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The Cross cult, King Oswald, and Elizabethan historiography

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 March 2016

Paul J. Stapleton
University of North Carolina, Department of English and Comparative Literature, Greenlaw Hall, Box 3520, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599, USA. Email:
E-mail address:


In Thomas Stapleton’s The History of the Church of Englande (1565), the first modern English translation of Bede’s Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum, the cross cult is promoted as a definitive element of English religious and national identity, via the legend of the Saxon king Oswald. The version of the legend in Stapleton’s narrative, which includes textual supplements like illustrations, appears to be intended as a corrective in light of attacks upon the cross cult made in works of religious controversy by the reformists William Turner, John Jewel, and James Calfhill, but also in works of historiography such as the 1559 edition of Robert Fabyan’s Chronicle. In response to Stapleton’s expanded presentation of the Oswald legend, John Foxe reconfigures the narrative in the 1570 Acts and Monuments or Book of Martyrs, but in a bifurcated manner, perhaps to appease members of Matthew Parker’s circle of Saxon scholars. Surprisingly, in Book Three of The Faerie Queene (1590), Edmund Spenser carries on Stapleton’s iconodule understanding of Oswald’s cross in contrast to his reformist Protestant precursors. 1

Research Article
© Trustees of the Catholic Record Society 2016. Published by Cambridge University Press 

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Thank you to the members of the SIAS Institute on the History of the Image, led by Thomas Pfau and David Womersley, in 2013 in Durham, NC, and in 2014 in Berlin.


2 See Kidd, Colin, British Identities before Nationalism: Ethnicity and Nationhood in the Atlantic World, 1600–1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, particularly the chapter titled ‘Britons, Saxons and the Anglican quest for legitimacy’, 99–122; Robinson, Benedict Scott, ‘John Foxe and the Anglo-Saxons’, in Christopher Highley and John N. King, eds. John Foxe and His World (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2002), 5472 Google Scholar; Dillon, Anne K., The Construction of Martyrdom in the English Catholic Community, 1535–1603 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002), 333337 Google Scholar; Hamilton, Donna B., ‘Catholic Use of Anglo-Saxon Precedents, 1565–1625’, Recusant History 26 (2003): 537555 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Heal, Felicity, ‘Appropriating History: Catholic and Protestant Polemics and the National Past’, Huntington Library Quarterly 68 (2005): 109131 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Highley, Christopher, Catholics Writing the Nation in Early Modern Britain and Ireland (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 8487 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

3 Heal briefly mentions Stapleton’s focus on the cross in ‘Appropriating History’, 123–4.

4 On the relationship between illustrations and written texts, including the possibility for a single image to encapsulate an entire work, see Hodnett, Edward, Image and Text: Studies in the Illustration of English Literature (London: Scolar Press, 1982), 8, 15 Google Scholar. Oswald’s role in Elizabethan Catholic propaganda is corroborated by his inclusion in the non-extant cycle of murals in the English College at Rome, copied as part of the set of engravings in de Cavalleriis, Giovanni Battista, Ecclesiae Anglicanae Trophaea (Rome: Bartholomew Grassi, 1584)Google Scholar, fol. 11r. For commentary, see Dillon, The Construction of Martyrdom, 172–81, 202. For a similar cycle at Lisbon, where Oswald appeared sans cross, see Williams, Michael E., ‘Paintings of early British Kings and Queens at Syon Abbey, Lisbon’, Birgittiana: Rivista internazionale di studi brigidiani I (1996): 123134 Google Scholar, at 125; and Davidson, Peter, ‘Perceptions of the British Isles and Ireland among the Catholic Exiles’, in David Worthington, ed. British and Irish Emigrants and Exiles in Europe, 1603–1688 (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2010), 315322 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 316.

5 Stapleton, Thomas, trans. The History of the Church of Englande Compiled by Venerable Bede, Englishman (Antwerp: John Laet, 1565)Google Scholar, fol. 76r.

6 Ibid., fol. 76v.

7 Ibid., n.p.

8 See Amalarius of Metz, Liber Officialis, in Hanssens, Jean Michel, SJ, ed. Amalarii Episcopi Opera Liturgica Omnia, 3 vols (Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1948–50)Google Scholar, 2.103; here Bede’s Oswald is cited as evidence for the legitimacy of adoration rituals using a cross replica rather than a relic of the ‘true’ cross.

