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Ælfwald I of Northumbria

(d. 788) [ODNB sub Oswulf]

Son of Oswulf. King of Northumbria (779 - 88); murdered

He is mentioned by Foxe: 1570, pp. 150, 175; 1576, pp. 112, 133; 1583, pp. 111, 132.

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Æthelred I of Northumbria

(d. 796) [ODNB sub Oswulf]

King of Northumbria (774 - 79, 789 - 96)

Son of Æthelwold Moll. He was driven into exile 779 - 89; murdered.

His expulsion, second reign and murder are noted. 1570, pp. 150, 175; 1576, pp. 112, 132; 1583, pp. 111, 131.

Upon his return from France to England, Alcuin complained about the state of the country into which he had arrived in letters to Offa of Mercia, Æthelred of Northumbria and Æthelheard, archbishop of Canterbury. 1570, p. 176; 1576, p. 133; 1583, p. 132.

After Æthelred's murder, no one was prepared to accept the rule of Northumbria, and it remained in anarchy for years. 1570, p. 176; 1576, p. 133; 1583, p. 132.

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Æthelwold Moll of Northumbria

(fl. 759 - 765) [ODNB sub Oswulf]

King of Northumbria (759 - 65)

Some accounts say that Aethelwold was removed by his successor, Alhred. 1570, pp. 150, 175; 1576, pp. 112, 132; 1583, pp. 111, 131.

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(c. 740 - 804) [ODNB]

Trained at York and taught there; abbot of St Martin's, Tours; royal adviser; major figure in the renaissance in learning and letters under Charlemagne

Alcuin was sent to Charlemagne by Offa of Mercia in hopes of cementing peace between them. Charlemagne held Alcuin in high esteem and made him abbot of Tours. 1570, p. 173; 1576, p. 131; 1583, p. 129

Upon his return from France to England, Alcuin complained about the state of the country into which he had arrived in letters to Offa of Mercia, Æthelred of Northumbria and Æthelheard, archbishop of Canterbury. 1570, p. 176; 1576, p. 133; 1583, p. 132.

Ecgfrith, Offa's son and successor, reigned only four months. Alcuin said that he died, not for his own offences, but because his father had spilled much blood to guarantee his inheritance. 1570, p. 173; 1576, p. 131; 1583, p. 130.

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(fl. 765 - 774) [ODNB sub Oswulf]

King of Northumbria (765 - 74)

Deprived of the crown by the Northumbrian council, fled to Bamburgh, then to exile with the Picts.

Some accounts say that Alhred expelled his predecessor, Æthelwold Moll. He himself was expelled in turn by his own people. 1570, pp. 150, 175; 1576, pp. 112, 132; 1583, pp. 111, 131.

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(751 - 771)

Son of Pippin the Short; brother of Charlemagne

King of Franks with Charlemagne (768 - 71); anointed by Pope Stephen II in 754

After Carloman's death, his wife and children went to Pope Adrian I for protection. He turned them over, with Desiderius, king of the Lombards, to Charlemagne, who kept them in captivity in France. 1570, p. 175; 1576, p. 132; 1583, p. 131.

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Conrad I

(d. 918); duke of Franconia

King of East Francia (911 - 18); elected successor of Carolingian Louis the Child, his uncle

The empire was translated to the Germans with the accession of Conrad. 1570, p. 175; 1576, p. 132; 1583, p. 131.

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Eadberht of Northumbria

(d. 768) [ODNB]

Cousin of Ceolwulf of Northumbria

King of Northumbria (737 - 58); abdicated in favour of his son Oswulf; became a monk

He was brother to Ecgberht, archbishop of York. 1570, p. 171; 1576, p. 129; 1583, p. 128.

Offa of Mercia won victories over Eadberht of Northumbria and Æthelred of the East Angles. 1570, p. 173, 1576, p. 130, 1583, p. 129.

Eadberht abdicated and became a monk. 1570, p. 175, 1576, p. 132, 1583, p. 131.

