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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Binham Priory


OS grid ref: TF 979 398

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Genoa [Genua; Ianua]

Liguria, Italy

Historic city-state

Coordinates: 44° 24' 0" N, 8° 55' 0" E

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Westley Waterless [Westle]


OS grid ref: TL 625 565

315 [292]

The P. abusing the benefices of England. The French K. Preparation to the holy land.

as outragious as thys, against the house of Binham. MarginaliaA detestable extortion of the pope vsed against the priorie of Binham.For when the benefice of Westle in the Diocesse of Eley was voide by the death of the incumbent, who was an Italian & one of the popes chamber, the donatiō of which benefice belōged to the priorie of Binham, an other Italian which was a bastard and vnlearned, borne in the City of Ianua, called Herrigetto de Malachaua de volta, brought downe the popes letters to M. Berardo de Nympha the Popes agent here in England, with strait charge and full authority, commanding him to see the sayd benefice to be conferred in any case to Herrigetto. Yea and though the benefice had bene geuen already, yet notwythstanding the possessor therof should be displaced, and the said Herrigetto perferred: Yea also, non obstante that the sayd Pope himselfe had before giuen his graunt to the king & realme of England, þt one Italian should not succeede an other in any benefice there, yet for all that the said Herrigetto vpon paine of excommunication, to be placed therin. Ex Paris. fol. 240.

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MarginaliaThe Grecians excused & purged in parting frō the Church of Rome.And thus much hetherto of these matters, through the occasion of the East churches and the Grecians, to the entent all men that read these stories, & see the doings of this Westerne Bishop, may consider what iust cause these Grecians had to seclude themselues from hys subiection, and communion. For what christian communion is to be ioyned wt him, which so contrary to Christ and his gospel, seeketh for worldly dominion, MarginaliaThe miseries that haue risen in Englande through subiection vnder the church of Romeso cruelly persecuteth hys brethren, so giuē to auarice, so greedy in getting, so iniurious in oppressing, so insatiable in hys exactions, so malitious in reuenging, stirring vp warres, depriuing kings, deposing Emperours, playing Rex in the Church of Christ, so erronious in doctrine, so abominably abusing excommunication, so false of promise, so corrupt in life, so voyde of Gods feare: and briefly, so farre from all the parts of a true Euangelicall Bishop. For what seemeth he to care for the soules of men, which setteth in benefices, boyes and outlādish Italians: and further, one Italian to succede an other which neither did know the language of þe flocke, nor once would abide to see their faces. And who can blame þe Grecians then for disseuering themselues from such an oppressour and gyant against Christ.

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Whose wise example if this Realme had then folowed, as they might, MarginaliaEnglād plagued by the Pope when it needed not.certes our predecessours had bene rid of an infinite number of troubles, iniuries, oppressiōs, warres, commotions, great trauails, & charges, besides the sauing of innumberable thousand of poūds, which the sayd bishop full falsely hath raked and transported out of thys Realme of ours. But not to excede þe bounds of my history, because my purpose is not to stande vpon declamations, nor to dilate common places, I will passe ouer, leauing the iudgement therof to the further examination of the reader. MarginaliaThe Pope and the court of Rome the principall cause of all the publique calamities through christendome.For els if I listed to prosecute this argument so far as mater would lead me, & truth peraduenture wold require me to say, I durst not only say, but could well proue, the Pope & court of Rome to be the only fountain & principal cause, I say not of muche misery heere in England, but of all the publicke calamities and notorious mischiefes which haue happened these many yeres through all these West parts of christendome, & especially of all the lamentable ruine of the church, which not only we, but the Grecians also this day do suffer by the Turks and Saracens. As whosoeuer wel considereth by reading of histories the course of times, and vieweth with all the doings and acts passed by the said bishops of Rome, together with þe blinde leading of his doctrine, shal see good cause not only to thinke, but also to witnes the same.  

