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205 [205]

King Alfrede or Alurede. K. Alfrede. Schismes in Rome. Actes and Monum. of the Church.

certayne scholers a fewe yeares, by the which scholars at laste moste impiouslye he was murthered and slayne with their penkniues, and so died, as storyes say, a martyr, MarginaliaIoan. Scotus a Martyr.buried at the sayd monasterie of Malmesbury with thys epitaphie.

Clauditur in tumulo sanctus sophista Ioannes
Qui ditatus erat iam viuens dogmate miro.
Martyrio tandem Christi conscendere regnum
Qui meruit, regnans secli per secula cuncta.

King Alfred hauing these helpes of learned men about him, and no lesse learned also himself, past ouer his tyme, not onely to great vtilitie & profit of his subiectes, but also to a rare & profitable example of other christen kinges and princes, for them to followe. This foresaid Alfrede had by his wife called MarginaliaThis Ethelwitha builded first the house of Nunnes at Winchester.Ethelwitha, two sonnes: MarginaliaThe childrē of king Alfrede.Edward and Ethelward, and. iij. daughters: Elfleda, Ethelgora, and Ethelguida: Quas omnes liberalib9 fecit artibus erudiri. That is. Whom he set all to their bookes and studie of liberall artes: as my storye testifieth. MarginaliaAll his daughters learned.Fyrst Edward his eldest sonne succeded hym in þe kingdome. The second sonne Ethelward dyed before hys father. Ethelgora his middle daughter was made a nūne. The other. ij. were maryed, the one in Marceland, the other to the earle of Flanders.  

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For the death of Alfred, Foxe used as his main source John Brompton's 'Chronicle' (p. 818) and Roger Howden (p. 41; 50), supplemented (perhaps) by Matthew Paris' Flores (1, pp. 446; 477).

Thus king Alfrede the valiaunt, vertuous & learned prince, after he had thus christianlye gouerned the realme the terme of. xxix. yeares and. vj. monethes, MarginaliaThe decease of king Alfrede.
An. 901.
departed this life. v. Kal. Nouemb. and lyeth buried at Winchester. an. Domini. 901. Of whom this I finde moreouer greatlye noted and cõmended in history, and not here to be forgotten, for the rare example therof, touching this Alfrede: that where soeuer he was, or whether soeuer he went, he bare alwayes about hym, in hys bosome or pocket, a litle booke contayning the Psalmes of Dauid, and certaine other orasons of his own collecting. Wherupon he was continually reading or praying when soeuer he was otherwyse vacant, hauing leysure therūto. Finally what were the vertues of this famous king, this litle table here vnder written, which is left in auncient writing, in the remembraunce of hys worthy and memorable life: doth sufficientlye, in fewe lynes contayne. 
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The final epitaphs to the king were 'left in auncient writing' as part of Foxe's (perhaps unconscious) strategy of laying claims to truth by presenting the reader with the evidence in its most 'raw', and therefore 'pristine' state. The source for the first epitaph, with its interesting stoic overtones, was taken from the Parker manuscript of the Life of Asser. Foxe's citation differs somewhat from that in the printed edition, though it must have come from the same manuscript, suggesting he had not advance sight of any transcript copy of that publication. It is not to be found elsewhere. The second epitaph, Foxe had found in Henry of Huntington's Chronicle ((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], book 5, ch. 13). It had also appeared in the 'Polychronicon' (book 6, ch. 3) but Foxe clearly took it from Huntingdon. It had originated in Asser's 'Life', and the Parker/Joscelyn publication of the latter in 1574 noted the cross-reference to Huntingdon (p. 35).

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¶ In Regem Alfredum, et virtutū illius claram memoriam.

FAmosus, Bellicosus: Victoriosus: Vidurarum, pupillorū, & orphanorum pauperūq̀ prouisor studiosus, Poetarū Saxonicorum peritissimus: Suæ genti Charissimus: Affabilis omnibus: Liberalissimus: Prudentia, fortitudine, temperantia, Iustitia præditus: in infirmitate, qua continue laborabat pacientissimus: In exequendis iudicijs indagator discretissimus: In seruicio Dei vigilantissimus & deuotissimus: Anglosaxonum Rex: Alfredus, pijssimi Ethelulfi filius. xxix. annis sexq̀ mensibus regni sui peractis morte obijt. Indict. 4. Qunto Kalenda. Nouemb. feria quarta: & VVintoniæ in nouo monasterio sepultus immortalitatis stolam, & ressurrectionis gloriam eum iustis expectat, &c.Moreouer in the history of Henricus Huntingtonensis these verses I finde written in the commendation of the same Alfrede: made (as I suppose and as by his wordes appeareth) by the sayd author, wherof I thought not to defraude the reader: the wordes wherof here followe:

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¶ Epitaphium Regis Alfredi.

Nobilitas innata tibi probitatis honorem,
Armipotens Alfrede dedit, probitasq̀ laborem.
Perpetuumq̀ labor nomen, cui mixta dolori
Gaudia semper erant, Spes semper mixta timori.
Si modo victor eras, ad crastina bella pauebas:
Si modo victus eras, ad crastina bella parabas.
Cui vestes sudore iugi, cui sica cruore,
Tincta iugi, quantum sit onus regnare probarunt.
Non fuit immensi quisquam per climata mundi,
Cui tot in aduersis nil respirare liceret.

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Nec tamen aut ferro contritus ponere ferrum,
Aut gladio potuit, vitæ finisse dolores.
Iam post transactos vitæ regniq̀ labores,
Christus ei sit vera quies, sceptrumq̀ perhenne.

