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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287 [264]

K. Henry. 3. Questions of Iack Vpland to the Friers. Otho, set vp, and deposed by the Pope.

in your bodely clothing (that ye clepe your habite MarginaliaWhat holynes is in a friers coat) that many blynd fooles desiren to die therein more then in an other: and also that a Frere that leuith his habite late founden of men, may not be assoyled till he take agayne, but is Apostata as ye seyn, and cursed of God and mā both. The Frere beleueth truth, and patience, chastitie, meeknes and sobriety: yet for the more part of his life, he may soone be assoyled of his Prior, MarginaliaThe stouter begger the nobler Fryer.and if he bring home to his house mich goad by the yeare (be it neuer so falsly begged & pilled of the poore and nedy people in in countries round about) he shal behold a noble Frere, O Lord whether this be charitie?

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36. Frere, MarginaliaWhy fryers so much desire to haue rich men buryed in their frieries.what charitie is this to prease vpon a riche man, and to entice him to be buryed among you from hys parish Church, and to such riche men geue letters of fraternitie confirmed by your generall seale, and thereby to beare him in hand that he shall haue part of all your masses, mattens, preachinges, fastinges, wakinges, and al other good dedes done by your brethren of your order (both whiles he liuith, and after that he is dead) and yet ye wytten neuer whether your deedes be acceptable to God, ne whether that man that hath that letter be able by good liuing to receiue any parte of your deedes: and yet a poore man (that ye wyte well or supposen in certaine to haue no good of) ye ne geuen to such letters, though he be a better man to God then such a rich man: neuerthelesse this poore man doth not retche thereof. MarginaliaFriers behestes are false deceits.For as men supposen suche letters and many other that Freres behotten to men, be full false deceites of Fryers: out of all reasō, and gods law, and christen mens fayth.

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37. Frere, what charitie is this, to be Confessours of Lordes and Ladies and to other mighty men, MarginaliaFriers desire to be Lordes and Ladies confessors. and not amend hem in her liuing: but rather as it seemeth, to be the bolder to pill her poore tenauntes, and to liue in lechery, & there to dwell in your office of confessour for wynning of worldly goodes, and to be holde great by colour of suche ghostly offices: this seemith rather pride of Freres than charitie of God.

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38. Frere, what charitie is this to sayne, that who so liuith after your order, liuith most perfitely, and next followeth the state of Apostles in pouertie and penaunce: & yet the wisest and greatest clerkes of you, wend or sēd or procure to þe court of Rome to be made Cardinals, or bishops, or the popes chaplaines, and to be assoyled of the vowe of pouertie and obedience to your ministers in the which (as ye sayne) standeth most perfection and meritie of your orders: MarginaliaFryers and Pharises say one and doe an other.and thus ye faren as Phariseis that sayen one and do an other to the contrary.

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Why name ye more the Patrone of your order in your Confiteor when ye beginne masse: then other Sayntes, Apostles or Martyrs, that holy Churche hold more glorious, then hem? and clepe hem your Patrons and your auowries.

Frere, whether was S. Frauncis in making of hys rule, that hee set thine order in, a foole & a lyer, or els wyse and true? MarginaliaDilemma.If ye sayne that he was not a foole, but wise, ne a lyer, but true: why shewe ye contrary by your doyng? whan by your suggestion to the pope ye sayde, that your rule that Fraunces made was so harde, that ye might not liue to hold it, without declaration and dispensation of the pope. And so, by your deede: ne lete your Patrone a foole that made a rule so harde, that no man may well keepe: and eke your dede proueth him a lyer, where he saith in his rule, that he tooke and learned it of the holy Ghost. For how might ye for shame pray the Pope vndoe that the holy ghost bit, as when ye prayed him to dispense with the hardnes of your order.

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MarginaliaWhich is the best order of Friers.Frere, whiche of the foure orders of Friers is best to a man that knoweth not which is the best, but would fayne enter into the best, and none other? If thou sayst that thine is the best, then sayst thou that none of the other is as good as thine: and in this ech Frere in the 3. other orders wolle say that thou lyest, for in the selfe maner eche other Freere woll say that hys order is best. And thus to eche of the 4. orders bene the other three contrary in this poynt: in the which if anye sayth sooth, that is one alone, for there may but one be the best of foure: so followeth it that if each of these orders aunswered to this question as thou doest, iij. were false, and but one true: and yet no man should wyte who that were. MarginaliaFriers neuer agree one with an other. And thus it seemeth, that the most part of Freeres, byn or should be lyers in this poynt, and they should aunswere thereto. If you say that an other order of the Freres is better then thine, or as good: why tooke ye nat rather therto as to the better, when thou mightst haue chose at the beginning: And eke why shouldest thou be an Apostata to leaue thine order. and take thee to that is better, and so why goest thou not from thine order into that?

