Pedigree: This is one of those early books for which there exists a Stationers’ Register entry (in “Register A”, so definitely sixteenth century), but no surviving copy of the work then printed. The earliest surviving printing (by the son of the original printer) is dated 1620. Scholars may differ as to when they prefer to “set” the date of a work with this kind of pedigree.
Synopsis: “Friar Rous” (elsewhere “Friar Rush”) is actually a devil sent by his superiors to make mischief in a monastery, which he does with gusto, in the guise of a monastic servant. He is only discovered when a farmer overhears him “reporting in” to his superiors, as Rush attempts to gain the highest praise “for making the Religious sin”. The farmer tells the Prior, who confronts Rush. Rush promises to reform, but when he doesn’t, the Prior finally banishes/exorcises him.
Online Editions: The first link below is a copy of one volume of William J. Thoms’ nineteenth century transcription. The second is a later reprint of that transcription.