John Woodcock (martyr)

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Blessed John Woodcock
Born 1603
Leyland, Lancashire, England
Died 7 August 1646(1646-08-07)
Lancaster Castle, Lancaster, Lancashire, England
Venerated in Roman Catholicism
Beatified 22 November 1987 by John Paul II

John Woodcock (1603–1646) was born in Leyland, Lancashire, in England. His parents, Thomas and Dorothy Woodcock, the latter a Catholic, were of the middle class. Woodcock converted to Catholicism about 1622, and after studying at Saint-Omer for a year was admitted to the English College, Rome, on 20 October 1629.

On 16 May 1630, he joined the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin in Paris, but soon afterwards transferred himself to the English Franciscans at Douai. He received the habit from Henry Heath in 1631 and was professed by Arthur Bell a year later. For some years he lived at Arras as chaplain to a Mr. Sheldon.

Late in 1643 he landed at Newcastle-on-Tyne, and was arrested on the first night he spent in Lancashire. After two years' imprisonment in Lancaster Castle, he was condemned on 6 August 1646, on his own confession, for being a priest, together with two others, Edward Bamber and Thomas Whittaker.

On 7 August 1646, in an attempted execution, he was flung off a ladder, but the rope broke. He was then hanged a second time, was cut down and disemboweled alive. The Franciscan Sisters at Taunton possess an arm-bone of the martyr.

John Woodcock was among the eighty-five martyrs of England and Wales beatified by Pope John Paul II on 22 November 1987.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Ven. John Woodcock". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.