Thomas Fuller.

The church history of Britain, from the birth of Jesus Christ until the year MDCXLVIII (Volume 1) online

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Online LibraryThomas FullerThe church history of Britain, from the birth of Jesus Christ until the year MDCXLVIII (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 59)
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Fuller, Thomas, 1608-1661.
The church history of
Britain, from the birth of


^Pf?2 7 1939





















An ingenious gentleman, some months since, in jest-
earnest advised me to make haste with my History of
the church of England ; " for fear," said he, " lest the
church of England be ended before the History thereof"

This History is now, though late, (all church-work is
slow,) brought with much difficulty to an end.

And, blessed be God ! the church of England is still
(and long may it be !) in being, though disturbed, distem-
pered, distracted. God help and heal her most sad
condition !

The three first books of this volume were for the main
written in the reign of the late king, as appeareth by the
passages then proper for the government. The other
nine books were made since monarchy was turned into a

May God alone have the glory, and the ingenuous
reader the benefit, of my endeavours ! which is the
hearty desire of

Thy servant in Jesus Christ,


From my Chamber in Sion-CoUege.



In submitting to tlic public au account of tlic principles on wli'iclr
the publication of this edition of F(jLLEr\s "'Church History"
has been conducted, I am but performing a duty which for nearly
thirty years I have imposed upon myself as a matter of conscience,
in all cases in which any literary responsibility has rested on me
alone ; and the avowal of my extreme reluctance to alter or re-
construct the works of other men, has always been received with
courtesy, and obtained general credence and approval.

In the present work I have not altered the construction of a
single sentence ; though some entire paragraphs, evidently written in
haste, were not formed on the best or most exact models. The
punctuation, on the whole, was so excellent, that I have seldom seen
cause for any substitution. In the many thousand proper names of
men, cities, and countries, the spelling of which was usually uncouth,
defective, and variable, I have followed, as nearly as possible, modern
usage : In the early British, Danish, and Saxon names, I have
commonly adopted the orthography of Tindal in his translation of
Rapin ; while, in the names of churchmen, the accurate Le Neve
has been my principal guide. In those instances in which a single
letter too much or too little had been employed, and in which the
best authorities are somewhat at variance, I have usually suf-
fered the words to remain as they were written by the author.
Thus, the Popish biographer Pitts has his name occasionally Latin-
ized as Pitseus, and in other places, more in accordance with
analogy, Pitzccus. On these points, and on others, on which, for my
own credit"'s sake as a printer, I have bestowed much (often ill-
appreciated) labour, I claim the indulgent forbearance of those who
may discover any stray fault or (previously) undetected error.

I here subjoin a list of such words as I have changed for others,
their cognates in meaning and derivation : —

Ahbathie into abbacy ; acception, acceptation ; advoutry, adultery ; aferde, afraid ;
ajics, aches ; alarumed, alarmed ; almorie, almonry ; amhuling, ambling ; Awjlized,
Anglicized ; appale, appal ; appliable, applicable ; ajjprentiship, apprenticeship ; armado,
armada ; assistance, (sometimes) assistants ; astonied, astonished : attendance, (some-
times) attendants. ^az7;>, bailiff; hegrutch, begrudge; beholding ,'he\Lo\Acn ; beshroiv,
beshrew ; biskets, biscuits; Black-Moor, Blackamoor; breve, hnei; buck some, hvLiLom.
Caption, captiousness ; carvil, carving ; ceased on, seized on ; chairie, chary ; c Aam-
^io«, champaign, chantery jan'ej'/*, chanter priests; c/aVjo-^reoi, surgeon ; c^oc?<?, chid-
den ; tvarjc, corpse ; c/m<, clinch ; commune, common; consort, concert; cowardness,
cowardliness ; cranie, cranny ; crceple, cripple. Damosell, damsel ; deceipls, deceits ;
demeans, domains, demesnes ; despight, despite ; dirige, dirge ; diurnal, journal. Epi-
gramrnist, epigrammatist : eremitical, hermitical j e.ctempory, extemporary. Fained,
VOL. I. b


