John Foxe

16th-century English historian

John Foxe (1516 or 1517April 18 1587) was an English historian and martyrologist, was the author of Actes and Monuments (otherwise Foxe's Book of Martyrs), telling of Christian martyrs throughout Western history, but particularly the sufferings of English Protestants and proto-Protestants from the 14th century and in the reign of Mary I. Widely owned and read by English Puritans, the book helped to mould British opinion about the Catholic Church for several centuries.

John Foxe


Acts and Monuments (1563)Edit

Quotations are cited from the transcript of the 1583 edition at HRI Online.

  • There is no keeping down of veritie, but it wil spring and come out of dust and ashes, as appeared right well in this man. For though they digged vp his body, burnt his bones, & drowned his ashes, yet þe word of God and truth of his doctrine with the fruit & successe therof they could not burne.
    • Bk. 5, p. 464
  • M. Tyndall hearing thys, ful of godly zeale, and not bearing that blasphemous saying, replied againe & sayde: I defie the Pope and all his lawes: and further added, that if God spared hym life, ere many yeares he would cause a boy that driueth the plough to know more of the Scripture, then he did.
    • Bk. 8, p. 1076
  • At last, after muche reasoning, when no reason woulde serue, although he deserued no death, he was…brought forth to the place of execution, was there tied to þe stake, and then strangled first by the hangman, and afterward with fire consumed in the morning at the towne of Filford, an. 1536. crieng thus at the stake with a feruente zeale, and a loud voyce: Lord open the King of Englands eyes.
    • Bk. 8, p. 1079
  • Then brought they a fagot kindled with fire, and layd the same downe at D. Ridleys feete. To whome Maister Latymer spake in this maner: Be of good comfort maister Ridley, and play the man: wee shall this day light such a candle by Gods grace in England, as (I trust) shall neuer be put out.
    • Bk. 11, p. 1770
  • Afterward she opened the matter more plainly to M. Rise and Mistres Clarentius (if it be true that they tolde me, whiche hearde it of M. Rise himselfe) who then being most familiar with her, & most bold about her, tolde her that they feared she took thought for king Philips departing from her. Not that onely (sayde she) but when I am dead & opened, you shall find Calice lying in my hart.
    • Bk. 12, p. 2098

About John FoxeEdit

  • Second only to the Bible in its influence, Foxe's work frequently stood beside the Bible on pulpits and in libraries.
  • To say that Foxe's Acts and Monuments of the Christian Church (to give the Book of Martyrs its official title) was hugely influential on English thought during the later sixteenth and seventeenth centuries would be a gross understatement of the case. Only the Bible was read more frequently and more avidly.
    • Meic Pearse The Gods of War (Nottingham: InterVarsity Press, 2007) p. 102.

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