9 Stancliffe, Clare, ‘Oswald, “Most Holy and Most Victorious King of the Northumbrians,”’ in Stancliffe and Eric Cambridge, eds. Oswald: Northumbrian King to European Saint (Stamford, UK: Paul Watkins, 1995), 3383 Google Scholar at 50–1; and O’Reilly, Jennifer, ‘Reading the Scriptures in the Life of Columba’, in Cormac Bourke, Studies in the Cult of Saint Columba (Portland, OR: Four Courts Press, 1997), 80116 Google Scholar at 81–2.

10 Clemoes, Peter, The Cult of St. Oswald on the Continent, Jarrow Lecture 1983 (Jarrow, UK: St. Paul’s Church, 1983), 3 Google Scholar; Wallace-Hadrill, J.M., Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People: a Historical Commentary (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988), 89 Google Scholar; Stancliffe, ‘Oswald’, 63; O’Reilly, ‘Reading the Scriptures’, 82; and Carragáin, Éamonn Ó, Ritual and the Rood: Liturgical Images and the Old English Poems of the Dream of the Rood Tradition (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005), 231 Google Scholar.

11 Stapleton, The History of the Church of Englande, fol. 76v. For the corresponding Latin text see Colgrave, Bertram and Mynors, R.A.B., eds. and trans. Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969), 214 Google Scholar.

12 The earliest Helena narrative in Latin can be found in Ambrose’s funeral oration for the emperor Theodosius I in the year 395. For the text, see Sr. Mannix, Mary Dolorosa, ed. Sancti Ambrosii Oratio De Obitu Theodosii: Text, Translation, Introduction and Commentary (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America, 1925), 6061 Google Scholar. On Helena and the early cross cult, see Borgehammer, Stephan, How the Holy Cross was Found: From Event to Medieval Legend (Stockholm: Almquist & Wiksell International, 1991)Google Scholar. The earliest mention whatsoever of the relics of the cross in Jerusalem occurs in the Catecheses of Cyril of Jerusalem, a work written in Greek around the year 350. van Tongeren, Louis, Exaltation of the Cross: Towards the Origins of the Feast of the Cross and the Meaning of the Cross in Early Medieval Liturgy (Leuven: Peeters, 2000), 20 Google Scholar.

13 Wilkinson, John, ed. and trans. Egeria’s Travels to the Holy Land, rev. ed. (Jerusalem: Ariel Publishing House, 1981), 3 Google Scholar and 235–9; and Tongeren, Exaltation of the Cross, 2.

14 Röwekamp, Georg, ed. Itinerarium (Reisebericht) Egeriae (New York: Herder, 1995), 272 Google Scholar (37.1): ‘lignum sanctum crucis’. Translations are mine.

15 Ibid., 272 (37.2): ‘consuetudo est ut unus et unus omnis populus veniens, tam fideles quam cathecumini, acclinantes se ad mensam, osculentur sanctum lignum’.

16 Schmidt, Hermanus, SJ, ed. Hebdomada Sancta, 2 vols (Rome: Herder, 1956–7)Google Scholar, 2.791–2. Also, see Tongeren, Exaltation of the Cross, 120. Sarah L. Keefer calls OR XXIII ‘the earliest ordo material serving as witness for the ritual of Good Friday’. , Keefer, ‘The Performance of the Cross in Anglo-Saxon England’, in Karen Jolly, Catherine Karkov, and Keefer, eds. Cross and Culture in Anglo-Saxon England (Morgantown: University of West Virginia Press, 2008), 203241 Google Scholar at 215.

17 Andrieu, Michel, ed. Les Ordines Romani du Haute Moyen Âge, 5 vols (Leuven: Spicilegium Sacrum Lovaniense Administration, 1931–65)Google Scholar, 3.271.

18 Vogel, Cyrille, Medieval Liturgy: An Introduction to the Sources (Portland, OR: Pastoral Press, 1986), 170171 Google Scholar. Schmidt dates this ordo to the year 754 and considers it an adaptation by a liturgist from Gaul or a part of Italy outside Rome. Hebdomada Sancta, 513. See also Andrieu, Les Ordines Romani, 282. On the cross replica, see Keefer, ‘The Performance of the Cross in Anglo-Saxon England’, 219–20.

