Thomas Marshall (Abbot of Colchester)
Thomas Marshall (the Blessed John Beche) (died 1 December 1539) was the last Abbot of Colchester Abbey.
He was educated at Oxford University (probably Gloucester Hall now Worcester College) where he took his degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1515. He then became the twenty-sixth Abbot of St. Werburgh's, Chester and went on to become Abbot of St. John's, Colchester on 10 June 1530. On 7 July he took Henry VIII's Oath of Supremacy. However following the execution of three Carthusian priors, John Fisher and Thomas More during 1535, his expressions of reverence for them was reported to the authorities.
In November, 1538, Beche denied the legal right of Henry VIII's royal commission to confiscate his abbey. He was then committed to the Tower of London on a charge of treason; despite being discharged, he was rearrested. Witnesses testified that Beche had said that God would "take vengeance for the putting down of these houses of religion", that Fisher and More "died like good men and it was pity of their deaths", and he claimed that the king had broken with the Catholic Church because he wanted to marry Anne Boleyn. Beche denied these charges but at his trial in Colchester, in November, 1539, he no longer pleaded against the charges. He was convicted and executed.
Pope Leo XIII decreed the beatification of Abbot John Beche on 13 May 1895.