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. English ecclesiastical affairs 1330-6458. Anti-papal writers59. Quarrel among mendicants and universities60. Table of the Archbishops of Canterbury
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County town of Bedfordshire

OS grid ref: TL 055 495

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King's Weston


Possibly Kempston, nr Bedford

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Knaresborough [Gnarsboborough; Gnarsborough]

North Yorkshire

OS grid ref: SE 355 575

249 [226]

False and lying miracles of Bec. The king agreeth with the Pope for Bec. death.

diuers disease to haue a diuers miracle.

To recite in order all these prodigious reuelatiōs and phātasticall miracles, falsely imagined and ascribed to this archbishop: were nothing els, but to write a legend of lies, & to occupy the people with trifles. Which, because it pertaineth rather to þe idle professiō of such dreaming monks and cloysterers, that haue nothing els to maintain that religion withal: I will not take their profession out of theyr hands. Wherfore, to omit all suche vayne & lying apparitions and miracles, as how this angry sainct (3. dayes after his death) appeared by vision at the altar in his pontificalibus, commaunding the quere not to sing, MarginaliaSinging at the masse forbidden by Tho. Becket after his death. but to say this office of his masse: Exurge, quare obdormis Domine. &c. Which vision the author himselfe of þe book doth say he did see. To omit also þe blasphemous lye, who in other vision the sayd Archbishop should say: that hys bloud did cry out of the earth to God, more then the bloud of iust Abell. MarginaliaA blasphemous lye. Itē, in an other visiō it was shewed to a monk of Lewes, how S. Thomas had hys place in heauen appoynted with the Apostles: aboue Stephen, Laurence, Vincent, and al the other Martyrs. MarginaliaBeck. aboue the Martirs in heauen. Whereof this cause is rendered, for that s. Stephen. Laurence, and such other, suffered only for their own cause. But this Th. suffered for the vniuersal church. Item, how it was shewed to a certayne young man (Ormus by name) xij. yeares before the death of this Becket: MarginaliaA place prepared in heauen for Becket xii. yeares before his death.that among the Apostles & martyrs in heauen, there was a vacaunt place left, for a certayn priest, as he sayd of England: which was credibly supposed to be this Tho. Becket. Item, how a certain knightes sonne being two dayes dead, was reuiued agayne so soone as he had the water of Caunterbury put in his mouth, & had by his parentes 4. peeces of siluer bended, to be offered in Caūterbury in the childes behalfe. All these, I say, with such other like, to omit (the number wherof commeth to an infinite varietie) onely this one story or an other that followeth shall suffice to expresse the vanitie and impudent forgery of all the rest.

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MarginaliaAn impudent and a lying myracle.In the fourth book of this fabulous author, and in the 3. chap. a miracle is there contayned of a certayn countryman of Bedfordshire in kinges Weston, whose name was Eilwardus: MarginaliaEx historia monachi Cantua. de miraculis b. Thomæ. which Eilwardus in his dronkēnes brusting into an other mans house, which was his debter, took out of his house a great whetstone, & a paire of hedging gloues: The other party seyng this value not sufficient for hys cōdemnation (by the councell of the towne clerk) entred an action of felony agaynst him for other thinges besides, as for stealing his wimble, his axe, nette, and other clothes. Wherupon, Eilwardus being had to þe Iaile of Bedford, and afterward condemned for þe same: was iudged to haue both his eyes put out, & also those members cut of, which nature with secret shame hath couered. Which punishmēt by the malice of his aduersary being executed vpon him, he lying in great danger of death by bleeding, was coūsayled to make his prayer to this Tho. of Caunterbury. Whiche done (sayth the myracle) appeared one to him by night, in white apparell, bidding him to watch and pray, & put his trust in God, and our Lady, and holy S. Thomas. MarginaliaA blasphemous vision. In conclusion, the miracle thus fel out: the next day at the euening, þe man rubbing his eye lids began to feele hys eyes to be restored agayne: first in a litle, after in a greater measure: so þt one was of a gray colour, þe other was of a black. And here was one miracle rong. After this folowed an other miracle also vpon the same person. MarginaliaA false and impudent myracle.For going but the space of 4. myles whē his eyes were restored, he chaunced (in like maner) to rubbe the place, where his secret partes were cut of. And immediately vpon the same, his pendēda (to vse the wordes of my story) were to him restored, Principio parua quidem valdè, sed in maius proficientia, whiche he permitted euery one to feele, that woulde and shamed not to deny. In so much that he comming vp to S. Thomas: first at London was receaued with ioy of the B. of Dirhā, who then sending to the burgers of Bedford for the truth of the matter, receaued from thē again letters testimonial: wherein the Citizens there (sayth this fabulous festiuall) confirmed first to the byshop, thē to the couent of Canterbury, the relation of this to be as hath bene told. This one miracle (gentle reader) so shamelesse & impudēt, I thought here to expresse, that by this one, thou mightst iudge of all þe residue of his miracles: & by the residue thereof mightst iudge moreouer of al the filthy wickednes of all these lying monks and cloysterers, which count it a light sport so impudently to deceiue the simple soules of Christes Churche with trifling lyes and dreaming fables. Wherefore, (as I sayd) if the holy saynting of Thomos Becket, standeth vpon no other thing but vpon his miracles: what credite is to be geuen thereto, & vpon what a weak groūd his shrine so lōg hath stand, by this may easily be seen. Furthermore, an other fable as notable as this, and no lesse worthy of þewhetstone, we read in the story of Geruasius: That Thomas Becket appearing to a certayne priest, named Thomas, declared to him that he had so brought to passe, that all the names of the Monks of the Church of Caunterbury, with the names of the priestes and Clerkes, & with the families belonging to that citty and church of Cant. were written in the booke of lyfe, Ex Geruas. fol. 6.