19 The oldest extant description of a veritable English cross-adoration synaxis can be found in eleventh-century manuscripts of the Regularis Concordia, a widely disseminated monastic liturgical document, often attributed to Æthelwold, bishop of Winchester, originating from the synod of Winchester held in the early 970s. Keefer, , ‘The Veneration of the Cross’, in Helen Gittos and Bradford Bedingfield, eds. Liturgy of the Late Anglo-Saxon Church (Woodbridge, UK: Boydell Press, 2005), 142184 Google Scholar at 144 and 161. For historical background, see Symons, Thomas, ‘ Regularis Concordia: History and Derivation’, in David Parsons, ed. Tenth-Century Studies: Essays in Commemoration of the Millenium of the Council of Winchester and Regularis Concordia (London: Phillimore, 1975), 3759 Google Scholar, esp. 37–43. A synopsis can be found in Keefer, ‘The Veneration’, 145–8. For the Latin text, with an interlinear Old English translation, see Kornexl, Lucia, ed. Die Regularis Concordia und ihre altenglische Interlinearversion (Munich: Fink, 1993), 8996 Google Scholar.

20 For the 1570 cross-adoration formulas, see Sodi, Manlio and Triacca, Achille Maria, eds. Missale Romanum, Editio Princeps (1570) (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1998), 192195 Google Scholar.

21 Processionale ad vsum insignis ecclesie Sar[um] (London: J. Kingston and H. Sutton, 1555), fol. lxviiiv: ‘Ecce lignum crucis in quo salus mundi pependit venite adoremus’. The ritual is described in the Sarum Missal, too, with the prayers truncated. See Missale ad vsum ecclesie Sarisburiensis (London: John Kyngston and Henry Sutton, 1555), fol. lxxxvv.

22 Processionale, fol. lxixr: ‘Deus misereatur nostri et benedicat nobis’.

23 On Church Papists, see McGrath, Patrick, Papists and Puritans Under Elizabeth I (London: Blandford Press, 1967), 2831 Google Scholar. On the ‘spectrum’ of early modern English Catholic identities, see Gallagher, Lowell, ed. Redrawing the Map of Early Modern English Catholicism (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012), 89 CrossRefGoogle Scholar. On alternative Catholic identities in Elizabethan England which overreach ‘Catholic-Protestant binaries’, see Walsham, Alexandra, Church Papists: Catholicism, Conformity and Confessional Polemic in Early Modern England (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 1993), 23 Google Scholar, 8–9; Wooding, Lucy, Rethinking Catholicism in Reformation England (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000), 115 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Hamilton, , Anthony Munday and the Catholics, 1560–1633 (Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2005), xvixvii Google Scholar.

24 See Keefer, ‘The Performance of the Cross’, 203ff.; and Hardison, O.B., Christian Rite and Christian Drama in the Middle Ages: Essays in the Origin and Early History of Modern Drama (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1965), 131134 Google Scholar; also, Aston, Margaret, England’s Iconoclasts: Volume 1: Laws Against Images (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988), 152 Google Scholar.

25 Sander, Nicholas, A Treatise of the Images of Christ, and of his Saints (Louvain: 1567; rptd. London: Scolar Press, 1976)Google Scholar, fol. 136r.

26 In A Newyeares Gifte Dedicated to the Popes Holinesse, and all Catholikes Addicted to the Sea of Rome (London: H[enry] B[ynneman], 1579), sig. H iir, crosses are listed in the ‘description of certain of the Popes wares and merchandize of late sent over into England’. Lisa McClain cites an anecdote where early lay Catholics furtively gathered during Easter week of 1604 in Lancashire and worshipped on hands and knees a broken cross placed on an upside-down basin. See McClain, , ‘Without Church, Cathedral or Shrine: The Search for Religious Space among Catholics in England, 1559–1625’, Sixteenth Century Journal 33 (2002): 381399 CrossRefGoogle Scholar at 381.

27 On lay piety among Church Papists, see Walsham, , Catholic Reformation in Protestant Britain (Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2014)Google Scholar, especially the chapters, ‘Beads, Books and Bare Ruined Choirs: Transmutations of Ritual Life’, 369–98; and ‘Translating Trent? English Catholicism and the Counter Reformation’, 341–67. According to Robert Whiting, in parishes in Sussex where crosses had been destroyed, ‘traditionalists’ were known to chalk crosses onto church walls. Whiting, , The Reformation of the English Parish Church (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 161 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

28 van Marnix, Philips, Aldegonde, Lord van St., The Bee Hiue of the Romishe Church, trans. George Gilpin (London: Thomas Dawson, 1579)Google Scholar, fol. 223v.

