382. JOHN ALCOCK.
Illustration -- A Romish Procession
There was also in Hadley a young man, named John Alcock, which came to Hadley seeking work, for he was a shearman by his occupation. This young man after the martyrdom of Dr. Taylor, and taking of Richard Yeoman, used first in the church of Hadley to read the service in English, as partly is above fouched.
At length, after the coming of parson Newall, he, being in Hadley church upon a Sunday, when the parson came by with procession, would not once move his cap, nor show any sign of reverence, but stood behind the font. Newall, perceiving this, when he was almost out of the church door, ran back again, and caught him, and called for the constable.
Then came Robert Rolfe, with whom this young man wrought, and asked, "Master Parson! what hath he done, that ye are in such a rage with him?"
"He is a heretic and a traitor," quoth the parson, "and despiseth the queen's proceedings. Wherefore I command you, in the queen's name, have him to the stocks, and see he be forthcoming." "Well," quoth Rolfe, "he shall be forthcoming: proceed you in your business, and be quiet."
"Have him to the stocks," quoth the parson. "I am constable," quoth Rolfe, "and may bail him, and will bail him; he shall not come in the stocks, but he shall be forthcoming." So went the good parson forth with his holy procession, and so to mass.
At afternoon Rolfe said to this young man, "I am sorry for thee, for truly the parson will seek thy destruction, if thou take not good heed what thou answerest him." The young man answered, "Sir, I am sorry that it is my hap to be a trouble to you. As for myself, I am not sorry, but I do commit myself into God's hands, and I trust he will give me mouth and wisdom to answer according to right." "Well," quoth Rolfe, "yet beware of him; for he is malicious and a bloodsucker, and beareth an old hatred against me; and he will handle you the more cruelly because of displeasure against me." "I fear not," quoth the young man. "He shall do no more to me than God will give him leave; and happy shall I be, if God will call me to die for his truth's sake."
After this talk, they then went to the parson, who at the first asked him, "Fellow, what sayest thou to the sacrament of the altar?" "I say," quoth he, "as ye use the matter, ye make a shameful idol of it, and ye are false idolatrous priests, all the sort of you." "I told you," quoth the parson, "he was a stout heretic."
So after long talk, the parson committed him to ward, and the next day rode he up to London, and carried the young man with him, and so came the young man no more again to Hadley, but, after long imprisonment in Newgate, where, after many examinations and troubles, for that he would not submit himself to ask forgiveness of the pope, and to be reconciled to the Romish religion, he was cast into the lower dungeon, where, with evil keeping and sickness of the house, he died in prison. Thus died he a martyr for Christ's verity, which he heartily loved and constantly confessed, and received the garland of a well-foughten battle at the hand of the Lord. His body was cast out, and buried in a dunghill; for the papists would in all things be like themselves. Therefore would they not so much as suffer the dead bodies to have honest and convenient sepulture.