Research, Rumour and Propaganda: Anne Boleyn in Foxe's 'Book of Martyrs'

by Thomas S. Freeman
Research, Rumour and Propaganda: Anne Boleyn in Foxe's 'Book of Martyrs'
Thomas S. Freeman
The Historical Journal
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Rutgers Universip

ABSTRACT. Recent scholarship has questioned the accuracy of Jolzn Foxe's depiction of Anne Boleyn as an evangelical and apatron of rgormers. It has even been suggested that Foxe exaggerated or invented the material he presented on the evangelical zeal of Henry VIII's second queen. A thorough examination of Foxe's sources, however, reveals that he based his account of Anne on material ultimately derived from those who knew her or had benejited from her support. It can also be demonstrated that much of Foxe's account of Anne is conjrmed by independent sources. Finally, careful comparison of the material on Anne in the dzfferent editions of Foxe's work printed during his lqetime, and analysis of their variations, indicates when Foxe acquired his information about Anne. This, in turn, reveals a great deal about the circumstances in which Foxe composed his account and the spec$cpolitical andpolemical purposes which injuenced it. Foxe's account of Anne was one- sided and biased but the information he presented on her was, as far as it went, accurate and it should not be discounted in any scholarly assessment of Henry's queen.

Anne Boleyn's restless spirit may not walk the Tower, as both folklore and song would have it, but of late she has been haunting the academic presses. Maria Dowling's important article on Anne's religious convictions and activities appeared just over ten years ago and since then two biographies have been published while a lively debate on her fall and its causes has been conducted.' Most recently, G. W. Bernard has written a revisionist article challenging the now accepted position, first propounded in Dowling's study, that Anne Boleyn was both an evangelical and a patron of evangelicals. In doing so, Bernard has also questioned the accuracy and reliability of two fundamental sources for Anne Boleyn's life : a short biographical sketch of her, written in her daughter's reign, by William Latymer, one of her chaplains, and the account of Anne which was included in John Foxe's massive and influential Acts and monuments, popularly known as the 'Book of martyrs'.'

* I would like to thank Dr Maurice D. Lee, Professor Patrick Collinson, Dr John N. King, Dr Jack Cargill and Dr Karl F. Morrison for their valuable comments.

h.Iaria Dowling, 'Anne Boleyn and reform', Joztmal Ecclesiastical Histoy, xxxv (I 984), 30-46; Eric W. Ives, Anne Boleyn (Oxford, 1986) ; Retha M. Warnicke, The rise alidfall of Anne Boleyn (Cambridge, 1989) ;G. W. Bernard, 'The fall of Anne Boleyn', English Historical Reuiew, CVI (~gg~), 65 1-64;

584-610; Eric W. Ives, 'The fall of Anne Boleyn reconsidered', ibid. CVII (~ggz),

G. W. Bernard, 'The fall of Anne Boleyn: a rejoinder', ibid. 665-74 and Retha M. Warnicke, 'The fall of Anne Boleyn revisited', ibid. CVIII (1gg3), 653-68.

G. W. Bernard, 'Anne Boleyn's religion', Historical Jourrial, xxxv~i1gg3), 1-20, For Latymer's treatise see Maria Dowling, 'William Latymer's Cronickille of Anne Bulleyne', Camden


According to Bernard :

Foxe and Latymer, it can be easily forgotten, were writing propaganda. Here their polemical purpose was twofold. First they were trying to influence the developing Elizabethan religious settlement. Secondly, and more importantly, in presenting Anne as a modest and virtuous patron of religious reform, they were by implication suggesting that so devout a lady could not possibly have been guilty of those shocking adulteries for which she had been condemned. They were not just presenting Anne as a pious evangelical, they were attempting to retrieve her reputation in general. At the accession of Queen Elizabeth in 1559,her mother stood in great need of rehabilitation: that is what in effect Foxe and Latymer attempted to do. Both purposes may have encouraged them to exaggerate, invent or misinterpret Anne's religion.

After citing examples of tendentious reporting by both Latymer and Foxe (in Foxe's case these examples have nothing to do with Anne Boleynj, Bernard concludes: 'perhaps we should subject both Latymer's and Foxe's claim to closer scrutiny and give greater weight to contemporary reports and letters than to a martyrology and a eulogy written decades after the event for obvious polemical and political purpose^.'^

A closer scrutiny of Foxe's account of Anne Boleyn is certainly over-due. In all of the recent work on Anne Boleyn, significant aspects of Foxe's research and writings on her have remained unexamined. For one thing, no one has yet systematically analysed the references Foxe made in the Acts and nzonu~nents to his sources for the material on Anne Boleyn. Furthermore, no one has yet consulted Foxe's second Latin martyrology, the Rerz~nz in ecclesza gesta~unz . . . Conzmentarii, which was printed in 1559 and contains Foxe's first narrative of Henry VIII's reign, for any material in it on Anne Boleyn. (Foxe's first Latin martyrology, the Conzrnentarii rerum in ecclesia gestarurn, which was printed in I j54, ended in the fifteenth century with Reginald Pecock and consequently did not discuss the events of Henry VIII's reign.) Most importantly, all of the historians discussing Foxe's account of Anne have relied on the standard eight- volume edition of the Acts and monuments, attributed to Stephen Reed Cattley and George Townsend, instead of consulting the original editions of the work. The problem with this is that while each edition of the Acts and rnonz~rnents printed during Foxe's lifetime contained new information, Foxe's modern editors used the last of these editions, that of 1583, as the basis for their text, occasionally inserting material from the first edition, that of 1563, but otherwise supplying no indications of how the book developed or when new information was added. As a result, it is impossible for anyone to discern from the Cattley and Townsend edition when a particular item in the Acts and

Miscellany, xxx, Camden Society, Fourth series, xxx~x(I gg I), 23-65 Followillg Dowling's usage, Latymer's name is spelt here with a 'y' instead of an 'i' in order to avoid confusion with the much better known Hugh Latimer, who will also be mentioned in this article. The four editions of the Acts and monuments printed during Foxe's lifetime are designated in my article by the year in which they were published -i.e. 1563, 1570, 1576 and 1583 All of these editions were published by John Day in London. Bernard, 'Anne Boleyn's religion', pp. 2-3.

nzonz~nzentswas first written or what accretions were made to the original material or when these accretions were made. Yet an accurate appraisal of the veracity of Foxe's final account of Anne Boleyn can scarcely be made without understanding the way in which it was constructed.

Foxe's first discussion of Anne Boleyn was in the Rerum and it began on a thoroughly laudatory note, which clearly reflected the recent accession of Elizabeth. After describing Henry VIII's divorce from Katherine of Aragon and the beginning of the break with Rome, Foxe went on to state:

There was at this time in the king's court a young woman, not of ignoble family, but much more ennobled by beauty, as well as being the most beautiful of all in true piety and character, Anne Boley, whom the king greatly loved, as she well merited, and took as his wife and queen. For this reason, I must not omit from this history the happy name of Boleyn, of most auspicious memory. The entire British nation is indebted to her not only for the restoration of piety [and] the Church but also for many other important reasons. The chief of these other reasons is that the fabourable moment [of reformation], cast aside, has been raised up again by Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry by this same Anne Boleyn, and the cursed plague of Roman lordship has been expelled. If only the freedom of the English Church, brought about this first time by Anne, had lasted longer and she had been able to enjoy longer life!. ...And truly I do not investigate the cause of her death which was decided by others, I wished only to note her dying words for their singular faith and complete modesty towards her king."

Foxe then proceeded tersely to describe Anne's arrest and execution in one sentence (without even stating the charges made against her) before printing Anne's short speech to the spectators at her execution. He concluded his account of Anne with this appraisal: 'There were given to this queen, beyond her beauty, many great gifts of a well instructed spirit: gentleness, modesty and piety towards all (particularly towards those who were in dire poverty) and most especially, a zeal for sincere religion flourished in her breast. As long as she lived religion flourished and ran untroubled in its course."