29 Missale ad vsum ecclesie Sarisburiensis, fol. lxxxv: ‘Deinde sacerdotes discooperientes crucem iuxta altare in dextera parte: canunt hanc an[tiphonam] Ecce Lignum [crucis]. Chorus cum genuflexione osculando formulas respondeat an[tiphonam] Crucem tuam [adoremus, Domine]’.

30 In comparison to the other two pictures in the panel, admittedly, the illusion of bare feet is not peculiar to this one scene, but it does appear to be more pronounced in the two kneeling figures.

31 Missale ad vsum ecclesie Sarisburiensis, fol. lxxxvv: ‘nudatis pedibus.’

32 Thomas Becon (1512–67), The Reliques of Rome (London: John Day, 1563), fol. 165v–6r, assigns the origin of ‘the Creeping unto the Cross’ to the papacy of Gregory I, when the initial period of corruption in the church commenced, at least according to Protestant writers like John Bale and John Jewel.

33 A proclamation, concernynge rites and ceremonies to be vsed in due fourme in the Churche of Englande (London: [T. Berthelet], 1539), n.p. Also, Paul L. Hughes and James F. Larkin, CSV, eds. Tudor Royal Proclamations, 3 vols (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1969), 1.279.

34 The English church’s doctrine about the relation between good works and salvation is formally articulated in Articles 11, 12, and 13 of the Thirty-nine Articles (1563). For the texts, see Cummings, Brian, ed. The Book of Common Prayer: The Texts of 1549, 1559, and 1662 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 677 Google Scholar. Good works are also the subject of the homily ‘Of Good Works’ in the First Book of Homilies or Certayne Sermons, or Homelies Appoynted by the Kynges Maiestie (London: Richard Grafton, 1547).

35 On Thomas Cranmer’s failure to provoke Henry VIII to abolish the practice, see Duffy, Eamon, The Stripping of the Altars, 2nd ed. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005), 443444 Google Scholar. On ‘iconoclastic outbreaks’ during these years, see Aston, England’s Iconoclasts, 245.

36 Turner, William, The Huntyng & Fyndyng out of the Romishe Fox (Basel: L. Mylius, 1543), 3738 Google Scholar, 43. This was originally published anonymously. On Turner’s ‘uncompromising position’, see Aston, England’s Iconoclasts, 244–5.

37 Turner, The Huntyng & Fyndyng out of the Romishe Fox, 39, 41.

38 Ibid., 41. Turner quotes the Latin text, providing his own translations. For the complete hymn, see the Sarum Processionale, fol. lxviiiv. It is truncated in the Sarum Missale to the incipit ‘Crucem tuam’, but the directive is fully articulated at fol. lxxxvv. See too the Good Friday directive that ‘the cross be born through the choir by two priests that there it may be worshipped of the people’ (‘deportetur crux per medium chori a duobus sacerdotibus vbi a populo adoretur’). Processionale, fol. lxxir; and Missale, fol. lxxxvv.

39 Turner, The Huntyng & Fyndyng out of the Romishe Fox, 43.

40 Frere, W.H., ed. Visitation Articles and Injunctions of the Period of the Reformation, 3 vols (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1910)Google Scholar, 2.184. Also, Tudor Royal Proclamations, 1.416, n.1. Other Edwardian injunctions against creeping to the cross can be found in Nicholas Ridley’s 1550 Injunctions for the London Diocese and John Hooper’s Articles for Gloucester and Worcester Dioceses in 1551–2 (Visitation Articles and Injunctions, 2.244, 2.267). See too Aston, England’s Iconoclasts, 262; and Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars, 457.

41 Visitation Articles and Injunctions, 2.349, 2.362, and 2.406; also, Tudor Royal Proclamations, 2.37. See, too, Aston, England’s Iconoclasts, 283; and [Interrogatories upon which ... churchwardens shalbe charged, for searche, of al such things as now be amysse] ([London: Robart Caly, 1558]), item 10. The creeping to the cross is tantamount to a definitive marker of Papism for the Roman Catholic author—believed to be John Leslie (1527–96)—of A treatise of treasons against Q. Elizabeth, and the croune of England ([Louvain: J. Fowler, 1572]), fol. 97v.

