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Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 336. JOHN HARPOLE AND JOAN BEACH



The story of John Harpole, of the parish of St. Nicholas in Rochester, and Joan Beach, widow, of Tunbridge; with their examinations, answers, condemnation, and martyrdom.

Illustration -- Beach and Harpole at the Stake

            TOUCHING the examination of Joan Beach, widow, and of John Harpole, within the diocese of Rochester, by Maurice, bishop of the said diocese, remembrance was made before in the story of Nicholas Hall, wherein were declared the four articles consistorial of the bishop, objected and laid, as unto the said Nicholas Hall and his company, so also to this Joan Beach, widow; whereof the first was this;

            "1. That she was of the parish of Tunbridge, in the diocese of Rochester.

            "2. Item, That all persons which preach, teach, believe, or say otherwise or contrary to that their mother holy catholic church of Christ, are excommunicate persons and heretics.

            "3. Item, That the said Joan Beach hath, and yet doth affirm, maintain, and believe contrary to the said mother church of Christ, videlicet, that in the blessed sacrament of the altar, under form of bread and wine, there is not the very body and blood of our Saviour in substance, but only a token and memorial thereof; that the very body and blood of Christ is in heaven, and not in the sacrament.

            "4. Item, That she hath been, and yet is, amongst the parishioners of Tunbridge, openly noted, and vehemently suspected, to be a sacramentary and heretic."

            To the which foresaid articles, her answers were these;

            "1. That she was and is of the said parish of Tunbridge, in the diocese of Rochester.

            2. That all persons which do preach and hold otherwise and contrary to that which the holy catholic church of Christ doth, are to be reputed for excommunicate and heretics; adding withal, that nevertheless she believeth not the holy catholic church to be her mother, but believeth only the Father of heaven to be her Father.

            "3. That she hath, and yet doth verily believe, hold, and affirm, in the sacrament of the altar under forms of bread and wine, not to be the very body and blood of our Saviour in substance, but only a token and remembrance of his death to the faithful receiver; and this his body and substance is only in heaven, and not in the sacrament.

            "Lastly, as touching how she hath been or is noted and reputed among the parishioners of Tunbridge, she said, she could not tell: howbeit she believed, she was not so taken and reputed."

            The like matter and the same four articles were also the same present time and place ministered to John Harpole, by the foresaid Bishop Maurice; who, after the like answers received of him as of the other before, adjudged and condemned them both together to death, by one form of sentence, according to the tenor and course of their several sentence; which ye may read before in Master Rogers' story.

            And thus these two Christian martyrs, coupled in one confession, being condemned by the bishop, suffered together at one fire, in the town of Rochester, where they together ended their lives about the first day of this present month of April.


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