One striking feature of this account is the meagre amount of solid information Foxe presented about Anne in the Rerum. Aside from the few details in Foxe's sparse account of her arrest and her final speech, all of which

'Erat eo quidem tempore in aula regis adolescentula genere non ignobili, sed forma multo nobiliori, tum vero pietate et ingenio omnium nobilissimo Anna Bolenia: quam rex magnapere meritoque adamatam sibi in uxorem ac Reginam delegit. Quam propterea mihi in hac historia non praeterundam duxi, ob felicis nominis Bolenei auspicatissimam memoriam. Cui universa resp. Brytannica, tanqualn pietatis ecclesiae restauratori, tot tantisque debet nominibus. Primum quando ex huius nominis occasione profligata: deinde recepta iterum per Elisabetham Henrici regis eadem hac Anna Bolenia filiam, eiecta sit infelix haec Romanae praefecturae labes. Atque utinam, quemadmodum per Annam primum ecclesiis Anglorum parta est libertas: ita et ipsa libertate hac diutius cum longiori vita frui potuisset. ...Atque vero mortis causam hie non disquiro, quae suum aliquando iudiceln habitura est: verba solurn niorientis notare volui, singulari fide, et modestia erga regem suum plena.' gohn Foxe, Reriiln in ecclesia gestarurn [Basle, 15591, p. 145).All translations in this article are my own, unless otherwise indicated.

'Erant in ea Regina praeter formae decus, multae maximaeque belle instituti dotes, comitas, modestia, pietatis erga omnes, potissimum erga eos qui ope egebant singularis: tum insuper sincerae religionis summum in eius pectore vigebat studium. Quae quam diu vita hac perfruebatur, in felici floruit cursu religio.' (Rerum, p. 145).

Foxe drew from Hall's chronicle, this description is based on nothing but confidently asserted opinion without even anecdotal evidence to support it.6 Yet it is also evident that Foxe had already formed a conception of Anne Boleyn which tallied in key respects -her personal piety, her charity, her patronage of evangelical religion and her decisive role in the rejection of papal authority -with the later portrait of her in the Acts and monuments. Nevertheless, before the assumption is made that this depiction of Elizabeth's mother was a convenient invention for the glorification of Gloriana, it should be noted that it also tallies with earlier descriptions of Anne.

In a conversation in 1539, which was reported to the authorities, the reformer George Constantine (who had been a servant of Sir Henry Norris at the time of that courtier's execution as one of Anne's co-conspirators) declared that because Anne Boleyn 'was a favorer of Gods worde, at the least wise so taken, I tell you few men would beleve that she was so abhominable'. Since Constantine believed, or professed to believe, that Anne was guilty of the crimes charged against her, this bias makes his statement about Anne's godly reputation all the more credible. Richard Hilles, an evangelical and correspondent ofHeinrich Bullinger, opined, in a 1541 letter to the great Swiss reformer, that the execution of patrons of the gospel such as Thomas Cromwell and Anne Boleyn was a divine punishment visited upon English evangelicals for trusting in powerful champions rather than in the Almighty. In I 5 59, the same year that Foxe's Rerum was published, John Aylmer, the future bishop of London, asserted in his Harborowe for faithfi~ll sz~biectes that Anne had been 'the chief, first and only cause of banyshing the beast of Rome, with all his beggerly baggage' and that she had been 'the crop and roote' of the English Reformation, whom 'God had endewed with wisdome that she coulde, and given her the minde that she would do it'.7 Aylmer's encomium of Anne is especially worth noting since Foxe corresponded with him, seeking information for the Rerum, during their exile.' Similarly, Rose Hickman, a friend (along

"oxe's speech, allowing for translation, matches the version in Hall's chronicle and the specific details he provides about Anne's fall -i.e. the date and the fact that her brother was also arrested -

are also found in Holl's chronicle. (Edward Hall, The union of the two noble and illristrefomelies of Lancostre and Yorke, ed. Henry Ellis [London, 18091, p. 819) Admittedly there are other, very similar, versions of this speech and it is only an assumption that Foxe drew the speech from Holl's chronicle. I have made this assumption because Foxe took some of the material in the Rerum from Holl's chronicle, e.g. the account ofRichard Hunne (compare Rerzim, pp. I 19-2 I and Holl's chronicle, pp. 573-80) and the account of Wolsey's reception of Cardinal Campeggio in 1517, which is drawn word-for-word from Hall (compare Rerum, pp. 136-7 with Hall's chronicle, p. 592), and because Foxe, in the Acts aud monuments, would print the account of Anne's execution, including the speech, that was in the chronicle word-for-word, rather than simply translating what he himself had written in the Rerum (see below, n. 18).

' T. Amyot, 'Transcript of an original manuscript containing a memorial from George Constantine to Thomas Cromwell', Archueologia, XXIII (1831), 50-78, especially p. 66; Hastings Robinson, ed., Original letters relative to the English Refornzati I, Porlcer Society (Cambridge, 1846), pp. 203-4 and John Aylmer, An harborowe for faithful1 and trewe subiectes (Strasburg, 1559), sig. Bqv.

Aylmer wrote to Foxe on 10Dec. 1557, in answer to Foxe's inquiry about extant writings of Lady Jane Grey, Aylmer's former pupil (B.L. Harley MS 417, fo. 122s). It is doubtful, however, that Foxe's description of Anne was directly influenced by Aylmer's description. According to a


personal level, the queen also carried a little purse with her from which she distributed alms to the needy each day.''

Foxe went on to add that Anne, with her father, the earl of \\'iltshire and her brother, Lord Rochford, maintained scholars at Cambridge, including Nicholas Heath, the future archbishop of York; Thomas Thirlby, the future bishop of Norwich and William Paget, the future Lord Paget. According to this account the Boleyns even introduced Heath and Thirlby to the king. Foxe also praised Anne for the good order and decorum she maintained among women of her court, keeping the ladies about her occupied in sewing clothing for the poor so that 'neither was there seene anye idlenes then amonges them. nor anye leasure to folow such pastimes as daily are sene now a daies to raign in princes courtes '.13

The first edition of the Acts and monz~nzents also saw the introduction of an account of how Anne introduced Henry VIII to the evangelical polemicist Simon Fish's Sz~pplicationfor the beggars. In this account, Foxe related that Fish, a gentleman of Gray's Inn, was forced to flee overseas after incurring the wrath of Cardinal M'olsey by taking part in an interlude which attacked that prelate. Fish stayed with Tyndale and wrote the Supplication while abroad. A copy of the work was sent to Anne Boleyn and seen in her possession by her brother. After reading it himself, he urged her to take it to the king, which she did. Henry VIII asked Anne who had written it and she told him that a subject of his, named Fish, was the author and that he had fled the realm from fear of Wolsey. After the king had kept the work for three or four days, word reached Fish's wife via Henry's servants that she could safely send for her husband. Encouraged by this, she went to the king and petitioned for the safe return of her husband. Henry received her graciously and instructed her to bring her husband to him, promising that Fish could come and go from court safely. Fish duly came and Henry, seeing him, came and embraced him. After riding and talking for three or four hours with him, Henry told Fish to go home to his wife, telling him that she had taken great pains for him. Fish, however, objected that he did not dare to do this, from fear of Stokesley and Sir Thomas More, the chancellor. The king gave his signet ring to Fish and directed him to tell More not to trouble him. Fish passed these instructions on to the chancellor, but while acknowledging that Fish was protected by royal command, More argued that this protection did not extend to Fish's spouse, who was in trouble for refusing to permit Latin prayers in her house. More finally released Fish's wife but only because her daughter had caught the plague and needed her attention. Fish himself died of the plague within six months and his widow -as Foxe related here -married James Bainham, an evangelical who was later burned for heresy.14

The last item in Foxe's account of Anne in the first edition of the Acts and nzonuments was that of her arrest which he had previously drawn from Hall's chronicle, and her speech at her execution, which was now reprinted word-for- word from the same source.'' Foxe also translated except for a clause praising Anne's charity, which was excised) the closing remarks of his earlier account of Anne, lauding the queen's piety and fostering of true religion.16

The description of Anne Boleyn in the Acts and monuments, unlike the description in the Rerum, bristled with anecdotes and details. Greater elaboration is not necessarily an indication of greater accuracy, however, and as a first step toward determining the reliability of this new information, it is important to try to establish, where possible, what Foxe's sources were. According to Foxe, the story of Anne's carrying a purse with her from which she daily distributed largesse, was obtained 'by the relation of certen noble personages whiche were chefe and princypal of her wayting maides about her'. In the next edition of his work, Foxe repeated this and added 'especially the duches of Richmond by name'.'' The duchess of Richmond had been Foxe's patron and had appointed him tutor to the children of her brother, the earl of Surrey, after that nobleman's execution. Foxe lived for some time at her London residence, where he first met John Bale." She died, however, in December I 557, while Foxe was in exile, so if Foxe did glean this anecdote from conversation with her, he did so before his exile and did not bother to print it in the Rerum (this would, however, account for the cryptic reference, in this work, to Anne's generosity to the very poor). Foxe might also have heard the story after his return from exile, from a third party who had also known the duchess. In either case, Foxe's connection to the duchess and her household meant that he was exceptionally well placed to hear, or hear of, her recollections of Anne Boleyn. It could be argued that Foxe arbitrarily cited his former benefactor as a source after she was safely dead, in order to buttress the authenticity of this story. But if this was the case, why did he go to such trouble to support a relatively unimportant anecdote? Why not simply cite the duchess of Richmond as his source for all his stories of Anne's charity, or better yet, invent a story illustrating exceptional piety on the part of Henry's queen and attribute it to the duchess?