42 On the Challenge Sermon, see Jenkins, Gary W., John Jewel and the English National Church: The Dilemmas of an Erastian Reformer (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2006), 7073 Google Scholar. A Replie is itself a rejoinder to Thomas Harding’s An Answere to Maister Iuelles chalenge (Antwerp: William Sylvius, 1565).

43 Jewel, A Replie vnto M. Hardinges Answeare (London: Henry Wykes, 1565), 502.

44 For lyrics, see Hymnorum cum Notis Opusculu[m] Vsui Insignis Ecclesie [Sarum] Subseruie[n]s (London: J. Kyngston & H. Sutton, 1555), fol. xliv. The song is attributed to Venantius Fortunatus. See his Poemes, 3 vols, ed. Marc Reydellet (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1994–2004), 1.57. For an English version, see Lydgate, John, The Minor Poems, 2 vols, ed. Henry Noble MacCracken (London: Early English Text Society, 1911)Google Scholar, 1.26–7.

45 Jewel, A Replie vnto M. Hardinges Answeare, 502.

46 Calfhill, James, An Aunswere to the Treatise of the Crosse, ed. Richard Gibbings (London: Henry Denham, 1565; rptd. Cambridge: The University Press for the Parker Society, 1846), 20 Google Scholar. Calfhill’s Aunswere countered Martiall’s, John Treatyse of the Crosse (Antwerp: John Latius, 1564; rtpd. Yorkshire, UK: Scolar Press, 1974)Google Scholar, and this pair of treatises, taken together with two subsequent volumes, Martiall’s, A Replie to M. Calfhills Blasphemous Answer (Louvain: John Bogard, 1566)Google Scholar and Fulke’s, William A Rejoinder to John Martiall’s Reply (London: Henrie Middleton, 1580)Google Scholar, representative as they are of opposing confessional viewpoints, offers what collectively amounts to the fullest expression of the cross controversy published anywhere in Europe during the entirety of the sixteenth century, if not beyond.

47 Calfhill rehearses the iconodule position in An Aunswere to the Treatise of the Crosse, 386: ‘When ye adore an Image and creep to the Cross, saying, you know that to be but a piece of metal; you make not your prayers to that [the metal cross], but unto God alone, whom in spirit you worship, though your face peradventure be turned to the image’. Martiall cites John of Damascus (d. c.750) for the original idea, A Treatyse of the Crosse, fol. 126r.

48 Calfhill, An Aunswere, 292.

49 Ibid., 381–2. On latria and dulia, see Aston, England’s Iconoclasts, 47–9. Thomas Aquinas assigns latria to cross adoration in the Summa Theologica, 6 vols (Rome: Senatus, 1887), 4.227 (Pars 3, Quaestio 25, Articulus 4). For further evidence that the Roman church sanctioned latria for the cross, see Gibbings’s note in Calfhill, An Aunswere, 381.

50 Calfhill, An Aunswere, 186.

51 Ibid., 67.

52 Ibid., 85. He also remarks, ‘Your naked Cross, as it cannot stand by itself, so in itself it containeth nothing, unless perhaps some worms and spiders be crept into a corner of it’.

53 Ibid., 386, 378, 384, 387, respectively. Calfhill variously cites patristic sources to catalogue the cross as ‘a vile stock, or a cold, cankered, corrupt piece of metal’, ‘a post’, ‘a dumb god’, ‘a dead Devil’, ‘a dead thing’, ‘the counterfeit of Christ’, ‘an earthly counterfeit’, ‘the work of man’s hand’, ‘a senseless Image’, ‘a piece of wood’, ‘a mass of metal’, ‘two pieces of wood’, ‘the false Cross’ (367–9, 371–2, 374–6, and 380).

54 Editions of Fabyan’s Chronicle were published in 1516, 1533, 1542, and 1559. The 1533 edition, printed by William Rastell, was the first explicitly attributed to Robert Fabyan, who had died in 1513. McLaren, M-R., ‘Fabyan, Robert (d. 1513)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Online (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004)Google Scholar, n.p.

