Critical Apparatus for this Page
Commentary on the Text
Names and Places on this Page
Unavailable for this Edition
723 [699]

K. Edw. 4. Fridericus. 2. Iohn an heardman, Martyr. Wesalianus.

It folowed, that after the decease of this foresayd Charles the 7. succeded K. Lewys xi. who had promised before, beyng Dolphine to Pope Pius, that if he euer came to the crowne, the foresayd Sanctio Pragmatica should be abolished. MarginaliaPope Pius laboureth that Pragmatica Sanctio should be abolished. Wherupon Pope Pius hearyng hym to be crowned, did send vnto hym Iohn Balueus a Cardinal with his great letters patent, willyng hym to be myndefull of hys promise made. The king either willing, or els pretending a wyll to performe, & accomplish what he had promised, directed the Popes letters patent, with the said Cardinal, to the counsail of Paris, requiring them to consult vpon the cause.

[Back to Top]

Thus the matter beyng brought and proposed in the Parliament house, the kinges Atturney named Ioannes Romanus, a man well spoken, singularly witted, and well reasoned, stepping forth, with great eloquēce, & no lesse boldnes, proued the sayd Sanction to be profitable, holy, and necessary for the wealth of the realme, and in no case to be abolished. MarginaliaThe coūsaile of Paris appealeth from the pope to the generall Councell. Vnto whose sentence the Vniuersitie of Paris adioyning their consent, did appeale from the attemptes of the Pope, to the next generall Councell. The Cardinall vnderstandyng this, toke no litle indignation therat, frettyng and fumyng, and threatnyng many terrible thinges agaynste them: but all his minatorie wordes notwithstandyng, he returned agayne to the kyng, hys purpose not obtayned, an. 1438. Ex Ioan. Mario.

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaVid. supra. pag. 675. Thus the Popes purpose in Fraunce was disappointed. which also in Germany had come to the lyke effect, if Fridericke the Emperour had there done his part likewyse toward the Germaines: MarginaliaThe complaint of the Germaines to the Emperour, for helpe & ayde, against the oppression of the Pope. Who at the same tyme bewayling their miserable estate, went about with humble sute to perswade the Emperour that he should no longer be vnder the subiection of the Popes of Rome, except they had first obtayned certayne thinges of them as touching the charter of Appeales, declaryng their estate to be farre worse (although vndeserued) then the Frenchmen or Italians: whose seruauntes (and speacially of the Italians) they are worthely to be called, except that their state were altered. The nobles & comminalty of Germany, did instantly intreate with most waighty reasons and examples, both for the vtility and profite of the Empire, to haue the Emperours ayde and helpe therin, for the which he was bound vnto them by an othe: alledging also the great dishonour & ignominie in that they alone had not the vse of their own lawes, declaryng how the French nation had not made their sute vnto their kyng in vayne agaynst the exactions of Popes: by whom they were defended, which also prouided decrees and ordinaunces for the liberty of hys people, and caused the same to be obserued: the which thyng the Emperour ought to foresee within his Empire, and to prouide for hys people and states of his empire, as well as other kinges doe. For what shall come to passe therby, if that forreine nations hauyng recourse vnto their kinges, beyng relieued and defended by them from the sayd exactions, and the Germaines, and states of the empire flying vnto their Emperour, be by him forsaken or rather betrayed and depriued of their own lawes and decrees? The Emperour being moued and partly ouercome by their perswasions, promised that he would prouide no lesse for them, then the kyng of Fraunce had done for the Frenchmen, and to make decrees in that behalfe: but the graue authoritie of Æneas Syluius, as Platina writeth in the history of Pius the second, brake of the matter, who by his subtile and pestiferous perswasions did so bewitch the Emperour, that he contemning the equall, iust, and necessary requestes of hys subiectes, chose the sayd Æneas to be hys Ambassadour vnto Calixtus then newly chosen Pope, to sweare vnto hym in hys name, & to promise the absolute obedience of all Germany, as the onely countrey (as they call it) of obediēce, neglecting the ordinances and decrees of their country, as before he had done vnto Eugenius the 4. beyng Ambassadour for the sayd Frederike, promising that he and all the Germains would be obedient vnto him from henceforth in all matters, as well spirituall as temporall. MarginaliaFridericke made the Germaines twise subiect vnto the Pope. Thus twise Friderike of Austrich contemned and derided the Germaines, and frustrating them of their natiue decrees and ordinaunces, brought them vnder subiection and bondage of the Pope: which partly was the cause that 7. yeares before hys death he caused hys sonne Maximiliā, not only to be chosen, but also crowned king of Romaines, and did associate hym to the ministration of the Empire, least after hys death (as it came to passe) the Empire should bee transported into an other family, suspecting the Germaines, whom he had twise contrary to his lawes made subiect and in bondage vnto the Popes exactions: first before he was crowned in the tyme of Eugenius the 4. and agayne the second tyme after his coronation, and death of Pope Nicho las the 5. denying their requests. Wherupon Germany being in this miserable pouerty and greuous subiection vnder the popes tiranny and poling, with teares and sighes lamenting their estate, continued so almost vnto Luthers tyme, as the histories hereafter following do testifie.

