Critical Apparatus for this Page
View an Image of this PageCommentary on the Text
Names and Places on this Page
BourgesNiklashausen [Niclas Hausen]
Person and Place Index  *  Close

[Bitures; Bituricae; Beturia; Burges]

Cher, France

Coordinates: 47° 5' 4" N, 2° 23' 47" E

Capital of historic province of Berry; cathedral city

Person and Place Index  *  Close
Niklashausen [Niclas Hausen]

Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Coordinates: 49° 37' 22" N, 9° 39' 46" E

748 [724]

K. Ed. 4. The Germains complainte of the Popes exactions. I. a neetherd a martir. Iohn Wesalia.

ned of in the councel of Basil as is testified by Henry Token, Canon and Ambassadour of the Archbishop of Maidenburge, written in his boke intituled Rapularium, MarginaliaEx Rapulario Henrici Token. where as hee wryteth that in the Councell of Basill. An. 1536. the Archbyshop of Lions did declare, that in the time of Pope Martine, there came out of France to the court of Rome, 9. millions of golde, which was gathered of the Byshops and Prelates, besides those whych could not be counted of the poore clergy, which daily without number, runne vnto the court of Rome, carying with them all their whole substance, MarginaliaThe sea of Rome is turned into an Oceane, that hath no bottome. The archbishop of Turonne sayde also at Basil, in þe yeare of our Lord 1439. that three millions of gold came vnto Rome in his time, within the space of 14. yeres, from the prelates & prelacies, wherof no accompt could be made beside the poore cleargy, which daily run to that court. Let the man which feareth God, iudge what a deuouring gulf this is. MarginaliaWhat a million is.A million containeth x. C. M.

[Back to Top]

And what made Pope Pius the 2. to labor so earnestly to Lewes the 11. the French Kinge (who as is aforesayde was a great enemy to the house of Burgoin) that he wold (according to his former promise) abolishe & vtterly extinct the constitution established before at the Counsell of Bitures, MarginaliaConcilium Bituriense. by king Charles the 7. his predecessour, called Pragmatica Sanctio, but onely the ambition of that sea, which had no measure, and their auarice which had no ende, the storie is this. King Charles 7. the French king, willing to obey and folow the councel of Basil, did sommon a Parliament at Bitures. where by the full consent of all the states in Fraunce, both spiritual and temporal, a certain constitution was decreed and published, called Pragmatica Sanctio. MarginaliaPragmatica Sanctio. wherein was comprehended, briefly the pith and effect of all the Canons and decrees cōcluded in the councel of Basil. MarginaliaEx Ioan. Maria Belga. de Schismat. & Conciliis. cap. 24. The which constitution the saide king Charles willed and commaunded through all his realme, inuiolably to be obserued and ratified for the honor and increase of Christian religion for euer. This was An. 1438.

[Back to Top]

It followed, that after the decease of thys foresayde Charles the 7. succeded king Lewys 11. who had promised before, being Dolphine to Pope Pius, that if he euer came to the crowne, the foresayd Sanctio Pragmatica should be abolished. MarginaliaPope pius 1. boreth that Pragmatica Sanctio should be abolished.Wherupon Pope Pius hearing him to be crowned, did send vnto him Iohn Balueus a Cardinall, wyth hys great letter patent, willing him to be mindful of hys promise made. The king eyther willing, or els pretending a will to performe, and accomplish what he had promised, directed the Popes letters patēt, wyth the sayd Cardinal, to the counsaile of Paris, requiring them to consult vpon the cause.

[Back to Top]

Thus the matter beyng brought and proposed in the Parliament house, the kings Atturney named Ioannes Romanus, a man wel spoken, singularly witted, and wel reasoned, stepping foorth, with great eloquence, and no les boldnes, prooued the sayd Sanction to be profitable, holy, and necessary for the wealth of the realme, and in no case to be abolished. MarginaliaThe counsaile of Paris appealeth from the pope to the generall Councell Vid. supra pag. 670.Vnto whose sentence the Vniuersity of Paris adioyning their consent, did appeal from the attempts of the Pope, to the next generall Councell. The Cardinall vnderstanding this, toke no litle indignation thereat, fretting and fuming, and threatning many terrible things against them: but al his minatory words notwithstanding, he returned againe to the king, hys purpose not obtained, An. 1438. Ex Ioan. Mario.