55 Fabyan, Robert, The Chronicle of Fabyan (London: William Bonham, 1542)Google Scholar, title page.

56 Womersley, David, Divinity and State (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 29 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

57 Fabyan, The Chronicle (1542), 105.

58 See Womersley, , Divinity and State, 30 Google Scholar.

59 Fabyan, The Chronicle (1542), 128.

60 The text cites the Polychronicon, which however, does not expunge the cross. See Higden, Ranulf, Polychronicon, 9 vols, ed. Joseph R. Lumby and trans. John Trevisa, Corpus of Middle English Prose & Verse (London: 1865–86; rtpd. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Library, 2006)Google Scholar, 5.453.

61 The promotion of royal supremacy in the 1542 Chronicle is most glaring in the case of Thomas Becket, lauded in the 1516 and 1533 editions as a martyr for the faith, but in the 1542 maligned as a traitor against a morally upright Henry II. For discussion and further examples of ‘reformation’ bias in the 1542 edition, see Womersley, Divinity and State, 22–33; and MacColl, Alan, ‘The Construction of England as a Protestant “British” Nation in the Sixteenth Century’, Renaissance Studies 18 (2004): 582608 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 584–6. It should be noted that the feast of St. Thomas Beckett was removed from the liturgical calendar by Henry VIII. Cummings, The Book of Common Prayer, 752.

62 Fabyan, , Fabyans Cronycle Newly Prynted (London: William Rastell, 1533)Google Scholar, fol. LXVv; and The Newe Cronycles of England and Fraunce (London: Richard Pynson, 1516), fol. lxviv.

63 See discussion below for the church built by Oswald and the miraculous ‘chips’ from the cross as presented in Stapleton’s The History of the Church of Englande.

64 Kyngston claims in his preface that ‘because the last print of Fabians Chronicle [1542], was in many places altered from the first copy [1533], I have caused it to be conferred with the first print of all, and set it forth in all points, according to the authour’s meaning’. This is patently not true. See Womersley, Divinity and State, 35–7. Still, Kyngston may not have been biased one way or another, as he was probably more concerned with printing books that would sell. See Beer, Barrett L., ‘Bibliographical Notes: John Kyngston and Fabian’s Chronicle (1559)’, The Library: The Transactions of the Bibliographical Society (7th ser.) 14 (2013), 199207 CrossRefGoogle Scholar at 203. Womersley, nevertheless, discerns a ‘conscripted’ Fabyan, , ‘unmistakenly Protestant’ yet not endorsing ‘pure or radical positions’. Divinity and State, 3435 Google Scholar.

65 Two 1559 editions were published, in January and May, the latter chronicling the first months of Elizabeth I’s reign. Beer, ‘Bibliographical Notes’, 201.

66 For the 1559 Oswald text, see The Chronicle of Fabian (London: John Kyngston, 1559), 139.

67 Stapleton, The History of the Church of Englande, fol. 76v.

68 This is not to suggest that iconoclasts like Calfhill did not appreciate the metonymic capacities of the cross, for Calfhill himself argues that John Chrysostom used the cross as ‘a figure of Metonymia’, though not for Christ, but for his Passion. An Aunswere, 69.

69 Stapleton, The History of the Church of Englande, fol. 76r.

70 In Bede there are two separate, unrelated personages named Cadwalla, one of whom is Oswald’s foe, but there is also a third personage with a very similar name, Cadwaladrus, who is the son of this Cadwalla. See Tatlock, J.S.P., The Legendary History of Britain (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1950), 251 Google Scholar. In later historiographies, however, all three get conflated in various combinations with variant spellings.

71 The concern about superstition has roots as far back as the description of the origins of the cross cult in Ambrose’s funeral oration for Theodosius I in 395, where, after Helena uncovers the ‘true’ cross and proceeds to worship it, Ambrose clarifies the propriety of her action: ‘Regem adoravit, non lignum utique, quia hic gentilis est error, et vanitas impiorum; sed adoravit illum qui pependit in ligno’ (‘She worshipped the king [Christ the King], not the wood in particular, which is a pagan errour and a misunderstanding of godless people; but she worshipped him who hung on the wood’). Ambrose, Oratio De Obitu Theodosii, 61 (section 46). Ambrose’s caveat was well-known to sixteenth-century English controversialists.

