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NGR: SP 444 163

A borough and parish, having separate jurisdiction, locally within the Liberty of the City of Oxford, county of Oxford. 8 miles north-north-west from Oxford. A civil parish, but ecclesiastically a chapelry of the rectory of Bladon, Archdeaconry and Diocese of Oxford.

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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864 [840]

K. Hen. 8. Reformation in the Church in the time of Martin Luther.

stored agayne, and is extant for euery man to reade that is disposed.

This Geffrey Chaucer being borne (as is thought) in Oxfordshyre, and dwelling in Woodstocke, lyeth buryed in the Church of the minister of S. Peter at Westminster, in an Ile on the southside of the sayd Church, not far from the dore 

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Bale mentioned that Chaucer was buried in Westminster abbey, but the description of his tomb is not in Bale. Presumably Foxe saw it or had a description sent to him.

leading to the Cloister, and vpon his graue stone first were written these two old verses.

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Galfridus Chaucer vates & fama poesis

Maternæ, hac sacra sum tumulatus humo.

Afterward about the yeare of our Lord. 1556. one M. Brickham bestowing more cost vpon his tombe, did adde thereunto these verses following.

Qui fuit Anglorum vates ter maximus olim,

Galfridus Chaucer conditur hoc tumulo.

Annum si quæras Domini, si tempora mortis,

Ecee nota subsunt, quæ tibi cuncta notent.

25. Octob. Anno. 1400.

Here beginneth the reformation of the church of Christ, in the tyme of Martine Luther.

MarginaliaThe corruption of the Church described.ALthough 

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Prophecies preceeding Luther

The purpose of this section is threefold. One is to underscore the importance of Martin Luther (and consequently his doctrine of justification by faith; notice how Foxe begins this section with a little lecture on the insufficiency of works to obtain salvation) in the history of the Church. (It is worth remarking that it is Luther, not Wiclif, whom Foxe sees as the central figure in initiating the reform of the Anti-Christian Church). Secondly, it is a way to invoke the miraculous to support the Protestant cause. If, as Foxe is claiming here, the advent of Luther was prophesied and, if it was heralded by portents, than who could doubt that his teachings were God's word? The drawback was that, as with Foxe's collection of prophecies of the rise of Islam and of the Ottoman Empire, these prophecies were extra-Biblical and, while some of them came from what, to Foxe and his readers were reliable sources, such as Jan Hus, other came from people, such as Bridget of Sweden and Catherine of Siena, whom even Foxe was wary of crediting with the spirit of prophecy. A third purpose of this section was to underscore the corruption of the medieval Church. This was a relatively easy task, since many of these prophecies were contained in writings denouncing the pope and the clergy.

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Most of the material in this section came from the basic works which Foxe relied on for his interpretation of Church history: John Bale's Scriptorum Illustrium maioris Brytanniae…Catalogus (Basel, 1557) and Matthias Flacius's Catalogus testium veritatis (Basel, 1556). Foxe also drew on another work of Flacius: his two volume edition of the writings of Jan Hus: Ioannis Hus et Hieronymi Pragensis confessorum Christi historia et monimenta (Nuremburg, 1558).

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

it can not be sufficiently expressed with toūg or pen of man, into what miserable ruine & desolation the church of Christ was brought in those latter dayes: yet partly by the reading of these storyes aforepast, some intelligence may be geuen to them, whiche haue iudgement to marke or eyes to see: in what blindnes and darckenes the world was drowned during the space of these 400. yeares heretofore and more. By the viewing and considering of which times and histories, thou mayst vnderstand (gentle reader) how the religion of Christ, which onely consisteth in spirit and veritie, was wholy turned into outward obseruations, ceremonies, and idolatry. So many Sainctes we had, so many gods, so many monasteries, so many pilgrimages. As many churches, as many reliques forged & feyned we had. Agayne, so many reliques, so many lyeng miracles wee beleued. In stede of the onely liuing Lorde, we worshipped dead stocks and stones. In place of Christ immortall, we adored mortall bread. In stead of his bloud we worshipped the bloud of buckes, How the people wer led, so that the priestes were fed, no care was taken. In stead of Gods word, mans worde was set vp. In stead of Christes testament, the Popes testament, that is the Canon lawe: in stead of Paule, the mayster of sentence 
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I.e., the great twelfth-century theologian, Peter Lombard.

tooke place, and almost full possession. The law of Gods was litle read: the vse and end therof was lesse knowne. And as the ende of the lawe was vnknowne, so the difference betweene the Gospell and the lawe, was not vnderstanded, þe benefite of Christ not considered, the effect of faith not expended. Through the ignoraunce wherof, it cannot be told what infinite erroures, sectes and religions crept into the church ouerwhelming the world, as with a floud of ignoraunce and seduction. And no maruell, for where the foundation is not well layd, what building can stand and prosper? MarginaliaThe foundation of Christian religion.The foundation of all our Christianitie is onely this: The promise of God, in the bloud of Christ hys sonne, geuing and promising life vnto all that beleeue in him: MarginaliaRom 6.Geuing (sayth the Scripture) vnto vs, and not barganing or indenting with vs: And that freely (sayth the Scripture) for Christes sake, and not condicionally for our merites sake.

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MarginaliaRom. 4.Furthermore freely (sayth the scripture) by grace that the promise might be firme and sure, and not by the workes that we doe, which are alwaies doubtfull. MarginaliaRom. 4.By grace (sayth the scripture) through promise to all and vpon all þt beleue, and not by the law vpon them that do deserue. For if it come by deseruing, thē is it not of grace: If it be not of grace, thē is it not of promise. And contrariwise MarginaliaRom. 3.if it be of grace and promise, then is it not of works MarginaliaRom. 11. sayth S. Paul. 

