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Ashdown (Berkshire Downs)

Berkshire

 
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Basingstoke

Hampshire

OS grid ref: SU 635 525

 
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Cambridge (Grantbridge)

[Cambrige; Grantbrige; Grantebryge]

OS grid ref: TL 465 585

County town of Cambridgeshire and university town

 
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Englefield

West Berkshire

OS grid ref: SU 625 725

 
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Exeter
NGR: SX 920 925

A city and county of itself, locally in the hundred of Wanford, county of Devon, of which it is the chief town. 10 miles north-north-west from Exmouth, 44 miles north-east from Plymouth. The city comprises 17 parishes, two chapelries, and the extra-parochial precinct of the cathedral; all in the Archdeaconry and Diocese of Exeter, of which the town is the seat. 14 of the livings are discharged rectories; St John is a rectory not in charge; St David and St Sidwell are perpetual curacies.

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English information from Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of England (S. Lewis & Co: London, 1831)

Welsh information taken from Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales(Lewis & Co: London, 1840)

The reason for the use of these works of reference is that they present the jurisdictional and ecclesiastical position as it was before the major Victorian changes. The descriptions therefore approximate to those applying in the sixteenth century, after the major changes of 1535-42. Except for the physical locations, which have not changed, the reader should not therefore take these references as being accurate in the twenty-first century.

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Merton

Merton London; Merton, Oxfordshire; Marden, Wiltshire or Martin, Dorset)

 
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Repton

[Repindon; Repyngdon]

Derbyshire

OS grid ref: SK 305 265

 
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Sandwich
NGR: TR 335 584

A Cinque Port, borough and market town having separate jurisdiction, locally in the hundred ofEastry, lathe of St Augustine, county of Kent. 39 miles east from Maidstone. The town comprise the parishes of St Clement, St Mary the Virgin and St Peter the Apostle, all in the Archdeaconry and diocese of Canterbury. The living of St Clement is a vicarage; the living of St Mary is a discharged vicarage; and the living of St Peter is a discharged rectory.

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English information from Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of England (S. Lewis & Co: London, 1831)

Welsh information taken from Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales(Lewis & Co: London, 1840)

The reason for the use of these works of reference is that they present the jurisdictional and ecclesiastical position as it was before the major Victorian changes. The descriptions therefore approximate to those applying in the sixteenth century, after the major changes of 1535-42. Except for the physical locations, which have not changed, the reader should not therefore take these references as being accurate in the twenty-first century.

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Wareham [Warrham; Warham]

Dorset

OS grid ref: SY 925 875

 
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Wilton [Wylton]

Wiltshire

OS grid ref: SU 095 315

 
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Woburn Abbey

Buckinghamshire

OS grid ref: SP 965 325

164 [141]

Duke Ethelwold slayne. K. Osrike. Ethelred. K. Alured. Rollo. 1. Duke of Normandy.

taines of the Danes, as they went in purchasing of theyr prayes or booties: were slaine at a place called Englefelde. Which Princes of the Danes thus slaine, the rest of them kept whole together, in such wise that þe Westsaxons might take of them none aduantage. But yet within fewe dayes after the Danes were holden so short, that they were forced to issue out of the castle, & to defend them in plain battaile. In the whiche (by the industry of king Ethelred and of Allured his brother) the Danes were discomfited, & many of them slaine: which discomfort made them flie againe into the castle, and there kept them for a certain time. The King then committing the charge of them to Ethelwolde Duke of Baroke or Barkshire, so departed. But whē the Danes knew of the kings departure, they brake sodeinly out of their hold, and tooke the Duke vnprouided, & slewe him, MarginaliaDuke Ethelwold slayne. and much of his people. And so adioyning thēselues with other that were scattered in the countrey, enbattelled them in such wise, that of them was gathered a strōg host.

