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208 [208]

K. Edward. King Ethelstane. King Ethelstane.

Si quis fornicetur cum vxore aliena, &c.
Si quis in quadragesima sanctum velum in publico
vel in lecto. &c.
Vt Christiani Deū diligāt et paganismo renūciēt.
Si quis Christianitatem mutet. &c.
Si quis ordinatus sacris furetur. &c.
Si præsbyter ad rectum terminū sanctū Chrisma. &c.
Si duo fratres, vel cognati cū vna aliqua fornicētur. &c.

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MarginaliaNote howe kings of England in times paste had autoritie in spiritual causes.By these and other such like constitutiōs of kyng Alfred, it may appeare: how the gouernaunce and directiō of þe church in those dayes, depended not vpon monsieur le pope of Rome: but vpon the kyngs which here in their tyme (vnder the Lord) did gouerne the land. To this also the sample of kyng Edwards tyme geueth testimony: which Edward wt Pleimūdus (aboue mētioned) archb. of Cāterbury, and with other bishops in a sinode assembled: assigned & elected vij. bishops, in vij. metropolitane churches of the realme. Whiche were, 1. Fridestane. 2. Adelstane. 3. Westane. 4. Adelelme. 5. Edulfus. 6. Dernegus. 7. Kenulphus. In whiche election the kynges autoritie semed then alone to be sufficient. &c.

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This Edward (as in the begynnyng was sayd) reigned xxiiij. yeares. Who had iij. wiues, Egwinne, Elfled, & Ethelwide. MarginaliaThe childrē of king Edward the elder.Of Egwinne he had his eldest sonne Adelstane, Who next succeded in þe kyngdome, and a daughter maried after to the duke of Northūberland. Of Elflede, he receaued ij. sonnes, and vi. daughters, to wytte Ethelward and Edwyne. MarginaliaPrince Ethelward excellent in learning.Ethelward was excellently well seene in all knowledge of learning: much resēblyng both in countināce, and conditions his grandfather Alfrede, and dyed soone after his father. Of his vi. daughters, two of them 1. Elflede, and Ethelhilda, were made nonnes. The other iiij. were maried. Egdina to Charles the French kyng, in his fathers tyme. Ethilda, by kyng Ethelstane was maried to Hugo, the sonne of duke Robert. Edgitha and Algina, were both sent to Henricus prince of Almains. Of whiche two sisters the second, the sayd Henricus, maried to his sonne Otho, who was the first Emperor of þe Almains. The other sister which was Edgitha, the foresaid Hēricus, maried to a certain duke about the borders of the Alpes, in Italy. Of hys third wife Ethelwide, he receiued ij. sonnes Edmund, and Edred: which both reigned after Adelstane. And ij. daughters, Egburga whō he made a Nonne, and Eadguina who was maried to Ludouicus, prince of Aquitania in Fraunce. These sonnes and daughters kyng Edwarde thus brought vp. His daughters he set to spinning, and to the nedle, Guliel. de Reg. MarginaliaGuliel. de Regib.
The bringing vp of king Edwardes children.
His sonnes he set to þe studye of learnyng, vt quasi Philosophi ad gubernandam remp. non iam rudes procederent: that is, to the ende, that they beyng as first made Philosophers, should be the more expert therby to gouerne the common wealth.

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¶ King Ethelstane, or Adelstane.

MarginaliaK. Ethelstane, or Athelstane. 

Commentary  *  Close

Foxe's sources for the reign of King Ethelstan were less plentiful. He used John Brompton's Chronicle (J. Brompton, 'Chronicon Johannis Brompton Abbatis Jornalensis.' In Historiæ Anglicanæ Scriptores X. [....], ed. by Roger Twysden (London, 1652), p. 837) and supplemented it with William of Malmesbury's Gesta Regum (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. 131). The Latin charter relating the death of Duke Elfred as God's punishment for perjury comes from the same source (ch. 137).

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EThelstane or Adelstane, after the death of Edwarde his father to whō he was base sonne: begā his reygne in England, and was crowned at Kingstone. He was a prince of worthy memory, valiant & wise in al his actes, nothyng inferiour to his father Edward. In lyke wordly renown of ciuile gouernance, ioyned with much prosperous successe, in reducyng this realme vnder the subiection of one monarchie. For he both expelled þe Danes, subdued the Scottes, and quieted the Welshmē, as wel in Northwales, as also in Cornwale. The first enemye against this Ethelstane was one Elfredus: who, with a faction of seditious persons conspiring agaynst the said Ethelstane at Winchester, continētly after the death of his father, went about to put out his eyes. Notwithstandyng the kyng escapyng that daunger: through þe help of God, was at þt time deliuered. Elfrede vpon the same being accused, fled to Rome: there before þe pope to purgehim selfe by his othe. Who beyng brought to the church of s. Peter, and there swearyng (or rather forswearyng) him selfe to be cleare, whiche in deede was giltie therof: MarginaliaDuke Elfrede sodenly stroke by the hand of God for periurye.sodenly vpon his othe fell downe, and so brought to the English house in Rome within iij. dayes after departed. The pope sendyng worde to kyng Ethelstane, whether he would haue the sayd Elfred buryed emong christiās or not: at length, through the persuasions of his frendes and kindsfolkes, it was concluded that he should be buried in christen buriall. This story although I find in no other writers mentioned, but onely in the chronicles of William. Lib. de Regi. MarginaliaGuliel. lib. de Regib. in vita Ethelstani.yet for somuch as it beareth the witnes and wordes of the kyng hym selfe, as testified in an olde dede of gift, geuen to the monastery of Malmesbery: I thought the same the more to be of credite. The wordes of the kyng procede in this tenore as foloweth.