[Back to Top]

Thus the Popes purpose in France was disappoynted, which also in Germanie had come to the like effect, if Fredericke the Emperor there had done his part lykewise toward the Germaines: MarginaliaThe complaint of the Germaines to the Emperour, for helpe and ayde, against the oppression of the PopeWho at the same time bewailing their miserable estate, wēt about wyth humble sute to perswade the Emperor that he should no longer be vnder the subiection of the Popes of Rome, except they had first obtained certaine things of them as touching the Charter of Appeales, declaring their estate to be far worse (although vndeserued) then the Frenchmen or Italians: whose seruants (and especially of the Italians) they are worthely to be called, except that their estate were altered. The nobles & comminalty of Germanie, did instantly intreate wt most waighty reasons & examples, both for the vtilitie and profite of the Empire, to haue the Emperours aide and helpe therin, for that which he was bound vnto them by an oth: alledging also the great dishonor & ignominie in that they alone had not the vse of their owne lawes, declaring how þe French natiō had not made their sute vnto their king in vaine against the exactions of Popes: by whom they were defended, whych also prouided decrees and ordinances for the liberty of his people, & caused the same to be obserued: the which thing the Emperor ought to foresee within hys Empire, & to prouide for hys people and states of his empire, as well as other Kings doe. For what shall come topasse therby, if that forreine nations hauing recourse vnto their kings, being relieued and defended by them from the said exactions, and the Germains, & states of the Empyre flying vnto theyr Emperour, be by him forsaken or rather betraied & depriued of their owne lawes and decrees? The Emperor being mooued, & partly ouercome by theyr perswasions, promised that he wold prouide no lesse for them, then the king of Fraunce had done for the Frenchmen, and to make decrees in that behalfe: but the graue authoritie of Æneas Syluius, as Platina wryteth in the history of Pius the second, brake of the matter, who by his subtile and pestiferous perswasions did so bewitche the Emperour, that hee contemning the equall, iust, and necessary requestes of hys subiects, chose the sayd Aeneas to be hys Ambassadour vnto Calixtus then newly chosen Pope, to sweare vnto hym in his name, & to promise the absolute obedience of al Germany, as the only coūtry (as they call it) of obedience, neglecting the ordinances & decrees of their country, as before he had done vnto Eugenius the 4. being Ambassadour for the sayd Frederike, promising that he & all the Germaines would be obedient vnto him from hēceforth in al matters, as well spirituall as temporall.

[Back to Top]

Thus twise Friderike of Austrich contemned and derided the Germaines, & frustrating them of their natiue decrees and ordinances, brought them vnder subiection and bondage of the Pope: whych partly was the cause that 7. yeres before his death, he caused his sonne Maximiliā, not only to be chosen, but also crowned king of Romains, and did associate hym to þe ministration of the Empire, least after hys death (as it came to passe) the Empire shoulde bee transported into an other family, suspecting þe Germains, MarginaliaFredericke made the Germaines twise subiect vnto the Pope.whom he had twise cōtrary to his lawes made subiect and in bondage vnto the Popes exactions: first before he was crowned in the time of Eugenius the 4. and again the second time after hys coronation, and death of Pope Nicholas the 5. denying their requests. Wherupon Germany being in this miserable pouerty and greuous subiection vnder the Popes tiranny and polling, with teares and sighs lamenting their estate, continued so almost vnto Luthers time, as the hystories hereafter following do testify.

[Back to Top]

And here ceasing with the story of Fredericke, we will now procede to the raigne of Maximilian his sonne, omitting diuers things els incident in the time of this Emperour: MarginaliaFrid. Albertus his brother, and Sigismundus striue for the dukedome of first touching the vnbrotherly contention & conflicts betwene this Fredericke and Albertus hys brother, and Sigismundus his vncle, for the dukedome of Austria, after the death of Mathias afore mentioned: Omitting also to speake of the long and cruel war betwene the Prussians, and Polonians, with the religious sect of them, which were called Tentones fratres sanctæ Mariæ, in the time of Vladislaus: MarginaliaWarre betwene Franciscus Sfortia and the Venetians about Millaine.Omitting also the strife and variaunce for the dukedome of Millain, betwene Fredericus the Emperor, Alfonsus, Carolus duke of Orleance, & Franciscus Sfortia: And howe the sayde Princedome being after geuen to Sfortia, great warres were kindled & long continued betwene Sfortia and the Milleners, then betwene the Milleners and Venetians, and after betweene the Frenchmen and the Milleners. MarginaliaWarre betwene Lewes the French king, and the citie of Millaine. All which tumultes and commotions, as not pertinent greatly to the purpose of this story, I referre to other wryters, where they are to be founde more amply discoursed.