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As the tidings hereof was brought to king Etheldred, (which put him in great heauines) word also was brought the same time of the landing of Osrike, king of Denmarke: MarginaliaOsrike king of Denmark landeth in England. who with assistence of the other Danes had gathered a great host, and were enbattelled vpō Ashdowne. To this battaile king Ethelred with his brother Alured (forced by great neede) sped them selues to withstand the Danes. At which time, the king a litle staying behind being yet at his seruice, Alured which was comen before, had entred already into the whole fight with the Danes: who strake together with huge violēce. The king being required to make speede (hee being then at seruice, and meditiations) such was his deuotion: that he would not stirre out one foote, before the seruice was fully cōplete. MarginaliaEx Guliel. Malmesberiensi. Ex historia Iornalensi. Ex Fabiano & alijs. Inuocation and prayer, profitable in tyme of battayle. In this meane while, the Danes so fearsly inuaded Alured and his mē, that they wanne the hill: and the Christen men were in the valley, and in great daunger to loose the whole fielde. Neuerthelesse through the grace of God, and their godly manhoode, the king comming from his seruice, with his fresh souldiours recouered the hill of the infidels: and so discōfited the Danes that day, that in fleing away not only they lost the victory, but most part also of them their liues. MarginaliaThe Danes ouerthrown at Ashdon. In so much that their Duke or king Osride or Osege, and fiue of their Dukes, with much of their people were slain, and the rest chased vnto Reding towne.

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After this, the Danes yet resembled their people, and gathered a new host, so that within xv. dayes, they mete at Basingstoke, and there gaue battaile vnto the king, & had the better. MarginaliaAn other battayle fought with the Danes. Then the king againe gathered his mē, which at that field were disparkled, and with fresh souldiours to them accompanied, mete the Danes within two moneths after at the towne of Merton, where hee gaue to them a sharpe battaile: MarginaliaAn other battayle fought with the Danes at Merton. so that much people were slaine as well of the Christen, as of the Danes, but in the ende, the Danes had the honour of the fielde, and king Ethelred there was wounded, and therefore faine to saue himselfe.

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After these ij. fields thus won by the Danes, they obtained great circuit of groūd, and destroyed man & childe, that would not yeld to them. And Churches and temples they turned to the vse of stables, & other vile occupations.

Thus the king beset with enemies on euery side, seing the land so miserably oppressed of the Danes: his knights and soldiours consumed: his owne land of Westsaxons in such desolation: he being also wounded himself: But especially for that he sending his commissions into Northumberland, into Mercia, and Eastanglia, could haue of them but smal or litle comfort (because they through wicked rebellion, were more willing to take the part of the Danes, then of their king) was sore perplexed therewithall, as the other Kinges were both before him and after him, at that time. MarginaliaWhat discord and rebellion doth in a realme. So that, as Malmesbury witnesseth, magis optarēt honestum exitium, quàm tam acerbum imperium. That is, They rather wished honestly to die, then with such trouble and sorrow to reigne. And thus this King not long after deceased, when he had reigned, as Fabian sayth viij. yeres, as Malmesbury wryteth, but v. yeares. MarginaliaThe death of Etheldred. During which time of his reigne, notwithstanding hys so great troubles and vexations in martiall affaires, (as is in some stories mentioned) he founded the house or college of Chanōs at Exeter, MarginaliaThe Abbey of Exceter founded. and was buried at the Abbey of Winborn or Woborn. After whose decease, for lacke of issue of his body, the rule of the land fel vnto his brother Alured.

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Alfred the Great

Foxe's expansion of the 'third age of the church' in the 1563 edition into book three of the 1570 edition had provided a summary regnal list of Saxon kings. But he could hardly let King Alfred be consigned just to a table. His decision to provide a lengthy account of the heroic royal virtues of King Alfred stands in the contemporary tradition of the literature of the 'mirror for princes'. His 'notable knowledge of good letters' joined to his 'feruent loue & princely desire to set forth the same through all his realme', joined with his 'heroical properties' offered a moral example that was, says Foxe somewhat tartly, 'seldome seene in Princes now adaies'. Behind the good example, however, Foxe also wanted to emphasise how it was the secular power of the Saxon rulers which had most stood out against the barbarities of the Danes on the one hand, and the increasingly pervasive and corrupting influence of the Roman church on the other.

