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AngrognaBricherasio [Briqueras]
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[Angrogne; Angrongne]

Piedmont, Italy

Coordinates: 44° 51' 0" N, 7° 13' 0" E

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Bricherasio [Briqueras]

nr Angrogna, Piedmont, Italy

Coordinates: 44° 50' 0" N, 7° 18' 0" E

979 [955]

K. Henry 8. Persecution against Angron. Lucerne. S. Martin and Perouse.

able among theyr neighbors, absteining from blasphemy, and prophaning of þe name of God, by othes, and such other impietie: from lewde games, dauncing, filthy songes and other vices and dissolute life, and cōformed their life wholy to the rule of Gods word. Their principal care was alwaies that God might be rightly serued, and his woorde truely preached: In so muche, that in our time, when it pleased God to set forth the light of his gospel more clearely, they neuer spared any thing, to establish the true and pure ministery of the worde of God and his Sacraments. Which was the cause that Sathan with his ministers, did so persecute them of late more cruelly then euer he did before, as manifestly appeareth by the bloudy & horrible persecutions which haue bene, not onely in Prouince, against those of Merindol & Cabriers: also against them of Prage and Calabria (as the histories afore written doe sufficiently declare) but also against them in the Countrey of Piedmont, remaining in the Valley of Angrongne, and of Lucerne, and also in the Valley of S. Martine, and Perouse, in the sayd countrey of Piedmont. Whych people of a long time, were persecuted by the Papists, and especially within these fewe yeares, they haue bene vexed in such sort, and so diuersly, that it seemeth almost incredible: and yet hathe God alwayes miraculously deliuered them, as heereafter shall ensue.

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Albeit the people of Angrongne 

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Although there had been earlier phases of persecution of the Vaudois of the Hautes-Alpes, notably in the period from 1536-8, the period up to 1555 is more notable for the degree to which the communities had been left to their own devices. No doubt it suited the purpose of a Genevan-based account of these events to begin the story in 1555, since that was the date when a more determined Genevan missionary effort in the valleys began. That was the year when Jean Calvin's supporters finally routed their opponents in the Genevan polity, and the young Genevan church felt strong enough to look outwards. Jean Vernou, originally from Poitiers and an associate of Calvin's journeyed there with a further minister in late 1554 or early 1555, preaching first at Balboutet and then at Fenestrelle, one of the leading Vaudois communities of the middle Angrogna. They went on to the village of Angrogna and established two 'temples' there (E. Cameron, The Reformation of the Heretics: the Waldenses of the Alps, 1480-1580 (Oxford: O.U.P., 1984), pp. 157-8 and refs). The story about 'Iohn Martin' (in reality 'Jean-Martin Trombaut') comes directly from Foxe's main narrative source (see Crespin/Benoit, 3, p. 116).

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had before this time, certaine to preach the word of God, and minister the sacramentes vnto them priuately: yet in the yeare of our Lorde 1555. in the beginning of the moneth of August, the Gospel was openly preached in Angrongne. The ministers and the people entended at the first, to kepe themselues still, as secrete as they mighte: but there was suche concourse of people from al parties, that they were compelled to preach openly abroad. For this cause they built them a Church in the mids of Angrongne, where assembles were made, and Sermons preached. MarginaliaThe iust hād of God vpon Iohn Martin, a persecutor.It happened about that time, that one Iohn Martin of Briqueras, a mile frō Angrongne, which vaunted euery where, that he wold slit the ministers nose of Angrogne, was assaulted by a Wolfe, which bitte of hys nose, so that he died thereof madde. Thys was commonly knowen to all the townes thereabout.

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At this season the French king helde these foresaid valleis, & they were vnder the iurisdiction of the Parliament of Thurin. In the ende of Decēber folowing, 

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The Parlement in Turin issued an arrét in December 1555 ordering the imprisonment of those in the Angrogna valley who had received 'ministers coming from Geneva'. Then, on 22 December 1555 two magistrates (Agostino della Chiesa and Bartolomeo di Termes; the latter was replaced by Bartolomeo Emé, seigneur de St Julien - the 'President of S. Iulian' of Foxe's account) were despatched to conduct inquiries on heretic activities there. Foxe also follows his principal source in referring to the martyrdom of 'Barthelmew' the book-binder, not realising that he had, in fact, already included 'Barthélemy Hector', the individual in question, elsewhere in his table of French martyrs (p. 916 of the 1583 edition).

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newes was brought, that it was ordeined by the sayd Parlament, that certaine horsemen and footemen should be sent to spoil and destroy Angrongne. Whereuppon some whych pretended great frēdship to this people, counselled thē not to goe forward with their enterprise: but to forbeare for a while, and to wait for better oportunitie. But they notwithstanding, calling vpon God, determined with one accord, constantly to persist in theyr religion, and in hope and silence, to abide the good pleasure of god: so that this enterprise against Angrongne, was soone dashed. The same time they began also openly to preach in Luserne.

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MarginaliaBarthelmew a Bookebinder martyr.In the moneth of March, An. 1556. the Ministers of the Valley of S. Martine, preached openly. At that time certaine Gentlemen of the Valley of S. Martine, tooke a good man, named Barthelmew a booke binder, prisonner, as he passed by the said Valley, the which was sent by and by, to Thurin, and there with a maruellous constancie, after he had made a good confession of his Faith, hee suffered death: In so much that diuers of the parlament were astonished and appalled at his constancie. Yet they of the sayde Parlament, being sore incensed against the Vandois, MarginaliaThe President of S. Iulian and other, sent to the Angrongnians.sent one named the President of S. Iulian, associating vnto him, one called de Ecclesia, and others, for to hinder theyr enterprise. These comming first to the Valley of Perouse, wher as yet no preachers were, but they were accustomed to resort to the Sermons at Angrongne, very much troubled and feared the poore people there.

