Fox (or Foxe), John
Fox (Or Foxe), John author of the Book of Martyrs, was born at Boston, Lincolnshire, in 1517, was educated at Brazenose, Oxford, and was elected a fellow of Magdalen College in 1543. In his youth he showed a talent for poetry, and wrote several Latin comedies, the subjects taken from the Scriptures. One of them, De Christo Triumphante, printed in 1551, was translated into English by Richard Day, with the title Christ Jesus Triumphant, wherein is described the glorious triumph and conquest of Christ over sin, death, and the law, etc. (1579, 1607, 1672). He embraced the principles of the Reformation, and for that cause was expelled from his fellowship in 1545 (according to Wood, Athen. Oxon., he resigned it), for having espoused the Reformation, and, till he was restored to it by Edward VI, he subsisted by acting as a tutor, first to the family of Sir Thomas Lucy, of Charlecote Park, and afterwards to the children of the earl of Surrey. June 23, 1556, he was ordained deacon by Bishop Ridley. During the reign of Mary he sought an asylum at Basle. Returning on the accession of Elizabeth (1559), he was taken into the house of the duke of Norfolk, and Cecil obtained for him a prebend in the cathedral of Salisbury in 1563. He died April 18, 1587. His great work Is the Acts and Monuments of the Church, first published in 1563, usually known by the name of Fox's Book of Martyrs,
the merits and demerits of which have been a source of violent dispute between Protestant and Catholic writers; but no faults, beyond unimportant mistakes, have been detected in it. To the credit of Fox it must be recorded, that he strenuously, though vainly, endeavored to prevail upon Elizabeth not to disgrace herself by carrying into effect the sentence which, in 1575, condemned two Baptists to the flames as heretics. The best edition of the Martyrs is Acts and Monuments of Matters most special and memorable happening in the Church, or Acts and Monuments of Martyrs, with additions, etc. (London, 1784, 9th ed. 3 volumes, fol.); the latest are Fox's Acts and Monuments, new edition, with a Life of the Martyrologist, and Vindication of the Work, by the Reverend Geo. Townsend (Lond. 1843-49, 8 vols. 8vo), and a still better edition by Mendham and Pratt, 8 volumes, 8vo (Lond. 1853 sq.). There is an American reprint in one large volume (New York, royal 8vo, page 1082), revised by Reverend M.H. Seymour.