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Frere, is there any perfiter rule of religion than ChristGods sonne gaue in his Gospell to his brethren? Or then that religion, that Sainct Iames in his Epistle maketh mention of? MarginaliaThe Fryer thinkes his rule perfecter thē christes, because be leaueth the one and followeth the other.If you say yes, then puttest thou on Christ (that is the wisedome of God the father) vnkunning, vnpower, or euill will: for than he could not make his rule so good as an other did his. And so he had be vnkunning, that he might not so make his rule so good as an other man might, and so were he vnmighty, and not GOD, as he would not make his rule so perfite as an other did his, and so he had bene euill willed, namely to himselfe.

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For if he might, and could, and would haue made a rule perfite without default, & did not: he was not Gods sonne almighty. For if any other rule be perfiter then Christes, then must Christes rule lack of that perfection by as much as the other weren more perfiter, and so were default, and Christ had fayled in making of his rule: but to put any default or failing in god is blasphemie. If thou say þt Christs rule, and that religion of that S. Iames maketh mention of, is the perfitest: why holdest thou not thilke, rule wtout more. And why clepest thou the rather of S. Fraunces or S. Dominikes rule or religion, or order, then of Christes rule, or Christes order?

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Frere, canst thou any default or assigne in Christs rule of the Gospell (with the which he taught al men sekerly to be saued) if they kept it to her ending? MarginaliaDilemma.If thou say it was to hard, then sayest thou Christ lyed: for he sayd of his rule: My yoke is soft, and my burthen light. If thou say Christes rule was to light, that may be assigned for no default: for the better it may be kept. If thou sayest that there is no default in Christes rule of the Gosepell, sith Christ himselfe saith it is light and easy: what neede was it to patrons of Freres, to ad more thereto? and so to make an hardar religion to saue Fryers, then was the religion of Christes Apostles and his disciples helden and were saued by. But if they wolden that her Freres saten aboue the Apostles in heauen for the harder religion that the kepen here: MarginaliaFryers wold sit in heauen aboue the Apostles. so wold they sitten in heauen aboue Christ himself, for they mo and straight obseruations: than so should they bee better then Christ himselfe with mischaunce.

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Goe now forth & frayne your Clerkes, and ground ye you in Gods law, & gyf Iack an aunswere: and when ye han assoiled me that I haue sayd sadly in truth, I shal soile thee of thine ordes, and saue thee to heauen.

If Freres kun not or mow not excuse hem of these questiōs asked of hem: it seemeth that they be horrible gilty against God, and her euen Christen. For which giltes & defaultes, it were worthy that the order that they call theyr order were fordone. And it is wonder that men sustayne hem or suffer hem lyue in such maner. For holy writ biddeth that thou doe well to the meke, and geue not to the wicked, but forbed to geue hem bread, least they be made thereby mightier through you.

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After these digressions, now to returne to the course of our story agayne. As Henry this king succeeded R. Iohn his father, so after Innocent the Pope, came Honorius 3. then Gregorius 9. &c. MarginaliaOtho the Emperour set vp and deposed againe by the Pope.And after Otho the Emperoure (whom the Pope had once set vp, & after depriued agayn) succeeded Fredericke the second, as is partly before touched. In the dayes of these kinges, popes and Emperors: it were to long to recite al that happened in England, but especially in Germany, betwixt Pope Honorius, Gregorius and Fredericke the Emperour: the horrible tragedy wherof, were inough to fill a whole booke by it selfe. But yet we meane God willing, somewhat to touche concerning these Ecclesiastical matters, first beginning with this realme of England.

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After that the kingdome of England had bene subiected by K. Iohn, as hath bene sayd, and made tributary to the pope and the Romish Church: it is incredible how the insatiable auarice and greedines of the Romaines did oppresse and wring the commons and all estates & degrees of the realme 

