mined, as it was certenly reported to pluck downe their house, & make it euen wt the ground. Ex Io. Sleid. lib. 9
MarginaliaPersecution for the Gospell before M. Luthers tyme.But to leaue the memory of this idolatrous generation, not worthy any further to bee named, let vs occupye the time with some better matter, in remembryng the story of a good and a constant Martyr of the Lord before ouerpast, which sufferd in Kent for the word of God before Luthers time, about the secōd yeare of this kinges raygne, as here in story foloweth.[Back to Top]
Foxe had already printed a description, drawn from the registers of Archbishop William Warham of Canterbury, of the proccedings against John Browne for heresy (1570, pp. 1453-55). Foxe obtained this account, as he notes, from people who told him what John Browne's daughter told them her mother had told her. Foxe printed this account at the end of his account of the reign of Henry VIII, almost certainly because the account reached him while the 1570 edition was being printed. In the 1583 edition, Foxe moved this account to its proper chronological position in the volume, although through someone's negligence, this account was also reprinted, in its old position, at the end of Henry VIII's reign and as a result, this account was printed twice in the 1583 edition, and in all subsequent editions (Foxe added a shorter version of Alice Browne's narrative, without, however, removing the longer version. This probably happened because Foxe decided to move the account of John Browne to its proper chronological place and decided to shorten it in the process. But for some reason, he neglected to remove the long version and also, more understandably, overlooked the account derived from Warham's register. As a result, there are three separate accounts of John Browne scattered across the pages of the 1583 edition (1583, pp. 805, 1276-77 and 1292-3) and all subsequent unabridged editions).[Back to Top]
Thomas S. Freeman
shop of Ro-
A chauntry Priest.
MarginaliaThe story of Ioh. Browne, Martyr.THe first occasion of þe trou-ble
of thys Iohn Browne
This section on John Browne first appeared in the 1583 edition.It is an abridged version of an account that had first appeared in 1570 (p. 1480). Thelonger account was reprinted in the 1583 edition (1583, pp. 1292-3), along with thisshorter account. Thus the 1583 edition had longer and shorter versions of this narrative printed almost 500 pages apart. The reason for this confusion is compli-cated. In the 1570 edition, Foxe had first printed a description of the proceedings against John Browne, drawn from Archbishop Warham's register (1570, pp. 1453-1455). Further on in the same edition, Foxe also printed the longer account of thisnarrative (1570, p. 1480). This narrative was derived not from official records, butas Foxe notes, was related to him by Browne's daughter Alice. Both of theseaccounts, the one from the register and the one from Alice Browne, were inserted into Foxe's book as it was being printed, consequently neither account appears in1511, when Browne's trial and execution actually took place. They were reprinted,in the same chronologically inaccurate locations in Foxe's text, in the next two editions (1576, pp. 1239-41 and 1255; 1583, pp. 1276-7 and 1292-3). However, Foxe then added this shorter version of Alice Browne's narrative, without, however, removing the longer version. This probably happened because Foxe decided to move the account of John Browne to its proper chronological place and decided to shorten it in the process. But for some reason, he neglected to remove the long version and also, more understanably, overlooked the account derived from Warham's register. As a result, there are three separate accounts of John Browne scattered across the pages of the 1583 edition (1583, pp. 805, 1276-77 and 1292-3) and all subsequentunabridged editions.[Back to Top]
the blessed seruaunt of God,
was by a certaine Priest: who
passyng down to Graues end
in the common Barge (where
the said Iohn Browne was a-
mongest diuers other passyn-
gers moe) and disdaining that
he so saucely should sit so nere
vnto him in þe Barge (who be-
like seemed not much to passe
vpon the Priest) begā to swell
in stomacke agaynst hym. At
length brustyng forth in hys
priestly voyce and disdaynful
countenance, he asked him in
MarginaliaTalke betwen Ioh. Browne and a proude Priest, in Graues end Barge.this maner: Doost thou know
(sayd he) who I am? thou sit-
test to neare me, and sittest on
my clothes. No Syr (sayd the
other) I know not what you
are. I tel thee (quoth he) I am
a Priest. What Syr, are you
a Parson, or Vicar, or some
Ladies Chaplayn? No (quoth
he again) I am a soule priest:
I sing for a soule.