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¶ The copy of an old writyng of king Ethelstane testistifeyng of the miraculous death of duke Elfrede sodenly stroken by the hand of God for periury.

MarginaliaThe copie of an old chart of K. Ethelstane.SCiant sapientes regionis nostræ, non has præfatas terras me iniuste rapuisse, rapinamq̀ deo dedisse. Sed sic eas accepi, quemadmodum indicauerunt omnes optimates regni Anglorum. Insuper et Apostolicus papa Romanæ ecclesiæ Ioannes (Elfredo defuncto) qui nostræ felicitati et vitæ æmulus extitit, nequitiæ inimicorum nostrorū consentiens: quādo me volureūt (patre defuncto) cœcare in vrbe wintonia, si non me Deus sua pietate erpuisset. Sed denudatis eorum machinamētis, remissus est ad Romanam ecclesiam, vt ibi se, corā Apostlico Ioanne iureiurādo defenderet. Et hoc fecit coram altari sancti Petri. Sed facto iuramēto, cecidit coram altari: et manibus famulorum suorum portatus est ad scholam Anglorum, et ibi tertia nocte vitam finiuit. Et tūc Apostolicus ad nos remissit, et quid de eo ageretur a nobis consuluit, an cum cæteris Christianis corpus illius poneretur. His peractis, et nobis tenunciatis: optimates regionis nostræ cum propinquorum illius turma efflagitabāt omni humilitate, vt corpus illius per nostram licentiam cum corporibus poneretur Christianorum. Nosq̀ flagitationi illorum consentientes Romā remisimus: et papa consentiente, positus est ad cæteros Christianos, quamuis indignus. Et sic iudicata est mihi tota possessio eius in magnis et in modicis. Sed et hæc apicabus literarum prænotauimus, nequando aboleatur, vnde mihi præfata possessio, quam Deo et sancto Petro dedi, donatur. Nec iustius noui, q̃ Deo et sancto Petro hanc possessionem dare, qui æmulum meum in conspectu omnium cadere fecerūt, et mihi prosperitatem regni largiti sunt. &c.

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MarginaliaAn. 927In the second yeare of the reigne of kyng Adelstane, for an vnitie, and a peace to be had betwen the kyng and the Danes of Northumberland: he maryed to Sythericus their king his sister, wherof mention is made before. But shortly after, within one yere this Sithericus dyed. After whose death king Ethelstane seazed that prouince into his own hand, putting out þe sonne of þe foresaid Sithericus called Alanus: who with his brother Godfrid9 fled thone into Ireland, thother to Constantine kyng of the Scottes. MarginaliaNorthūberlāde subdued to K. Ethelstane. The Scots subdued to the K. of England.And when he had thus accorded with þe Danes of Northumberland, he shortly made subiecte vnto him Constantine kyng of Scottes. But the sayd Constātine meked himself so lowly to the kyng, that he restored hym to hys former dignitie, saying, MarginaliaIt is more honour to make a king, then to be a king.that it was more honour to make a kyng then to be a kyng.

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Commentary  *  Close

Foxe's description of the victory of King Ethelstan over Constantine, King of the Scots, with the narrative of the former arriving in York and slicing a stone with his source, comes initially from Fabian's Chronicle (R. Fabyan, The Chronicle of Fabian [London, 1559], book 6, ch. 184) which itself cites the 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], book 6, ch. 6. Foxe had apparently checked his other sources for this story, finding it in Brompton's Chronicle (J. Brompton, 'Chronicon Johannis Brompton Abbatis Jornalensis.' In Historiæ Anglicanæ Scriptores X. [....], ed. by Roger Twysden [London, 1652], p. 838). Bale's Catalogus (pp. 126-7) had mentioned it but here is an example of where Foxe delves deeper, and examines the sources more Henry, Archdeacon of Huntingdon, from B. C. 55 to A. D. 1154 [London: Rolls Series, 1879], book 5, ch. 14).

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Not long after, the said Constantine kyng of Scots did breake couenaunt wt kyng Ethelstane. Wherfore he assembled his knyghtes, and made towarde Scotland. Where, he subduing his enemies, and bringing them agayne vnto due subiection, returned to England with victory. Here by the way in some story writers (who forgettyng the office of historicians, seme to play þe Poetes) is writē and recorded for a meruell, that the sayd Ethelstane, returnyng out of Scotland into England, came

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