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697 [697]

K. Henry. 5. Defence of Lord Cobham agaynst Alanus Copus.

Moreouer we haue excōmunicated, and by these writinges do pronounce as excommunciate him as an hereticke, and all other whych from henceforth in fauour of hys errour, shall receiue, defend, or geue him councell or fauour, or helpe him in thys behalfe, as fauourers, defenders, and receiuers of hereticks. And to the entent these premises may be knowen vnto all faythfull Christians, we charge and commaund you, that by your sentence definitiue, you do cause the Curates whych are vnder you, wyth a loud and audible voyce in their churches, when as most people is presēt, in theyr mother tong, through all your cities and dioces to publish and declare the sayd syr Iohn Oldcastell as is before sayd, to be by vs condēned as an hereticke, schismaticke, and one erryng in the articles aboue said: and all other which from henceforth in fauour of hys errours shall receyue or defende hym, geuyng hym any councell, comfort or fauour in this behalfe, to be excommunicate as receiuers, fauourers, and defenders of heretickes. As is more effectually contayned in the proces. That by suche meanes the erroneous opinions of the people (whych peraduenture hath other wyse conceyued the matter) by those declarations of the truth, how the matter is, mai be cut of. The which thing also we wyll and commaund to be written and signified by you, word for word, vnto al our fellow brethren: that they all may manifest, publish, and declare throughout all theyr cities and dioces, the maner and forme of thys our proces, and also the sentence by vs geuen, and all other and synguler, the contentes in the same. And lyke wyse cause it to be published by their Curates which are vnder them, as touching the dai of the recept of these presentes, and what you haue done in the premisses, howe you and they haue executed thys our commaundement. We wyll that you and they duly and distinctly certify vs the busynes being don, by you and their letters patents accordyng to thys tenour. Dated in our maner of Maidstone, the. x. of October, an. 1413. and in the . xviij. yeare of our translation.

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Thus haue you here the iudiciall processe of the Byshops against this most noble Christen knight, described by their own letters and style. MarginaliaSyr Robert Morley.
The L. Cobhā returned again to the Tower.
After all this, the sentence of death being geuen, the lord Cobham was sent away, syr Robert Morley carying him agayne vnto the tower, where as after he had remayned a certayne space, in the nyght season, (it is not knowen by what meanes) he escaped out and fled into Wales, where as he continued by the space of. iiij. yeares.

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¶ A defence of the Lord Cobham, agaynst Alanus Copus. 
Commentary  *  Close
Defence of Oldcastle

In his influential attack on the Acts and Monuments, Nicholas Harpsfield repeatedly declared that Oldcastle was not a religious martyr, but was a traitor who raised a rebellion against the Crown and who deservedly met a traitor's death (Dialogi sex, pp. 747, 833, 837 and 953-4). Harpsfield supported these claims by citing the chronicles of Robert Fabyan and Edward Hall. In the 1570 edition, Foxe responded directly to these charges with a mixture of special pleading and incisive research. After a bitter diatribe against Alan Cope (Harpsfield's work was printed under Cope's name, and in 1570, Foxe believed that Cope was the author of the Dialogi sex) and rather improbable denials that there had been been a rebellion at all, Foxe gets down to the heart of his rebuttal. This falls into two parts. The first part consists of a printing and analysis of crucial documents: the statute 2 Henry cap. 7 (which deals with the rebellion), the commission against Oldcastle and his indictment. The second part of Foxe's rebuttal was an ingenious, if rather tendentious attack on the credibility of the chroniclers Fabyan and Hall, and on chronicles in general. Foxe also attacks the credibility of Polydore Vergil. It should be remembered that Foxe would, despite his professed doubts, make great use of all these sources when it suited his purposes. What appears to be impressive source criticism is merely sophisticated polemic. In fact, this section shows Foxe at both his best and his worst as a historian: on the one hand, his finding of documentary evidence to support his claims, and, on the other hand, his willingness to twist their contents and contexts to support his claims. Finally, Foxe also attacked the validity of De heretico comburendo, the statute mandating the death penalty for heresy. This was not directly germane to Foxe's rebuttal of Harpsfied, instead, it reflects his intense opposition to capital punishment in all heresy cases. This material remained unchanged in all subsequent editions.

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Thomas S. Freeman,
University of Sheffield