feigned ; flea, to flay ; fnwen, flown ; fomace, furnace ; furthirard, forward. Ganthp,
gantlet ; gate, gait ; yaulcd, galled ; gentile, genteel, gentle ; girting, girding ; granaf,
garnet ; grutch, grudge. Harraged, harassed ; hereinite, hermit ; heraults, heralds ;
higheth, hieth ; haggard, hog-herd ; hospital, hospitable ; hollow, halloo ; hurled, did
hurt; husn-ij'e, housewife. /, a}- ; • iles, aisles; impe, imp; immcrgent, emergent;
impatible, impassible ; impostourie, imposture ; influent, influential ; ingenious, ingenu-
ous, <■/ t'lce irc.fa ; intitulelh, entitleth. Jca/, jet ; justiccr, a justice, justiciary. Kem-
ierf, combed ; /^e/j^rt/icfl/, ccphalical ; hnowkdge, acknowledge; known in, knowing in.
lAtgge, lag ; lanthorn, lantern ; lay, lie ; licger-booh, ledger-book. Margent, margin ;
innrish, mar^h ; metal, mottle ; viistris, mistress ; moe, more ; moncths, months ; viuting,
mutin)nng. Neb, nib ; nother, neither ; nouzled, nursed. Paradoxal, paradoxical ;
paramore, paramour ; paunage, pannage ; phansie, fancy ; pregagcd, pre-engaged ; pro-
fuxiveness, profiiseness ; prolling, prowling ; propriety, property, or proprietorship ; pul-
lein, poultiy ; pnrsevant, pursuivant ; pintle, pustule. Quire, choir. Rampair ing , ram-
piring ; redoii-n, redound ; rode, rood : Romized, Romanized ; roomthyer, roomier ; ruffin,
ruffian ; rythmer, rhymester. Salvages, savages ; salyres, satyrs ; scalled head, ecald head ;
scar, scare ; scited, situated ; scrued, screwed ; sensing, censing ; servial, servUe ;
shewen, shown ; shiprack, shipwreck ; shrodely, shrewdl}- ; shuffing, shoving ; sithe?ice,
since ; sir-loyne, sir-loin ; slenting, slanting ; slovenness, slovenliness ; sodain, sudden :
sodometry, sodomy ; sometimes, some time ; southsaycrs, soothsayers ; sowne, swoon ;
spate-bone, spade-bone ; strick, (the preterite,) struck, stricken ; straightly, straitly ;
strawed, strewed ; stroke, strook, struck ; siiccours, suckers ; summers, smnmoners •
synonymas, synonymous ; sprongen, sprimg ; sungen, sung. Tcastie, testy ; ienents,
tenets; then, than; throughly, thoroughly; thorowout, throughoiit ; iole, toll; tunder,
tinder; tyring-huuse, tiring-house. Understanden, understandcd, understood ; upholster,
upholsterer, fastfl-bread, wastel-bread ; van-currier, avant-courier ; velame, vellum ;
vicaridges, vicarages ; vindicative, vindictive. JVagary, waggery j wrack, to rack
(slretcb) ; wrastle, wrestle ; n-reckt, wreaked ; to u-ete, to wit.

I also subjoin a collection of the principal words, which, for
various reasons, I have retained, tliough they are seldom employed
in modern writing . —

Abrood, (brooding,) accomptant, adulced, advoke, aggest, alouely, amatorious, apos-
fated, approcation, approprjing, three a-clock, arreared, (erected,) attainture, authentic-
iifss, avowauce. Barretor, battel, (to fatten,) to bemad, besteaded, as the preterite of
besicttd, braugle. Chequered, cheveril, (flexible,) chops, (exchanges,) co-arctated,
oonipt, complices, convelled, coparceny, coiTasive, cor-rivality. Datary, decession,
flccoring, (adorning,) defalk, detectable, discede, disherison, disorderhness, duncical, to
depart with, (to part with power,) to delate, duuted. Eftsoons, embarren, ensealing,
evangel, exotniitious, exscribe, extirp. Farced, (stuffed,) fautors, to fend, flew in fitters,
(ill fritters,) frank-alraonage. Gaged,t the gingles, gingling, gremials, gree, gripple.
Iliirry, (lianiss,) huke. Imnianity, inculked, impostresses, (female impostors,) impostrix,
iiidfutiiig, (liargniniug,) infamed, inuoduted, intrado. Joculary. Kin, as an adjective.
Lapped, lashiug oat, licourish, Hcgeance, lieger, longsomeness, loobily. Maturated,
minded, (reminded,) miuutniy, (momentaiy,) misoclere, (a hater of the clergy,) mortisa-
tioii, mumming. No, nimicty, nimined, nustled. Orderable. Palliate, (as an adjective,)
pervertH, (()ppt)spd to converts,) plausiblclize, posthume, postposing, postposed, (placed
after,) precedential, predie, privado, preventions, publickness, pursy. Rampires, to rap,
to rape, rasbod uj), ratli-ripe, rcdonb, register, (the person,) relate, (refer,) renderable,
renting, (rending,) resent, (to feel,) restauration. Sacring, (consecrating,) to sag aside,
(shuk.-, stagger,) newer, (dapi/er, a serving-man,) shent.shive, (a slice,) shiver, siftener,

