Thematic Divisions in Book 4
1. Lanfranc2. Gregory VII3. William the Conqueror4. William Rufus5. Henry I6. Stephen and Henry II7. Frederick Barbarossa8. Thomas Becket9. Becket's letters10. Becket's martyrdom and miracles11. Events of 1172-7812. Waldensians13. Other incidents of Henry II's reign14. First year of Richard I's reign15. Strife at Canterbury16. Richard I and Third Crusade17. William Longchamp18. King John19. Henry III's early reign20. Innocent III and mendicant orders21. Papal oppression of the English Church22. Albigensian Crusade23. Hubert de Burgh24. Gregory IX25. Schism between Greek and Latin Church26. Papal exactions from England27. Louis IX on Crusade28. Frederick II29. Opponents of Papacy30. Robert Grosseteste31. Aphorisms of Robert Grosseteste32. Persecution of Jews33. Papal oppression and Alexander IV34. Conflicts in universities and mendicant orders35. Henry III and the barons36. Battle of Lewes37. Battle of Evesham38. End of baronial war39. Ecclesiastical matters and Edward prince of Wales goes on crusade40. Foreign events in Henry III's reign41. First seven years of Edward I's reign42. War with Scotland43. Philip IV and Boniface VIII44. Events of 1305-745. Cassiodorous's letter46. Pierre de Cugniere47. Death of Edward I48. Piers Gaveston49. The Despensers and the death of Edward II50. John XXIII and Clement VI51. Rebellion in Bury St. Edmunds52. Edward III and Scotland53. Edward III and Philip VI54. Edward III and Archbishop Stratford55. Events of 1341-556. Outbreak of the Hundred Years War57. Anti-papal writers58. Quarrel among mendicants and universities59. Table of the Archbishops of Canterbury
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380 [379]

K. Edward.1. Pope Clement.5. The letter of Cassiodore to England.

without the consent of the Popes legate. The Emperour perceiuing him selfe poysoned, warned him to flee and escape away, for els the Germains would sure haue slayne him, who although he escaped himselfe, yet diuers of his order after that with fire and sword were slayne.

As this Pope Clement the v. had well prouided now (as ye haue heard) agaynst the Empire of Rome to bryng it vnder hys girdle: in somuch that without the Popes benediction, no Emperour might take the state vpon him, &c. MarginaliaPaleologus Emp. of Cōstantinople excōmunicate with all his adherentes by pope Clement, for not suffring the Grecians to appeale to Rome.
An. 1327.
Note the practise of the Romishe prelates.
Now he procedeth farther to entermedle with the Empire of Constantinople. Where he first exerciseth his tyranny and power of excommunication, agaynst Andronicus Paleologus Emperour of Constantinople, an. 1327. declaryng him as a schismatike, and heretike, because he neither would nor durst suffer the Greciās to make their appeale from the Greeke Church to the Pope, neither would acknowledge him for his superiour. &c. Whereby it may appeare, that the Greeke Church did not admitte the Popes superioritie, as yet nor at any tyme before. Saue onely about the tyme of Pope Innocent the iij. an. 1202. at what tyme the Frenchmen with their Captaine Baldwinus Earle of Flaūders, ioyned together with the VUenitians: were set agaynst the Grecians, to place Alexius to the right of the Empire of Constantinople, vpō condition (as writeth Platina) to subdue the Greeke church, vnder the Church of Rome. MarginaliaPlatinain vit. Innocentij.Which Alexius beyng restored, and shortly after slayne: the empire came to the Frenchmen, with whom it remained the space of Lviij. yeares, till the commyng of Michael Paleologus in the dayes of pope Gregory the ix. Who restored the Empire frō the Frenchmen, vnto his pristine state agayne. MarginaliaWhen & how lōg the Greeke church was subiecte to Rome.During all which tyme of the French Emperours, the Greke Church was subiect to Rome, as by the Decretals of pope Gregory the ix. may appeare. Then folowed after this, that the foresayd Michael Emperour of Constantinople beyng called vp to a Councell at Lions by Pope Gregory the x. about the controuersie of procedyng of the holy Ghost (as is aboue specified) and obedience to the Church of Rome: there, because the sayd Michael the Emperour did submit himselfe and the Greciās, to the subiection of Rome (as testifieth Baptist Egnat.) he thereby procured to himselfe such grudge and hatred among the Greeke Monkes and Priestes: that after his death they denyed him the due MarginaliaEx Baptist. Egnat Rom. princ. lib. 7honour & place of buriall. The sonne of this Andronicus was Michael Paleologus aboue mentioned: who, as ye haue heard before, MarginaliaThe grecke church denyeth subiection to the church of Rome.bicause he was constrained by the Grecians not to admit any appellation to the Byshop of Rome: was accursed by the popes censures for an heretike. Wherby appeareth, that the Greciōs recoueryng their state agayne, refused all subiection at this tyme vnto the Church of Rome, which was the yere of our Lord 1327. &c. After this Clement the v. folowed Pope Ihon the xxij. with whom Ludouike the Emperour had much trouble. After whom next in course succeded Pope Benedict the xij. Which Benedict vpon a time beyng desired to make certaine new Cardinals to this aunswereth againe: that he would gladly so do, if he also could make a new world. For this world (sayd he) is for these Cardinals that be made already. Ex scripto Engechusensis And thus much of the Popes, now to returne a litle backe to the kynges story agayne.

