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423 [423]

which could not be counted of the poore clergy which daily without nomber, ronne vnto the courte of Rome, carieng with them all their whole substance.

The Archebyshop of Turonne said also at Basell in the yeare of our Lord. 1439. that three millions of gold came vnto Rome in his time within the space of. xiiii. yeares of the Prelats & Prelacies wherof no accōpt could be made, beside the poore clergy, which daily ronne to that court. Let the man which feareth god iudge, what a deuouring gulfe this is. MarginaliaWhat is a million.A million conteineth. x. hundred thousand.

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¶ Sir Roger Onley knyght, and Ellenore Cobham, and the mother of the Lady Yonge.  
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Eleanor Cobham

In his Catalogus, Bale gave an account of a 'Roger Onley', a chaplain to Eleanor Cobham, the wife of Duke Humphrey of Gloucester. Bale described 'Onley' as an Oxford graduate, who became a Lollard. The clergy, because he was a Lollard, and because they hated Gloucester, falsely accused 'Onley' and the duchess of Gloucester of sorcery. 'Onley' and certain others were hanged, drawn and quartered. Eleanor Cobham was tried by an ecclesiastical tribunal and imprisoned for the rest of her life (Catalogus, pp. 584-5). The individual whom Bale identified as Roger Onley was, in fact, Roger Bolingbroke, the principal of St Andrew's Hall, Oxford. (One of Bale's sources, the chronicle of John Hardyng, misidentified Bolingbroke as Onley). Bale's account was, moreover, highly tendentious. Eleanor Cobham had, in fact, dabbled in astrology in an effort to find out when her husband (the heir to the childless Henry VI) might become king. Cobham also obtained love potions from one Margery Jourdemane, a reputed witch, whom Bale failed to mention. (For an account of the episode see R. A. Griffiths, 'The Trial of Eleanor Cobham', Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 51 [1968-9], pp. 381-99). Most importantly, no medieval source gives the slightest hint that Bolingbroke and Cobham were, as Bale claimed, Lollards. This is based solely on Bale's assumption, stemming from his desire to see proto-Protestants throughout the Middle Ages, that anyone condemned by an ecclesiastical tribunal was a Lollard or a Protestant avant la lettre. Bale simply ignored detailed descriptions of Cobham's sorcery and the inconvenient involvement of Jourdemane.

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Foxe first printed an account of this incident, based solely on Bale, in the Rerum (p. 116). Foxe, however, added an important error of his own. He stated that Onley (or Bolingbroke), was a knight, while Bale (and Bale's sources) are clear that he was a cleric. Foxe repeated his brief account of Onley and Cobnam in the 1563 edition. The combination of Bale's and Foxe's errors provided Nicholas Harpsfield, Foxe's most important contemporary critic, with an invaluable opportunity to discredit Foxe. Harpsfield seized upon it with alacrity. Harpsfield pointed out that Onley was not a knight and that he was really Roger Bolingbroke. He also made something of Foxe's mention of a woman, the mother of Lady Young, whose account appeared in the 1563 edition (just after that of Cobham and 'Onley') and made his own mistaken assumption: that the mother of Lady Young was actually Margery Jourdemane. (The mother of Lady Young was actually Joan Boughton, who was executed in 1494; see The Great Chronicle of London, ed. A. H. Thomas and I. D. Thornley [London, 1938], p. 252. Boughton was the mother-in-law of Sir John Young, a mayor of London). Harpsfield also pointed out that no source claimed that Cobham, Bolingbroke and Jourdemane were heretics. Rather all were agreed that they were convicted of sorcery (Dialogi sex, pp. 830-1).

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In the 1570 edition, Foxe responded to Harpsfield. He conceded that he was incorrect about Onley/Bolingbroke having been a knight, but that was his only concession. The 1570 account of Cobham, including Foxe's response to Harpsfield, was repeated, without change, in subsequent editions.

Thomas S. Freeman,
University of Sheffield

WIth in shorte time after Sir Roger Onley followed the Lorde Cobham and Sir Roger Acton being a knight of like Nobility and order and so like wise pertaker of the like cause and quarel a man indewed with like valiantnes and godlines whome we doo rede in certaine Annals to be hanged for the truth sake in the yeare of our Lord. 1441.

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And lest that this rage of persecution should not wrape in all and euery sectes and kind or should no sufficiently fulfil al pointes of crewelty, as though it had bene but a small matter hetherto to haue murdered so many men they begane now to execute their cruelty vpon wemen. Of the whiche sorte although there haue bene many whiche haue followed their spouse Christ by tormēts, banishment, and death, yet þe first in this nomber which cometh vnto our handes, Ellenore Cobham a woman nothing at all degenerating from her stock, kindred, & name, receiued of her aūcesters, albeit that we can finde or vnderstande none other thing of her but that for suspicion of heresie, that is to say, for the loue and desire of the truth she was by the papists banished into the ile of man as Hardinge and Fabian do write. Whō a few yeares after there folowed a woman, who for her cōstancie and vertue, was greatly to be cōmended and praised beynge called the mother of a certaine lady Surnamed yong she perseuering euen vnto the fier with a stoute and manly courage for the cōfession of the Gospel was burned in the yeare of oor Lord. 1490. Marginalia1490

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¶ Hieronimus Sauonarola.

Marginalia1490THis Hierominus Sauonarola,  

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Foxe had an account of Savanorola in his Commentari (fo. 177r-v)but this account is conflated from two sources. The first is the admiring accountof Philippe de Commynes, whose praise of Savanorola as a prophet who foresawthe future and who was dedicated to the reform of the Church, helped establishSavanorola as a proto-Protestant to the Reformers (see Philippe de Commynes,De Carlo Octavo…et bello Neapolitano Commentarii [Paris, 1561], pp. 105-7). The other source was the account of Savanorola in Matthias Flacius,Catalogus testium veritatis (Basel, 1562), p. 565.

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being singulerly well learned and a monke in Italy, preached sore against the euell life and liuing of the spiritualty, & specially of his owne order, complaining sore vpon them, as the springes and autores of all mischeues and wickednes. Wherupon by the helpe of certaine learned men, he began to seake reformatione in his owne order, whiche thing the Pope perceiuing, and fearyng, that the sayde Hierome, whiche was now in great reputation amonges all men, should diminish or ouerthrowe his autoritie, he ordeined his vicar to se reformatiō of these matters, which vicar with great superstition began to reforme things, but that the sayd Hierome did always withstand him, wherupon he was complained of by the Pope, and because that contrary vnto the Popes commaundement, he did withstande his vicar, he was accursed. But for all that, Hieronimus left not of preachynge, but threatned Italy with the wrath and indignation of God, and prophecied before vnto them, that the lande should be ouerthrowen for the pryde and wickednes of the people, and for the vntruthe, hipocrisie and falshod of the clergie, whiche God would not leaue vnreuenged, as afterwarde it came to passe, when as kynge Charles came into Italy and to Rome, and so straytlye beset the Pope Alexander, that he was forced to make cōposition with the king.

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