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Ecgbehrt (Egbert) of Wessex

(d. 839) [ODNB]

King of Wessex (802 - 39); extended his territory to include Kent, Surrey, Essex and Sussex

Ecgberht was initially expelled by Beorhtric. When he gained the throne, he was mocked for cowardice by Beornwulf of Mercia. 1570, p. 149, 1576, p. 111, 1583, p. 110.

Ecgberht defeated Beornwulf of Mercia and deposed him. The kingdom of Mercia ceased and was taken over by the West Saxons. 1570, p. 176, 1576, p. 133, 1583, p. 132.

After years of expulsion and murder of kings in Northumbria, no one was prepared to rule there, and it remained in anarchy. It eventually came into the hands of Ecgbehrt of Wessex. 1570, p. 176, 1576, p. 133, 1583, p. 132.

Ecgberht took over Kent and gave it to his son. 1570, p. 149, 1576, p. 111, 1583, p. 110.

Ecgberht conquered the kingdom of the East Saxons. 1570, p. 151, 1576, p. 113, 1583, p. 112.

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(fl. C8); wife of Carloman, king of the Franks

After Carloman's death, she fled with her children to Desiderius, king of the Lombards

After Carloman's death, his wife and children went to Pope Adrian I for protection. He turned them over, with Desiderius, king of the Lombards, to Charlemagne, who kept them in captivity in France. 1570, p. 175; 1576, p. 132; 1583, p. 131.

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(750x755 - 803) [L. Garland]

Married Emperor Leo IV in 769; empress (775 - 80); regent (780 - 90)

Restored icon veneration in 787; encouraged monasticism; co-ruler with her son (792 - 97); had her son blinded

Sole empress (797 - 802); deposed and exiled to a convent

Empress Irene had Pope Adrian exhume the body of Constantine Copronymus and burn it. She had the ashes thrown into the sea because Constantine had opposed the adoration of images. 1570, p. 176; 1576, p. 133; 1583, p. 132.

Nicephorus I deposed Irene and expelled her from the empire. She ended her life in poverty. 1570, p. 176; 1576, p. 133; 1583, p. 132.

Irene and the decrees of the Council of Nicea advocating the adoration of images were condemned at the Council of Frankfurt, presided over by Charlemagne. 1570, p. 175; 1576, p. 132; 1583, p. 131.

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(d. 816) [Kelly]

Pope (795 - 816); deposed in 799 by enemies in Rome; restored in 800 by Charlemagne

Charlemagne was crowned emperor of the Romans by Pope Leo III. 1570, p. 175, 1576, p. 132, 1583, p. 131.

Æthelheard wrote to Pope Leo III, who agreed to return the archiepiscopal see to Canterbury. 1570, p. 175, 1576, p. 132, 1583, p. 131.

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Osred II of Northumbria

(d. 792) [ODNB]

Son of King Alhred of Northumbria

King of Northumbria (788 - 90); deposed, tonsured at York, exiled; attempted to return; captured and executed by King Æthelred

He is mentioned by Foxe: 1570, pp. 150, 175; 1576, pp. 112, 133; 1583, pp. 111, 131.

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Oswulf of Northumbria

(d. 759) [ODNB]

Son of Eadberht of Northumbria

King of Northumbria (758 - 59); killed by his household

Oswulf, although innocent, was killed in the first year of his reign. 1570, p. 175; 1576, p. 132; 1583, p. 131.

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Otto I

(912 - 973)

King of the Germans (936 - 73); duke of the Saxons

Holy Roman Emperor (962 - 73) Son of Henry I the Fowler

Otto I had the right to choose and ordain the bishop of Rome. [Leo VIII is mistakenly called Leo IX by Foxe] 1570, p. 5, 1576, p. 4, 1583, p. 5.