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In the yeare of our Lord. 1307. Which was xxxiiij. of the reigne of this kyng, in the begynnyng of Hillary terme: the kyng kept a Parliament at Carliell, MarginaliaEx chrō. Nic. Triu.where great complaintes were broughte in by the nobles & auncientes of the Realme, concernyng the manifold and intolerable oppressions of Churches and Monasteries, and exactiōs of money by the Popes Legate William Testa (otherwise termed mala Testa) lately brought into the Realme of England. MarginaliaThe popes exactions complayned of in the parliament.The comming of which William Testa was vpon this occasion, as foloweth. Pope Clement, who as ye heard before, had translated his Court from Rome into Fraunce, where he had bene Archbishop before, because he contēned to come and remaine at his owne sea: the Princes of Rome thought him therfore vnworthy to enioy Peters patrimony. MarginaliaEx hist. quæincipit ab Hērico tertio.And so by that meanes fallyng in barenes and pouertie, liued onely of such money of Byshops, as came to him to be confirmed, and with such other shiftes and giftes. So that be this meanes, partly of Bishops and other religious men and persōs, partly vnder the name of courtesie and beneuolence, partly vnder the pretense of borowyng: MarginaliaThe popes getting in one yeare.he had within the first yeare ix. thousand and fiue. hundreth markes of siluer, all his other charges & expenses, which he largely that yeare bestowed, clearely borne. Besides this, he sent moreouer the foresayd Legate William Testa into England with his Bulles: in the which he reserued the first fruites of the first yeare of all Churches beyng vacant, at any tyme, or by any man within the Realme of England, Scotlād, Wales, MarginaliaFirst fruites first brought in by the Pope.and Ireland, and also the fruites of Abbayes and Priories within the sayd Realmes. &c. Wherupon, the king with his nobles seyng the incōuenience and harme therof ensuyng to the whole Realme: MarginaliaKing Edward withstādeth the Pope & his Legate.In the foresayd Parliament holden at Carliell withstode the sayd Legate, chargyng and cōmaundyng him by the assent of the Earles & Barons, that hēceforth he should absteine from all such exactions. And as cōcernyng his Lord the Pope, he would direct certaine his messēgers vnto him, purposely for the same matter appointed: by the which Ambassadours, the kyng wrote vnto the foresayd Pope declaryng, and monishing the Pope, as right and reason was: MarginaliaFirst fruites of Abbayes denyed to the pope.that he should not exact the first fruites of Churches and Abbayes, by his predecessours and noble mē of the land founded for the honour & maintenaunce of Gods seruice, for almes and hospitalitie: which otherwise in so doing, should all be ouerthrowen. And so by this meanes, the Pope at that tyme chaunged his purpose as cōcernyng Abbayes. MarginaliaFirst frutes for ii. yeares graunted to the kyng.But after that, the fruite of English churches was graunted to the king for two yeares: In which space he obtained the fruites of the foresayd Churches. &c.

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During the which Parliament afore specified, as men were talkyng many things of the Popes oppressiōs, which he began in the English Church, in the full of the Parliament: sodenly fell downe, as sent from heauen, among them a certaine paper, with this superscription. 

