Actes and Monumentes of the church
The fourth section or part of the ecclesiasticall history conteining Such actes and recordes, as happened in King Edwards dayes.
EMong other roughe stormes & bloisterus persecutiōs which we haue passed through since the beginninge of this history, wading also through daūgerous tempestes, of king Hēries time, as beīg come out frō þe rocks & waues of a terrible sea, now we haue brought þe course of this story (through þe goodnes & supportatiō of Christ our lord) to the milde and Alciō days of king Edward the sixte, as into a hauen of fayrer and calmer whether.
Commendation of Edward VI
The nucleus of this account of Edward VI appeared in the Rerum (pp. 200-201) where Foxe summarized the religious reforms which took place in Edward VI's reign and eulogized the young king for the (relative) lack of religious persecution which characterized his reign. This material was incorporated in the 1563 edition and remained a part of the account of Edward VI in all successive editions. In the 1563 edition, Foxe added material from informants, apparently including Edward VI's former tutors Richard Cox and John Cheke, regarding Edward VI's character and virtues. In the 1570 edition, Foxe pruned back some criticism of Henry VIII, for his violence and his failure to achieve a thorough Reformation of the Church, not because Foxe's views on this subject had changed, but because by now he had stated these views more sharply, elsewhere in the book. Foxe added two sections to the 1570 account of Edward VI. One was a panegyric of Edward's desire to reform the Church and of his virtues; details in it may have come (via William Cecil) from John Cheke. The other addition was further praise of Edward's character and abilities, taken from the writings of the well-known astrologer, Girolamo Cardano.[Back to Top]
Throughout Foxe was trying to present Edward VI as a model ruler particularly in his zeal for further Reformation and in his merciful nature. This was clearly intended as a model for princes and magistrates to follow. It is noticeable that this prescriptive praise became even more intense in the 1570 edition, by which time it was becoming apparent that Elizabeth - in Foxe's eyes, at least - was sadly lukewarm in her zeal for thorough reformation. It is also noteworthy that Foxe's desire to eulogize Cranmer for his mercy was so strong, that he re-wrote his earlier account and exonerated Edward VI from any share in the execution of the religious radical, Joan Bocher.[Back to Top]
Thomas S. Freeman
For like as the seas, so also the land oft times hathe his rages and also tranquility. Although it cannot be denied, but kinge Henry the noble father of this worthy Prince deserued also prayse & renown for his valiant and vertuous beginninge: Yet if he had proceded so hardeli, according as happely he begonne: and like as he only crakt the Popes crowne, and raysed his name, so if he had clene dispossessed him of al: or as he hadde once got the vicory ouer him, so if he had persued his victory got:
MarginaliaKing Hēry vnhorsed the Pope: but king Edward toke awaye sadle, trappers and al.
And (as it was preached before him at Greinwige) like as he had once vnhorsed the Pope and put him out of the sadle, so if he had also taken awaye his trapers and sturruppes wherby the prelates went aboute to set him on his horse againe. Then had his actes ioyning a perfect ende to his godly beginning, deserued a firme memory of much cōmendation, with the sauinge of many a poore mans life.
In later editions, this criticism of Henry VIII would get even sharper. But Foxe's basic grounds for criticizing Henry VIII would not change: the old king was violent, even cruel and he did not thoroughly reform the Church. Foxe's praise of Edward VI for doing both, along with his criticisms of Henry's failings in both respects, was intended as a model for later magistrates and rulers, especially Elizabeth to follow.[Back to Top]
But that which the father eyther could not, or durst not bring to perfectiō, that the son most worthely did accōplish, or rather the grace of Christ by him. Who succeading after his father, reigned ouer the kingdome of England the space of 6. yeres in much tranquilitie
Given the rebellions of 1549, war with Scotland, and the execution of the duke of Somerset, this would seem to be an overstatement. But Foxe is very concerned both to praise Edward and to show God's favour on England during the young king's reign.
. of whose worthey vertues, and prudente sentences, with other ornamentes of his singuler towardnes, hereafter shal folow (Christ so permitting) more to be expressed at large, whan we come to his death, accordinge as the order of historye requireth, and as we maye be informed thereof by the relation of themabout him.
MarginaliaDuke of Northfolk cast in the tower.
After or about the deth therfore of king Hēry, the Duke of Northfolk the same time being committed in to the tower,
MarginaliaEarle of Surray behedded.
and his sonne the Erl of Surry shortly after behedded, for what offence because as yet it is vnknowen to me I commit it vnto the lorde, who as knoweth all thinges perfectly, so shal iudge al things rightuously.
Note Foxe's very similar comment on Surrey later in Book 9.
God graunt that the doinges of al men may be such, that eyther they may stand in his iudgment through vprightnes, or els may obtein mercy, thrugh repētāce To retourn againe to þe
matter. After þe
deth (I say) of kīg Hēry, his son king Edward bycause he was but of grene & tēdre age comming to his crowne therfore
MarginaliaLorde Edwarde Semer lorde Protector.
his vncle Lord Edward Semer, Duke of Somerset was assigned and adioyned to him as protecor and ouerseer of him and of the commen welth a man not so heighly auanced for his consanguinitie, as also for his noble vertues and especially for his fauour to Gods word, worthy of his vocation and calling. Through the endeuour and industry of which man, first that mōstrous Hidra with six heades, the six articles I meane, (which deuoured vp so many men before) was abolished and taken away. by reasō wherof the counsels and proceadings of Winchester began to decay, who storminge at the same matter, wrot to the Lord Protector in þe
cause therof, as by his letters hereafter is to be sene. The holy scriptures restored to the mother toung. Masses extinct and abolished furthermore after softer beginnings, by little and litle greater thinges followed after in reformation of churches. Then such as before were in banishment for the daunger of the truth, were againe receaued to there countre. To be short a new face of thinges began now to appere, as it were a stage, new players comming in, thold being thrust out. For the most part of churches the bishops therof were changed. Such as had bene domme prelates before were compelled to giue place to other thē that would preach and take paynes. Besides also other out of forren coūtries, men of lerning and notable knowledg wer sent for & receiued, emong whome was Petrus Martir, Martine Bucer, and Paulus Phagius: Of whome the first taught at Oxford. Thother. ii. professed at Cambridg, and that with no small commēdation of the whole vniuersitie. Emong the[Back to Top]