John Foxe



J. F. Mozley, John Foxe and his Book (London, 1940).

Smith, ELR, 1 (1971)

John Hazel Smith, ‘John Foxe on Astrology’, English Literary Renaissance, 1 (1971), 210-25.


Foxe's Papers

A large collection of Foxe's papers is preserved in the British Library (Harley MSS 416-26, 590, 783, and Lansdowne MSS 335, 353, 388-9, 819, 1045). It contains various materials relating to his work as a martyrologist and includes a number of drafts of original writings. The contents of the manuscripts in this collection are to some extent analysed in the published catalogues of the Harley and Lansdowne Manuscripts.

There is no complete bibliography of Foxe's published and unpublished writings. Some of Foxe's works are cited in nineteenth-century editions of Actes and Monuments; a list of his ‘minor works’ is supplied in Mozley, pp. 243-5; and a list of works ascribed to Foxe, including lost or unidentified items which might still be among his papers, appears in John Bale, Scriptorum illustrium Maioris Brytanniae catalogus (Basle, 1557), pp. 733-4. Entries are given below to manuscripts of identified works by Foxe which have been published or discussed in print. Apart from a single unpublished item (FxJ 12), the remaining heterogeneous material is briefly summarised in the Miscellaneous section below (FxJ 21-5).

Other theological or historical manuscripts which were owned or used by Foxe can be found in the Bodleian (MS Auct. F. 5. 26) and at Trinity College, Cambridge (manuscripts B. 2. 7 (James 50); B. 2. 35 (James 78); and B. 3. 34, 35 (James 113-14)). His annotated printed exemplum of Jan Hus et al., Historia et monumenta, prima pars (Nuremberg, 1558), which also contains notes by Lancelot Andrewes (see *AndL 58), is at Pembroke College, Cambridge (4. 11. 22-3). The detached title-leaf of a printed exemplum of Paulus Constantinus Phrygio, Chronicum regum (1534), bearing the signature ‘Joh. Foxii’ — probably Foxe's, though the leaf was once owned by the forger J.P. Collier — is in the Folger (MS X. d. 459 (6)).


Foxe's letter to Sir William Cecil (6 July 1568) requesting special permission to have Actes and Monuments printed by more than four printers is in Lansdowne MS 10 (ff. 211-12v). Other letters of Foxe, apart from those in the main collection of his papers, and not given separate entries, can be found in the following repositories:

Bodleian Library (MSS Rawl. C. 936, ff. 6r-11r; Rawl. D. 825, f. 47r)

British Library (Add. MSS 19400, f. 97r; 34727, ff. 2r-3v)

Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (MS 114, No. 198, p. 537)

Lambeth Palace (MS 2019, ff. 1r-2v): a joint petition to Archbishop Parker in favour of religious toleration, signed by Foxe, Miles Coverdale and other clerics, 20 March 1564/5. This was sold at Sotheby's, 15 October 1963, lot 516, to H.P. Kraus.

Magdalen College, Oxford: the letter accompanying the printed exemplum of Actes and Monuments (1563) that Foxe presented to his old college. Reproduced in Josiah Pratt's edition, I (1870), facing p. 42

Staatsarchiv, Zurich (E II 375, 580-4): six letters, dated 1559. Edited in translation in The Zurich Letters, ed. Hastings Robinson, Parker Society 7 (Cambridge, 1842), pp. 22, 25-6, 35-8, 41-3

University of Basle (Ki.-Ar. 18a, 181: a letter to Boniface Amerbach, 25 November 1556, originally accompanying a presentation exemplum of Locorum communium tituli (Basle, ‘1557’). Edited in Original Letters relative to the English Reformation, Second portion, ed. Hastings Robinson, Parker Society 28 (Cambridge, 1847), p. 767)

Zentralbibliothek, Zurich (Ms. F 62, f. 411: to Heinrich Bullinger, 21 January ‘1559’)

Several of Foxe's letters in the main manuscript collection are edited in Pratt's edition of Actes and Monuments, in the appendices of Vol. I. Part of the letter in Harley MS 416, f. 157r, is reproduced in Greg, English Literary Autographs, Plate LXV(c). A facsimile of part of another letter in Latin is in Frederick G. Netherclift, The Hand-Book to Autographs (London, 1862), No. 15.

Some later transcripts of letters by Foxe are in the following repositories:

Bodleian Library (Rawlinson K (Hearne) 45, f. 4v)

Bradford Archives (32D86/19, f. 37r-v)

Cambridge University Library (MS Mm. 1. 42, pp. 55, 82)

Lambeth Palace (MS 2010, f. 117r)

The Queen's College, Oxford (MS 284, f. 41r)

Printed Books

Exempla of Foxe's printed Pandectae locorum communium, a huge commonplace book (published in 1572 and 1585) based on one by Philip Melanchthon, consisting of a preface, an index, and subject headings at the top of blank leaves, can be found in British Library, Add. MS 6038, with extensive notes by Sir Julius Caesar, which he finished 12 December 1629; British Library, Harley MS 783, with manuscript entries possibly by Samuel Foxe; and in Cambridge University Library, MS Mm. 3. 7, with anonymous entries.

Foxe's Actes and Monuments — popularly known as The Book of Martyrs — was one of the most popular books of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and was frequently quoted in commonplace books and miscellanies, a number of which are recorded below (FxJ 1-1.180). Yet more examples, not given entries here, are references to the work in legal documents. The exemplum of the first edition of Actes and Monuments (1563) which the printer, John Day, presented to King's College, Cambridge, is still preserved there (pressmark M. 33. 59) but now lacks the title-leaf.

Another printed book once owned by Foxe is in the Pierpont Morgan Library. It is a Bible (1571) with his inscription on the title page ‘Ex dono Reverendiss. in Chro pris Matthaei Cantuariensis Archiepi 1571’. For some further light on Foxe's books and manuscripts see Ralph Hanna, ‘An Oxford Library Interlude: The Manuscripts of John Foxe the Martyrologist’, Bodleian Library Record, 17/5 (April 2002), 314-26.

Peter Beal