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From thence they went to the Valley of S. Martine, 

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The commissioners Agostino della Chiesa and Bartolomeo Emé, seigneur de St-Julien arrived in the Piedmontese valleys in March 1556. They issued orders to the communities they visited to conform to catholic rites and follow the traditional church. The Vaudois replied with a confession of faith, which Foxe replicates in accordance with his source. The confession reflects the clearly growing Genevan influence in the valleys.

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and remained there a good while, tormentinge the poore people, and threatning their vtter ruine and destruction. After that they came to Luserne, troubling and vexing the people there, in like maner. From thence they went to Angrongne, accompanied wyth many Gentlemen, and a great rable of Priestes, of the sayde Countrey: but by the way, the President enquired for one dwelling at S. Iohns neare to Angrongne, and examined him whether hee had not baptised his childe at Angrongne, and wherfore he had so done. This poore simple man aunsweared, that hee hadde baptised his childe at Angrongne, because Baptisme was there ministred according to the institution of Christ. MarginaliaNote here how the Papistes play the Anabaptistes.Thē the President in a great rage, commāded him in the kings name, to Baptise his childe again, or els he shuld be burnt. The poore man desired the President that he might be suf-fered to make his prayer to God, before hee shoulde make aunsweare thereunto. MarginaliaExample of good prayer Which, after, he had done in the hall before all the companie there present: he required the President that he woulde wryte and signe the same wyth hys owne hand, that he would discharge him before God of the danger of that offence, if he should baptise his childe again, and that he would take the pearill vpon him and hys. MarginaliaThe President confounded at the poore mans aunswere.The President hearing this, was so confounded, that hee spake not one worde a good while after. Then sayde he in a great furie, away thou vilaine, out of my sight: and after that he was neuer called againe any more.

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After they were come to Angrogne, the President hauing visited the two Temples, caused a Monke to preache in the one, the people being there assembled, who pretēded nothing els, but only to exhort them to returne to the obedience of the Sea of Rome. The Monke with the President & all his retinue, kneeled downe twise, and called vppon the virgin Mary: MarginaliaThe people would not kneele to pray to our Ladye.but the ministers and all the people stoode still, and would not knele, making no signe or token of reuerence. Assoone as the Monke had ended hys Sermon, the people requested instantly, that their Minister might also be suffered to preache, affirming that the sayde Monke had spoken many thinges, which were not according to the woorde of God. But the President woulde not graunt their request. After that, the sayde President admonished them in the name of the king, and the Parlament of Thurin, that they shoulde returne to the obedience of the Pope, vpon paine of losse of goodes and life, and vtter destruction of their towne: MarginaliaThe people of Angrongne threatned with destruction. and withal he recited vnto them, the pitious discomfiture of their brethrē and frends, which had bene done before in Merindoll and Cabriers, & other places in the country of Prouince. The ministers and the people answered that they were determined to liue according to the word of God, and that they wold obey the king and all their superiors in all things, so that God were not thereby displeased: MarginaliaThe Angrongnians desired to be tryed by the word of God.And furthermore, if it were shewed vnto them by the word of God, that they erred in any poynte of Religion, they were ready to receaue correction, and to be reformed. Thys talke endured about sixe houres together, euen vntil night. In the end, the President sayd there should be a disputation apoynted for those matters. Wherunto the people gladly agreed. But after that there was no more mention made thereof.

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Heere he remained 14. daies, daily practising newe deuises, to vexe and torment them, wyth newe Proclamations, now calling to him the Syndiques MarginaliaThe Syndiques were as Shrieues Councellers or Aduocates. and head officers, now seuerally and nowe altogether, þt so for fear he mighte make thē to relente: causing also assembles to be made in euery Parish, by suche as hee appoynted, thinking thereby to deuide the people. Notwithstanding he nothing preuailed with all that he coulde doe: but still they continued constant. In somuch that they with one accorde, presented a briefe confession of their Faith, with an aunswere to certaine interrogatories made by the President, in the whych they confessed:

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MarginaliaThe Articles & confession of the Angrongnians exhibited, to the President.That the Religion wherein both they and theyr Elders had ben long instructed & brought vp, was the same, which is conteined both in the olde and newe Testament, the which is also briefly comprised in the 12. Articles of the Christian beliefe.

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Also, that they acknowledged the Sacraments instituted by Christe, whereby he distributeth aboundauntly hys graces and great benefites, his heauenly riches and treasures, to all those which receiue the same, with a true and a liuely faith.

Furthermore, that they receaued the Creedes of the foure generall Councels, that is to say, of Nice, Constantinople, Ephesus and Calcedon, and also the Creede of Athanasius, wherein the mystery of the Christian faith and religion is plainely and largely set out.

Item, the ten Commaundementes expressed in the 20. chapt. of Exod. and in the 5. of Deut. in the which the rule of a godly & holy life, and also the true seruice whiche God requireth of vs, is briefly comprised: and therfore folowing this article, they suffered not by any meanes (sayd they) any grosse iniquities to raigne among them, as vnlawfull swearing, periury, blasphemy, cursing, sclandering, dissention, deceit, wrong dealing, vsury, gluttony, dronkennesse, whoredom, theft, murther, sorcery, witchcraft, or such like: but wholy endeuoured them selues to liue in the feare of God, and according to his holy will.

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Moreouer, they acknowledged the superior powers, as princes and magistrates, to be ordeined of God, & that who so euer resisteth the same, resisteth the ordinaunce of God: and therefore humbly submitted themselnes to theyr superiours, with all obedience, so that they cōmanded nothing against God.

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