72 Stapleton, The History of the Church of Englande, fol. 75v–6r.

73 Many have noted, accepting Bede’s story apparently at face value, that Oswald’s motivation in erecting the cross may have been to appeal to the religious sensibilities of non-Christians among his troops because freestanding objects like wooden posts and even trees were sacred pagan symbols in Anglo-Saxon England. See Cramp, Rosemary, ‘The Making of Oswald’s Northumbria’, in Oswald: Northumbrian King to European Saint, 1732 Google Scholar at 30. I would think the same motivation may have applied to Bede himself.

74 In the Historia Ecclesiastica Bede’s emphasis on Oswald’s faith is likely a function of his historiographical program to provide secular exempla for the educated political elite in his native Northumbria. See, for example, Thacker, Alan, ‘Bede and History’, in Scott DeGregorio, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Bede (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 173177 Google Scholar, and 183–8. Stapleton would not have been cognizant of Bede’s underlying agenda, but he no doubt saw in Bede’s history a means to his own agenda, stated in his dedication: to convince Elizabeth to submit to the ‘holy Cross’, which he equates with ‘the only Catholike faith’, thus intending Oswald as an exemplum for the queen herself, whom he addresses as ‘Defendour of the Faith’.

75 Stapleton, The History of the Church of Englande, fol. 76v.

76 Ibid., fol. 76v, 77v.

77 Stapleton, Paul J., ‘Alcuin’s York Poem and Liturgical Contexts: Oswald’s Adoration of the Cross’, Medium Aevum 82 (2013): 189212 Google Scholar at 192.

78 On the 1570 edition as an intentional response to Stapleton, among others, see Evenden, Elizabeth and Freeman, Thomas. S., Religion and the Book in Early Modern England: The Making of Foxe’s ‘Book of Martyrs’ (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 137140 Google Scholar.

79 Foxe participated in the creation of his woodcuts. Aston, and Ingram, Elizabeth, ‘The Iconography of the Acts and Monuments ’, in David Loades, ed. John Foxe and the English Reformation (Aldershot, UK: Scolar Press, 1997), 66142 Google Scholar at 70–1.

80 On processional crosses as objects of medieval veneration, see De Blaauw, Sible, ‘Following the Crosses: The Processional Cross and the Typology of Processions in Medieval Rome’, in P. Post, G. Rouwhorst, Tongeren, and A. Scheer, eds. Christian Feast and Festival: The Dynamics of Western Liturgy and Culture (Leuven: Peeters, 2001), 319343 Google Scholar at 342. That Elizabethan reformers considered such crosses objects of veneration, and thus idolatry, see Jewel, , A Replie vnto M. Hardinges Answeare, 502 Google Scholar; Calfhill, An Aunswere to the Treatise of the Crosse, 315; and Fulke, A Rejoinder to John Martiall’s Reply, 184. Processional crosses are also included in the prefatory list of definitive markers of Catholic faith in Stapleton, The History of the Church of Englande, fol. ‖2r.

81 On the anti-cross bias in the 1563 Book of Martyrs, especially concerning Sir John Oldcastle, see Ingram, Aston and, ‘The Iconography of the Acts and Monuments’, 8085 Google Scholar.

82 Foxe, John, A Sermon of Christ Crucified, preached at Paules Cross the Friday before Easter, commonly called Goodfryday (London: John Day, 1570)Google Scholar, sig. A.iiiv. The sermon is noted by Aston and Ingram, ‘The Iconography of the Acts and Monuments’, 82. Foxe’s theology of the cross aligns with Bucer and Calvin. Cf. Martin Bucer, Das Einigerlei Bild, trans. William Marshall ([London: T. Godfray, 1535]), 15–6; and John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559), 2 vols, ed. John T. McNeill and trans. Ford Lewis Battles (Louisville, 1960; rpt. 2006), 1.107 (1.11.7).

83 Foxe, The Unabridged Acts and Monuments Online (hereafter TAMO), ed. David Loades (Sheffield, UK: Humanities Research Institute Online Publications, 2011), (accessed 03 August 2015), 1570 edition, 2043 and 2046.

84 Ibid., 2046.

85 Hamilton, ‘Catholic Use of Anglo-Saxon Precedents, 1565–1625’, 538–41; Robinson, ‘John Foxe and the Anglo-Saxons’, 61.

