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Ven. John Woodcock
English Franciscan martyr, b. at Leyland, Lancashire, 1603; suffered at Lancaster, 7 August, 1646. His parents, Thomas and Dorothy Woodcock, the latter a Catholic, were of the middle class. He was converted about 1622, and after studying at Saint-Omer for a year was admitted to the English College, Rome, 20 October, 1629. On 16 May, 1630, he joined the Capuchins in Paris, but soon afterwards transferred himself to the English Franciscans at Douai. He received the habit from the Venerable Henry Heath in 1631 and was professed by the Venerable Arthur Bell a year later. For some years he lived at Arras as chaplain to 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 his own confession, for being a priest, together with two seculars, Edward Bamber and Thomas Whittaker, 6 August, 1646. When he was flung off the ladder the rope broke. Having been hanged a second time, he was cut down and diembowelled alive. The Franciscan nuns at Taunton possess an arm-bone of the martyr.
FOLEY, Records English Province S.J., VI (London, 1878-83), 322; CHALLONER, Missionary Priests, II (Edinburgh, 1877), no. 185; STANTON, Menology of England and Wales (London, 1887), 383-4; THADDEUS, Franciscans in England 1600-1859 (London and Leamington, 1898), 69, 70; POLLARD in Dict. Nat. Biog. s.v. Woodcock, Martin.
John B. Wainewright.