Open main menu


JOYE, GEORGE (d. 1553), protestant controversialist, who was occasionally known as Clarke, Geach, Gee, and Jaye, was a native of Bedfordshire. He graduated B.A. at Cambridge in 1513, was elected fellow of Peterhouse on 27 April 1517,and commenced M.A. in the same year. He held some benefice with his fellowship. In 1527 John Ashwell [q. v.], prior of Newnham, informed John Longhand, bishop of Lincoln, that Joy was guilty of the four heretical opinions that priests had as ' great power to bynde and to lose' as bishops or the pope; that faith is sufficient without works; that priests may marry, and t hat every layman may hear confessions. He was also charged with having derided pilgrimages to holy shrines and relics. Joye was consequently cited while still at Cambridge to appear with Thomas Bilney [q. v.] and Thomas Arthur before Wolsey ut Westminster, but he preferred to take refuge in Strasburg. There he published, on 10 June 1527, Ashwell's Latin letter toLongland,' wherein the sayde pryour accuseth George Joye … of fower opmyons … wyth the answere [in English] of the sayde George unto the same opynyons' (Brit. Mus.) Joye defended his views on scriptural grounds.

While still at Strasburg Joye published the first of his many English versions of the books of the Old Testament, all of which are now extremely rare. The series began with 'The Prophet Isaye'(10 May), 1531,12mo (Strasburgjfrom the press of BalthassarBeckeneth). Copies are in the Bodleian Library, and at the Baptist Museum, Bristol. None is in the British Museum. In 1532 Joye removed to Bergen-op-Zoom (popularly anglicised at the time as Barrow), and at Candlemas printed there'two leaves of Genesis in a great form.' He sent one copy 'to Henry VIII and another to Anne Boleyn, and with a letter to N to deliver them and get licence to go through all the Bible' (tisdale, Works, ed. Dave, p. 435). Nothing came immediately of the proposal. One of the sheets is said to have belonged to Humphrey Wanley. In May 1534 Joye removed to Antwerp, and published there'Jeremye the Prophete translated intoEnglishe,'with' the sungeof Mosesadded in the ende to magnifye our Lordc for the fall of our Pharao, the Bishop of Rome.' At Antwerp, too, Martin Emperour printed for him in the August following'David's Psalter, diligently and faithfully translated by George Joye, with breif arguments before every psalme declariuge the effecte thereof (Antwerp, 1534, 24mo). A copy is in the Cambridge University Library. Joye employed the Latin version which Martin Bucer issued under the pseudonym of Aretinus Felinus in 1529. There can be no doubt that Joye completed his work some years before it was published. On Advent Sunday, 1531, Stokesley, bishop of London, included ‘the psalter in English by Joye’ among the books meriting ecclesiastical censure, and in 1532 More, in his ‘Confutation of Tyndale's Answer,’ credited Joye with having translated the Psalms into English. Francis Foxe, a printer, had on 16 Jan. 1530–1 issued at Strasburg ‘The Psalter of David in English,’ from the Latin of Bucer or Felinus, without giving the name of editor or translator (Brit. Mus.). This volume has often been regarded as the first edition of Joye's Antwerp psalter, but the verbal differences are too thorough to render this theory probable.

At Antwerp Joye made the acquaintance of Tindale and of John Frith [q. v.] Strype's statement that Joye aided Tindale in the translation of the New Testament, of which the first edition was probably printed by Peter Schoeffer at Worms in 1525, seems to be due to a confusion of Joye with William Roy [q. v.], but Joye undoubtedly aided Tindale in 1532 in the latter's embittered controversy with Sir Thomas More. On 5 April 1533 there was published anonymously at ‘Nornburg,’ from the press of Niclas Twonson, ‘The Souper of the Lorde … wheryn incidently M. More's letter against Johan Frythe is confuted.’ More, in a printed reply, confessed his doubts whether to identify ‘the nameless heretic’ who penned it with Joye or Tindale, but quoted a well-known intercepted letter from Tindale to Frith, in which Joye was said to have recently had in manuscript a book on the same subject (cf. Tindale, Works, Parker Soc., i. p. liv). When ‘The Souper’ was prohibited in England in 1542, it was described in the proclamation as ‘of George Joye's doing’ (Burnet, Reformation, Oxf. edit., iv. 518). Nevertheless it was printed among Tindale's works by the Parker Society in 1850. Joye certainly answered More's criticism of it in ‘The Subuersion of Moris False Foundacion: whereupon he sweteth to set faste and shoue under his shameles shoris to underproppe the popis chirche. Made by George Joye, 1534’ (Brit. Mus.). This work was printed at Embden by Jacob Aurik.