86 See Leinbaugh, Theodore H., ‘Aelfric’s Sermo de sacrificio in die pascae: Anglican Polemic in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries’, in C. T. Berkhout and M. M. Gatch, eds. Anglo-Saxon Scholarship: The First Three Centuries (Boston: G.K. Hall, 1982), 5168 Google Scholar; Robinson, , ‘“Dark Speech”: Matthew Parker and the Reforming of History’, The Sixteenth Century Journal 29 (1998): 10611083 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Robinson, ‘John Foxe and the Anglo-Saxons’, 61–2; and Heal, ‘Appropriating History’, 122. See, too, A Testimonie of Antiquitie (London: John Day, 1566), fol.18r. Rebecca Brackmann cautions against overgeneralizing that ‘the impetus for all Tudor Anglo-Saxon research was Parker’s polemical needs in his pamphlet wars’. The Elizabethan Invention of Anglo-Saxon England: Laurence Nowell, William Lambarde and the Study of Old English (Rochester, NY: D.S. Brewer, 2012), 8.

87 Hamilton, ‘Catholic Use of Anglo-Saxon Precedents’, 542; and Robinson, ‘John Foxe and the Anglo-Saxons’, 65.

88 Foxe, TAMO, (accessed 03 August 2015), 1570 edition, 165, 167, 190. See Hamilton, ‘Catholic Use of Anglo-Saxon Precedents’, 542–3.

89 Foxe, TAMO, (accessed 03 August 2015), 1570 edition, 190.

90 Ibid., 190–1.

91 Ibid., 190.

92 Ibid., 4.

93 Ibid., 190–1.

94 Ibid., 4.

95 Ibid., 190.

96 On Foxe’s personal relationship with Parker and members of his circle, see Evenden and Freeman, Religion and the Book in Early Modern England, 149–53.

97 Foxe, TAMO, (accessed 03 August 2015), 1570 edition, 176.

98 Ibid., 10.

99 Ibid., 176.

100 See Monmouth, Geoffrey of, The History of the Kings of Britain: An Edition and Translation of the De Gestis Britonum [Historia Regum Britanniae], ed. Michael D. Reeve and trans. Neil Wright (Woodbridge, UK: Boydell Press, 2007), 272273 Google Scholar.

101 See note above on Polychronicon.

102 See Malmesbury, William of, Gesta Regum Anglorum: The History of the English Kings, 2 vols, ed. and trans. R.A.B. Mynors (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998–9)Google Scholar, 1.70–1 (1.49.2–4).

103 See Brompton’s, John Chronicon, in Historiae Anglicanae Scriptores X Antiqui , ed. Roger Twysden (London, Jacob Flesher, 1652), 785 Google Scholar.

104 See Foxe, The first Volume of the Ecclesiasticall History contaynyng the Actes and Monumentes (London: John Day, 1570), 163: ‘Galfredus, Polychro, Malmesbury, Historia iornalensis, and Fabian’.

105 On Spenser’s Merlin in ‘the role of true Christian prophet’, see Rosenbaum, Jerrod, ‘Spenser’s Merlin Rehabilitated’, Spenser Studies 29 (2014): 149178 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

106 Spenser, Edmund, The Faerie Queene, ed. A.C. Hamilton (London: Longman, 2001), 318 Google Scholar (–6).

107 Spenser, The Faerie Queene, 319 ( For commentary on the Tudor link to the prophecy, see Curran, John E., Jr., Roman Invasions: The British History, Protestant Anti-Romanism, and the Historical Imagination in England, 1530–1660 (Newark, DE: Delaware University Press, 2002), 19 Google Scholar; and Lloyd, Megan S., ‘Speak It in Welsh’: Wales and the Welsh Language in Shakespeare (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2007), 87 Google Scholar.

108 Spenser, The Faerie Queene, 317 (3.3.38).

109 Harper, Carrie Anna, The Sources of the British Chronicle History in Spenser’s Faerie Queene (Bryn Mawr, PA: Bryn Mawr College, 1910), 161162 Google Scholar; and Curran, Roman Invasions, 63.

110 Cf. Ricks, Beatrice, ‘Catholic Sacramentals and Symbolism in Spenser’s “Faerie Queene”’, The Journal of English and Germanic Philology 52 (1953): 322331 Google Scholar at 326; and Weatherby, Harold, ‘Holy Things’, English Literary Renaissance 29 (1999): 422442 CrossRefGoogle Scholar at 432.

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