A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Foxe, John

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Foxe, John (1516-1587).—Martyrologist, was b. at Boston, Lincolnshire, and ed. at Oxf., where he became a Fellow of Magdalen Coll. While there he gave himself to the study of the theological questions then in debate, and ended by becoming a Protestant, in consequence of which he in 1545 left his coll. He then became tutor in the family of Sir T. Lucy of Charlecote, and afterwards to the children of the recently executed Earl of Surrey. During the reign of Mary he retired to the Continent, and pub., at Strasburg, his Commentarii (the first draft of the Acts and Monuments). Removing to Basel he was employed as a reader for the press by the famous printer Oporinus, who pub. some of his writings. On the accession of Elizabeth, F. returned to England, was received with kindness by the Duke of Norfolk, one of his former pupils, and soon afterwards (1563) pub. the work on which his fame rests, the English version of the Acts and Monuments, better known as The Book of Martyrs. Received with great favour by the Protestants, it was, and has always been, charged by the Roman Catholics with gross and wilful perversion of facts. The truth of the matter appears to be that while Foxe was not, as in the circumstances he could hardly have been, free from party spirit or from some degree of error as to facts, he did not intentionally try to mislead; and comparison of his citations from authorities with the originals has shown him to have been careful and accurate in that matter. F., who had been ordained a priest in 1560, became Canon of Salisbury in 1563. He wrote sundry other theological works, and d. in 1587. There is a memoir of him attributed to his s., but of doubtful authenticity. Some of his papers, used by Strype (q.v.), are now in the British Museum.