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Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 332. AGNES PORTER AND JOAN TRUNCHFIELD.


Illustration -- Execution of Porter amd Trunchfield

            IN the story of Robert Samuel, mention was made before of two godly women in the same town of Ipswich, which shortly after him suffered likewise, and obtained the crown of martyrdom, the names of whom were Agnes, the wife of Robert Potten, and another, Joan, wife of Michael Trunchfleld, a shoemaker, both dwelling in one town: who, about the same time that the archbishop aforesaid was burned at Oxford suffered likewise in the foresaid town of Ipswich, either in the same month of March, or, as some say, in the end of February the next month before.

            Their opinion or persuasion was this, that in the sacrament was the memorial only of Christ's death and passion: "for," said they, "Jesus Christ is ascended up into heaven, and is on the right hand of God the Father, according to the Scriptures, and not in the sacrament, as he was born of the Virgin Mary." For this they were burned. In whose suffering their constancy worthily was to be wondered at, who being so simple women, so manfully stood to the confession and testimony of God's word and verity; insomuch that when they had prepared and undressed themselves ready to the fire, with comfortable words of the Scripture they earnestly required the people to credit and to lay hold on the word of God, and not upon man's devices and inventions; despising the ordinances and institutions of the Romish antichrist, with all his superstitions and rotten religion. And so continuing in the torment of fire, they held up their hands, and called unto God constantly so long as life did endure.

            This Potten's wife, in a night a little before her death, being asleep in her bed, saw a bright burning fire, right up as a pole, and on the side of the fire she thought there stood a number of Queen Mary's friends looking on. Then being asleep, she seemed to muse with herself whether her fire should burn so bright or no; and indeed her suffering was not far unlike to her dream.

            This also I thought further to note, how these two being always together in prison, the one which was Michael's wife seemed to be nothing so ardent and zealous as Potten's wife was, although (God be thanked) they did stoutly stand to the confession of the truth both. But when the said Michael's wife came to the stake, and saw nothing but present death before her, she much exceeded the other in joy and comfort: albeit both of them did so joyfully suffer, as it was marvelled at of those that knew them, and did behold their end. And thus these two martyrs ended their lives with great triumph: the Lord grant we may do the like. Amen.


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