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    An Early Seventeenth-Century Edition of Foxe's Martyrs

    John Foxe. Acts and Monuments Of matters most speciall and memorable, happening in the Church, with an universall Historie of the same, Wherein is set forth at large the whole Race and Course of the Church from the Primitive age to these later times of ours, with the bloody times, horrible troubles, and great Persecutions against the Martyrs Of Christ, sought and wrought as well by heathen Emperors, as now Lately practised by Romish Prelates, especially in this Realme of England and Scotland ... [The Second Volume of the Ecclesiastical History. The Third Volume of the Ecclesiastical History.] London: Printed for the Company of Stationers, 1641.

    Three folio volumes in fours and sixes (14 x 9 inches; 356 x 229 mm.). With four woodcut plates, two of which are folding; bound without the portrait and half-titles. Each volume with woodcut title page, numerous large cuts from ecclesiastic history (most of which feature the saints at the moment of their martyrdom), and woodcut head- and tail-pieces throughout. Printed in roman and black letter.

    Contemporary full paneled calf, rebacked in the twentieth century. Red morocco lettering pieces lettered in gilt, six raised bands. Later manuscript marginalia (probably eighteenth-century) and notes to inner boards. Soiling, toning, and foxing throughout, mostly marginal. Marginal worming to lower outer corner of first nine leaves of Volume I; title page of Volume I with lower margin built up. Two ink stains to the fore-edge of Volume III. Boards with considerable wear, such that the corners on all volumes are rounded and the mutilated pasteboards exposed. Volume III with the following issues: leaf E1 with a closed, three-inch tear from fore-edge, touching the outer column; leaf 2T5 with a closed tear mid-page and an outer marginal paper repair; leaves 4I2-4I5 in the same volume with significant tearing and mutilation to inner margins, affecting the inner column. Volume I front hinge starting but board still holding tight. Overall, a well-used copy of this famous compendium.

    A mid-seventeenth-century edition of Foxe's Book of Martyrs, an encyclopedic work that describes Christian suffering throughout the course of Western history, but which placed special emphasis on English Protestant martyrs (as well as quasi- or proto-Protestant martyrs from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries). As attested to by the well-used condition of the present copy, Foxe's Book of Martyrs was widely owned by English Protestants from the sixteenth century onward, helping to shape popular opinion about the Catholic Church, and provide unity and courage to what was at the time a fledgling Anglican community.

    Wing F2035.

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