John Foxe, Actes & monuments of these latter and perillous dayes (London: John Day, 1563)

A popular success during the author’s lifetime, and the most popular book in English puritan households after the Bible, John Foxe’s Acts and Monuments (known almost immediately and universally as the 'Book of Martyrs') had a colossal impact on English Protestantism for the next two centuries, shaping attitudes to Catholicism. It was originally published in this edition early in the reign of Elizabeth I, after Foxe had spent the years of Mary I’s Catholic rule on the continent, due to his puritan sympathies. The book is a compendium of ecclesiastical history highlighting the sufferings of those opposed to the Catholic Church and papal power, augmented by Foxe’s own research using official registers and eyewitness accounts. Even so this was a highly polemical work, whose objectivity was further compromised by later abridgements after Foxe’s death which often reduced the text to a catalogue of Catholic atrocities against god-fearing Protestants.

Donated by Thomas Baker.