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He constructed his appreciation of Alfred the Great without, however, making anything but a solitary, passing reference to Asser's 'Life'. The earliest manuscript of this source (BL Cotton MS Otho A xii) was unfortunately destroyed in the Cotton fire of 1731 and now only survives in the form of a few partial copies, and a transcript, made by someone in Matthew Parker's service, probably John Joscelyn, (Corpus Christ College, Cambridge MS 100), which was probably the basis for the publication of the text under his aegis in 1574 (Aelfredi Regis res Gestæ). The text had only recently been discovered when Foxe was writing in 1570, and he may have been uncertain of its worth. There has certainly been a debate among modern Anglo-Saxon historians as to its authenticity (see Alfred Smyth, The Medieval life of King Alfred the Great […] [Basingstoke, 2002]). The only element in Foxe's narrative which comes unambiguously from Asser is an oration, but which may have been abstracted for him by someone in Parker's service. Asser's 'Life' certainly does not impinge on his narrative in a significant fashion.

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If he did not make much use of Asser's 'Life', Foxe certainly seems to have attempted to cast his net widely and critically for sources. In these first paragraphs, he followed his familiar practice of taking one source and working outwards from it. In this instance, it was Fabian's Chronicle (R. Fabyan, The Chronicle of Fabian [London, 1559], book 6, chs 171-3). Fabian had already mentioned that he had used Geoffrey of Monmouth, William of Malmesbury's 'Gesta Regum' and Ranulph Higden's 'Polychronicon'. Foxe perhaps checked up on that. But he apparently went further, too, adding: 'the lattyne histories of Reger Hoveden and Huntingdon: whom Fabian also semeth in this part somwat to folow'. Certainly in the case of the story of the taking of Alfred's crown to Pope Leo, Foxe must have taken the lead from Fabian and followed his source back to the 'Polychronicon', from which he would have found the specific mention of Pope Leo and a reference to Henry Huntingdon (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], from which Foxe picked up other material as well at this point. We would also have been sent on to William of Malmesbury's 'Gesta Regum' at this point, from which Foxe fillets in some other details (J. S. Brewer, and C. T. Martin, 'William of Malmesbury: Gesta Regum.' In Reigistrum Malmesburiense. The Registor of Malmesbury Abbey, ed. by J.S. Brewer and C.T. Martin (London: Rolls Series, 1869-1880), book 2, ch. 121). There was also a brief, but significant addition directly from Roger Howden's 'Chronicle' on the slaying of Iguar and Hubba (independent of any of his other sources for this passage). In sum, this passage is one upon which Foxe expended a good deal of careful attention.

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Matthew Phillpott and Mark Greengrass
University of Sheffield

King Alured otherwise called Alfrede.