Commentary  *  Close
Papal oppression of the English Church

In this account Foxe stated that after the events of King John's reign England was now a tributary to Rome. This is the crucial point to how Foxe deals with the reign of Henry III. Through heavy taxation, neglect of royal authority and trickery the Pope consistently sends Legates to collect tithes and taxes and to trample on English sovereignty. First, Foxe has published a statement drawn up by the English Bishops explaining why they are unwilling to pay the Pope. Extracted from Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora, ed. Henry Richards Luard, Rolls Series (7 vols., London, 1872-1884), vol. 4, pp. 35, 37-8. The story then follows the events during the visitation of Legate Otto (Otho) to England and how he abused his position at the 1240 council of Bishops in London. This account is told entirely from Matthew Paris' Chronica Majora vol. 3, pp. 97, 102-3, 412, 414-7, 419-441, 473; vol. 4, pp. 6-10, 31-2. The account begins with Otto calming a contention between the Archbishops of York and Canterbury as a means to assert his own authority and act almost as if he were a 'god' overseeing his flock. The account then details the various monies that the Pope required from England to finance his war against the Emperor Frederick II. The Pope also demanded that room be made in England for 300 Romans to be beneficed. This was a result of a promise he had made the Roman Bishops in return for their support of his war. This is an excellent example of how Foxe used Matthew Paris. His translation remains true to the original manuscript Latin, but through the use of marginalia and a sentence of explanation here and there the basic facts are transformed from that of a disgruntled monk unhappy with papal interference into a powerful polemical attack against papal disregard for English authority and their abuse of taxation to fund a war which has nothing to do with England. It is interesting to note that Legate Otto's mission to England was one of church reforms and reasserting the peace after the events of King John's reign. However, Matthew Paris' suspicion of papal interference meant that his account recorded very little of the true nature of the mission. For Foxe this was a much more useful interpretation of the events than was available in other sources.

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The second half of the account describes how the Pope ignored the Bishops pleas at the Council of Lyons (1245) for non-payment of tithes. The complaint, Foxe explains, was in regard to the high burden of taxation from Rome that was impoverishing the realm and acting against England's best interests abroad. In retaliation the Pope threatened to interdict England and Henry III until the king relented. This account is again extracted from Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora, vol. 4, pp. 526-9, 440-444, 558, 560-1, 580. The characterisation of Legate Otto is completed when Foxe extracted a story from Matthew Paris Chronica Majora, vol. 3 pp. 481-5 of how the Legate caused a riot at the University of Oxford.

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Although it is generally believed that Foxe did not have access to the Chronica Majora for the first edition (1563) the evidence in this section proves otherwise. Neither of the series of extracts that can be found in John Bale, Scriptorum Illustrium maioris Brytanniae …Catalogus (Basel, 1557) or Matthias Flacius Illyricius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Basil, 1556) can accommodate the detailed use of Matthew Paris in the first edition of the Acts and Monuments, especially in this section. Admittedly Foxe could have used Roger of Wendover for Legate Otto's arrival to England and the demand for two prebends from every cathedral church (Roger of Wendover, Liber qui dictiur Flores Historiarum, ed. Henry G. Hewlett, Rolls Series (3 vols., London, 1886-9), vol. 2, pp. 289,295-6) but the rest of this account falls outside of that chronicles chronological range. Matthew Paris, Historia Anglorum, ed. Frederick Madden, Rolls Series (3 vols., London, 1866-9), vol. 2, pp. 276-9 also covers those events, however, from that point on all of Foxe's text is more detailed than the summaries contained in the Historia Anglorum. These accounts do however conform perfectly to the Chronica Majora. For instance the Council at London in which Otto settled a dispute between the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and laid out a series of reforming statutes can be found only as short summaries in the Historia Anglorum, vol. 2, pp. 398, 400. Similarly the story of Otto causing a riot at Oxford can only be found in a summarised form in the Historia Anglorum, vol. 2, pp. 407-8. Both accounts are to be found in full in the Chronica Majora.

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A similar picture emerges from analysis of the account of King John (1563, fos. 71v-69v) by Thomas S. Freeman, 'John Bale's Book of Martyrs?: The Account of King John in Acts and Monuments', Reformation, vol. 3 (1998), pp. 175-223), in which it is shown that not all of the references to Matthew Paris in that account can be found elsewhere. It would appear, therefore, that a copy, section of a copy or detailed notes was obtained to compile the accounts of King John and Henry III.

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It is also interesting to note that Foxe has largely left the text from the first edition intact, when he appears to have had only limited access to Matthew Paris. For the second edition, where he had access to Matthew Parker's copies of the Chronica Majora (CCCC MS 16 and 26), Foxe produced an entirely new account which added to and repeated much of what is stated here.

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Matthew Phillpott
University of Sheffield

, especially beneficed men and such as had any thing of the Church. Who, what for theyr domesticall charges within the realme, what for the pope, what for the Legates, what for contributing to the holy land, what for relaxations, and other subtile sleightes to get away theyr money, were brought into such slauery, captiuitie, and penury, that were as the king neyther durst nor might remedy their exclamations by himselfe: yet notwithstanding by his aduise, Symon Mounfort, and the Earle of Leiceister, and other noble men (not forgetting what great greuances and distresses the realme was brought into by the Romaines) thought to worke some way, how to bridle & restrayne the insatiable rauening of these greedy wolues. Wherefore they deuised their letter, geuing straight commandement to the religious men, and to such as had their churches to ferme: that hēceforth they should not answere

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