• This ocrurH but once, vol. iii. p. 53, line 12. f This word occurs only once,

vol. ii. p. IM ; and its signification cannot easily be determined, (hough it seems to
hfiir iliut of engaged, BH " induced, drawn away," ive.


skrine, smitheiy, snibbed, sopiting, sp-nster, (one who spins,) sqiieasy, a stale, stayed-
ness, supportation. Tailed, tang, tolled out, (decoyed,) tomring, tottad, trlndiUiJ. Uugivc,
un-understood, lire. Volant. Winclied.

Nearly one-third portion of the vvords in both these lists occur in
public documents, or in extracts from early authors, who flourished
prior to the commencement of the seventeenth century. For the
remaining two-thirds Fuller is himself accountable ; yet even these
he does not uniformly write as they are here exhibited, but lie
occasionally differs from himself, in better accordance with modern
usage. A few of these words maybe considered as mere misprints ;
and of other obsolete words (such as predie^ mumming, tomring,
tottad) it would not be difHcult to give the correct interpretation
by comparison of similar phraseology in contemporary writings, were
not such an occupation rather the office of a professed lexicographer,
than of an unassuming editor, who, currente calamo, may be allowed
occasionally to throw out some of those remarks which naturally
suggest themselves in the course of his professional reading.

It is the imperative duty of every one concerned in the republica-
tion of any of our standard old authors, to retain as many of the
sterling English words, whether of Saxon or Latin extraction, as can be
understood without much difficulty by general readers, and to give an
honest account of all such slight alterations made in others as seem
to be necessary. Among the educated portion of the community a
strong and laudable desire exists to investigate the original sources
and ancient construction of our language, and to trace the various
changes which it has subsequently undergone : to such persons these
lists furnish the proper materials for that useful and interesting study.
The passive participle I have commonly found to be accurately
formed ; tooJc is the principal exception, which I have uniformly
changed into taken. The genitive case of nouns was, in many pas-
sages, constructed on the clumsy plan of circumlocution which,
soon after the Revolution, became quite obsolete, and which I have
in this work always discarded. Thus, for such phraseology as " the
end of king James his reign,'''' I have substituted " the end of king
James s reign^ The author always employs funerals and corpse,
(applied to one person,) as plural nouns, and I have changed them
into the singular.

My reluctance to engage in alterations, how plausible soever they
may at first appear, will be seen in my retaining such a curious
phrase as, " on the brink of the brink of the precipice," (vol. i.
p. 198,) and similar expressions, which in any other writer I should
have considered as useless tautology, or an error of the press. But,
entertaining a fear lest some recondite wit might be concealed from
common observation under such phrases, I have allowed them to
hold their wonted station in the text. — In a note, (vol. iii. pp. 4.58,
459,) the word semnably is found, quoted from Fuller's "Appeal of
injured Innocence."" I have not altered it ; for though, at tlic
first glance, it may appear to be a misprint for semhlably, yet I
considered, as one of the newly-coined words, of which our lively
author was no sliglit contributor into the common treasury of that



age, semnahhi might claim quite as plausible an origin as many
others, from the Greek adverb a-ixvcoc^ " solemnly," " with all

In certain rare instances of defective composition, I have ventured
to add a single explanatory word ; but the reader will always find it
distinguished from the text by its enclosure within crotchets [thus].
The twenty-eight passages wliich Fuller specified as errata, at the
close of his " History," are here corrected ; as well as many others,
pointed out in his " Appeal " as acknowledged errors. Of the
copies of his " Church History " which I have used in this reprint,
one proves to be what he calls " an amended copy ;" that is, it
contains above twenty of his additional emendations, which, on
comparing the corresponding pages of the two editions with each
other, bear evidence of having been made while the several sheets
in which they occur were at press, and before the whole impression
was completed. Had I collected from his " Worthies " the many
corrections which he wishes to be made in this " History," I should
have expended my labour to no good purpose ; as those who peruse
that posthumous work, exactly as it was published by his children,
would thus have been deprived of half of the charm" which Fuller
imparts, by the witty and original method of varying his notes,
even when singing his own peccavi.

