1563 - Foxe, John - Actes and Monuments (2)

From International Robin Hood Bibliography
Date 1563
Author Foxe, John
Title Actes and Monuments
Mentions Tales of Robin Hood
John Foxe, unknown painter / National Portrait Gallery; Wikipedia (public domain).
Memorial to Richard Woodman at St Mary the Virgin Church, Warbleton / Photo by Kevin Gordon, CC BY-SA 2.0.
The Burning of Richard Woodman and Nine Other Protestant Martyrs before the Star Inn, Lewes, Sussex on June 22nd 1557, engraving by James Henry Hurdis (1800-57) / Wikipedia, public domain.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2017-02-15. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2021-01-07. Based on information from Robert Lynley.


  Langdale: — "Is your name Woodman?"
  Woodman: — " Yea, forsooth, that is my name."
  Then he began with a great circumstance, and said, "I am sorrow for you, that you will not be ruled, but stand so much in your own conceit, displeasing your father and others, judging that all the realm doth evil, save a few that do as you do:" with many such words, which be too long to rehearse, but I will declare the substance of them.
  Langdale: — "What think you of them that died long agone — your grandfathers, with their fathers before them? You judge them to be damned, and all others that use the same that they did throughout all Christendom, unless it be in Germany, and here in England a few years, and in Denmark; and yet they are returned again. Thus we are sure this is the truth; and I would you should do well. Your father is an honest man, and one of my parish, and hath wept to me, divers times, because you would not be ruled; and he loveth you well, [p. 354:] and so doth all the country, both rich and poor, if it were not for those evil opinions that you hold, with many such like tales of Robin Hood.1[1]

Source notes

IRHB's brackets.
The passage cited is part of "The Third Examination of Richard Woodman (copied with his own hand) before Dr. Langdale, Parson of Buxsted, in Sussex, and Chaplain to my Lord Montague, and Master James Gage, at my Lord Montague's House, beside St. Mary Overy's, in Southwark, the 12th day of May".[2]
Note in right margin against paragraph beginning "Langdale: — "What think you": "Religion esteemed by ancestors, etc."
Note in left margin at top of p. 254: Mary. A. D. 1557."
Vol. VIII, p. 254, n. 1: 'Dr. Langdale seems to doubt the existence of this forester, or at least he esteemed the tenets of the Protestants as lightly as he did some of the tales connected with him: but Bayley, in his "Etymological Dictionary," informs us: "This Robin Hood was a famous robber, and storied to be an expert archer in the time of king Richard the lirst, about the year 1200; his principal haunt was about Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire." — En.'[3]

IRHB comments

This allusion is indicative of an attitude to Robin Hood literature similar to that which found expression in the proverb Tales of Robin Hood are good enough for fools. The Actes and Monuments are popularly known as Foxe's Book of Martyrs.

Richard Woodman (1524?–1557), an ironmaster who was born in Buxted and lived in nearby Warbleton, East Sussex, was burnt in Lewes in 1557 during the Marian Persecutions. He initially got himself in trouble with the church when he pointed out, during a sermon at the church of St Mary the Virgin, Warbleton, that the rector was preaching the exact opposite of what he did before Mary became Queen. Heckling the priest during sermon was illegal, and the rector denounced Woodman as a Protestant. After numerous interrogations and three years or so in prison he was eventually set free. He went abroad but later returned to his home town. On learning that it was rumoured he had submitted to the church, he began preaching to correct this misunderstanding. This again brought him in trouble with the church. After interrogations Woodman was excommunicated as a heretic. He was burnt on 22 June 1557.[4]




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