Commentary  *  Close
Cassiodorous's letter

Much of Foxe's narrative for the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries isdevoted to detailing the financial burdens, real and imagined, which the papacy placed upon England. This section deals with the year 1307 when papal exactionsprovoked some protest, including an eloquent letter written under the (almost undoubtedly assumed) name of 'Petrus filius Cassidori' (i.e., Peter, the son of Cassiodorus). This was a polemical work distributed in the parliament of 1307; itattacks the collection of papal tithes, annates and papal claims on the property of those who died intestate; these were all grievances addressed in this parliament. Foxe's starting point for his research into this material was John Bale's version of Peter's letter, printed in Bale's Acta Romanorum Pontificum (Basel, 1558), pp. 388-44. Bale took this letter, according to his citation, from an old chronicle at St. Alban's Abbey. (Foxe simply repeats Bale's citation in his account). Whatever Bale's source for this letter was, it failed to describe the letter's background or connect it to the 1307 parliament. Another copy of the letter is in Walter of Guisborough's chronicle. (See The Chronicle of Walter of Guisborough, ed. Harry Rothwell, Camden Society, third series 89 [London, 1957], pp. 372-4). Foxe read Walter's chronicle and discerned that Bale's letter was essentially the one Walter printed. Foxe now had the background for Peter's letter. Foxe printed Bale's version of the letter, which was sharper in its denunciations of the papacy, but he went back to Guisborough (and rather garbled what he said) for the statements that the 1307 parliament was summoned to oppose the collection of annates. (This was a tax, paid to the papal curia, amounting to the first year's income from an ecclesiastical benefice. Since English benefice holders had to pay a similar tax to the Crown as well, this amounted to a real burden). The sentence introducing Peter's letter is taken word-for word from Guisborough. (See Chronicle of Guisborough, pp. 370-2). Foxe also drew on the annals of Nicholas Trevet for the date of the parliament and the coming of the papal legate William Testa to England. (See Nicholai Triveti Annales, ed. Thomas Hog [London, 1845], pp. 411-412.

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Foxe's account of the 1307 parliament and of Peter's letter first appeared inthe 1570 edition; it was reprinted, without change, in subsequent editions.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

¶ An Epistle of Cassiodorus to the Church of England, concernyng the abuses of the Romish Church.

MarginaliaEx vetusio Chronico Albanensi.TO the noble Church of England seruyng in clay and bricke as the Iewes did in tymes past vnder the tyranny of the Egyptians: Peter the sonne of Cassadore a Catholike souldiour and deuout champion of Christ, sendeth gretyng and wishyng to cast of the yoke of bondage, and to receaue the reward of libertie.

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To whom shall I compare thee, or to whom shall I liken thee O daughter Ierusalem: to whom shall I matche thee, O daughter of Sion. Great is thy perturbation, like vnto the sea. Thou sittest alone without comfort all the day long, thou art confounded and consumed with heauynes. Thou art geuen vp into the handes of hym from whence thou canst not rise without helpe of one to lift thee vp: for the Scribes and Pharisies sittyng vpon the chayre of Moyses, thy enemyes the Romanes are as thy heades and rulers, enlargyng their garded philacteries, and seekyng to be enriched with the marie of thy bones, laying heauy burdens, and not able to be borne, vpō thy shouldours & of thy ministers, and they set thee vnder tribute (which of old tyme hast bene free) beyond all honesty or measure. But maruell not therat, for thy mother, which is the Lady of people, like a widow hauyng maryed and coupled her selfe to her subiect, hath appointed him to be thy father, that is to say, the Byshop of Rome, who sheweth no point of any fatherly loue towardes thee. He magnifieth and extendeth to the vttermost his authoritie ouer thee: And by experiēce declareth himself to be the husbād of thy mother. He remēbreth oft with himselfe the propheticall saying of the Prophet, and wel digesteth the same in the inward part of his brest. Take to thee a great booke, and write therein quickly with the penne of a man, take the spoyle, robbe quickly: But is this it, which the Apostles sayth, that he was appointed for, where he writeth thus? Euery Byshop taken from among men, is appointed for men in those thynges that belong to the Lord: not to spoyle, not to lay on them yearely taxes, not to kill mē, but to offer giftes and sacrifices for sinnes: and to sorrow with them, that be ignoraunt and do erre. And so we read of Peter the fisher (whose successor he boasteth himselfe to be) that after the resurrectiō of Christ he returned with other Apostles, to the office of fishyng: who whē he could take nothyng of the left side of the shyp, at the biddyng of Christ, turned to the right side, and drew to the land a net full of fishes. Wherfore the profitable ministery of the Church is to be exercised on the right side, by the which the deuill is ouercome, and plentie of soules be lucrified and wonne to Christ. But certeinly, the labourer on the left side of the shyp, is farre otherwise: for in it the faith stumbleth, heauines beareth rule, whan that thyng that is desired by seekyng, is not found. For who is so foolish to thinke that he can both at one tyme serue God and mā, and to satisfie his owne will, or to sticke to the reuelations of flesh and bloud, and to offer worthy giftes to Christ? And doubtles, that shepheard that watcheth not for the edifyeng of the flocke, prepareth an other way to the roryng Lyon, and seekyng whom he may deuour. And now behold, I

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