I have substituted the relative icho or that, for "which" when
applied to persons ; though the almost indiscriminate use of all the
three relatives in such application was the common practice of that
age. Another alteration also I have conceived it to be a part of
my duty to effect : — to prevent tliis generally very correct Avriter
from transgressing the rules of grammar, especially in his hasty
mode of yoking a verb in the singular number with two or more
])lural nouns in the nominative. In these two particulars I am borne
out by the sanction of the author himself, who, in his " Appeal of
injured Innocence," observes : — " All faults committed are not dis-
covered. All faults which are discovered arc not confessed. Such
as the printer deemeth small he leaveth to be amended by the direc-
tion of the sense, and discretion of the reader, according to the
common speech that t/ie reader oiufht to be better than his book:''

From the diys of Thomas Fuller to those of Thomas Hood, I
never found a writer naturally witty who did not almost uncon-
eciouslv luxuriate in pleasant alliterations. The subjoined slight
sprinkling of specimens shall now suffice : —

Vol. i.— " But 1)oia boffgara are flie bane of the best bounty." (P. 161.) " You cross
the curri'Dt of common comii>tion— skilful in knowing, cnrofiil in keeping, courteous in
conunuuicating, your curious collections in that kind." (P. 233.) " It is proportionably
probable that the posterity of Shamgar gave the goad," &c. (P. 43G.) " It hath had the
hard hnp, not tg^ bo honoured." (P. 4GG.) << Whose faith fought the first duel with
fire itself." (P. 47-1.) " Victorious bays boar only barren berries." (P. 487.)

\n\. ii. — " Down their Diana, if Paul be permitted to preach to the people." (P. 90.)
'< Finding so fair a (lower as first-fruits fallen out of her crown." (P. 96.) " Managing
not only multitudes but multiplicity of matters, they must mistake." (P. 101.) '<Much
ben.oane.l, n martial man of merit." (P. 214.) " Doubtful before, and bear the burden
of Ins own beirayii^." (P. 217.) " Pope Paul the fourth, whoUy favouring the French
fjciioij." (P. 42It.)


Vol, ill. — " Some misliked imposing njoney-miilcts on men's consciences." (P. 20.)
" Whose appearance in any protestant state is as siire a presage, as the playing of por-
poises ahove water, that foiil weather is to follow." " Some are of a milder temper, and
better metalled, who hy moderation may be melted into amendment." (P. 21.) " Prone
rather to pity and pardon, than punish, his passion." (P. 66.) " Justly famished for
want of food, who fonnerly had surfeited on improbable lies, by him first forged,"
(P. 67.) " Pui'posely they enhanced the price, to put it past the power of poor men's
purses to piu-chase it." (P, G9.) " A mass, a mint, a mine of money." (P. 71.) " His
languishing life lasted a year longer, so great his grief." (P. 91.) "Men may make
clothes either for mirth or for mourning." (P. 97.) " The other hasteth home to his
house, and with fasting and prayer begged pardon of God for his pride and boldness,
that having neither promised precept nor precedent for his practice, &c. (P. 116.) Curn
tiniltis aliis } qua nunc perscriLcre lovgum est.

Of notes, in elucidation or correction of tlie text, I have been very
sparing. Had I subjoined them to every passage which I deemed to
be incorrect, the work would have been extended to an inconvenient
size, without any corresponding advantage to the reader. Burnet and
Strype have pointed out several inaccuracies; the latter especially, who
lived in times of greater tranquillity, has collated some of those pub-
lic documents which first appeared in Fuller, and freed them from the
faults which must always attach to a hurried perusal and a hasty tran-
scription ; — the circumscribed leisure and flitting opportunities of
our author having prevented him from bestowing the care and cau-
tion which in such cases are indispensable requisites. To me, indeed,
the matter of highest Avonder is, that the points are, comparatively,
so few on which subsequent historians show him to have been mis-
taken : and, after all the collateral aids which he received, I give
liim full credit for a goodly portion of that compass and strength of
memory for which he is celebrated in English story, and which in
this extensive work must have been severely taxed. One excellence
I claim as distinguishing my own thinly-scattered annotations, —
that, strongly expressed as my private opinions have formerly been
on many affairs connected with Church and State, (which yet I have
found little reason to retract or modify,) the world will here discover
very fcAV traces of them ; but I have left Fuller completely at liberty
to give his own version of doctrines, ceremonies, and public occur-
rences, and to reason on them from his own principles. We are
plentifully furnished with other conflicting views and arguments on
the same subjects ; and every man of ordinary intelligence is philo-
sopher enough to know, that, by an impartial investigation of these
contradictory data, truth acquires greater power when thus elicited,
and arrant falsehood is exposed.