Foxe also stated that he received his information about the decorum of

Anne's household and the pious behaviour of her ladies from 'one that was her

silke woman, a gentle woman not now alive, but of great creadite and also of

fame for her worthy doings'. In the next edition of the Acts and monuments, Foxe

added that 'the name of thys gentlewoman was Maistress Wilkinson'.lg Joan

Wilkinson was indeed Anne Boleyn's silkwoman and a committed evangelical

to boot. In May 1536, Anne's chaplain and future biographer William

Latymer arrived in Sandwich with a consignment of books for the queen

which were to be conveyed to Joan Wilkinson in Lond~n.~'

Although the titles

l5 Cf. Hall's chronicle, p. 819 and 1563, p, 526 [recte 5251. Bernard ('Anne Boleyn's religion',

p. 19) implies that Foxe's version of this speech differs from Hall but, in fact, they are identical.

l6 1563, p. 526 [recte 5251. l7 1563, p. 509; 1570,p, I 198.
l8 John Bale, Scr$torum illustrium maioris Blytanniae catalogus (Basle, 1557), p. 763. Also see 1570,

p. 830. 10 1563, p. 509 ; 1570, p. 1 198.

20 J. S. Brewer, J. Gairdner and R. H. Brodie, eds., Lettels andpapers, foreign aud dornestzc, of the rezgn of Henv VIII (1862-1g32), X,827.


of these books are unknown, it can be assumed, given the participation of Latymer and \itrilkinson, as well as the irregularity of the shipment (silkwomen were not normally purveyors of books to the royal household), that these works were of a radical religious character. In Mary's reign, Wilkinson, now a widow, moved to Oxford, staying at the manor of a fanlily named M'arcup. Along with Anne \IJarcup she visted the imprisoned Cranmer, Ridley and Latimer, supplying them with food, clothing, money and other comforts.21 She also had an extensive correspondence with the imprisoned protestant leaders; letters still survive which were sent to her by John Bradford, Cranmer and Hooper." In the summer of 1556, she went into exile in Frankfurt, where she would eventually live in the household of Anne M'arcup's son, Cuthbert, and where she died by July 1557. In her will, she left one hundred pounds apiece to the English congregations in Frankfurt, Emden, Geneva and Wesel as well as twenty pounds to John Hooper's son Daniel. 'In respect of the fidelity, old familiarity and friendship' of the Warcups she entrusted her only child, a daughter, to their guidance and enjoined her daughter, on pain of disinheritance, to marry only a man who was 'in religion of godly conversation utterly abhorring papistry '.23

As far as we know, Foxe never met \itrilkinson (he had also been at Frankfurt but left before her arrival) and he did not mention her in the Rerum. But he was well aware of her and her activities by the time the 1563 edition of the Acts and monuments was written. In addition to printing her comments about Anne Boleyn's court, he also described her as 'a godlye matron, an exile also for the gospel1 sake and by whom divers of God's saintes and learned byshops, as maister Hoper, the byshoppe of Harford [i.e. John Harley, the Edtvardine bishop of Hereford, who was not imprisoned but had been deprived of his see in 15541, maister Coverdale, maister Latimer, maister Cranmer, with many mo were gratiously supported and releaved'.2Voxe had obviously come into contact with someone who was very well informed about Joan Wilkinson, probably as a result of his efforts to track down some of the martyrs' letters to her. It is worth noting that Foxe had obtained his information about Wilkinson, as well as Latimer's note to her, in time for the I 563 edition, while

'' Ridley repeatedly mentioned, in his letters from prison, the kindness of Warcup and MJilkinson to him (see 1563, pp. 1294-5 and Certazrr most godb frziitJul and conzjioitable letters oJsi~ch true saintes and liob maryrs [London, 15641, pp. 60-2 and 75. Hereafter this will be cited as Letteis). Latimer wrote Wilkinson a note, thanking her for her 'manifold and bountiful1 gifts' to him and for visiting him in prison (1563, p. 1356). John Bradford's closing comments in a letter to Wilkinson imply that she aided him during his imprisonment as well. (See Letters, pp. 342-3 and 1570, p. 1825 for an emended version of this letter. Emmanual College Library MS 262, fo. 276r is a complete contemporary copy.)

'' See Letters, pp. 23-4 and 1570, p. 2071 (ECL MS 262, fo. 2 14s-v is a contemporary copy of this); Letters, pp. 280-6 and 1570, p. 1817-18 (ECL MS 260, fos. 17jr-18or and ECL MS 262, fos. 43-46r); Letters, pp. 342-3 and 1570, p. 1825 (ECL MS 262, fo. 276v); Letteis, pp. 131-2 and 1570, p. 1691; Letters, pp. 343-4 (ECL MS 262, fos. 247~-248r) and Letteis, pp. 423-5.

23 C. H. Garrett, The .bfaiian exiles: a stud^ in the origzns of Elizabethan puritanism (Cambridge, 1g38), pp 321 and 334; Susan Brigden, London and the Rfirmatio~r IOxford, 1989), p. 562. 24 '563, p. '356.

all of the surviving letters to her were printed in the Letters of the rnarors in I 564. This is consistent with one person being the source for both these letters and the anecdotes concerning her." Anne \Irarcup is a very promising candidate for this role; she knew Joan intimately and -since \Irilkinson lived with her when the letters in question were written and since \itrilkinson died in her son's house-she is much the most likely person to have had possession of \itrilkinson's letters. But no matter how, or from whom. Foxe obtained \Irilkinson's recollections about Anne Boleyn's court, it should be clear that the citation of her name was not a piece of facile invention on Foxe's part, but was a product of his diligent search for information.

In the second edition of the Acts and monuments, Foxe stated that the story of Anne's introducing Henry VIII to the Supplzcatzon for the beggals was obtained 'from the reliable reports and personal testimony of his own [i.e. Fish's] wife'.26 There is every indication, moreover, that this statement was accurate. For one thing, Fish's wife plays a very conspicuous part in Foxe's account of the affair it describes the king's servants telling her that she should send


word to her husband to return to England, it describes her suit to the king for Fish's safe return, Henry's granting her request and her sending for her husband and it describes her being persecuted by More and her eventual release to care for her sick daughter. This account also concludes by stating that after Fish's death she later married James Bainham, the son of Sir Alexander Bainham of Gloucestershire -an unusual and unusually detailed biographical flourish for Foxe, who tended to be reticent about the personal lives of his martyrs. The 1563edition of Foxe's work, moreover, also contains an account of the martyrdom of James Bainham, which although Foxe did not give a source for it, has a number of features in common with the earlier account of Simon Fish. In this account, a point is also made of mentioning that Bainham married Fish's widow. Once again, the wife figures prominently in the narrative, which describes her being arrested, sent to the Fleet and having her household goods confiscated because she refused to reveal where Bainham's heretical books were hidden. Once again, Thomas More is seen as the source of the persecution she and her spouse endured; in fact, this account is marked by considerable hostility to More who is said to have had Bainham tied to a tree in the chancellor's garden and whipped. This account also claims that Bainham prayed at the stake that God would forgive More for his death. All

25 The fact that the information about Wilkinson together with Latimer's note to her were published in the I 563 edition of the Acts and monuments, while the other epistles to her were first published in Letters, might seem to weigh against all of this material having been prolrided by a single person. But this does not take into account the close relationship between the two works and their authors. (For this see Susan Wabuda, 'Henry Bull, Miles Coverdale and the making of Foxe's Book of lblartyrs' in Studies in Chuich Histoy, xxx, ed. Diana Wood [Oxford, 19931, 245-58. I am grateful to Dr Wabuda for supplying me with a copy of this article before its publication.) It is possible that Henry Bull, the editor of the Letteis, unco\rered the epistles to Wilkinson and brought her to Foxe's attention. It is also possible that Foxe found the letters and passed them on to Bull -other letters which were unquestionably unco\rered by Foxe first appeared in Letters.