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See Romans 3-4.

Vpon this foundatiō of Gods free promise and grace first builded the Patriarckes, kinges and prophets. Vpon the same foundation also Christ the Lord builded his church. Vpon the which foundation the Apostles likewise builded the Church Apostolicall or Catholicall.

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This Apostolicall and Catholicke foundation, so long as the Church did retayn, so long it continued sincere and sound: which endured a long seasō after the apostles time. But after, in proces of yeares, through wealth and negligence crept into the Church, so soone as this foundation began to be lost, came in newe builders, which would build vpon a new foundation, a new Churche more glorious, which we call now the Church of Rome. Who beyng not contented with the olde foundation and the head cornerstone, whiche the Lord by his word had layd, in place therof, they layde the ground worke vppon the condition and strength of the lawe and workes. 

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Ephesians 2:20-22.

Although it is not to be denyed, but that the doctrine of gods holy law, and of good workes according to the same, is a thing most necessary to be learned and followed of all men: yet is not that þe foundation, wherupon our saluation consisteth, neither is that foundation able to beare vp the weight of the kingdome of heauen: but is rather the thing, which is builded vppon the foundatiō: which foundatiō is Iesus Christ, according as we are taught of Saint Paul, saying: Marginalia1. Cor. 3.No man can lay any other foundation, beside that whiche is layde, Christ Iesus. &c. 
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1 Cor. 3:11.

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But this auncient foundation with the olde auncient Church of Christ (as I sayd) hath bene now of long tyme forsaken, & in stead therof a new Church, MarginaliaThe doctrine of the church corrupted.with a new foundation hath bene erected and framed, not vpon gods promise & his free grace in Christ Iesus, nor vpon free iustification by fayth, but vpon merits & desertes of mens working. And hereof haue they planted al these their new deuises, so infinite that they cannot wel be numbred as masses, trecenares, diriges, obsequies, mattens and houres singing seruice, vigiles, midnightrising, barefootgoing, fishfasting, lentfast, imberfast, stations, rogations, iubiles, aduocatiō of saints, praying to images, pilgrimage walking, workes of supererogation, application of merites, orders rules, sectes of religion, vowes of chastitie, wilful pouerty, pardons, relations, indulgences, penaunce and satisfaction, with auricular confession, founding of Abbaies, building of Chappels, geuing to Churches, And who is able to recite all their laborious buildinges: falsly framed vpon a wrong ground, and all for ignoraunce of the true foundation, whiche is the free iustification by fayth in Christ Iesus the sonne of God.

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Moreouer to note, that as this new founde Church of Rome was thus deformed in doctrine: MarginaliaThe life and maners of the church no lesse was it corrupted in order of life & deepe hipocrisie, doing al thinges onely vnder pretenses and dissembled titles. So vnder þe pretence of Peters chayre, they exercised a maiestie aboue Emperours and kinges. MarginaliaHabentes speciem pictatis, sed vim eius abnegantes. 2. Tim. 3.Vnder the visour of their vowed chastitie, reigned adultery, vnder the cloke of professed pouerty, they possessed the goodes of the temporalty. Vnder the tytle of being dead vnto the world, they not only reigned in þe world, but also ruled the world: vnder the colour of þe keyes of heauē to hang vnder theyr girdle, they brought all the states of the worldes vnder theyr girdle, & crept not onely into the purses of men, but also into theyr consciences: they heard theyr confessions: they knew their secrets: they dispensed as they were disposed, & loosed what them listed: And finally when they had brought the whole world vnder theyr subiection, yet dyd theyr pryde neyther cease to ascend, neyther could their auarice be euer satisfied. And if the example of Cardinall Wolsey and other Cardinalles and popes cannot satisfie thee, I beseech the (gentle Reader) turne ouer the foresayd booke of the ploughmans tale in Chaucer aboue mencioned 

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The 'Ploughman's Tale' is not by Chaucer. It was an anonymous medieval work, possibly partly rewritten to increase its anti-papal slant, attributed to Chaucer and printed as part of 'The Canterbury Tales'.

, wher thou shalt vnderderstād much more of theyr demeanour, then I haue here described.

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MarginaliaThe reformation of the Church necessary.In these so blynd and miserable corrupt dayes of darcknes and ignoraunce, thou seest good Reader (I doubt not) howe necessary it was, and high time, that reformation of the Church should come, which now most happily & graciously began to worke, through the mercifull and no lesse needefull prouidence of almightye God. Who although he suffered hys Church to wander and start aside through the seduction of pride and prosperitie a long time, yet at length it pleased his goodnes to respect hys people, and to reduce hys church into the prestine foundation and frame againe, from whence it was pitiously before decayed. Whereof I haue now consequently to intreat, intending by the grace of Christ: to declare how and by what meanes, first this reformation of the church began, and howe it proceeded, increasing by little and little into this perfection which now we see, and more I trust shall see.

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MarginaliaThe first beginning of reformatiō, how and by what meansAnd herein we haue first to behold the admirable work of Gods wisedome. For as the first decay and ruine of the church, before began of rude ignoraunce, & lacke of knowledge in teachers: so to restore þe church agayne by doctrine and learning, it pleased God to open to man þe arte of printing, the time wherof was shortly after þe burning of Hus and Hierome. Printing being opened, incontinent ministred to the Churche, the instrumentes and tooles of learning & knowledge, which were good bookes and authors, which before lay hid and vnknowne. MarginaliaPrinting the fountain of reformation,The science of Printing being found, immediately followed the grace of God: whiche styrred vp good wittes aptly to conceiue the light of knowledge and of iudgement: by which light, darcknes

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