JOHN FOXE (1516–1587), the martyrologist, was born at Boston, Lincolnshire, and was educated at Oxford, where he became a fellow of Magdalen College but resigned his fellowship in 1545, being unwilling to conform to the statutes in religious matters. In 1554 he retired to the Continent, and issued at Strasburg his Commentarii (the earliest draft of his Actes and Monuments).
From 1555 to 1559 he was employed at Basle as readcer of the press by Oporinus (Herbst), who published Foxe’s verse drama Christus Triumphans in 1556, his appeal to the English nobility on toleration in 1557, and the first issue of his Rerum in ecclesia gestarum…commentarii in 1559.
On his return to England he was ordained priest by Grindal in 1560, and in 1564 he joined John Day, the printer, who in 1563 had issued the English version of the Rerum in ecclesia gestarum…commentarii as Actes and Monuments, popularly known as the Book of Martyrs. He became a canon of Salisbury in 1563, but objected to the use of the surplice and to contributing to the repairs of the cathedral. He preached at Paul’s Cross a famous sermon, ‘Of Christ Crucified’, in 1570. His edition of the canon laws Reformatio Legum appeared in 1571.
He was buried in St. Giles’ Church, Cripplegate. Four editions of the Actes and Monuments (1563, 1570, 1576, and 1583) appeared in the author’s lifetime; of the posthumous issues, that of 1641 contains a memoir of Foxe, attributed to his son.
The Book of Martyrs, by John Foxe, is an English Protestant account of the persecutions of Protestants, many of whom had died for their beliefs within the decade immediately preceding its first publication. It was first published by John Day, in 1563. Lav...[SEE MORE]