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Roger of Howden (Hoveden)

(d. 1201/2) [ODNB]

Chronicler; parson of Howden c. 1174; member of the household of Henry II

Wrote a chronicle covering the years from 732 to 1201, and Gesta Henrici II covering 1169 - 1192

He is mentioned by Foxe: 1570, pp. 175, 1301; 1576, pp. 132, 1113; 1583, pp. 131, 1039.

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Chomutov (German: Komotau) [Commitauia]

Czech Republic

Coordinates: 50° 27' 46" N, 13° 24' 40" E

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(Byzantium, Istanbul) [Bizance]


Coordinates: 41° 0' 44" N, 28° 58' 34" E

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Dancaster [Doncaster]
NGR: SE 575 024

A parish comprising the borough and market town of Doncaster, which has separate jurisdiction, the townships of Balby with Hexthorpe and Long Sandal with Wheatley in the Soke of Doncaster, and the township of Langthwaite with Tilts in the northern division of the wapentake of Strafforth with Tickhill, west Riding of the County of York. 37 miles south by west from York. The living is a vicarage in the Archdeaconry and diocese of York, and the patronage of the Archbishop of York.

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Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England (S. Lewis & Co: London, 1831)

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Frankfurt am Main

[Francford; Franckforde; Frankford]

Hesse, Germany

Coordinates: 50° 6' 37" N, 8° 40' 56" E

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Winchester (Winton; Wenta; Wenton)


OS grid ref: SU 485 295

Historic capital of Wessex; former capital of England; county town of Hampshire; cathedral city

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NGR: SE 603 523

A city and county of itself, having exclusive jurisdiction; locally in the East Riding of the county of York, of which it is the capital. 198 miles north-north-west from London. The city is the seat of the Archbishop, and comprised originally 33 parishes, reduced by amalgamation to 22; of which 33, 17 were discharged rectories, 10 discharged vicarages, and 6 perpetual curacies; all within the diocese of York.

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English information from Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of England (S. Lewis & Co: London, 1831)

Welsh information taken from Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales(Lewis & Co: London, 1840)

The reason for the use of these works of reference is that they present the jurisdictional and ecclesiastical position as it was before the major Victorian changes. The descriptions therefore approximate to those applying in the sixteenth century, after the major changes of 1535-42. Except for the physical locations, which have not changed, the reader should not therefore take these references as being accurate in the twenty-first century.

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154 [131]

Offa. Carolus magnus. The Kingdome of Northumberland ceaseth.

forme order of any Missall or Masse booke was receiued, as hath bene hetherto discoursed.

Now from the Popes to returne againe to the emperours from whence we digressed, like as Pipinus the father of Charles (as hath bene before sufficiently told) had geuen to the sea Papall all the princedome of Rauenna, with other donations and reuenewes, & landes in Italy: so this Carolus following his fathers deuotion, did confirme the same, adding moreouer therunto, the Citie and dominion of Venice, Histria, the Dukedome Foroiuliense, the dukedom Spoletanum and Beneuentanum, and other possessions moe, to the patrimonie of S. Peter, making him the Prince of Rome and of Italy. MarginaliaCarolus Magnus beneficiall to the sea of Rome. The Pope agayne to recompence his so gentle kindnes, made him to be intituled most Christen king, and made him Patricium Romanum. MarginaliaRex Christianißimus intituled to Fraunce. Moreouer ordeined him onely to bee taken for Emperour of Rome. For these and other causes moe, Carolus bare no little affection to the sayd Adrian aboue all other Popes: as may well appeare by this letter of Carolus Magnus sent to king Offa, what tyme the said Offa (as is aboue prefixed) sent to hym Alcuinus for entreatie of peace: wherunto the foresayd Carolus aunswereth agayne to the message of Offa in a letter, the contents wherof be these.

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The tenour of a Letter sent by Carolus Magnus to king Offa, answering to his request concerning the intreatie of peace betwene them.

