Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 38. HENRY II

38. HENRY II

    Henry, the second of that name, the son of Geoffrey Plantagenet, and of Maud the empress, and daughter of King Henry the First, began his reign after King Stephen, and continued five and thirty years. The first year of his reign he subdued Ireland; and not long after, Thomas Becket was made by him lord chancellor of England. This king cast down divers castles which were erected in the time of King Stephen. He went into the north parts, where he subdued William, king of Scotland, who at that time held a great part of Northumberland, unto Newcastle upon Tyne, and joined Scotland to his own kingdom, from the south ocean to the north isles of Orkneys. Also he put under his dominion the kingdom of Wales, and there felled many great woods, and made the ways plain. So that by his great manhood and policy the seigniory of England was much augmented with the addition of Scotland, Ireland, the Orkney Isles, Britain, Poictou, and Guienne. Also he had in his rule Normandy, Gascony, Anjou, and Chinon; also Auvergne and the city of Thoulouse he won, and were to him subject. Over and besides (by the title of his wife Eleanor, daughter to the earl of Poictou) be obtained the Pyrenees in Spain; so that we read of none of his progenitors which had so many countries under his dominion.

    In England were seen in the firmament two suns, and in Italy appeared three suns by the space of three hours in the west; and the year following appeared three moons, whereof the middle moon had a red cross overthwart the face, whereby was betokened (by the judgment of some the great schism that after fell among the cardinals for the election of the bishop of Rome; or else rather the business between Frederic the emperor and the popes, whereof partly now incidently occasion giveth us to discourse, after that I have first written of Gerhardus and Dulcious Navarensis; who in their time, according to their gift, did earnestly labour and preach against the Church of Rome, defending and maintaining, that prayer was not more holy in one place than in another; that the pope was antichrist; that the clergy and prelates of Rome were reprobate, and the very whore of Babylon prefigured in the Apocalypse. Peradventure these had received some light of knowledge of the Waldenses, who at length with a great number of their followers were oppressed and slain by the pope. And although some inconvenient points of doctrine and dishonesty in their assemblies be against them alleged of some, yet these times of ours do teach us sufficiently what credit is to be given to such popish slanders, forged rather upon hatred of true religion than upon any judgment of truth. Illyricus, in his book De Testibus, referreth the time of these two to the year of our Lord 1218; but, as I find in the story of Robert Guisburne, these two, about the year of our Lord 1158, brought thirty with them into England, who by the king and the prelates were all burnt in the forehead, and so driven out of the realm, and after (as Illyricus writeth) were slain by the pope.

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