In the storye of this Alfred, a litle aboue, mention was made of Pleimundus scholemaister to the said Alfred, and also bishop of Caunterbury, suceeding MarginaliaEtheredus
Archbish. of Canterbury.
Etheredus, there bishop before him. Which Pleimundus gouerned that see, þe number of. xxxiiij. yeares. After Pleimundus succeded Athelmus, and sat. xij. yeares. After hym came Vlfelmus. xiij. yeares. Then followed Odo a Dane borne, in the sayd sea of Caunterbury, and gouerned the same. xx. yeares, being in great fauour with king Athelstane, king Edmund, and Edwine, as in processe hereafter (Christ willing) as place and order doth requyre, shall more at large be expressed.

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Papal Schisms

The purpose of this passage, articulated first by Foxe in the 1570 edition and headed 'sedition among popes' is not difficult to discern. Through the murky and brutal politics of the ninth and tenth-century papacy ('these monstruous matters of Rome'), Foxe sought to provide a historically incontrovertible case against the 'character indelebilis' or 'indelible mark' of priestly ordination, in the case of the papacy sometimes elevated by high Papal theorists of the central Middle Ages into a charism of infallibility, reinforced by the unbroken succession to the see of St Peter (Brian Tierney, Origins of Papal Infallibility 1150-1350 [Leiden, 1972]). Already in the 1563 edition (1563, p. 1) Foxe had singled out the exceptional and extraordinary nature of what occurred in the pontificate of Pope Stephen VI, who (in the so-called 'Cadaver Synod') declared all the actions of his predecessor, Pope Formosus I to be null and void, including the priests which he ordained. In the 1570 edition, he followed the papal succession as laid out in Bale's Catalogus (pp. 119-122) but (in the case of Formosus and Stephen VI) supplemented it with material from the 'Chronologia' of Sigbert of Gembloux (Sibebertus Gemblacensis, Chronicon sive Chronologia) which was a widely-known and cited source for the history of the central Middle Ages, and which had been first published in Paris in 1513. Foxe may have known it, however, from the edition published in 1566 (Germanicarum rerum quatuor celebriores vetustioresque chronographi […] [Frankfurt, 1566]). He appears also to have confirmed the information by consulting Ranulph Higden's Polychronicon (J. R. Lumby, ed. Polychronicon Ranulphi Higden monachi Cestrensis: together with the English translations of John Trevisa and of an unknown writer of the fifteenth century [London: Rolls Series, 1879]. For further information on Foxe's treatment of the history of the papacy, see the important prefatory essay to this edition by Thomas S. Freeman, ['"St Peter Did not Do Thus": Papal History in the Acts and Monuments'].

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Matthew Phillpott and Mark Greengrass
University of Sheffield

Marginalia9. Popes in 12. yeres at Rome.As touchyng the course and procedynges of the Romish bishops there: where I last entered mētion of them (pag. 185) I ended with pope Stephan the fift. After his tyme was much broyle, in the election of the bishops of of Rome: one contendyng against an other: in so much that within the space of ix. yeares, were ix. bishops. Of the which, first was MarginaliaFormosus fyrst
Formosus, who succeded next vnto the forenamed Stephen v. beyng made pope against the minde of certaine in Rome: that would rather, Sergius then deacon of the churche of Rome, to haue bene pope. Notwythstandyng, Mars and money preuayled on Formosus parte. This Formosus, of whome partlye also is mentioned in other places, of this ecclesiasticall historye, beyng before bishop of Portuake: had in tyme past (I know not vpon what causes) offended pope Iohn the viij. of that name. By reason wherof for feare of the pope, he voided away and left, his bishoprike. MarginaliaEx Chronico Sigeberti.And because he beyng sent for agayn by the pope, would not returne: therfore was excommunicated. At length commyng into France, to make there his satisfaction vnto the pope, was degraded frõ a byshop into a secular mãs habite, swearyng to the pope þt he would no more reenter into the citie of Rome, nor clayme hys bishoprike agayne: subscribyng moreouer with his owne hand to cõtinue from that time in the state of a secular persõ. But then, pope Martin (the next pope after Iohn) released the sayd Formosus of his othe, & restored hym agayne vnto his bishoprike. Wherby Formosus entred not onely into Rome agayne, but also obtayned shortly after the papacie. Thus be beyng placed in the popedome, arose a great doubt or controuersie emong the diuines, of his cõsecration, whether it was lawful or not: some holdyng agaynst him, that for somuch as he was solēly deposed, degraded, vnpriested, & also sworne not to reiterate the state ecclesiasticall: therfore he ought to be takē no other wise, then for a secular man. Other alledged again, that what so euer Formosus was, yet for the dignitie of that order, and for the credite of them, whome he ordered: al his consecrations oughte to stande in force, especially, seyng the sayd Formosus was afterwarde receyued and absolued by pope Martine, from that hys periurie & degradation. &c. MarginaliaSchisme among the popes.In the meane tyme (as witnesseth Sigebertus) this Formosus sendeth of kyng Arnulphus for ayde agaynst his aduersaires: Who then marchyng toward Rome, was there resisted by the Romanes frõ entring. But in þe siege (sayth the autor) the Romanes within so playde the Lions, that a poore hare (or such a lyke thyng) cõmyng toward the citie: the hoste of Arnulphus folowed after with such a mayne crye, that the valiant Romanes vpon the walles for very feare, (where there was no hurt) cast thē selues desperatly ouer the walles: so that Arnulphus with litle labour scaled the walles, & gatte the citie. Thus Arnulphus obteyning the citie of Rome, reskueth pope Formosus, and beheadeth his aduersaries, whom the pope, to gratifie with lyke recompēce againe, blesseth and crowneth hym for Emperour.

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