26 'EX certa relatione, vivoque testimonio propriae ipsius coniugis' (1570,p. I 153).

of this, together with the fact that it would have been surprising indeed if Foxe talked to Bainham's widow about one husband and did not discuss the other, leaves little room to doubt that it was Fish's wife who told the martyrologist about Anne Boleyn's intercession on behalf of her husband."

It should be clear from these examples that the material on Anne in Foxe's first edition was ultimately derived from the testimony of some people who had known her or benefited from her patronage. This, however, does not necessarily mean that it was accurate. Much of this information was obtained at second or third hand, and when the distorting effects of memory, hindsight and profound prejudice are added to this, the accuracy of this information, without confirmation, is open to doubt. Happily, much of it can be confirmed from other sources. Of these, the most important is William Latymer's treatise on Anne. A crucial point, which has not hitherto been discussed, in determining the accuracy of both Foxe's and Latymer's accounts of Anne is whether either author consulted the other's work. Latymer clearly did not consult Foxe when penning his account which has nothing in common with the account of Anne in the Rerum and was written before the first edition of the Acts and monuments was printed. Furthermore, Latymer's work, which was based on what he had personally observed and experienced, does not include episodes in the Acts and monuments (such as Anne championing Fish's tract) which would have served his purposes had he known of them. As for Foxe having consulted Latymer, Eric Ives has pointed out that Foxe at one point stated that a work on Anne, written by those who had known her, was anticipated. It is possible that this is a reference to Latymer's biographical sketch (just as it is also possible that it is a reference to another project which never got off the ground). In any case, this remark first appeared in the 1570 edition of the Acts and monuments, written about a decade after Latymer's treatise was completed, which would indicate that if Foxe was referring to the work of Anne's former chaplain, he knew little about it and had certainly never read it.'' It is also improbable that Foxe, whose general editorial

'' 1563, pp 492-3. It might be argued that the inaccuracies in this account of Bainham preclude its having come from as knowledgeable a source as his widow. More vehemently denied allegations that he had suspected heretics whipped in his garden and historians have taken him at his word u.B. Trapp, ed., The complete rooiks of St Tl~omas lbfore, I): [1g7g], 117-20). Nevertheless, More's self-justification indicates that these charges were circulating within a year of Bainham's execution. Although More did not name Bainham as one of those he had been accused of scourging, gossip and rumour could have easily confused Bainham, a lrery conspicuous victim of persecution, with other elrangelists supposedly whipped at More's command. Certainly Bainham's widow, in prison when the beating was supposed to have taken place, would have readily belielred the worst of More, given her rough treatment at his hands. J.B. Trapp has also maintained that Foxe excised the story of Bainham's prayer at the stake for hlore's forgixeness from subsequent editions of the Acts and monuments and Trapp ~mpl~ed

that Foxe did so because he knew the story was false (ibid. p. 348). The story, however, was not excised, it was simply moved to another location in the text and was faithfully reprinted in each edition 11570, p. I 199; 1576, p. 1027 and 1583, p. 1055). The Venetian ambassador's report of the execution confirms that Bainham was praying while he burned, although it does not say anything about the content of the prayer (Calendar oJstate pajers Venetian, 1527-33, p. 765).

Ives, Anne Bolgn, p. 63 and 1570, p. 1233.

principle seems to have been that there were never too many edifying anecdotes, would not have repeated Latymer's stories of Anne confronting the nuns of Syon or inducing Henry VIII to destroy the blood of Hailes, had he known them. (This is especially true since Foxe had gone out of his way in the Acts and monuments to denounce the foundation of Syon as a triumph of 'idle monkery and vaine superstition' over 'true pietie and preachyng of Christes worde' and he had repeatedly. and gratuitously, ridiculed the blood of Hailes throughout the book.)29 Thus Latymer's treatise and the Acts and monuments should be considered independent sources for Anne and where their accounts agree they should, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, be regarded as corroborating each other.

Latymer's treatise paralleled the Acts and monuments quite closely when Latymer described Anne instructing her almoners and chaplains to distribute her largess to 'poore nedie and impotente house holders over charged with ~hildren'.~'

Both authors represented Anne's charity as being well-organized and directed specifically to poor households instead of indiscriminately to vagrants and beggars. The Scottish Lutheran CmigrC Alexander Alesius, who had been sent to England in 1535 as an emissary from Melanchthon, also claimed, in a letter written to Elizabeth shortly after her accession, that during his sojourn in England he had heard of Anne's charity to the poor.31

Similarly, Foxe's claim that Anne maintained poor scholars at Cambridge is supported by repeated references -admittedly both made to Elizabeth -by William Barker, one of the recipients of this bounty and evidence exists for her support of other Cambridge students.32 In 1535, John Cheke wrote to Matthew Parker, who had recently become one of Anne's chaplains, that while the queen's already generous charity to students was well known at Cambridge, it had recently been greatly increased. Cheke wrote that it was his understanding that she would aid impoverished students, as long as John Skip or another of her chaplains recommended them as learned and of good character; and he asked Parker to recommend a student whose poverty threatened to deprive him of a fellowship. In addition to this, Latymer claimed that Anne gave 'greate sommes of monye' to maintain poor scholars at both Oxford and Cambridge.33

Foxe's description of Anne having her ladies and gentlewomeil employed in sewing clothing for the poor, in order that they might avoid idleness and

29 Dowling, 'Latymer's Cronickille', pp. 60-1 and 1570,p. 700 (reprinted in 1576,p. 567 and

1583,p. 588) ; 1570,p. 1254 (reprinted in 1576,p. 1074 and 1583,p. I 100); 1570,p. 1301 (reprinted

1576,p. 11 13 and 1583,p. I 139) and 1570,p. 1359 (reprinted in 1576,p. 1160 and 1583,p. I 188).

30 Dowling, 'Latymer's Cronickille', p. j I

31 Alesius, Calendar of state cpacpers foreign, 155839,p. 1303.

32 Dowling, 'Anne Boleyn and reform', pp. 34-5. The first of Barker's references, which

describes Anne's general munificence to Cambridge students, was written in 1559 and thus

antedates the Acts and monziments. Barker's second reference, written in 15 7 I, was to Anne's support

of him while he was a student at Cambridge. Both references then are independent of Fose and

confirm his statement of Anne's generosity to uni\rersity students.

33 J. T. Bruce and T. T. Perowne, eds., Carl-espotidence of llntthezv Parker 1535-75,Parkei SocieQ

(Cambridge, 1853), pp. 2-3; Dowling, 'Latymer's Cronickille', p. 57.

ungodly pleasures, was, once again, strikingly paralleled in Latymer's treatise. According to Anne's chaplain, the queen, after having purchased cloth to be made into clothing for the poor, 'to thende the ladyes and maydons of honoure attending her highnes might in the majestie of so vertuous a prince by like example learne the consideracion of the poore, she commaunded the said ladies and maydons of honour to make a greate nowmbre of the same shurtes, smokkes and shetes with their awne hande~'.~~

Nevertheless, despite their agreement, Bernard has questioned the accuracy both of Foxe and of Latymer on this point; in fact, he has argued that the inaccuracy of their depictions of Anne's household 'as a centre of pious and godly living' demonstrates the general unreliability of their accounts. Bernard presents three pieces of evidence to support this position. The first is a letter, written in June 1533, from Sir Edward Bainton, Anne's chamberlain, to George Boleyn, while the queen's brother was on an embassy to France. In this letter, Bainton wryly advised Boleyn that if any of the queen's ladies missed him in his absence, 'I can not no whit perceyve the same by their daunsing and passetyme they do use here, but that other take place, as ever hath been the custome'. Secondly, Bernard cites the accusations of adultery lodged against Henry's queen in

