Actes and Monuments of These Latter and Perillous Dayes


First published in 1563, John Foxe’s Actes and Monuments was a Protestant martyrology and history of the Christian Church. More popularly known as Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, the book drew on documentary sources in a way that was unprecedented in English historical writing, but it was marked by strong anti-Catholic bias. Describing the sudden death of King John in 1216, Foxe presented him favourably, in contrast to later representations, as a noble monarch who stood up to the papacy. Foxe restated the 13th-century accusation that monks loyal to the Pope had poisoned the king. The accompanying woodcut tells this story in six separate scenes: after testing the venom on a frog, a fanatical monk from Swineshead Abbey, Lincolnshire, poisoned King John before committing suicide, a sacrifice for which he was to be praised eternally by his fraternity.

Full title:
Actes and monuments of these latter and perillous dayes, touching matters of the Church, wherein ar comprehended and described the great persecutions horrible troubles, that have bene wrought and practised by the Romishe prelates, speciallye in this Realme of England and Scotlande, from the yeare of our Lorde, a thousande, unto the tyme nowe present. Gathered and collected according to the true copies wrytinges certificatorie. B.L. MS. note.
John Foxe
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Public Domain
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British Library

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