierney, Origins of Papal Infallibility 1150-1350 [Leiden, 1972]). Already in the 1563 edition (1563, p. 1) Foxe had singled out the exceptional and extraordinary nature of what occurred in the pontificate of Pope Stephen VI, who (in the so-called 'Cadaver Synod') declared all the actions of his predecessor, Pope Formosus I to be null and void, including the priests which he ordained. In the 1570 edition, he followed the papal succession as laid out in Bale's Catalogus (pp. 119-122) but (in the case of Formosus and Stephen VI) supplemented it with material from the 'Chronologia' of Sigbert of Gembloux (Sibebertus Gemblacensis, Chronicon sive Chronologia) which was a widely-known and cited source for the history of the central Middle Ages, and which had been first published in Paris in 1513. Foxe may have known it, however, from the edition published in 1566 (Germanicarum rerum quatuor celebriores vetustioresque chronographi […] [Frankfurt, 1566]). He appears also to have confirmed the information by consulting Ranulph Higden's Polychronicon (J. R. Lumby, ed. Polychronicon Ranulphi Higden monachi Cestrensis: together with the English translations of John Trevisa and of an unknown writer of the fifteenth century [London: Rolls Series, 1879]. For further information on Foxe's treatment of the history of the papacy, see the important prefatory essay to this edition by Thomas S. Freeman, ['"St Peter Did not Do Thus": Papal History in the Acts and Monuments'].

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Matthew Phillpott and Mark Greengrass
University of Sheffield

Marginalia9. Popes in ix. yeares at Rome. As touching the course and proceedings of the Romish Bishoppes there: where I last entered mention of them pag. 139. I ended wyth Pope Stephen the fifth. After hys time was much broyle, in the election of the Byshops of Rome: one contending against an other: in so much that wythin the space of ix. yeares, were ix. Byshops. Of the which, first was Formosus, MarginaliaFormosus first Pope. who succeeded next vnto the forenamed Stephen 5. being made pope against the mind of certaine in Rome: that wold rather Sergius then deacon of the church of Rome, to haue bene Pope. Notwythstanding, Mars and money preuailed on Formosus part. This Formosus, of whome partly also is mentioned in other places, of this Ecclesiastical historie, being before bishop of Portuake: had in time past (I knowe not vpon what causes) offended Pope Iohn viij. of that name. MarginaliaEx Chronico. Sigeberti. By reason whereof for feare of the Pope, he voided away, and left his Bishopprike. And because hee being sent for againe by the Pope, woulde not returne: therefore was excommunicated. At length comming into France, to make there his satisfaction vnto the Pope, was degraded from a Byshop into a secular mans habite, swearing to the Pope that he would no more reenter into the City of Rome, nor claime his Bishoprike againe: subscribing moreouer with his owne hand to continue from that time in the state of a secular person. But then, Pope Martin (the next Pope after Iohn) released the saide Formosus of his othe, and restored him againe vnto his Bishoprike. Whereby Formosus entred not onely into Rome againe, but also obtained shortly after þe papacie. Thus he being placed in the popedome, arose a great doubt or controuersie among the Diuines, of his consecration, whether it was lawfull or not: some holding against him, that for so much as he was solemnly deposed, degraded, vnpriested, and also sworne not to reiterate the state Ecclesiastical: therefore he ought to be taken no otherwise, then for a seculare man. Other alledged againe, that whatsoeuer Formosus was, yet for the dignitie of that order, and for the credite of them, whom he ordered: all his consecrations ought to stand in force, MarginaliaSchismes among the Popes. especially, seeing the sayd Formosus was afterwarde receiued and absolued by Pope Martin, from that his periury and degradation. &c. In the meane time (as witnesseth Sigebertus) this Formosus sendeth for King Arnulphus for aide against his aduersaries. Who then marching toward Rome, was there resisted by the Romaines from entring. But in the siege (sayeth the author) the Romaines within so playd the Lyons, that a poore Hare (or such a like thing) comming towarde the Citie: the hoste of Arnulphus followed after with such a maine crie, that the valiaunt Romaines vpon the walles for very feare, (where there was no hurt) cast themselues desperately ouer the walles: so that Arnulphus with little laboure scaled the walles, and gate the Citie. Thus Arnulphus obtaining the Citie of Rome, rescueth Pope Formosus, and beheadeth hys aduersaries, whome the Pope, to gratifie wyth like recompence againe, blesseth and crowneth him for Emperoure. Thus Formosus sitting fast about þe space of 4. or 5. yeres followed his predecessours: after whose time (as I sayde) within the space of ix. yeares were ix. Bishops as followeth. But in the meane time concerning the storie of thys Formosus declared by Sigebert, and many other Chroniclers: this thing woulde I gladly aske, and more gladly learne of some indifferent good Catholike person, whyche not of obstinacie, but of simple errour being a papist wold aunswere his conscience. Whether doth he thinke the holy order of Priesthoode, which hee taketh for one of the seuen Sacramentes, to be Character indelebilis or not? MarginaliaCharacter indelebilis. If it be not indelebilis, that is, if it be such a thing, as may be put of: why then doeth the Popes doctrine so call and so hold the contrary, pretending it to be indelebile, vnremoueable? If it be in deede, so as they teach and affirme, indelebilis character, why then did Pope Iohn, or could Pope Iohn, adnichilate & euacuate one of his vij. Popeholy Sacraments: making of a Priest a non Priest, or a layman: vncharactering hys owne order, which is (as he sayeth) a Character, which in no wise may be blotted out, or remoued? Againe,

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