Historical Writings

A.D. (Anno Domini)

The Writings of John Foxe

Foxe's "Book of Martyrs"

The Book of Martyrs, by John Foxe, is an account of Christian martyrs throughout Western history from the first century through the early sixteenth centuries, emphasising the sufferings of English Protestants and proto-Protestants from the fourteenth century through the reign of Mary I. First published in 1563 by the Protestant John Day, the book was lavishly produced and illustrated with many woodcuts and was the largest publishing project undertaken in Britain up to that time. Commonly known as Foxe's Book of Martyrs, one fuller title of the work is Actes and Monuments of these Latter and Perillous Days, Touching Matters of the Church. Widely owned and read by English Puritans, the book helped mould British popular opinion about the nature of Catholicism for several centuries.
John Foxe
John Foxe

John Foxe (1516/1517 - 18 April 1587), an English historian and martyrologist, was the author of Actes and Monuments (otherwise Foxe's Book of Martyrs), telling of Christian martyrs throughout Western history, but particularly the sufferings of English Protestants and proto-Protestants from the 14th century and in the reign of Mary I. Widely owned and read by English Puritans, the book helped to mould British opinion about the Catholic Church for several centuries.

Foxe began his Book of Martyrs in 1552, during the reign of Edward VI, with the Marian Persecutions still in the future. In 1554, while still in exile, Foxe published in Latin at Strasbourg the first shadow of his great book, emphasising the persecution of the English Lollards during the 15th century.

As word of the contemporary English persecution made its way to the continent, Foxe began to collect materials to continue his story to the present. He published the first true Latin edition of his famous book at Basel in August 1559.