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313 [313]

Sir Iohn Oldecastell, knyght, Lord Cobham, whom we thynke mete to be compared with þe fornamed famous Zisca, for that, although not in fielde as Zisca did, yet notwithstanding coragiously did he defende the quarell of Christes true Religion and Gospel, euen vnto the death, and sheading of his bloud, as shall apeare more at large in his history which hereupon ensueth.

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THE HISTORY OF the moste valiaunt and worthy Martyr of Christ Sir Iohn Oldecastell knight, Lord Cobham, with the whole processe of his examaination, death, and Martyrdom, for the true profession of Christes Gospell. 
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Sir John Oldcastle

Foxe's first account of Sir John Oldcastle came in the Commentarii (fos. 90v-107v). Apart from praise of Oldcastle, this material consisted of the process against Oldcastle which was described in a letter from Archbishop Arundel to the bishop of London, which was contained in the Fasciculi Zizaniorum (Bodley Library MS Musaeo e 86, fos. 101v-105v). In the Rerum (pp. 100-106), Foxe reprinted this material, adding material from Fabyan's chronicle on Oldcastle's confrontations with the clergy before his revolt. (See Robert Fabyan, The Chronicle of Fabian [London, 1559], STC 10664, p. 390). It is interesting that Foxe apparently did not have access to John Bale's Brief Chronicle, a hagiography of Oldcastle, during his exile. He remedied this in his first edition. There he replaced the account of Oldcastle in his Latin martyrologies with a reprinting of all of Bale's Brief Chronicle, except for the preface and the conclusion. (See John Bale, A brefe chronycle concernyng the examination and death of the blessed martir of Christ sir Johan Oldcastel [London, 1548?], STC 1278, B3r-G2v). Foxe also added a brief account of Arundel's death, which was taken from John Bale's Catalogus (p. 577). In 1570, Foxe reprinted this material but with a few changes. He dropped the beginning of Bale's Brief Chronicle and replaced it with an account of the 1413 Convocation drawn from College of Arms MS Arundel 7, a version of Thomas Walsingham's Chronica majora. (See Thomas Walsingham, Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, 2 vols., Rolls Series 28 [London, 1863-4], II, p. 291). Foxe also deleted some of the more sharply anticlerical passages in the Brief Chronicle. The 1570 version of the account of Oldcastle was repeated without the 1576 and 1583 editions.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

¶ The processe before his examination.


Ex Operib9 & scriptis Thomeal deni.

Iohn Wickleue a man of God and his disciples

AFter that the true seruaunt of Iesus Christ, Iohn Wyckliffe, a man of very excellent lyfe and learning, had for þe space of more than. xxvi. yeares, most valeantly battelled with the great Antichrist of Europe, or Pope of Rome and his diuersly disgysed hoste of anoynted hypocrites to restore the churche agayne to the pure estate that Christe lefte her in at his Ascension, he departed hence most Christenly in the hands of God, the year of our Lord 1387. as is aforsaid & was buried in his owne parysh church at Lutterworth in Lyncolnshere. No small nomber of godly disciples, left that good man behynde hym to defende the lowlynesse of the Gospell against the exceading pryde, ambitiō, symony, auarice, Hypocrisie, whoredome, sacrilege, tyranny, ydolatrouse worshippinges, and other fylthy frutes of those stifnecked Phariseis. MarginaliaThomas Arundell in magno processu.Against whome Thomas Arundell the Archebyshop of Caunterbury, so fierce as euer was Pharao, Antiochus, Herodes, or Cayphas, collected in Paules churche at London, an vniuersall Sinode of all the papisticall clergie of England, in the yeare of our Lorde a M. cccc. and xiii. as he had done diuerse other afore, to withstand their moste godly enterpryse. And this was the first yeare of kyng Henry the fifth, whom they had than made fit for their hande.

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As these hygh prelates with their Phariseis and Scribes, were thus gathered in this pestilent councell against the Lord and his worde, MarginaliaIohn. iii. Psalm. i. Psalm. ii.fyrst there resorted vnto them the twelue inquisitours of heresyes (whom they had appointed at Oxforde the yeare afore, to searche outheretikes with all Wicklieffes bookes, and they brought two hundreth and. lxvi. faithful conclusions whome they had collected as heresies of the sayd bookes. MarginaliaWalden in fuciculo. Zizaniorum Wiclem.The names of the said inquisitours were these. Iohn Witnā a maister in the newe College, Iohn Langedon Monke of Chrychurche in Caunterbury, Wyliam Vfforde, regent of the Carmelites, Thomas Claxton, regent of the Dominikes, Robert Gylbert, Rychard Garthisdale, Ihō Luck Rycharde Snedisham, Richard Flemminge, Thomas Rotborne, Robert Rondbery, and Rychard Grafdale. In the meane season caused they their hyred seruaūtes to blowe it forth abroade throughout all the whole Realme, that thei were there congregated for an wholsome vnitie and reformation of the churche of Englande, to stoppe so the mouthes of the cōmon people. MarginaliaA practise commonly vsed of that generation.Suche is alwayes the common practise of these subtile sorcerers, whyles they are in doing mischiefe, to bleare the eyes of the vnlearned multitude, with one false crafte or other.

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After a certaine communication they concluded among them selues, that it was not possible for them to make whole Christes cote without seme (meaning thereby their patched Popyshe synagoge) onlesse certaine great men were brought out of the way whiche semed to be the chiefe mainteiners of the sayde disciples of Wicklieffe. MarginaliaAccused for maintaining the gospel of christAmong whome the moste noble knyght sir Iohn Oldecastell the Lord Cobham, was complayned of, by the general proctours, yea rather betrayers of Christe in his faithfull members, to be the chiefe principall. Hym they accused fyrst for a mighty mainteyner of suspected preacher in the dioceses of Lōdon, Rochester, and Herforde, contrary to the myndes of their ordinaries. Not only they affyrmed hym to haue sent thither the sayd preachers, but also to haue assisted them there by force of armes, notwithstanding their Sinodall constitution made afore to the contrary. MarginaliaAccused for his christen beleue.Last of all, they accused him, that he was farre otherwyse in beleue of the Sacrament of the aultar, of penaunce, of pilgrymage, of Image worshippynge, and of the ecclesiastical power, than the holy churche of Rome hadde taught many yeares afore.

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MarginaliaProcesse against hym.In the ende it was concluded among them, that without any farther delaye, processe shuld out against him as against a moste pernicious heretyke.

Some of that felowshyppe whiche were of more craftie experience than the other, would in no case haue that matter so rashely handled but thought this waye muche better. MarginaliaA spirituall practise.Consideryng the sayde Lorde Cobham was a man of great byrth, and in fauour at that tyme with the kyng, their councell was to knowe fyrste the kynges mynde, to saue al thyngs vpright.

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