This fortitude of mynd, which perchaunce is rare and not vsed among the Spaniardes, whē fryer Iohn sawe, thinking it came not of fortitude but of desperation (although suche maner exāples which ar of the like cōstancie haue ben much common here in England) ranne to the Lord Williās of Tame, criyng that the Arch byshop was vexed in mynde, and died in great desperation. But he whiche was not ignorant[Back to Top]
of his countrimēs constancie, being vnknowē to the Spaniardes, smyled only, and as it wer by silence rebuked the fryers folie. And this was the ende of this learned Archebyshoppe whome lest by euill saying he should haue peryshed, by well recanting God preserued, and lest he should haue lyued to shame, he died happely to the glorie of Gods name.[Back to Top]
¶ The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before.
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Commentary on the Woodcuts
The famous scene of Cranmer sacrificing as first oblation to the flames the right hand that had betrayed his heart became one of the best known passages in Foxe's book. The place where 'the holy bishops' Latimer and Ridley had burned is shown much as it was in the woodcut of that earlier event (1583, pp. 1769-70), with the tower over the north gate of Oxford's city wall, from which Cranmer had looked down. His 'long and thick' beard which gave his face 'marvellous gravity' is intact, as is his raised left hand, crumpling in the flames on his stiff horizontal arm. Everything is focused on this guilty index finger, exactly centred in the mid-point of the block - the gesture crudely paralleled by the outstretched left arm of the ugly Spanish friar John, still testing Cranmer's steadfast purpose. Cranmer's burning was one of the four woodcuts of English martyrs illustrated in Foxe's 1559 Latin book, but very differently. There the archbishop, bearded and erect, is still untouched by the roaring fire (tended, as in the Acts and Monuments by a solitary attendant) in which he holds his hand. In 1559 the assembled viewers are in the background, mainly officials. There is no crush of awed spectators filling the space as in the English book, and no banderole for the final words, 'Lord receive my spirit'. As in other cases, the chief persecutor is drawn to the viewer's attention by a label (in roman letters in both 1563 and 1570 - redone - and then in italic in 1576 and 1583. The archbishop's last words were naturally treated with care, the roman lettering of 1563 changing to italic in 1570 and then altered again respectively to roman and italic in 1576 and 1583
THus haue you the full storye concernynge the lyfe and death of this reuerend Archebyshop and Martyr of God, Thomas Cranmer, and also of all other the best learned sorte of Christes Martyrs burned in Quene Maries tyme, of whome this Archebyshop was the last, being burnt about the very myddle tyme of the reigne of that Quene, and almoste the very middle man of all the Martyrs, whiche were burned in al her reigne besydes. Diuers bookes and treatises he wrote both in pryson & out of pryson. Among the whiche especially he had a mynd to the aunswere which he made to M. Antonius Constantius.
MarginaliaThe aunswere of Cranmer to M. Antonius Cōstantius.
This was Gardiner's pen name for his Explication and assertion of the true Catholic faith.
Which boke was the chiefest cause why he made his appeale, (as he wryting to a lawyer cōfesseth him self, pag. [illegible text]) and peraduenture was some cause also why he recanted, to haue leasure and time to finishe that booke. Of the whiche boke two[Back to Top]
partes yet be extant, and peraduenture (if God geue time and life) may hereafter be published:
Foxe had prepared a Latin translation of part of Cranmer's rebuttal during his exile, but he had been unable to find a protestant printer on the Continent willing to publish a work on the bitterly divisive subject of the eucharist (see J. F. Mozley, John Foxe and his Book [London: 1940], pp. 46 and 56).[Back to Top]
the third part, some saye also was wrytten & afterward lost at Oxford, which if it be so, it is great pitie. Maister Ridley also, as it is testified, made an answer to the said M. Antonius Constant. with a cole in the margent of the booke, for lack of inke & paper, and I trust also that the same will come to our handes.[Back to Top]
Marginalia1556. February. 19.
MarginaliaTwo matrones burnt at Ipswych.
The Martyrdom of Agnes Potten and Joan Trunchfield
This entire account appears in the 1563 edition and was unchanged in subsequent editions. It is based partly on official documents; Foxe had copies of the articles charged against Agnes Potten and her replies (BL, Harley 421, fo. 191r-v), the articles charged against Joan Trunchfield and her replies (BL, Harley 421, fo. 192r-v and the sentence condemning them (BL, Harley 421, fos. 189r-190v).These documents were copied from a now lost Norwich diocesan court book. Foxe also received the story of Agnes Potten's dream and of Joan Trunchfield's behaviour at the stake from oral sources. Another anecdote concerning Joan Trunchfield came into Foxe's hands as the 1563 edition was nearing completion and was printed in an appendix at the end of the book (1563, p. 1734).[Back to Top]
Bout the time that this good Archbyshop was thus cruelly dispatched and burned at Oxforde, there were twoo honest Matrones, Agnes Potten, the wyfe of Robert Potten of Ipswich in Suffolk, & the wyfe of one Mychel Trōchfield a shomaker in þe
same town, burnt at the said Ipswich the 19. day of Feb. An. 1556. Their opinion or rather certaine perswasion was, that in the Sacrament there was the memoriall of Christes death and passion.[Back to Top]