MarginaliaA letter of Charles the great sent to king Offa. CArolus Rex Francorum & Longobardorum, Patricius Romanorum viro venerando, & fratri charissimo Offæ Regi Merciorum Salut. Primò gratias agimus omnipotenti Deo, de Catholicæ fidei sinceritate, quam in vestris laudabilibus paginis reperimus exaratam. De peregrinis verò qui pro amore Dei, & salute animarum suarum, beatorum Apostolorum limina desiderant adire, cum pace sine omni perturbatione vadant. Sed si aliqui religioni non seruientes, sed lucra sectantes inueniantur inter eos, locis opportunis statuta soluant telonia. Negociatores quoque volumus vt ex mandato nostro patrocinium habeant in regno nostro legitime. Et si in aliquo loco, iniusta affligantur oppressione, reclament se ad nos, vel nostros iudices, & plenam iustitiam iubemus fieri. Cognoscat quoque dilectio vestta quòd aliquam benignitatem de Delmaticis nostris vel pallijs ad singulas sedes Episcopales regni vestri vel Ethelredi direximus, in eleemosinam Domini Apostolici Adriani, deprecantes vt pro eo intercedi iubeatis, nullam habentes dubitationem beatam illius animam in requie esse, se vt fidem & dilectionem ostendamus in amicum nobis charissimum. Sed & de thesauro humanarum rerum, quum Dominus Iesus gratuita pietate concessit aliquid per Metropolitanas ciuitates: Direximus vestræ quoque dilectioni vnum baltheum, & vnum gladium & duo pallia serica, &c.

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MarginaliaHow the Pope heareth the cry of poore widowes and Orphanes. The cause why this Carolus writeth so fauorablye of Adriā partly is touched before, partly also was, for þt Carolomane his elder brother being dead, his wife called Bertha with her two Children came to Adrian, to haue them confirmed in their fathers kingdome: whereunto the Pope to shew a pleasure to Carolus would not agree: but gaue the mother with her two children, & Desiderius the Lombard king with hys whole kingdome, hys wife and Children, into the hands of the said Carolus, who led them with him captiue into Fraunce, and there kept them in seruitude during their lyfe.

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Thus, Carolus Magnus beyng proclaymed Emperour of Rome, through the preferment of Adrian, and of Pope Leo the third which succeeded next after him, was the Empire translated from the Grecians about the yeare of our Lord 801. MarginaliaThe Empire translated from Greece to Fraunce. vnto the Frenchmen: where it continued about 102. yeares till the comming of Conracus and hys nephew Otho, which were Germaynes: and so hath continued after them amōg the Almanes vnto this present time. This Charles builded so many Monasteries as there be letters in the row of A. B C. he was beneficiall chiefly to Churchmen also mercifull to the poore, in hys actes valiaunt and triumphaunt, skilde in all languages, he held a counsell at Francford, where was condemned the Conncell of Nice and Irene, for setting vp and worshipping Images. &c.

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Concerning which Councell of Nice, & thinges there concluded and enacted (because no man shal thinke, the detesting of Images to be any new thing now begon) thus I finde it recorded in an auncient written history of Roger Houeden, called Continuationes Bedæ, His wordes in Latin be these: Anno 792. Carolus Rex Francorum missit Sinodalem librum ad Britanniam, sibi à Constantinopoli directum. In quo lib. Heu, proh dolor, multa inconuenientia, & veræ fidei contraria reperiuntur, maximè quòd pene omnium orientalium Doctorum non minus quàm 300. vel eo amplius Episcoporum vnanimi assertione confirmatum sit, imagines adorari debere: Quodomnino Ecclesia Dei execratur. Contra quod scripsit Albinus Epistolam ex autoritate diuinarum scripturarum mirabiliter affirmatam, illamq; cum eodem libro ex persona Episcoporum ac principum nostrorum, Regi Francorum attulit. Hæc ille. MarginaliaImages written agaynst, as contrary to the true fayth. That is. In the yeare of our Lorde, 792. Charles the Frenche King sent a booke contayning the actes of a certeine Synode, vnto Brittayne, directed vnto hym from Constantinople. In the which booke (lamentable to behold) many thinges inconuenient, & cleane contrary to the true fayth are there to be found: especially for that by the common consent of almost all the learned bishops of the East Church, not so few as 300. it was there agreed that Images should be worshipped. Which thing the church of god hath alwayes abhorred. Against which booke Albin9 MarginaliaThis Albinus was Alcuinus aboue mentioned. wrote an Epistle substantially grounded out of the authoritie of holy Scripture. Which Epistle with the booke, the sayde Albinus in the name and person of our Bishops and Princes, MarginaliaThe Bishops and Princes of England against Images. did present to the French king.