1536, accusations which he thinks may have had some validity. And finally, Bernard cites certain remarks Anne made in the Tower, after her arrest, which suggested that she had had 'at least a good deal of flirtatious talk with friends not chosen for their religious

Bainton's letter is a useful reminder that Anne presided over a renaissance household where the pleasures and conventions of courtly life including the


rituals of courtly love -were in full flower. Similarly, Anne may well have engaged in flirtatious conversations, although neither her emotional state when she made her remarks, after her arrest, nor the possibility of misrepresentation when they were reported, should be discounted. Yet none of this is incompatible with Foxe's and Latymer's accounts. According to \itrilliam Harrison, Anne's daughter maintained a rigorously proper and decorous court (and also kept her ladies employed in sewing and other pursuits, to ward off idleness), yet dancing and even flirtatious conversations involving the queen were scarcely unknown there.36 As for the charges made against Anne, even if these were true (a large concession), that would indict Anne's personal conduct but not her management of her household or the conduct of its members. In fact, it would be in her interest to maintain a respectable household and pious fa~ade, if only to conceal her illicit activities. The accounts of Foxe and Latymer (and Harrison, for that matter) may be one-sided and even ingenuous, but that is a long way from indicating that what they report is untrue. Given that Foxe's and Latymer's statements on Anne's household independently corroborate each other, and given that one account was written by a member of that household and the other was based

3"owling, 'Latymer's Cronickille', p. 54.

35 Bernard, 'Anne Boleyn's religion', pp. 3-4.

36 William Harrison, The description of England, ed. Georges Edelen (Ithaca, NY, 19681,pp. 227-31.

-albeit at second hand -on the report of Anne's silkwoman, stronger evidence than that supplied by Bernard must be brought before they are rejected.

The authenticity of the story about Anne and the Supplicntzon for the beggars has also been challenged. Eric Ives has pointed out that Foxe presented another story of Henry's introduction to Fish's work, in which a royal footman told the king about two merchants whom the footman knew, who could show the king a book imported from overseas that would interest him. Henry interviewed the merchants, who read Fish's tract to him on the spot. The king then commented that if someone began to tear down an old stone wall and began at the bottom, the upper stones might fall upon his head. Finally he ordered the merchants to tell no one that he had seen the tract. Ives goes on to point out that the names Foxe gave of the footman and merchants are confirmed in other sources and concludes that this account is correct. Me suggests that the first account, in which Anne gave Henry a copy of Fish's work, was a confusion with another story, sent to Foxe but never included in the Acts and monuments, in which Anne lent a copy of Tyndale's The obedzence of the chrzstzan man to one of her ladies and it subsequently fell into the king's hands.37

But if Ives's theory is correct, then who confused the two stories? Foxe could scarcely have done so; the story of Anne and Fish was printed in the 1563 edition of his work, while the letter relating the story of Anne and Tyndale was not sent to Foxe until 1579. As we have seen, Fish's widow was Foxe's informant for this story, and while she may have been in error about the exact means by which the king received the book, she is unlikely to have been ignorant of the identity of her champions at Henry's court. ,For one thing, she must have had some contact with them otherwise how was she able to arrange an interview with the king?) The two accounts of Henry 1'111's introduction to Fish's tract clearly came from two different informants; this much is demonstrated by the fact that one account was introduced in the first edition of the Acts and monzrments, while the other was only introduced in the second edition. Since one account came from an informant who was closely involved in the matter and the other can be confirmed in factual details, the most reasonable conclusion is that both informants were accurate, at least as far as their own knowledge went. There is, after all, no fundamental incompatibility between the two accounts. It is likely that the footman and the

'' Ives, Anne Boltyn, p. 163 n. 39. The story of the footn~an and the merchants hringing Fish's tract to Henry first appeared in the second edition of the Acts ancl morrii~nutztr (1570,p. I I 53; The story of Anne and Tyndale's Obedience appears in a letter to Foxe from his friend John Louthe, the archdeacon of Nottingham. (The relevant section of the letter is printed in J. G. Nichols, ed., ~Vavatices ofthe dgs ofthe Refoformation, Camden Socieh, First series LXXVII [18jg], 52-7; the original section of the letter is B.L. Harley MS 42j, fa. 14qr-v.) Louthe is generally a rather unreliable source but in this case his story was independently related, with slight variations, hy George MJyatt in his life of Anne Boleyn; Wyatt's informant was Anne Gainsford, who had been one of Anne Boleyn's waiting-women. (See S. W. Singer, ed., The lzye of Cnrdir~al Cf'olsg b3 Geolge Cbaendislz, second edition [London, 18271, pp. 438-41 and Ives, Anne Bolqln, pp. 161-3.)

merchants were the ones who actually brought Fish's work to Henry VIII's attention, but it is at least equally probable that this was done with Anne's connivance. What is substantially less probable is that a footman would have dared to discuss a heretical and prohibited work with the king, much less procure it for him, unless he knew that he could rely on influential support. Bernard has also pointed out that the chronology of events in the story of Anne and Fish is awkward. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the dates which appear in the story were only added by Foxe in the second edition of the Acts and monuments and that they were merely conjectural, as he indicated with his comments; 'beyng about the yeare 15"'; 'not long after in the yeare [as I suppose) I 528' and 'This was (as I gather) about the yeare of our Lord I 5288" The dates Foxe arbitrarily assigned to this story are open to question, but this does not impeach the basic accuracy of the account.

Thus the material on Anne which Foxe introduced in the first edition was not only based on the personal testimony of those involved with her but it was reliable and is confirmed in almost every instance by independent sources. None of this material was ever excised but Foxe made important additions to it in the second edition of the Acts and monuments, published seven years after the first.

These additions can be divided into two main groups. The first consists of further anecdotes illustrating Anne's virtues. Foxe now wrote that she required her chaplains to inform her frankly of any faults in her conduct that they perceived, that she spent fourteen to fifteen thousand pounds in nine months on charity to the poor, that she was responsible for the elevation of the prominent reformed preachers Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Shaxton to the bishoprics of Worcester and Salisbury and that her 'christian and faythfull counsayle' led Henry VIII to hunt at Woodstock, even though an 'old blynd prophesie' had led English kings to avoid the area. The second group comprises an apologia of Anne, presenting arguments for her innocence of the charges for which she was executed. Aside from offering a slightly expanded account of Anne's arrest (still based on Hall's chronzcle), Foxe also stated that Henry's re-marriage within three days of Anne's execution was 'to such as wisely can iudge upon cases occurant a great clearyng unto her'. (This was as close as Foxe came to saying that Anne was found guilty because her husband desired her death.) The martyrologist went on to wonder why parliament suddenly repealed Anne's marriage and then charged her with incest, an accusation which Foxe regarded as incredible. The explanatio~~,

according to Foxe, was that this was the fruit of a catholic conspiracy and he conjectured that Stephen Gardiner although 'being then abroad in ambassie, was not altogether a sleepe'. In particular, Gardiner ceaselessly wrote to Henry that he could have no peace with the great princes of Europe and not be secure on his throne until Anne was no longer queen and Elizabeth no longer his successor. Foxe also claimed that Anne's innocence was eventually recognized

38 Bernard, 'Anne Boleyn's religion', p. j and 1570, p. I I jg

by Henry, who acknowledged Elizabeth's legitimacy in his will, and by God, who preserved Anne's daughter from danger and granted her a reign of greater length, tranquility and prosperity than that of either of her siblings. The martyrologist concluded by castigating Paolo Giovio and Cardinal Pole for 'lying and rayling' against Anne in their writings. Foxe preferred the judgement of the protestant princes of Germany who, he maintained, refused to ally with Henry once he had executed his godly queen.39

Much of this new material was merely opinion, argument and assertion but there were some new data here, presumably supplied by new informants. Unfortunately, this time Foxe provided no clues as to the sources of his information. It is possible that the story of Anne ordering her chaplains to tell her frankly of her faults came from Matthew Parker. Once again, this story is corroborated by Latymer, which suggests that Foxe had an informed source, and this was certainly something that would be known to, and remembered by, one of her former chaplains. In at least one other case (the execution of Thomas Bilney, the evangelical preacher, which Parker had witnessed) the archbishop had given Foxe personal testimony of events in Henry VIII's reign, and it would not be surprising if Parker, who evidently still held Anne in high regard decades after her death, related this story to the martyrologist.40

This, however, is guesswork. The fact remains that Foxe's sources for his material on Anne in his second edition must remain largely unknown, although a general observation may perhaps be in order. The second edition of Foxe's work saw the introduction of vast amounts of new material supplied by individual informants. The difference between these informants and those utilized for the first edition was that the latter were uncovered by Foxe's inquiries and tended to be those involved in or close to the events and people in whom Foxe was interested. Once his English-language narrative of the martyrs appeared, information rained in on Foxe. Much of this material was of great value, coming from knowledgeable informants previously unknown or inaccessible to Foxe. Much of it also consisted of rumour, gossip and prodigious stories further embellished through years of oral transmission.