AS I was entring into this storye of the Lorde Cobham, after the tractation of all the former histories, hitherto passed, hauyng next to set vpon thys present matter, luckelye, and as God woulde, in suche oportunitie of season, as maye seeme, God to worke himselfe for defence of hys sayntes: MarginaliaAlanus Copus Anglus, with hys sixe Dialogues.commeth to my handes a certayne booke of new found dialoges, written in latin by one Alanus Copus Anglus, an English man, a person to me vnknowē, and obscure hitherto vnto the world, but nowe to purchase hym selfe a name with Erostratus, MarginaliaErostratus to get him a fame set Dianas temple on fire.or with þe sonnes of Enachim, commeth out not with his fiue egges, but with his syxe railing dialoges. MarginaliaAlanus Copus, intēeratly abuseth hys penne.In the which dialoges the said Alanus Copus Anglus (whether he vnder the armour of other, or other vnder the title of hys name, I knowe not, nor passe not) vncourteously behauing hymself, intemperatly abusing hys tyme, study, and pen, forgetting him self, neglecting all respect of honesty, & mylde modesty, neyther dreading the stroke of God, nor passing for shame, neyther fauouring the liuing, nor sparing the dead, who being a lyue as they neuer offended hym, so nowe cannot answer for them selues beyng gone: MarginaliaCopus a barker agaynst dead men.thus prouoking both God and man agaynst him, after an vnsemely sort, & with a foule mouth, and a stinking breath, rageth and fareth against dead mens ashes, taking nowe the spoyle of their good name, after their bodies leye slayne in the field. Hys gall and choler being so bitter against them, that he cannot abyde anye memorye afterthem to remayne vpon the earth. In so much that for the hatred of them, he spurneth also against me, and fleeth in my face, for that in my Actes and Monumentes, describing the history of the church, I woulde saye anye thing in the fauour of them, whom the Romishe Catholikes haue so vnmercyfully put to death. MarginaliaAnswere to Alanus Copus.The aunswer to whose booke although woulde require a seueral tractation by it selfe (as if Christ graunt space and leysure, hereafter it shall not be forgotten) yet because such oportunitie of the booke is offred to me at this present, comming now to the matter of the Lorde Cobham, sir Roger Acton and other, with whom hee first begynneth to quarell, it shall be requisite a little by the waye to cope with this Cope, whatsoeuer he be, so much as truth shal geue me, for their defence to say something. And here to cut of all the offals of his rayling talke and vnhonest rebukes, which I leaue to scoldes and men of hys profession agaynst they lyst to braule, let vs briefly and quietly consider the matter, for discussing of the truth. MarginaliaIndifferencie of the reader craued.Wherein first I shall desire the Reader wyth equall indifferencie to heare both the partes to speake, as wel what the martyrs hence gone and slayne could say for them selues, if they were present, as also what this man here doth obiect agaynst them now being gone. And so according to the same to iudge both vpon them as they deserue, and of me as they shall please.

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MarginaliaWhether the L. Cobham be to be iudged rather a traytour, or a martyr.Now to the scope of maister Copes matter, whych is this, whither this foresayd sir Iohn Oldcastell, Lord Cobham (first to begyn with hym) is rather to bee commended for a Martyr, or to be reproued for a traytour. And whether that I in writing of him and of sir Roger Acton, wyth other mo in my former edition, haue delt fraudulently and corruptly in cōmending them in these Actes and Monumentes, or no. Touching the discussion whereof, first I trust that gētle maister Cope my frend, neither will, nor well cā deny any part of all þt hetherto, touching þe story of the Lord Cobham hath been premised. Who yet all this whyle was neyther traytor to hys countrey, nor rebell to hys Prince, as by the course of hys history hetherto the Reader maye well vnderstand. MarginaliaThe Lord Cobham true and obedient to K. Henry. 4.Fyrst in the tyme of kyng Henry the fourth, he was sēt ouer to Fraunce to the Duke of Orlyance, he did obey. MarginaliaThe Lord Cobham in the beginnyng fauoured of K. Henry. v.Afterward king Henry the fift, comming to the crown, he was of hym lykewyse well lyked and fauoured, MarginaliaThe kings displeasure procured agaynst the L. Cobham by popyshe prelates.vntil the tyme þt Thomas Arundel with his Clergy, cōplayning to the king, made bate betwene them. Then the Lord Cobham being cited by the Archbishop, at hys citacion would not appeare. MarginaliaThe Lord Cobham obedient to the king.But sent for by the kyng, he obeyed and came. Being come, what lowlye subiection he shewed there to the king, the pag. 664. declareth. After, he yelded an obedient confession of his fayth, it wold not be receaued. Then did hee appeale to the byshop of Rome, for the whiche the kyng tooke great displeasure with him and so was he repealed by the kyng to the Archbyshop, and committed to the tower, whiche also he dyd obey. MarginaliaThe Lord Cobham constant in his fayth, to the sentence of death.From thence he was brought to his examination once or twyse: there lyke a constant martyr, & wytnes of the truth, he stood to hys confession, and that vnto the very sentence of death defined agaynst hym. If this be not the effect of a true martyr, let Alanus Copus, say what he will, or what he can. This I say, at least I doubt, whether the said Alanus Copus Anglus, put to the lyke triall him selfe, would venter so narow a point of martyrdome for his religion, as this Christian knyght dyd for hys. Certes it hath not yet appeared.

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To procede, after this deadly sentence, was thus awarded agaynst hym, the sayd Lord Cobham was then returned agayne vnto the tower, whiche he with paciēce and mekenes did also obey: from the whiche tower if he afterward by the Lordes prouidence did escape, whether hath Alanus Copus herein more to prayse God for offering to hym the benefite, or to blame the man for taking

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