Meanwhile Joye and Tindale had quarrelled. In the summer of 1534 Joye surreptitiously saw through the press belonging to Christopher Endhoven's widow at Antwerp, a new edition of Tindale's New Testament, which he described as ‘diligently overseen and corrected,’ although no editor's name was given. A unique copy (in 12mo) is in the Grenville Library of the British Museum. Joye introduced several alterations drawn from the Vulgate. Tindale was irritated by Joye's presumption, and in his own new edition of his New Testament, which appeared in November of the same year, he taunted Joye with the anonymity of his effort, and with his ignorance of Greek and Hebrew (cf. F. Fry, New Testament, Tyndale's version, 1878, pp. 38–43). A few weeks later Joye replied to what he called Tyndale's ‘uncharitable and unsober pystle’ in a spirited ‘Apologie made by George Joye to satisfye, if it may be, W. Tindale’ (Antwerp, November 1534). The only copy known is in the Cambridge University Library, and it has been reprinted by Professor Arber in his ‘English Scholars' Library’ (1883). Joye attempts to prove by examples the obscurity of Tindale's style, and complains of Tindale's long delay in correcting the errors of his first edition, but he fails to acquit himself of Tindale's charges of unfriendly conduct, and his mode of defence rendered reconciliation impossible.

On 4 June 1535 Edward Foxe wrote to Cromwell that Joye was lodging with him at Calais, that he would not hereafter attack ‘the present belief concerning the sacrament, that he was conformable on all points as a Christian man should be,’ and that, therefore, Cromwell might reasonably permit his return to England (Letters, &c., Henry VIII, 1535, No. 823). Phillipes, the agent of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who had contrived Tindale's arrest in the Low Countries in the same year (1535), reported a few weeks later that Joye was falsely credited with aiding in Tindale's capture, and was consequently ‘greatly abused’ (ib. No. 1151). Joye seems to have settled in England soon afterwards. More had mentioned a rumour in his ‘Confutation’ of 1532 that Joye had translated the primer ‘wherein the seven psalmes be sette in without the Letanye … and the Dirige is left clene out.’ Herbert identifies this undertaking with ‘A goodly prymer, the English newly corrected’ (London, by John Byddell, 1535, 4to; cf. Ames, Typ. Ant. (ed. Herbert), p. 485). Two imperfect copies are in the British Museum. Joye can hardly, however, be identical with the George Joye, a layman, holding a prebend in Ripon Cathedral, whom the Archbishop of York sought to expel in 1537 (Letters, &c., 1537, pt. ii. Nos. 851, 1173). In 1541 he seems to have possessed a printing-press in London. Thence he issued a pamphlet written by himself with the title, ‘A Contrarye to a Certayne Manis Consultacion: that Adulterers ought to be punyshed wyth deathe. Wyth the solucions of his argumentes for the contrarye. Made by George Joye’ (Brit. Mus.) But the tide of persecution was rising again, and in 1542 Joye left England a second time. Bishop Gardiner's treatment of Robert Barnes [q. v.], who suffered at Smithfield in July 1540, excited all his old ferocity, and while at Wesel he printed in June 1543 a book called ‘George Joye confuteth Winchesters False Articles’ (Brit. Mus.). It is mainly a vindication of the doctrine of justification by faith, and was reprinted in Richmond's ‘Fathers of the English Church,’ 1807 (i. 532–3). Gardiner had replied to Joye's attack in his ‘Declaration of such true Articles as George Joye hath gone about to confute as false,’ London, 1546. The latter met this with a ‘Refutation of the Byshop of Winchesters derke Declaration of his false Articles once before confuted by George Joye,’ 1546. In September 1544 he had prepared for his English friends ‘A Present Consolation for the Sufferers of Persecucion for Ryght Wyseness’ (Brit. Mus.) Removing to Geneva he issued in August 1545 the result of his latest biblical labours in his ‘Exposicion of Daniel the Prophete, gathered oute of Philip Melanchton, Johan Ecolampadius, Chonrade Pellicane, and out of Johan Draconite, &c.’ (Brit. Mus.) Another edition appeared in 1550 in London; some copies bear the imprint of John Daye, others that of Thomas Raynald (ib.) On 7 July 1546 a proclamation was issued in London directing that Joye's works, with those of other reformers, should be publicly burnt (Wriothesley, Chron., Camd. Soc., i. 169). Finally, in May 1548, appeared Joye's English rendering of ‘The Coniectures of the ende of the Worlde and of that godly and learned man, Andrew Osiander’ (Brit. Mus.), in which the translator informed his readers that the world must end between 1585 and 1625. He seems to have come back to England on the accession of Edward VI, and he died, according to Fuller, at his native place in Bedfordshire in 1553.

Joye's English renderings of the Bible, although historically valuable, have little literary flavour. Extracts are given in Cotton's ‘Editions of the English Bible,’ 1852, pp. 239–241, 353, and in Waterland's ‘Works,’ Oxford, 1823, x. 299, 301.

He was married (More, in his ‘Confutation,’ 1532, calls him ‘the priest that is wedded now’), and he left a son, George Joye, who graduated M.A. at Cambridge, signed the declaration to Lord Burghley in behalf of Cartwright in 1570, and was presented to the rectory of St. Peter's, Sandwich, on 4 May 1570. On 20 June 1573 St. John's College, Cambridge, presented him to the vicarage of Higham, which he resigned two years later (cf. Baker, Hist. St. John's College, ed. Mayor, i. 399, 401).

[Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. i. 114–15; Fuller's Worthies; Bale's Scriptores; Cotton's Edits. of English Bible, 2nd ed. 1852; Anderson's Annals of English Bible; Ames's Typogr. Antiq. (Herbert), pp. 567–8, et passim; Hartshorne's Book Rarities of Univ. of Cambr.; Strype's Cranmer and Annals; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.; Demaus's Life of Tyndale.]

S. L.