The Martyrdoms of The English Carthusians & Their Brothers in the Netherlands

Chauncy, Maurice (1509-1581); Havensius, Arnoldus (1540-1610)

Innocentia et constantia victrix, siue Commentariolus de vitae ratione et martyrio 18. Cartusianorum, qui in Angliae regno sub Henrici octauo ob Ecclesiae defensionem, et nefarij schismatis detestationem, crudeliter trucidati sunt [...] [and] HAVENSIUS, Arnoldus - Historica relatio duodecim martyrum Cartusianorum, qui Ruraemundae in ducatu Geldriae anno M.D.LXXII. agonem suum foeliciter compleuerunt [...].

Cologne: B. Walter, 1608


Octavo: 2 parts in 1 vol. 15 x 9.3 cm. [16]-111-[1 bl.], [16]-77-[3] pp. *8, A-G8; A-F8

FIRST EDITION of Havensius' version.

Bound in 18th-c. gold-tooled calf, stippled border and floral ornaments, spine with floral tools and red morocco label, minor wear to hinges. Edges of textbook stained red. A very nice copy. With an engraved title, full-page engraved arms of the dedicatee, Archduke Maximillian of Austria, and 2 full-page engravings: the first depicts the Irish Carthusian William Tynbygh (Tenbi) (d. 1529, prior of the London Charterhouse) being tormented in his cell by demons; the second shows the Roermond Carthusians being slaughtered in their chapel.

Two gripping, contemporary accounts of Carthusian martyrdom: The first is Maurice Chauncy’s relation of the May 1535 execution of eighteen English Carthusians, including their prior, John Houghton, who refused to take Henry VIII’s Oath of Supremacy. The torture and execution of Houghton and his brethren are described in gruesome detail. Chauncy concludes his account with the surrender of the monastery in 1537 and laments his own acceptance of the Oath of Supremacy in November of that same year. The second work, written by the Dutch Carthusian Arnoldus Havensius , recounts the deaths, at the hands of Protestant soldiers, of the Carthusians of Roermond on 23 July 1572. With a dedication to Maximillian, Archduke of Austria, by Simon Weisser, monk of the Wurzburg Charterhouse, who edited and partly rewrote the two works.

"After the surrender of the English monastery in 1537, Chauncy joined the Carthusians of Sheen in Bruges. It was during Chauncy's first stay at Bruges that he produced his "History", no longer fearing the "terror of princes" now that Cromwell and Henry VIII were both dead. The text was edited by his brother Carthusians Vitus à Dulken and Guilielmus à Sittart at Mainz and was printed there in 1550. The later editions were sold to raise money for the Carthusian charterhouses of Europe.

"On the accession of Mary to the English throne, Chauncy was ordered to return to Sheen in an effort to restore the English province. In 1556 he was elected prior. In 1558 the Carthusians retired again to Bruges, living with their Flemish brethren until 1569, when they obtained a house on their own in St. Clare Street. The hostility of the Calvinists compelled them to leave Bruges in 1578. Failing to settle at Douai, they retired to Louvain (May, 1578). Chauncy died at the old house in Bruges in 1581." (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Allison and Rogers 238; VD 17 23: 240516D and 23:240527T.