FOX'S BOOK OF MARTYRS: Joan Waste and the Canterbury Castle Martyrs
This poor honest woman, blind from her birth, and unmarried, aged 22, was of the parish of Allhallows, Derby. Her father was a barber, and also made ropes for a living: in which she assisted him, and also learned to knit several articles of apparel. Refusing to communicate with those who maintained doctrines contrary to those she had learned in the days of the pious Edward, she was called before Dr. Draicot, the chancellor of bishop Blaine, and Peter Finch, official of Derby.
With sophistical arguments and threats they endeavoured to confound the poor girl; but she proffered to yield to the bishop's doctrine, if he would answer for her at the day of judgment, (as pious Dr. Taylor had done in his sermons) that his belief of the real presence of the sacrament was true. The bishop at first answered that he would; but Dr. Draicot reminding him that he might not in any way answer for a heretic, he withdrew his confirmation of his own tenets; and she replied, that if their consciences would not permit them to answer at God's bar for that truth they wished her to subscribe to, she would answer no more questions. Sentence was then adjudged, and Dr. Draicot appointed to preach her condemned sermon, which took place August 1, 1556, the day of her martyrdom. His fulminating discourse being finished, the poor sightless object was taken to a place called Windmill Pit, near the town, where she for a time held her brother by the hand, and then prepared herself for the fire, calling upon the pitying multitude to pray with her, and upon Christ to have mercy upon her, till the glorious light of the everlasting sun of righteousness beamed upon her departed spirit.
September 8, 1556, Edward Sharp, aged 40, was condemned at Bristol. September 24, Thomas Ravendale, a currier, and John Hart, suffered at Mayfield, in Essex; and on the day following, a young man, a carpenter, died at Bristol with joyous constancy. September 27, John Horn, and a female martyr suffered at Wooten-under-edge, Gloucestershire, professing abjurgation of popery.
In November, fifteen martyrs were imprisoned in Canterbury castle, of whom all were either burnt or famished. Among the latter were J. Clark, D. Chittenden, W. Foster of Stone, Alice Potkins, and J. Archer, of Cranbrooke, weaver. The two first of these had not received condemnation, but the others were sentenced to the fire. Foster, at his examination, observed upon the utility of carrying lighted candles about on Candlemas-day, that he might as well carry a pitch fork; and that a gibbet would have as good an effect as the cross.
We have now brought to a close the sanguinary proscriptions of the merciless Mary, in the year 1556, the number of which amounted to above eighty-four!