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And thus much by the way of Romish matters: now to returne agayne to the Northumberland kings where [illegible text] left at Egbert. Which Egbert as is before declared, succeeded[illegible text] after Ceolulphus, after he was made Monke. MarginaliaKing Egbert made a monke. Anno. 757. And likewise the sayd Egbert also followyng the deuotion of hys vncle Ceolulphus, and Kenredus before him: was likewyse shorne monke after he had raigned 20. yeres in Northumberland, leauing his sonne Osulphus after him to succeede: MarginaliaOsulphus, Mollo, otherwise called Adelwold. Alcredus or Aluredus. Ethelbert otherwise named Adelred or Eardulphe. Alfweld. Osredus, Adelred, agayn kinges of Northumberland. about which tyme, and in the same yeare when Ceolulphus deceased in his Monastery, which was the yeare of our Lord, 764. MarginaliaAnno. 764. diuers Cities were burnt with sodaine fire, as the citie of Wenta, the citie of London, the citie of Yorke, Dōacester, with diuers other townes besides. Roger Houeden. Lib. Contin. post Bedam, who the first yeare of hys raigne, which was the yere of our Lord, 757. beyng innocently slayne, next to him followed Mollo, otherwise called Adelwald, who likewise beyng slayne of Alcredus after hee had raigned 11. yeres departed. After, Alcredus whē he had raigned 10. yeres, was expulsed out of his kingdom by his people. Then was Ethelbert otherwise named Edelred the sonne of the foresayd Mollo receaued kyng of Northumberland. Which Ethelbert, or Adelred in like sort after he had raigned v. yeares, was expulsed. After whome succeeded Alfwold, who likewise when he had raigned 11. yeres, was vniustly slaine. So likewise after him his nephew, and the sonne of Alcredus named Osredus raigned one yeare & was slayne. Then the foresayd Ethelbert the sonne of Mollo after 12. yeares banishment, raigned agayne in Northumberland the space of foure yeares, and was slayne: the cause wherof (as I finde in an old written story) was that forsaking his old wife, he maried a new. Concerning the restoring of whō Alcuinus writeth in this maner: Benedictus Deus qui facit mirabilia solus. Nuper Edelredus filius Edelwaldi de carcere processit in solium, & de miseria in maiestatem, cuius regni nouitate detenti sumus ne veniremus ad vos, &c. And afterward the same Alcuinus againe speaking of his death, writeth to king Offa, in these wordes: Sciat veneranda dilectio verstra, quod Do. Carolus amabiliter & fideliter sæpe mecum locutus est de vobis, & in eo habetis fidelissimum amicum. Ideo & vestræ dilectioni digna dirigit munera, & per Episcopales sedes regni vestri, similiter & Edelredo Regi, & ad suas Episcoporum sedes direxit dona. Sed heu Proh dolor, donis datis, & Epistolis in manus missorum, superuenit tristis legatio per missos qui de Scotia per nos reuersi sunt, De infidelitate gentis, & nece Regis. Ita Carolus retracta donorum largitate in tantum iratus est contra gentem illam, vt ait, perfidam & peruersam, & homicidam dominorum suorum, peiorem eam paganis estimans, vt nisi ego intercessor essem pro ea quicquid eis boni abstrahere potuisset, & mali machinari, iam fecisset, &c.