MarginaliaAn. 872. Alured K. of England. AMong the Saxon kinges hetherto in this historie afore mentioned: I finde fewe or none to be preferred (or almost to be compared) to this Alured, or Alfrede for the great and singulare qualities in this king worthy of highrenowne and commendation. Whether we behold in him the valiant actes, and manifold trauailes which he continually from time to time sustained against his ennemies in warres, during almost all the time of his raigne, for the publicke preseruation of his people: Or whether we consider in him, his godly and excellent vertues, ioyned with a publicke and tender care, and zelous study, for the common peace and trāquility of the weale publike: appearing as wel in his prudēt lawes by him both carefully set forth, and with the like care executed, as also by his own priuate exercises touching the vertuous institution of his life. Or whether we respect that in him, which with equall praise matcheth with both the other before: That is, his notable knowledge of good letters, with a feruēt loue and Princely desire, to set foorth the same through all his Realme (before his time being both rude and barbarous) All whych his heroical properties, ioyned together in one Prince, as it is a thing most rare, and seldome seene in Princes now a daies: so I thought the same the more to be noted and examplefide in this good king. Therby either to moue other rulers and Princes in these our daies, to his imitation: or els to shew them what hath ben in times past, in their anceters, which ought to be, and yet is not founde in them. Wherefore of these three partes to discourse either part in order, first we wil enter to entreat of his actes and painefull trauailes sustained, in defence of the Realme publicke: against the raging tyrannie of the Danes, as they be described in the Latin histories of Rog. Houeden, and Huntington: whome Fabian also seemeth in this part somewhat to follow. MarginaliaEx Rog. Houedeno. H. Hunting. Polychronicon. Fabiano. King Alfred therfore, first of al the English kings, taking his crowne and vnction at Rome of Pope Leo (as Malmesberiensis and Polycronicon do recorde) in the beginning of his raigne, perceauing his Lordes & people much wasted and decaied, by the reason of the great warres of Ethelred, had against the Danes: yet as well as he coulde, gathered a strength of men vnto him, and in the secōd moneth that he was made King, he met with the Danes beside Wylton, where hee gaue to them battaile. But being farre ouermatched, through the multitude of the contrary part, was put there to the worse: although not wythout a great slaughter of the Pagane army. Which army then of the Danes, after that victorie, by compaction made wyth King Alfrede, to depart out of his dominion of Westsaxe: remoued from Reading to London, where they abode all that winter. Where Halden their king, taking truse wyth Burhered, King of Mercians, MarginaliaBurhered being expulsed hys kingdome went to Rome and there dyed in the Englishe house. the next yeare followinge voyded those partes, and drewe to Lyndesey: in robbing and spoyling the townes and villages as they went, and holding the common people vnder their seruage. From thence after to Repyngdon: where they ioyning wyth the three other Kings of the Danes (called Surdrim, Osketel, and Hamond) grewe thereby in mighty force and strength. Who then deuiding their armie in two partes, the one halfe remained wyth Halden in the countrey of Northumberland: the residue were with the other three kings, wintering and soiourning all the next yeare at Grantbrige, which was the fourth yeare of King Alfred. In the which yeare King Alfred his men had a conflict on the Sea, with sixe of the Danes shippes, of which one they tooke, the other fled away. In this yeare went Rollo the Dane into Normandie, where hee was Duke thirtie yeare, MarginaliaRollo a Dane first Duke of Normandy. and afterwarde was Baptised in the faith of Christ, and named Robert The foresayde armie of the three Dane Kinges aboue mētioned frō Grantebryge, returned again to Westsaxonie, and entred the Castle of Warrham: where King Alfrede with a sufficiēt power of men, was ready to assault them. But the Danes seeing his strength durst not attēpt with him, but sought delaies, while more ayd might come. In the meane season they were constrayned to intreat for truce: leauing also sufficient pledges in the Kinges hand, promising moreouer vpon their othe, to voyde the country of the Westsaxons. The king vpon the surety let them go. But they falsely breaking their league, priuely in the night brake out, taking their iourny toward Exceter. In which iourny, they lost vi. score of their small ships, by a tempest at Sandwych (as Henry Huntington in hys storye recordeth.) Then kyng Alfrede followed after the horsmen of the Danes, but coulde not ouertake them, before they came to Exceter, where he tooke of thē pledges and fayre promises of peace, and so returned. Notwithstanding the number of the Pagāes did dayly more and more increase, in so much (as one of my authors sayth) that if in one day 30. thousand of them were slayn, shortly after they increased double as many agayne. After this truce taken with King Alfrede, the Danes then voyded to the land of Mercia, whereof part of that kingdome they kept themselues, part they committed to one Ceolulphus: vppon condition

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