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But whatsoeuer is to be thought of hys miracles, or how soeuer the testimony of the schole of Paris, or of these auncient tymes went with him or agaynst hym: certayn it is, that this Antheme or Collect lately collected & primered in hys prayse, is blasphemous, and derogateth frō the prayse of him, to whome al prayse onely and honor is due, where it is sayd.

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MarginaliaThe blasphemous antheme of T. Becket. Tu per Thomæ sanguinem, quem pro te impēdit: Fac nos Christe scādere quòThomas ascendit.
Tu per Thomæ sanguinem quem pro te impendit,
Fac nos Christe scandere quò Thomas ascendit.

That is.

For the bloud of Thomas, which he for thee did spend,
Graunt vs (Christ) to climbe, where Tho. did ascend.

Wherin is a double lye contayned: first, that he dyed for Christ. Secondly, that if he had so done, yet that his bloud could purchase heauē. Which thing, neyther Paul nor any of the apostles durst euer chalēge to themselues. For if any mans bloud could bring vs to heauen, then the bloud of Christ was shed in vayne.

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And thus much touching the testimony or censure of certayne auncient tymes concerning the cause of Thomas Becket. In the explication of whose history I haue stoode now the longer (exceding peraduenture in ouermuch prolixitie) to the intent that his cause beyng fully opened to the world and duely weyed on euery part: mens mindes (therby long deceiued by ignoraunce) might come vnto the more perfect certayntie of the truth therof, and thereby to iudge more surely what is to be receaued, and what to be refusd.

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Whrrby the way is to be noted out of the testimony of Rob. Crikeladensis, which in him I finde: that the Pieres and nobles of this land neere about the king, gaue out in straight charge vpon payne of death, and confiscating of al their goodes, no man to be so hardy to name Tho. Becket to be a martyr, or to preach of hys miracles. &c. Ex Crikelandensi.

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After the death of Thomas Becket, 

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Events of 1172-78

The Foxe Project was not able to complete the commentary on this section of text by the date by which this online edition was compiled (23 September 2008). This commentary will become available in due course from the 'Late Additions and Corrections' page of the edition.

MarginaliaThe king sendeth to Rome.the king fearing þe Popes wrath and curse to be layd vpon him (whereunto Ludouike the French king also helped what he could to set the matter forward) sent to Rome the archb. of Rotomage with certayn other bishops and Archdeacons vnto the P, with hys excuse, which, the Pope would in no wise heare. And after other messengers beyng sent, whome some of the Cardinals receaued, it was shewed to them that on good Friday (beyng then nye at hand) the pope of custome was vsed to assoyle or curse, & that it was noysed, how the king of Englād with his bishops should be cursed and his land interdicted, and that they should be put in prison. MarginaliaEx libro annotationum historicarū manuscripto I. Skenij. After this certaine of the Cardinals shewed the pope, that the messengers had power to sweare to the Pope, that the king should obey his punishment and penauuce. Whiche was taken both of the King and the Archb. of Yorke. So that in the same day the pope cursed the deede doers, with such as were of their consent, eyther that ayded or harboured thē. Concerning these deede doers it is touched briefly before: how they fled vnto Yorkeshire lying in Gnarsboborough. MarginaliaThe penāce of the foure knightes.Who after hauing in penaunce to go in their linnen clothes barefoot (in fasting and prayer) to Ierusalem: by reasō of this hard penance are sayd to dye in fewe yeres after.

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The kinges Ambassadours lying as is said in Rome: could finde no grace nor fauor a long tyme at the Popes handes. At length with much ado it was agreed, that two Cardinals shuld be sent down to enquire out the matter, concerning them that were consenting to Beckets death. The king perceauing what was preparing at Rome, neither being yet certayne: whereto the intent of the Pope, & comming down of the Cardinals would tend: in þe meane tyme addressed hymselfe with a great power to enter into Ireland, geuing in charge and commaundement (as Houedenus writeth MarginaliaEx Houedono.) that no bringer of any brief or letter shuld come ouer into England or passe out of þe realme (of what degree or condition so euer he were) without special licēce and assuraunce to bring nothing that should be preiudiciall to the realme.

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This order being set and ordained, the king with 400. great shippes taketh hys iourney to Irelande: MarginaliaIreland first subdued to England.where he subdued in short tyme the whole land vnto hym, which at that tyme was gouerned vnder diuers kings to the number of v. Of whome foure submitted themselues vnto the sayd kyng Henry, onely the fifth (who was the kyng of

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