Sacrament an Alter

Edited by Dr D.H. Frost

Sacrament an Alter (The Sacrament of the Altar) is a Cornish patristic catena selected and translated from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, which is attached to the translation of Bishop Bonner’s Homilies in the Tregear Manuscript (BL Add. MS 46397).

No complete critical edition of the Tregear Homilies has been published since the manuscript’s discovery, yet it is the longest surviving example of Cornish prose.

The so-called thirteenth homily, ‘Sacrament an Alter’ is a work in its own right, of a later period than the other twelve homilies, and represents a distinctive form of Cornish.

In addition to establishing authorship, date, sources and historical context of this important text, the present book offers a complete and accurate transcription of the manuscript, along with an edited version thereof, a translation and all the relevant source passages—largely taken from the account of the 1555 Oxford Disputations given in John Foxe’s ‘Acts and Monuments’. A full commentary then explores hermeneutical, theological and dialectic issues arising from the text.

Extensive notes concentrate on interesting features of the Cornish—making a significant contribution to the study of the late evolution of Cornish, since the language can be dated to around 1576, halfway between that of John Tregear and William Jordan, author of the Creation of the World.

This first ever critical edition of a pivotal Cornish-language text opens to the Tudor historian—and the general reader—a previously closed window (due to its language) on a crucial example of the reception of Foxe, and gives fascinating insights into a possible alliance between Church Papism and recusancy in Tudor Cornwall.

Published by University of Exeter Press 2023.

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