Presumably, the new data on Anne in the second edition were similarly

volunteered to Foxe; they certainly have the same variable accuracy. Thus the

anecdote of Anne persuading Henry to hunt at Woodstock is, as Retha

\itrarnicke has pointed out, demonstrably inaccurate, since Henry had hunted

there long before his relationship with Anne commenced." Foxe's statement

that Anne expended fourteen to fifteen thousand pounds in poor relief during

a nine-month period is unbelievable; the amount beggars the imagination and

would have beggared Anne. Ives, however, has pointed out that George

39 1570,pp, 1233-4. Foxe also first made the oft-quoted comment identifying Anne as one of the e\rangelical influences on Henry ('so long as Quene Anne, T. Cromwell, B. Cranmes, M. Denny,

D. Butts with such like were about him and could preveal with him, what organe of Christes glorye did more good in the Churche then he?') in this edition (1570,p. 1441). " For Parker gi\ring Foxe testimony on Bilney's death see 1570,p. I I jo. For Parker's regard for

Anne see Parker correspondence, pp. 70, 391 and 400.
" Warnicke, Rise andJa11 of Arne Bolqn, p. 165.


Wyatt stated that Anne spent some fifteen hundred pounds per annzlrn in poor relief and has suggested that Foxe 'elaboratcd' this figure by adding a zero.42 If this is true, then Foxe had some factual basis for this assertion and did not merely create the figure out of thin air. As for the inflation of the amount it is impossible to determine if Foxe, his source or the printer was responsible and whether or not this was an inadvertent error or a deiiberate exaggeration.

On the other hand, the story of Anne's instructions to her chaplains is not merely corroborated by Latymer, it is duplicated by hini. According to Latymer, Anne told them 'I requyre you, as you shall at any tyme herafter perceave me to declyne from the right path of sownde and pure doctryne, and yelde to any maner of sensualitie, to awayte some conveniente tyme wherin you may advertise me therof; the which I promise you to accepte irl very thankful1 parte, addressing my selfe wholy to reformation and yelding good example to others, for the discharge of myne awne coi~science.'~~

Foxe'sstatement that Anile secured the promotion of Latimer and Shaxton to their bishoprics is also confirmed by Latymer, while Alesius, who claimed to be intimate with Latimer, credited the queen with the appointment of the evangelical bishops.44 Yet Bernard has questioned the truth of this, stating that Foxe contradicted himself by stating that Anne was responsible for Latimer's elevation, while in another place he stated that Dr Butts and Cromwell had procured his bishopric for him. (Even Bernard concedes that 'it seems reasonable to suppose that Anne may well have played some part in Shaxton's ele~ation'.)~~

In the I 563 edition, as part of a narrative of Latimer's life, Foxe stated that Dr Butts enlisted Latimer among thc scholars who advocated the royal supremacy and that when Latimer later went to court, he stayed in Butts's chambers. Afterwards Latimer obtained a benefice in Wiltshire through the efforts of Butts and Cromwell and still later he became a bishop through their 'pro~urement'.~~

Seven years later, Foxe reprinted this but, in the account of Anne, he also printed the statement that she had obtained the bishopric for him.47 Once again Foxe had clearly received information on the same subject from two sepa.rate informailts and had printed both accounts. There is no reason, however, to reject either account, especially since the earlier one seems to be derived from a well-informed source (it is significant that this is Foxe's earliest mention of the important but not very conspicuous Dr Butts) and the second one agrees with other accounts. Butts was Anne's 'talent-spotter' (Ives's phrase) and a conduit of her It is safe to assume that after having brought Latimer to court, Butts brought him to Anne's attention, especially since Latimer became one of Anne's chaplains. When this is added to Alesius' and Latymer's statements, as well as the

42 Ives, Anne Bolyn, p. 327 n, 94.. '"o~rling, 'Latymer'a Cronickille', p. 50.

44 Ibid. p. 59 and Alesius, Calendal-. Latymer also claimed that Anne secured the see of Canterbury for Cranmel., Hereford for John Sltip and Ely for Thomas Goodrich. Fose's failure to mention these acts of patronage is another indication that he never read Latymer's treatise.

45 Bernard, 'Anne Boleyn's religion', pp. I I- 12.

" 1563,pp. 1309 and 1348. 47 1570, pp. 1233 and 1905-7. 48 Ives, Anne Bolyn, pp. 31 1-12 and Dowling, 'Anne Boleyn and reform', pp. 38--9,

simultaneous elevation of Shaxton, Anne's almoner and prottgt, and Anne's lending each of the new bishops two hundred pounds to pay their first fruits, it is difficult not to conclude that Anne was working through Butts and with Cromwell to secure Latimer's elevati~n.~~

Although the information 011 Anne that was added to the second edition is less reliable than that introduced in the first, much of it, including the statements 011 her illstructions to her chaplains, on her advancement of Latimer and Shaxton and even, to an extent, that on her poor relief, seems to be accurate.

The material on Anne in the second edition of the Acts and monuments was reprinted in the third edition, published in I 576, without any change. This was also true of the fourth edition, the last printed in Foxe's life-time, with one important exception.50 The second and third editions of Foxe's work included a brief account, drawn from John Stokesley's records, of the imprisonment of Thomas Patmore, the parson of Much Hadham, for marrying his curate to a housemaid and maintaining that a priest might be married without offence to God.51 111 the 1583edition, however, Foxe added a great deal of information about Patmore. He related that Patmore had been preferred to his parsonage by Bishop Fitzjames and had held it for sixteen years 'without any publike blame or reproach' until Stokesley became the bishop ofLondon. Shortly after his installation, Stokesley out of malice or a desire to seize Patmore's benefice 'as it is supposed and alleged by his brethren in sundry applications exhibited unto the king, as also unto Queene Anne, then Marchionesse of Pembroke', had Patmore arrested. He was imprisoned 'above two years without fire or candle or ally other reliefe but such as his frends sent him'. Foxe then provided Patmore's answers to the charges against him and concluded by adding that suit was made to Henry VIII 'by meanes of the queene' and that after three years a commission, to be headed by Audley, Cromwell and Cranmer, was obtained to investigate the matter. Foxe added that he did not know the outcome of all this.5"

Although he did not say so, it is obvious that Foxe took this illformatioll directly from a petition to Anne. For one thing, the rtsumt of Patmore's career, the recitation of quite specific and detailed grievances and the defence of his conduct would be the appropriate components of such a document. The accuracy of Foxe's declaration that Anne was marchioness of Pembroke at the time of Patmore's petition is impressive; Anne held that title from I September 1532 until her recognition as queen in March 1533. This fits with the statement that Patmore had been imprisoned for over two years (Foxe stated

40 L@P IX, 203, 25zand 27% also see Doding, 'Anne Boleyn and reform', p. 38.

50 1j76, pp. 1026 and 1055; 1583, pp. 1034 and 1082.