Do you so
The priest is saying that he is a chantry priest whose sole duty is to pray for a soul to reduce his or her time in purgatory. Browne does not believe in purgatory and ridicules the priest.
Syr (quoth the other?) that is
wel done. I pray you Syr (said
he) where finde you the soule, when you go to Masse? I can not tell thee (sayd the Priest.) I pray you, where doo you leaue it Syr when the Masse is done? I can not tel thee, sayd the Priest. Neither can you tell where you finde it when you go to Masse, nor where you leaue it whē the Masse is done: how can you then saue þe soule, sayd hee? Goe thy wayes sayd the Priest, I perceaue thou art an hereticke, and I wyll be euen with thee.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaWalter More, W. More, Chilten, and Beare, persecuters.So at the landing, the Priest taking with him Walter More and W. More two Gentlemen and brethren, rode straight wayes to the Archbishop, who then was Williā Warrham. Wherupon the said Iohn Browne, within three daies after, was sent for by the Archbishop. His bryngers vp were Chilten of Wye Bayly arrant, and one Beare of Wilseborough, with two of the Byshops seruauntes. MarginaliaIohn Browne sodeinly taken and caryed away.Who with certayne other being appointed for the same, came sodenly into his house vpon him, the same day when his wife was Churched, as he was bryngyng in a messe of porrege to the board seruyng hys geastes: and so laying handes vpon hym, set him vpon his owne horse, and byding his feete vnder þe horses belly, caried him away to Cāterbury, neither he, nor his wyfe, nor any of his frendes knowing whether he went, nor whether hee should, and there continuyng the space of xl. dayes, from Lowsonday
Low Sunday is the Sunday following Easter Sunday.
Low Sunday is the first Sunday following Easter. In 1511, this was 27 April.
If Browne was indeed totured in this manner, it was grossly illegal.But it should be remembered that this story passed from Browne's wife to theirdaughter to Foxe and none of these parties had any interest in minimizing Browne'ssufferings.
If Browne was tortured, it was illegal. But it should be remembered that this story was transmitted to Foxe at third hand (at best), and the story lost nothing in the telling.
MarginaliaBrowne brought to Ashford to be burned.In the meane time, as he was brought to the towne ouer night, there to bee set in the stockes, it happened, as God would, that a younge maide of his house commyng by and seyng her maister, ranne home and told her mistres.
MarginaliaBrowne set in the stockes at Ashforde.Then she commyng to hym, and findyng him in the stockes appointed to bee burned the next morrowe, satte by hym all the night long. To whome then hee declared the whole story or rather tragedy how he was handled, and how his feete were burned to the bones, that he could not set them vpon the ground, by the two bishops aforesaid (he thanked God therefore) and al to make me (said he) to deny my Lord, which I wil neuer do. For if I should deny hym (said he) in this world, he would denye me hereafter. And therefore I pray thee (sayd he) good Elizabeth, cōtinue as thou hast begon, & bring vp thy children vertuously in the feare of God.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaThe Martyrdome of Iohn Browne.And so the next day, which was on Whitson euen, this godly Martyr was burned, where hee standing at the stake sayd this prayer holding vp his handes, as followeth.
MarginaliaThe praier of Iohn Browne at hys death.
O Lord I yelde me to thy grace,
Graunt me mercy for my trespace,
Let neuer the feende my soule chase.
Lord I wyll bow, and thou shalt beate:
Let neuer my soule come in hell heate.
Into thy handes I commende my spirite: thou hast redemed me, O Lord of trouth.
And so this blessed Martyr ended hys lyfe in peace, an. 1511.
MarginaliaWitnesse to thys story.This story the sayd Elizabeth Browne his wife did oft times repeate to Alyce her daughter, who dwelling yet in the Parish of S. Pulchers, testified the narration hereof vnto me and certaine other, vpon whose credible information I haue recorded the same.
It is clear from this note that other Londoners brought Alice Browne's sory of what her mother had told her to Foxe's attention. Foxe is revealing his source for the film to rebut potential critics who might claim that he invented it.
Furthermore, here is to be noted, that the said Iohn Browne bare a Fagot. vij. yeares before thys, in the