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Louis IX on Crusade

Foxe tells the story of the Seventh Crusade (1248-1254) to show how the petty and worldly desires of the papacy led to the failure of Louis IX in the holy land. Before going on the crusade, Foxe narrates how Louis IX had first attempted to produce peace between Pope Innocent IV (ruled 1243-1254) and Emperor Frederick II (1194-1250). Although the emperor did all he could to reach an agreement the pope would not be 'mollified'. Foxe blames the failure of the crusade on the pope's excommunication of Frederick II, and his refusal to allow him to aid the crusade. 'The Emperor, which could have done most' Foxe explained, 'was deposed by the Popes tyranny' and by such means 'such a fire of mischiefe was kindled against all Christendome, as yet to this day can not be quenched' (1570, p. 378). In other words the pope's argument with the emperor had allowed the Turks to spread out across much of the world unhindered. The interference of Legate Odo is also claimed to have aspirated the failure of the crusade by damaging any attempt to negotiate with the Sultan.

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The story is entirely taken out of extracts from Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora, ed. Henry Richards Luard, Rolls Series (7 vols., London, 1872-1884), vol. 4-5, that was no doubt the most detailed description of the events open to Foxe. It, however, highlighted the role of an English contingent led by William Longespee II (1212-1250). A legend had grown up around Longespee in England after he had died because of the betrayal of the French forces. He became a symbol of chivalry and martyrdom. Foxe took the story from Matthew Paris in its entirety. There is in general a certain amount of anti-French feeling in the account, especially in the arguments between Longespee and Louis IX and the claim that French crusaders stole bounty from the English. The failure of the crusade is therefore also partly blamed on French greed to win more territory and pillage. Such opinion of the French is an extraction from Matthew Paris but Foxe has used it here to further enhance the godliness of the English over other peoples.

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Matthew Phillpott
University of Sheffield

Only one narratiō touching this argument, and yet not transgressing the office of my historie, I minde (the Lorde willing) to set before the Readers eyes, which happened euen about this present time of thys king Henries reigne, in the yere of our Lord. 1244.

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MarginaliaThe sicknes of Lewes the frēch Kyng.In the which yeare it chanced, that Lewes the French king sonne to Quene Blanch, fel very sore sicke, lying in a swounde or in a traunce for certaine dayes, in such sorte as few thought he would haue liued, & some said he was gon already. Amongst other, there was with him hys mother, who sorowing bitterly for her sonne, and giuen somewhat (as cōmonly the maner of women is) to superstitiō, went & brought foorth a peece of the holy crosse, wyth the crowne and the speare, which peece of the holy crosse Baldwynus Emperour of Constantinople (whome the Grecians had deposed a litle before for holding with the bishop of Rome) had sold to the French king for a great summe of mony, and MarginaliaThe superstition of the kynges mother.blessed him wyth the same, also laid the crowne, & the spear to his body, making a vow wtal in the person of her sonne, that if the Lorde would visite him with health, and release him of that infirmitie, he should be croysed or marked with the crosse, to visit his sepulchre, and there solemnly to render thankes in the lande which he had sanctified wyth hisbloud. Thus as she, with the B. of Parys, and other there present were praying, MarginaliaThe king recouereth his sicknes.beholde the king which was supposed of some to be dead, began wt a sigh to pluck to his arms and legges, and so stretching himselfe, began to speake, geuing thankes to God, who from an high had visited him & called him from the danger of death. Which as the kings mother, wt others there toke to be a great miracle wrought by the vertue of the holy crosse: MarginaliaThe people of Fraunce blinded with a false myracle. so the king amending more and more, as soone as he was well recouered, receaued solemnely the badge of the crosse, vowing for a freewil sacrifice vnto God, MarginaliaThe vayne vowe of Lewes the Frēch king.that he, if the counsaile of his realme would suffer him, would in hys owne person visite the holy land: forgettyng belyke the rule of true Christianitie, where Christ teacheth vs otherwise in the gospel, saying: That neither in this mount, nor in Samaria, nor at Ierusalem the Lord will be worshipped, but seeketh true worshippers, which shall worship him in truth and veritie &c. An. 1244. Pariens. fol. 182.