51 1570, p. I 188 and 1576,p. 1017. Foxe also related that Thomas Patmore, a draper, had, in the following year, been accused by informants of defending the validity of clerical marriage and attacking the veneration of images and had been forced to abjure these statements (1570,p. I 188; 1576,p. 101617 and 1583, p. 1044) Foxe identified this Thomas Patmore as the brother of the parson of Much Hadham, but Susan Brigden has persuasively suggested that the two were one and the same, with the priest living for a period in the Drapers, the company to which his father had belonged (London and the Reformation, p. 206). j2 1583, pp. 1044-5.


that he was arrested in 1530) and coincides with a petition on Patmore's behalf which was sent to Cromwell before Michaelmas, I j32.j3 Rut this accuracy is rendered even more impressive by its novelty -as a general rule, the chronological details in the Acts and monuments are quite m~ddled.~"oxe's statement about a commission being obtained is also completely accurate; presumably he had a document describing this.j5

At this point a note of caution is in order. Foxe stated that Anne intervened with the king on Patmore's behalf and this has been repeated by historians without question. This may, however, merely have been an assumption on Foxe's part, based on a petition to Anne and knowledge of the royal commission. Since, unbeknownst to Foxe, a petition was also sent to Cromwell, we cannot be sure whether or not he interceded for Patmore, whether or not Anne joined him in this endeavour or whether she intervened at all. What is certain is that Patmore's supporters had turned to Anne, as well as Cromwell, for help, assuming that she was both influential and sympathetic to their cause. Although Bernard has attempted to discount the significance of this, maintaining that 'Patmore was by no means a defiant reformer, on Foxe's account' and that 'simple humanity rather than.. . religious conviction ' might explain any involvemellt by Anne in his case, this is at variance with the facts.j6 For one thing, even in Foxe's account, Patmore was, if not a defiant reformer (and I feel that someone who refuses to retract the statement that a bottle of hay was more profitable than the pope's curse has some claim to the adjective), then certainly an articulate one, who declared his belief that the marriage of priests was valid, maintained that scripture alone was the touchstone of doctrine and affirmed his belief in justification by faith. In addition to this and to other beliefs and activities already described, Patmore had previously been fined and forced to undergo public penance for distributing copies of Tyndale's New Testament, while an informer claimed that Patmore had also denied trans~bstantiation.~~Moreover, Patmore's imprisonment was clearly a contentious and well-publicized affair. In 1532, John Stanton, a servant of Patmore's, complained in parliament ofhis master's treatment, whereupon Chancellor More angrily denounced Stanton for sacrilegious acts and Patmore's servant was himself imprisoned. Latimer, in a letter of 1553, mentioned Patmore's imprisonment without elaboration, as though it was common knowledge.'* It is a striking indication of confidence in Anne's support for evangelicals that her intervention on behalf of an outspoken heretic, in such a controversial case, should have been sought. Ifshe did indeed intercede for Patmore, Anne would have been remarkably naive if she thought anyone would ascribe her involvement to 'simple humanity '.

53 L&P VII, 923 :XXVI).
54 See, for example, G. R. Elton's strictures on Foxe's chronology of Thomas Cromwell's early

career (The Tudor reiroiutzon in goiremment [Cambridge, 19591, pp. 74-5). 55 L@P VIII. 1063. Bernard, '.4nne Boleyn's religion', p. 8 11. 41. j7 B.L. Har1e)- MSqz j, fo. 15r (printed, with serious inaccuracies, in John Strype, Ecclesinsticnl

?ne?norials [Oxford, I 8221, I, I, I I 6) and L&P Addenda I, 752. j8 L&P v, 982 and B.L. Harley MS 422, fo. 88r (printed in Sty)-pe, ECG.TneTn., I, 2, 175).

If in the case of Patmore, Foxe may have jumped to a conclusion (through ignorance of the fact that a petition on Patmore's behalf had been sent to Cromwell as well as Anne) he still clearly based his account on authentic materials. In fact, we have seen that Foxe's account of Anne was based on painstakingly acquired, and for the most part accurate, information. The question remains, to what extent was Foxe's gathering and presentation of this information influenced by considerations of propaganda and polemics? It is difficult to see how the accounts of Anne in any edition of Foxe's work could be considered, as Bernard has maintained, an attempt to 'influence the developing Elizabethan religious settlement', since these accounts are largely a celebration of her personal piety and domestic virtues which, although commendable, were largely irrelevant to the governance of the ~hurch.~%nd since Foxe added material to his account of Anne in I 563, 1570 and 1583, must it be assumed that each addition was an attempt to influence the Elizabethan religious settlement? If not, then it must be conceded that, at the least, Foxe had other reasons for introducing material on Anne.

Ives, arguing along lines similar to Bernard, quotes Foxe's praise of Anne as a zealous defender of the gospel, and cautions 'Of course from I j58, although Elizabeth the new queen was committed to restoring and defending her father's supremacy over the English Church, she needed (the reformers believed) every possible stiffening to persuade her to adhere to a clearly Protestant position, so remarks like this are what we would expect of Foxe and the rest'.=' There is no doubt that Foxe included material in the Acts and monuments that was designed almost solely to strengthen Elizabeth's commitment to protestantism and spur her on to further reform of the English church.=' But it is doubtful that Foxe's account of ,4nne owed much to these prescriptive motives. For one thing, there is no material anywhere in the Acts and nzonunzents relating Anne to any of the issues in the Elizabethan church (e.g. the wearing of the cap and surplice) or in Elizabeth's conduct (e.g, the presence of a crucifix in the queen's chapel) which concerned Foxe and like- minded reformers. Nor did Foxe use his account of Anne as a peg from which to hang exhortations to Elizabeth, or anyone else, about these religious concerns. (Whereas Foxe did, for example, use his account of the career of the Marian martyr John Hooper as the springboard for an excursus on the vestments controver~y.)~~

Moreover, there was never any mention of Anne in any of the exhortatory material directed towards Elizabeth, anywhere in the Acts and nzonunzents. Finally, it should be noted that most of the material encouraging Elizabeth to godliness was only introduced in the second edition of Foxe's work (or even later), while almost all of Foxe's material on Anne had already been introduced in the first two editions of the Acts and monuments.

Bernard's assertion that Foxe sought to rehabilitate Anne and 'retrieve her

59 Bernard, 'Anne Boleyn's religion', p. 2. 60 Ives, Anne Bolgjn, p. 302; also see rj70, p. 1233. An excellent example of such hortatory material is John Hale's oration to Elizabeth, first reprinted by Foxe in rj76, pp. ~ooj-7. 6"ee 1563,p. 1051.


reputation in general' in order to suggest implicitly that she was innocent of incest and adultery is also ~nfounded.~~

In the Rerz~nz Foxe flatly declared that he would not discuss the charges made against Anne and in the first edition of the Acts and monuments Foxe simply passed over the matter in silence. If establishing the innocence of Elizabeth's mother was of such importance, then why didn't Foxe deal with the issue directly? Admittedly, Foxe did do this in the second edition and it is not difficult to see the reason why -the events just prior to the publication of this edition (Mary Stuart's flight into England, deteriorating relations with France and Spain, the conspiracy of Norfolk and Arundel and the northern rebellion) were enough to make the legitimacy of Elizabeth's claim to the throne (and perforce the reputation of her mother) a matter of vital concern.64 But by this time, Foxe had already printed much of the material in his account of Anne. It is also unlikely that the addition of the information on Anne and Patmore in the fourth edition was motivated by a desire to prop up Elizabeth's throne by rehabilitating Anne.

It is also useful to remember that the total amount of material Foxe presented on Anne Boleyn comes to about three folio pages in a work of some two thousand folio pages. This is admittedly an arbitrary way of judging the importance Foxe attached to a subject but it does indicate that the glorification of Anne was not one of the martyrologist's more pressing concerns. But if the demands of political propaganda did not greatly affect Foxe's portrait of Anne, this may not be true of what might be called pastoral propaganda. Throughout the Acts and monuments, Foxe continually emphasized the importance of the virtuous people described in the work as role models to be emulated by his readers.65 In several instances Foxe credited Anne with deeds which he would have particularly approved and which would have provided what he considered particularly appropriate moral lessons. Anne's persuading Henry to defy a superstitious prophecy and hunt at Woodstock, for example, was introduced in the same edition in which Foxe introduced a discussion of false prophecies (containing, among other things, a warning about the hardships caused to those who 'folo~v inordinate waies' out of fear of' blinde prophecies').66 Foxe himself was active in raising money for charitable

63 Bernard, 'Anne Boleyn's religion', p. 2.

6"he following passage, also introduced in the 15jo edition, about Lucius, the (mythical) first Christian king in England, offers a revealing glimpse of both Foxe's anxieties about the current political situation and his tendency to use history to comment on it: 'although the foresaid Lucius, the Britayne kyng, through the merciful1 providence of God, was then Christened and the gospel1 receaved generallye almoste in all the lande: yet the state therof as we1 of the religion, as of the commonwealth, coulde not be quiet, for that the Emperours and nobles of Rome were yet infidels, and enemies to the same: but especially the case so happening, that Lucius the Christen kyngdyed tvythout issue: for thereby such trouble and variance fell among the Britaynes (as it happened in all other realms, namely in this our realm of England whenever succession lacketh) that not onely they brought upon them the idolatrous Romaines, and at lengthe the Saxones, but also inwrapped themselves in such miserye and desolation, which yet is this day amongest them remayneth. Such a thyng it is (where a prince or a kyng is in a kyngdomj there to lacke succession.. .' (1570, p. 1471,