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaFrider. Albertus his brother and Sigismundus striue for the dukedome of Austria. And here ceasing with the story of Fridericke, we wyll now procede to the raigne of Maximilian hys sonne, omittyng diuers things els incident in the tyme of this Emperour: as first touching the vnbrotherly contention and conflictes betwene this Fridericke and Albertus his 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 cruell warre betwene the Prussians, and Polonians, with the religious sect of them, which were called Tentones fratres sanctæ Mariæ, in the tyme of Vladislaus: MarginaliaWarre betwene Frāciscus Sfortia,and the Venetians about Millaine. Omittyng also the stryfe and variaunce for the Dukedome of Millayn, betwene Fridericus the Emperor, Alphonsus, Carolus Duke of Orleance, & Fransiscus Sfort:a: And how the sayde Princedome beyng after geuen to Sfortia MarginaliaWarre betwene Lewes the French kyng, & the citie of Millaine. great warres were kindled and long continued betwene Sfortia and the Milleners, then betwene the Milleners and Venetians, and after betwene the Frenchmē and the Milleners. All which tumultes and commotions, as not pertinent greatly to the purpose of this story, I refer to other writers, where they are to be founde more amplye 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 belongyng to the story of the church, I thought good not to passe ouer touchyng suche as were condemned and suffered the paynes 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 cattell: 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 nere to death vnder the raigne of this Emperour Fridericus the 3.

[Back to Top]

And first touchyng this Iohn the Netehearde, Thus writeth Sebast. Munsterus. MarginaliaIohn a Netherd of Franconia Martyr.
An. 1476.
That the Bishop of Herbipolis, condēned and burned for an heretike one Iohn which was a keper of cattayl at a towne called Niclas Hausen in Frāconia, because he taught and held that the cleargy wrs ignominious and abhominable before God. anno. 1476. Ex Munstero.

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaIohn de Wesalia, persecuted
An. 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 complayned vpon vnto Dietherus thee archbyshop of Mentz, by the Thomistes, vpon certayne articles and opinions, gathered out of hys bookes. Wherefore thee sayde Dietherus, fearyng elles to bee deposed agayne from hys Byshopricke, directeth forth commission to the vniuersities of Heidelberg and Colen to haue the matter in examination who conuentyng together the yeare aboue mentioned, called thys doctour de Wessalia before them, making hym to sweare that he shoulde present and geue vp all hys treatises workes and writynges, what soeuer he had made or preached: that beyng done, they deuided his bookes amongest them selues, seuerally euery man to fynd out what heresies and errours they coulde. MarginaliaThe articles and opiniōs of Iohn de Wesalia. Hys articles & opinions were these, that all men be saued freely, and through meere grace by fayth in Christ. MarginaliaFree will nothing. Free will to be nothing. Onely that wee shoulde beleue the worde of God, and not the glose of any man, or fathers. That the worde of God is to be expounded by the collation of one place with an other. MarginaliaPrelates haue no more power ouer scriptures, then other men. That Prelates haue no authoritie to make lawes, or to expound the Scriptures by any peculiar right, geuen them more thenn to an other. That mens traditions, as fastinges, pardons, feastes, longe prayers, peregrinations and such lyke, are to be reiected. MarginaliaExtreme vnctiō reproued. Extreme vnction and confirmation to be reproued: confession and satisfaction to be reprehended. MarginaliaAgaynst the primacie of the Pope. The primacie of the pope also he affirmed to be nothing. Certayne other articles also were gathered out of him by his aduersaries, but in such sort, that they may seme rather to follow their owne malicious gathering, thē any true intelligēce of his mynde: whereof more is to be vnderstaned in thys proces hereafter.

[Back to Top]

Thus when Wesalianus was commaunded to appeare there conuented together, first the Archbishop, the Inquisitour, the doctors of Colen and the doctours of Heidelberge, with the maisters of the same, and the Rector of the vniuersitie of Mētz, the deane of faculties, Bachelers of diuinitie, and many other maisters of the same vniuersitie, canons, doctours, with the byshops chaunceller, and hys councellers, besides many religious prelates, scholers, with a doctour of Franckfort, the Sumner and bebels, which all met together in the great hall of the Minorites, for the examination of this Ioannes de Wesalia.

[Back to Top]

Frier Elton the Inquisitour, first sitteth in the highest place, then after hym others accordyng to their degree. In the beginning of the examinatiō, first the Inquisitour begin-

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