338. CHRISTOPHER LYSTER, JOHN MACE, JOHN SPENCER, SIMON JOYNE, RICHARD NICHOLS AND JOHN HAMOND.
The death and martyrdom of six constant professors of Christ, burned at Colchester, for the testimony of the gospel, the twenty-eighth day of April.
OT long after the death of Robert Drakes, William Tyms, and the other Essex martyrs, executed in Smithfield, as is above specified, followed in the same order likewise of martyrdom, at one like fire in the town of Colchester, (where the most part of them did inhabit,) six other blessed martyrs, whose names be these:
Christopher Lyster of Dagenham, husbandman; John Mace of Colchester, apothecary; John Spencer of Colchester, weaver; Simon Joyne, sawyer; Richard Nichols of Colchester, weaver; and John Hamond of Colchester, tanner.
With these six was also joined another, whose name was Roger Grasbroke, but he afterward submitted himself. Of these above named, the bishop, because he (as it seemed by the short process recorded by his registrar) waxed now weary, made a very quick despatch. For soon after that, they were delivered unto one John Kingstone, bachelor of civil law, and then commissary to the bishop, by the earl of Oxford and other commissioners, (as appeareth by a bill indented, made between the commissioners and the said commissary, for the receipt of the said prisoners, dated the twenty-eighth day of March, in the second and third year of the king and queen, Philip and Mary, which is 1556,) and by him sent up unto his lord and master, the bishop caused them to be brought unto his house of Fulham; where, in the open church, judicially were ministered unto them the same articles that were propounded unto Bartlet Greene and others, mentioned before. To the which they made their several answers, agreeing altogether in one truth, as by the sum and effect thereof here ensuing, more plainly appeareth.
"To the first article they all consented and agreed; John Spencer adding further thereto, that the church malignant (which is the Church of Rome) is no part of Christ's catholic church; and that he neither hath nor doth believe the doctrine and religion taught and set forth in the said Romish and malignant church.
"To the second they answered, that they believed that in the true catholic church of Christ there be but two sacraments; that is to say, the sacrament of baptism, and the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ.
"To the third article they all agreed, confessing that they were baptized in the faith and belief of the catholic church, and that their godfathers and godmothers had professed and promised for them, as is contained in the same article.
"To the fourth they answered, that they always were, and yet then did continue in the faith and profession wherein they were baptized; Richard Nichols adding also, that he had more plainly learned the truth of his profession by the doctrine set forth in King Edward the Sixth's days, and thereupon he had builded his faith, and would continue in the same to his life's end, God assisting him.
"To the fifth they answered, that they neither swerved nor went away from the catholic faith of Christ. Howbeit they confessed, that within the time articulate, (and before,) they had misliked, and spoken against, the sacrifice of the mass, and against the sacrament of the altar, affirming that they would not come to hear or be partakers thereof, because they had and then did believe, that they were set forth and used contrary to God's word and glory. And moreover they did grant, that they had spoken against the usurped authority of the bishop of Rome, as an oppressor of Christ's church and gospel, and that he ought not to have any authority in England. For all which sayings they were no whit sorry, but rather rejoiced and were glad.
"To the sixth they answered, that they never refused, nor yet then presently did refuse, to be reconciled to the unity of Christ's catholic church; but they said they had, and then did, and so ever would hereafter, utterly refuse to come to the Church of Rome, or to acknowledge the authority of the see thereof; but did utterly abhor the same, for putting down the book of God, the Bible, and setting up the Babylonical mass, with all other of antichrist's merchandise.
"To the seventh article, the effect thereof they all granted. And Simon Joyne declared further, that the cause of his refusing to be partaker of their trumpery was, for that the commandments of God were there broken, and Christ's ordinances changed and put out, and the bishop of Rome's ordinances instead thereof put in. Moreover, as touching the sacrament of Christ's body, Christopher Lyster affirmed, that in the said sacrament there is the substance of bread and wine, as well after the words of consecration as before, and that there is not in the same the very body and blood of Christ really, substantially, and truly, but only sacramentally and spiritually by faith in the faithful receivers, and that the mass is not propitiatory for the quick or for the dead, but mere idolatry and abomination.
"To the eighth they said, that they were sent to Colchester prison by the king and queen's commissioners, because they would not come to their parish churches, and by them sent unto the bishop of London, to be thereof further examined.
"To the ninth they all generally agreed, that that which they had said in the premises was true, and that they were of the diocese of London."
These answers thus made, the bishop did dismiss them for that present until the afternoon. At which time, having first their articles and answers read unto them again, and they standing most firmly unto their Christian profession, they were by divers ways and means assayed and tried if they would revoke the same their professed faith, and return to the unity of antichrist's church; which thing when they refused, the bishop stoutly pronounced the sentence of condemnation against them, committing them unto the temporal power; which, upon the receipt of the king and queen's writ, sent them unto Colchester, where, the twenty-eighth day of April, most cheerfully they ended their lives, to the glory of God's holy name, and the great encouragement of others.