65 E.g. 1563, p. 875 (reprinted in 1570, p. 1542; 1576, p. 1314 and 1583, p. 1364).

66 See 1570, pp 850-z

purposes and especially in aiding poor university students; Elizabeth's mother provided an example he would have wanted his more affluent readers to follo~.~~

Yet even in these cases there is no sign of Foxe manufacturing or consciously distorting the evidence to suit his purposes. On the contrary, there is a profound impression of serendipity about Foxe's research on Anne. It was merely chance that the duchess ofRichmond, who provided Foxe with the first indication of Anne's largess to the poor, was his patron. Foxe consulted Bainham's widow about her second husband; knowledge of Anne's intervention on her first husband's behalf simply came wit11 the package.68

Almost certainly Foxe tracked down information on Joan Wilkinson because of her correspondence with the leading Marian martyrs and not because she had been Anne Eoleyn's silkwoman; her recollections of Anne's household were merely a dividend. And the petition sent to Anne on behalf of Thomas Patmore was certainly uncovered through research that, at least in its inception, had nothing to do with Anne. And again it must be stated that much of Foxe's account of Anne -including her charity -is reliable and corroborated by other sources. \$'here Foxe's pastoral concerns might have influenced his description of Anne is not in the creation or fabrication of material but in the acceptance or rejection of it. Occasionally, as in the case of the anecdote about Woodstock, the desire to edify his readers may have led him to accept material uncritically. But far more serious is the possibility that Foxe knew of information that contradicted or did not accord with the picture of ,4nne that he wished to paint and simply suppressed it.

Thus the great drawback to Foxe's account of Anne is not in what the martyrologist says about her but in what he does not say. Paradoxically, this problem was aggravated by one of the great strengths of this account -Foxe's careful examination of those who had kno~vn Anne, or those close to those who had known Anne. Inevitably, these people tended to be evangelicals or their intimates, as they were the informants Foxe would have lino~vn of, the ones he would have sought out and the people on whose co-operation he could have relied. But their meniories of Anne, while invaluable, were coloured by strong biases. These biases, filtered through Foxe's own prejudices, created a one- sided, exaggerated portrait of Henry's second queen. There is not a glimpse to be seen in Foxe's account of Anne the polished, accomplished courtier; of Anne the skilful and opportunistic politician; of Anne the patron of humanist art and writing; to say nothing of the outspoken, imperious and fiery queen who intimidated even the leading peers at court.69

Strikingly, Foxe (and Latynier, for that matter) are noticeably silent about '' For Foxe's charity to university students see B.L. Harley MS 416, fos, 1 lor, 18gr-igor, 206r and 2071.. 68 This is my assumption based on the fact that Foxe described Bainham and his execution in the Reiii~n(p. 1267) but did not, presumably from ignorance, so much as mention Fish in that work. 69 For a balanced assessment of Anne and her career see David Starkey, The Tezgrl dHenrq. VIII: pefsonalities and politics (London, 1985), pp. CJ 1-1 01 and 108-1 j.


the details of Anne's confessional position and her theological beliefs, as opposed to her evangelical conduct. What might have been a conspicuous display of evangelical piety in the I 530s may have seemed unworthy of comment three or four decades later and it may well have been the case that Anne's charity and patronage were far more noteworthy to Foxe and Latymer than her actual theological opinions. It may even be the case (although there is no evidence for this) that Foxe or Latymer, or both, deliberately refrained from discussing elements of ,4nne's religion which they regarded as unevangelical or even ungodly. But it is important not to make the mistake which Foxe or Latymer might have made and assume that adherence to conservative, or even catholic, doctrines during the transitional period of the I 530s was evidence that an individual was not an evangelical. Thus, Bernard attaches great significance to Anne's reverence for the sacrament and sees it as a proof of her conventional catholi~ism.'~

Yet Foxe had to concede that 'as touchyng the Masse and sacrament of the aulter', Thomas Bilney 'never differed therin from the grossest Catholiques' and the martyrologist thrashed around trying to explain the godly Robert Barnes's persecution of those who denied the real presence in the sacrament." In his letter to Thomas Cromwell, mentioned above, George Constantine freely admitted that he advocated justification by faith and that he had spoken against pilgrimages, the invocation of saints, the veneration of images, the 'abuse' of ceremonies, fasts and clerical celibacy but he vehemently denied that he was a sacramentary 'which ys, yf any thinge can be worse, more heynous then treason'.'%ven John Frith, who would pay with his life for his radical views of the sacrament, stated, as late as 1533, that the denial of transubstantiation was not a necessary article of faith but a thing in differ en^'^

Paradoxically, in at least one case, Foxe may also have deleted material which supported the portrait of Anne as an evangelical, from the Acts and nzonuments. Anne was a patron to the celebrated evangelical preacher Edward Crome, having secured for him the rectorship of St Mary Aldermary in London in order that he might foster 'the furtherance of virtue, truth, and godly doctrine'. But as Susan Wabuda has demonstrated, Foxe, having learned of Crome's repeated recantations, purged the Acts and nzonuments of almost all references to him.54 If Foxe had not been anxious to conceal the equivocations of an eminent evangelical, he very probably would have added the patronage of Edward Crome to his celebration of Anne's good works.

But if Foxe's description of Anne is not a rounded or complete one, it is nevertheless a valuable one. Unlike Latymer's treatise, the account of Anne in the Acts and nzonuments was not the work of someone who had known Anne

70 Bernard, 'Anne Boleyn's religion', p. 18. 71 1570,p. 1 149 and 1563,p. 529,

72 Xmyot, 'Transcript', p. 77.

73 John Frith, A booke made Johann Frith . . . ansr;ering zlt~to Al. ,\ leftel. (Antwerp, I 5333,

sigs. LGv-L jr.

74 See Susan Wabuda, 'Equivocation and recantation during the English Reformation: the

"subtle shadows" of Dr Edward Crome', Journal ojEcclesiastica1 Hzstovj, XLIV (I 9933, 224-42. The

passage I have quoted is on p. 232.

personally. Yet it was based on the testimony of those who had known Anne and on original documents. Even if it had been entirely inaccurate, it would have been of interest as a reflection of the way evangelicals regarded Anne. Yet it was, with a few exceptions, accurate and corroborated by other sources. It is possible that Foxe did not tell us everything he knew about Anne but what he did relate is reliable and should not be dismissed.

Foxe, in conjunction with Latymer as well as contemporary sources, demonstrates conclusively that Anne spent generously on poor relief and on supporting poor students. He supports Latymer and Alesius in maintaining that Anne was at least partly responsible for the elevation of Latimer and Shaxton to their bishoprics. He and Latymer echo each other closely on the decorum of Anne's household and her instructions to her chaplains; any attempt to discount this information will have to explain the close resemblance between the two independent accounts. The Patmore episode provides striking evidence of the confidence beleaguered evangelicals had in Anne's willingness and ability to protect them even in controversial cases. The account of Fish's widow about Anne's intervention on behalf of her husband supplies further evidence of this and, taken together with Anne's being sent a copy of Tyndale's Obedzence, indicates that she obtained or received even the most controversial evangelical works and circulated them at court. None of this proves that Anne was herself an evangelical; Anne's charity, her support of poor students and the piety of her household can be explained as good public relations; her fostering of the careers of evangelicals and her intercessions on their behalf can be seen as a shrewd politician's building up a cadre of supporters. To paraphrase a remark made to Anne's daughter, Foxe's book cannot be used as a window onto Anne's conscience. But Anne was interested in evangelical works, she was a patron of rising evangelicals, a protector of those who were harassed and in some respects, at least, she behaved in the ways expected of a pious queen. She was also remembered as both a model and a champion by the reformers, in England and abroad, immediately after her death and for decades thereafter. It was this enduring image of Anne among evangelicals, rather than the dictates of propaganda, that led Foxe to eulogize Anne, declaring 'what a zelous defender she was of Christes gospell, all the world doth know and her actes doe and will declare to the worldes ende'.75

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