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The kingdom of Northumberland ceaseth. 
Commentary  *  Close
Remainder of Book II

Foxe did not disguise his purposes as a historian when he came to write the history of the 'second age' of the church through the eyes of the early Anglo-Saxon kingdoms for the 1570 edition of his martyrology. He took the opportunity in this concluding section to the book to summarise 'the storye precedent'. He had encountered considerable difficulties in its composition: 'the matter being so intricate, in such confusion & diversitie of things incident together'. The meta-narrative was that 'it pleaseth God […] to reuenge with blood, bloudy violence, and the uniuste dealings of men, with iust and like retribution' - one that was consonant with the contemporary history of the protestant reformation as Foxe would present it in due course. Yet Foxe's cataloguing instincts had not yet been exhausted. In this final section, he provides a compendium of the ecclesiastical foundations that composed the principal fabric of English Christianity up to and through the reformation. The table was composed from all the sources which he had used to compile the history of book 2, both lay and clerical. When it came to the issue of how these foundations should be regarded, and what role they should play in contemporary memory, Foxe revealed another important aspect of this enlarged history of the English church which he appended to the 1570 martyrology. Their patrons and founders had seen them as contributing to their own salvation 'by their owne deseruinges & meritorious dedes'. He illustrated the point through the Charter of Ethelbert, king of the Mercians, which he cited in the original Latin, taken from 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 1, ch. 84). Foxe wanted the 'lieux de mémoire' of these foundations instead to 'put vs in mynde and memorye, how much we at this present are bound to God for the true sinceritie of his truth: hidden so long before to our foreauncitors, and opened now to vs by the good wyll of our God'. They were, in short, monuments to the 'blind ignorance of that age' and the 'superstiticious deuotion' of its kinds and princes. Foxe then summarized one of the underlying elements that had emerged in his treatment of the Saxon heptarchy - rulers who had become monks. Since the counterpart to the 'names and lineall descent' of the kings was the 'names and order of the Archbishops of Canterbury' Foxe follows with an enumeration of it, compiled from William of Malmesbury's Gesta Pontificium (N. E. S. A. Hamilton, ed. William of Malmesbury. Willemesbiriensis Monachi De Gestis pontificium Anglorum [...] [London: Rolls Series, 1870], book 1, chs 1-4; 7-8; 13) with the detail about the foundation of St Martin's monastery and the temporary translation of the see of Canterbury to Lichfield from Matthew Paris' Flores Historiarum [H. R. Luard, ed. Matthew Paris. Flores Historiarum 3 vols (London: Rolls Series, 1890], pp. 346-7; 492). Some of this material may also have been generated in the preparation of De Antiquitate Britanniae, confirming our suspicion that there was some collaboration between Foxe and members of Archbishop Matthew Parker's entourage in the late 1560s, especially around the early history of the see of Canterbury.

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Matthew Phillpott and Mark Greengrass
University of Sheffield

MarginaliaNorthumberland kingdome ceaseth. Thus as you haue heard, after the raigne of king Egbert, before mentioned, such trouble and perturbatiō was in the dominion of Northumberland: with slaying, expulsing, and disposing, their kings one after an other, that after the murdering of this Edelred aboue specified, none durst take the gouernemēt vpon him, seing the great danger thereupon insuing. Insomuch that the foresayd kingdome did lye void and waste the space of xxxiij yeares together, after the terme of which yeares this kingdome of Northumberland, with the kingdomes also of the other Saxons besides, came all together into the handes of Egbert king of the Westsaxons and his progeny: which Monarchy began in the yeare of our Lord. 827. and in the 28. yeare of the raygne of the sayd Egbert: whereof more shall be sayd (Christ willing) hereafter. Of this troublesome & ragious time of Northumberland people, speaketh also the sayd learned man Alcuinus otherwise called Albinus, MarginaliaAlcuinus otherwise called Albinus.

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