[Back to Top]


Commentary  *  Close
John de Wesalia and Sixtus IV

Foxe first related the history of Johann Ruceruth of Wesel in the 1563 edition. This narrative was based on based on the documents of Ruceruth's trial, printed in Ortwin Gratius, Fasciculi rerum expetendarum et fugiendarum and the account of Ruceruth in Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis. In the 1563 edition, Foxe also had a brief account of Sixtus IV, which was based on John Bale's Catalogus, pp. 602-3 and 625-5. This account briefly mentioned Sixtus's sponsorship of the Rosary of the Psalter of Our Lady, but largely emphasized the pope's alleged liscensing of brothels and his granting of indulgences for sodomy to his intimates. The account of Ruceruth was expanded in the 1570, with further material from Ortwin Gratius, in response to criticisms from Nicholas Harpsfield. Foxe also added a brief relation of a Franconian cowherd who was burned as a heretic in 1479; this was taken from Bale's Catalogus (p. 625). The account of Sixtus IV was greatly expanded in the 1570 edition with Foxe's denunciation of the devotions to the Vurgin Mary, which the pope had sponsored. None of this material was altered in subsequent editions. This section of the Acts and Monuments contains a number of what Foxe believed were features of the late medieval Church: the existence of a small remnant of members of the True Church in every region and from every background, their persecution by the False Church and the 'idolatry', sexual depravity, and 'superstition' which characterized it.

[Back to Top]

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

as more properly belonging to the storye of the Church, I thought good not to passe ouer touching such as were condemned, & suffered the paines of fire for testimony of Christ and his truth: Of whom one was Iohn a pastor or a neteheard 
Commentary  *  Close

A neatherd is a cowherd.

, which was a keper of cattel: The other was Ioannes de Wesalia 
Commentary  *  Close

Johann Ruceruth von Wesel should not be confused with his similarly named contemporary, Wesel Gansfort. This mistake is particularly easy to make when reading the 1563 edition (p. 396)., where Foxe - repeating Matthias Flacius - calls the former 'Doctor Weselianus' and the latter 'Doctor Weselus' respectively.

[Back to Top]
, although not burned, yet persecuted neere to death vnder the raigne of thys Emperour Fredericus the 3.

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaIohn a Netherde of Franconia Martyr.And first touching thys Iohn the Netehearde, Thus wryteth Sebast. Munsterus. That the Bishop of Herbypolis, condemned and burned for an hereticke one Iohn, whych was a keeper of cattel at a towne called Niclas Hausen in Franconia, because hee taught and helde that the lyfe of the cleargy was ignominious and abhominable before God. An. 1476. MarginaliaAnno. 1476. Ex Munstero.

[Back to Top]


Iohn de Wesailia persecuted.

Anno. 1479.

The other 
Commentary  *  Close

This narrative of Ruceruth's trial is derived from Ortwin Gratius, Fasciculi rerum expetendarum et fugiendarum (Cologne, 1535), fos. 163r-167r and Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Strasbourg, 1562), p. 560.

was Doctour Ioannes de Wessalia, who was complained vpon vnto Dietherus the Archbishop of Mentz, by the Thomists, vppon certaine articles and opinions, gathered out of hys bookes. Wherefore the sayde Dietherus, fearing else to be deposed againe from his Bishopricke, directeth forth commission to the vniuersities of Heidelberg and Colen, to haue the matter in examination, who conuenting together the yere aboue mentioned, called thys Doctour de Wessalia before them, making hym to sweare that he shuld present and geue vp all his treatises, workes and wrytings, what so euer hee had made or prea-

[Back to Top]
Go To Modern Page No:  
Click on this link to switch between the Modern pagination for this edition and Foxe's original pagination when searching for a page number. Note that the pagination displayed in the transcription is the modern pagination with Foxe's original pagination in square brackets.
Type a keyword and then restrict it to a particular edition using the dropdown menu. You can search for single words or phrases. When searching for single words, the search engine automatically imposes a wildcard at the end of the keyword in order to retrieve both whole and part words. For example, a search for "queen" will retrieve "queen", "queene" and "queenes" etc.
Humanities Research Institute  *  HRI Online  *  Feedback
Version 2.0 © 2011 The University of Sheffield