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MarginaliaThe French K. crossed to go to the holy land.After thys was great preparaunce and muche a do in Fraunce toward the setting foorth to the holy land. MarginaliaGreat preparation in Fraunce toward that vyage. For after the K. first began to be croysed, the most part of the nobles of Fraunce, with diuers Archbishops and Byshops, wt Earles, and Barons, and gentlemen to a mighty number, receaued also the crosse vppon their sleeues. Amongst whom was the Earle Atrebacensis the kings brother, the Duke of Burgundy, the Duke of Brabant, the Countesse of Flaunders wyth her two sonnes, the Earle of Britaine with his sonne, the Earle of Barrēsis, Earle of Swesson, Earle of S. Paul, Earle of Druis. Earle Retel. with many noble persons mo. Neither lacked here whatsoeuer the Pope could do, to set forward this holy busines, in sending his Legates and Friers into Fraunce, to stirre the people to folow the king, & to contribute to his iourny. MarginaliaContributiō in Fraunce to the kinges vyage. Wherupon was graunted to the King, to gather of the vniuersall church of France by the popes authoritie, the tenth part of all their goods for 3. yeares space together, MarginaliaThe Pope maketh prouision for his contribution also in Frāce vpon thys condition, that the king likewise wold graunt to the Pope the 20. part, for so many yeares after, to be gathered of the sayd Church of Fraunce. Which was agreed. An. 1246. Ex Mat: Parisiens. fol. 204. b.

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MarginaliaAnno. 1247.Shortly after thys, in the yeare of our Lorde 1247. followed a Parliament in Fraunce, where the king with his nobles being present, there was declared, how the king of Tartarians or Turkes hearing of the viage of the French king, writeth a letter to him, requiring that he wil become hys subiect. In the which Parliament, MarginaliaThe time of the kings viage appointed.time was prefixed for taking their iourney, which shoulde be after the feast of S. Iohn Baptist, the next yeare insuing. Also they that were croysed, were sworne to persist in their purpose and sentence of the popes great curse denoūced to all them that went from the same. Parisiens. fol. 211. MarginaliaThe French kyng ready to recōpence all iniuries done to his subiectes.Furthermore, for the better speede in his iourny, the king through al his realme caused it to be proclaimed, that if any marchāt or other had bene iniured at any time by the kings exactours, either by oppression, or borowing of money, let him bring foorth his bil shewing how or wherein, and he should be recompensed. At which time MarginaliaWilliā Lōgspath with other noble Englishmē, prepared to the same vyage.William Longspatha a worthy warriour, with the Bishop of Worcester and certain other great men in the Realme of England, mooued with the example of the Frenchmen, prepared themselues likewise to the same iourney.

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The next yere after thys ensuing, which was 1248. the French king yet still remaining in hys purposed iourney, MarginaliaPerswasiōs geuen to the French king to turne his viage.Lady Blanche hys mother, also the Byshop of Paris hys brother, with the Lordes of his counsaile, & other nobles, and his speciall frends aduertised him with great perswasions, to alter hys minde touching that so aduenturous and so daungerous a iourney, for that his vow (sayd they) was vnaduisedly made, and in time of his sicknesse, when hys minde was not perfectly stablished: and what ieoperdies might happen at home it was vncertaine, the king of England being on the one side, the Emperor on the other side, and the Pictauians in the middest so fugitiue, and vnstable: and as concerning his vow, the pope shuld frendly dispense with him, considering the necessitie of his realme, and weakenesse of his body. Besides all thys, his mother vppon her blessing required him, hys brethren of all loues desired him to stay at home, and not in his person to aduēture, other might be sent in his roume, with no lesse furniture to atchieue that enterprise, and to discharge him of his vow, especially seeing at þe making thereof his senses were feeble, hys body weake, and reason through sicknesse, and very death almost, decaied.

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To whome the K. againe: MarginaliaThe kings answere to his Lordes laying down & takyng vp his crosse againe. for somuch (sayde he) as you say, that for feeblenes of my senses I tooke this vow vpon me, loe therfore as you here wil me, I lay downe the crosse that I tooke, and putting his hand to his shoulder, tare of the badge of the crosse, saying to the Byshop, here syr I re-

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