chapter  8
16 Pages

The Imagery of John Foxe

As a work of cultural propaganda, the Actes and Monuments was an unprecedented success. In spite of its enormous bulk (over 2,000 pages in the 1583 edition), and consequent expensiveness, its in uence permeated down to the lowest social levels and helped to create that popular anti-Catholicism which was such a feature of the England of the 1580s. Its rst edition, in 1563, was supported among others by Sir William Cecil, but it was never o cially promoted, and indeed its second edition of 1570 was by implication highly critical of the Queen for failing to press on with the reform programme.1 What it did, most e ectively, was to present the Catholic Church as a conspiracy of clerical pride and cruelty, anti-Christian and inspired by the devil.