In the preceding Address "to the Reader," the author informs
us, that the first tho'ee books of his Church History were, " for the
main, written in the reign of the late king, [Charles I,] The other
nine we made since Monarchy was turned into a State." —
Twelve books are here enumerated, while only eleven will be found
in the present edition ; but those who purchase and peruse these
three volumes, when taught to reckon " the History of the Univer-
sity of Cambridge" as the twelfth book, will be inclined to defer to
the judgment which bishop Nicolson thus reluctantly pronounces :


"Thomas Fuller ^vas pleased to annex his History of the TJiiitersity
of Cambridge to that of the Churches of Great Britain ; and most
people think they ought not to he separated^* In composing his
" Church History,"" he adopted the plan of recording in chronological
order the founders, benefactors, and celebrated men of the various
colleges in Oxford ; and repeatedly directs his readers to his " History
of the University of Cambridge" for the corresponding information
respecting the foundations, benefactions, and eminent persons of the
latter University, of which he was himself a member ; and to his
alma mater he proved to be a dutiful son, rendering to her all
due honour and respect.

This valuable " History of the University" is now published, and
has Fuller's " Appeal of injured Innocence " appended to it as a kind
of thirteenth book. The entire title of the latter is : " The Appeal
of injured Innocence, unto the religious, learned, and ingenuous
Reader; in a Controversy betwixt the Animadvertor Dr. Peter
Heylin, and the Author Thomas Fuller." It issued from the
press in the year prior to the Restoration ; and in it the multifliri-
ous acquirements and wonderful intellectual resources of Fuller are
displayed to better advantage, perhaps, than in any or all of his
former productions. Highly as I am reputed to venerate his anta-
gonist, Peter Heylin, that staunch and sturdy royalist, I feel no
hesitation in pronouncing Fuller the victor in this contest ; not only
from the general justness of his cause, but also for that which exalts
liim as a man and a Christian — his playful wit, ingenuous candour,
ahuost unfailing good-humour, and remarkable moderation. The
"Appeal" is known to very few of our ecclesiastical historians;
though, as a regular and clever reply to Heylin's severe and discur-
sive Examen Ilistoricum^ it incidentally affords a multitude of
curious historical illustrations, especially in reference to those event-
ful times in which both of them had been sufferers.

To several parts of bishop Nicolson's satirical exposure of our
author, I cannot subscribe ; but, in passing, I take particular excep-
tions against that which represents Fuller eager in his pursuit of
drollcry,i- " without staying to inquire whether a ])retty story have
any foundation in truth or not." On the contrary, I have uniformly
found him to be tenacious in ascertaining the truth of the facts
which he nanates, and pouring floods of ridicule upon such as were
deficient in that essential qualification.

As to the drollery and witticisms with which the work abounds,
such a style of writing ecclesiastical history is at first sight some-
what sUirtling, and repugnant to the ideas which are usually enter-
tained euncerning the appropriate gravity of the Historic Muse ;

• EnylUh Ilistoriial Lihrnry,^. 154. Second Kililion. 1714. t Tlie same

levity of exprcKHion and iiidiscriiuinate daslios of wit were pointod out to him by Hoyliii
as cnlpalilo Ijlfiiiitdu's ; who in this n-spect was himself an offender in kind', though
not ill degree. Rut Fuller Hoems to have heen so utterly uneouscious of any exuher-
uuce of broad humour williin hi;* breast, as to repel the charge, and chaUi'nge hia
adversary, in the following style :- •' But let him at leisure produce the most light
and ludicrous story in all my book, and hero I stand ready to parallel it with as light
(I will not say in the Animadvertor, but) in as grave authors as ever put pen to paper."
- .Jjipcal of injured Inmccncc.


and yet, whether viewed as natural, or assumed for the occasion, its
effect on that age was most admirable. Palled and perverted as the
public taste had become, through the bitter and (in many instances)
gloomy writings of contending parties in politics and religion during
the preceding fifteen years, I doubt whether the people would have
endured any narrative of ecclesiastical affairs, especially of those
which so nearly concerned that generation, in a strain more stately
and dignified than that which is here employed. The honest and
Avitty Tom Fuller may seem to have procured, from " the powers
which then were," a roving license or dispensation ; and was per-
mitted to give utterance to some strong sentiments, which less-
favoured individuals durst scarcely own to have found a lodgment
within their breasts. Natural strokes of humour are of perpetual
recurrence, the allusions in which occasionally amount to the most
stringent sarcasm ; and when applied (apparently at hap-hazard) to

Online LibraryThomas FullerThe church history of Britain, from the birth of Jesus Christ until the year MDCXLVIII (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 59)