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In this Nineteenth-century illustration, John Wycliffe is shown giving the Bible translation that bore his name to his Lollard followers

Lollardy was the political and religious movement of the Lollards from the mid-14th century to the English Reformation. The term Lollards refers to the followers of John Wycliffe,[1] a prominent theologian who was dismissed from the University of Oxford in 1381 for criticism of the traditional church, especially his doctrine on the Eucharist. Its demands were primarily for reform of Western Christianity.



It taught the concept of the "Church of the Saved", meaning that Christ's true Church was the community of the faithful, which overlapped with but was not the same as the official Church of Rome.[citation needed] It taught a form of predestination.[citation needed] It advocated apostolic poverty and taxation of Church properties.[citation needed] Other doctrines include consubstantiation in favour of transubstantiation[citation needed], although some of its followers went further. A Lollard blacksmith in Lincolnshire declared that he could make "as good a sacrament between ii yrons as the prest doth vpon his auter (altar)".[2]


Lollard, Lollardi or Loller was the popular derogatory nickname given to those without an academic background, educated if at all only in English, who were reputed to follow the teachings of John Wycliffe in particular, and were certainly considerably energised by the translation of the Bible into the English language. By the mid-15th century the term lollard had come to mean a 'heretic' in general. The alternative, Wycliffite, is generally accepted to be a more neutral term covering those of similar opinions, but having an academic background.

The term was coined by the Anglo-Irish cleric, Henry Crumpe, but the origin of the term is uncertain. Four possibilities suggest themselves:

  1. the Dutch word, lollaerd, meaning someone who mutters, a mumbler. This is also related to the Dutch word, lull or lollen, as in "a mother lulls her child to sleep", or "to sing or chant";
  2. the Latin name lolium (Common Vetch or tares, as a noxious weed mingled with the good Catholic wheat);
  3. after the Franciscan, Lolhard, who converted to the Waldensian way, becoming eminent as a preacher in Guienne. That part of France was then under English domination, influencing lay English piety. He was burned at Cologne in the 1370s;
  4. the Middle English loller, "a lazy vagabond, an idler, a fraudulent beggar", likely a later usage.

The Dutch derivation is the most likely, due to the influence on Lollardy of the informal lay communities, originating in Deventer in Overijssel around the teaching of Gerhard Groote, in the last two decades of the 14th century; but the Latin lolium (tares) is an interesting alternative.


Map of Lollardy's influence

Although Lollardy can be said to have originated from interest in the writings of John Wycliffe, the Lollards had no central belief system and no official doctrine. Likewise, being a decentralized movement, Lollardy neither had nor proposed any singular authority. The movement associated itself with many different ideas, but individual Lollards did not necessarily have to agree with every tenet. Some Lollards may have shown traces of Antitrinitarian tendency, though some nineteenth century writers overemphasized this because they misconceived the ground of the Lollard rejection of the worship of the human Christ. In this, the Lollards were no different to other Protestants. Like most Protestants they worshipped Christ in his divine nature alone, refusing the adoration which the Roman Catholic offers to his human nature also.[3] Reginald Pecock (1390–1460) sought to stay the Lollard movement by setting aside ecclesiastical infallibility, and taking the appeal to Scripture and reason alone.

Fundamentally, Lollards were anticlerical, meaning that they disapproved of the corrupt nature of the Western Church and the belief in divine appointment of Church leaders. Believing the Roman Catholic Church to be perverted in many ways, the Lollards looked to Scripture as the basis for their religious ideas. To provide an authority for religion outside of the Church, Lollards began the movement towards a translation of the bible into the vernacular which enabled more of the English peasantry to read the Bible. Wycliffe himself translated many passages until his death in 1384.

One group of Lollards petitioned Parliament with The Twelve Conclusions of the Lollards by posting them on the doors of Westminster Hall in February 1395. While by no means a central authority of the Lollards, the Twelve Conclusions reveal certain basic Lollard ideas. The first Conclusion rejects the acquisition of temporal wealth by Church leaders as accumulating wealth leads them away from religious concerns and toward greed. The fourth Conclusion deals with the Lollard view that the Sacrament of eucharist is a contradictory topic that is not clearly defined in the Bible. Whether the bread remains bread or becomes the literal body of Christ is not specified uniformly in the gospels. The sixth Conclusion states that officials of the Church should not concern themselves with secular matters when they hold a position of power within the Church because this constitutes a conflict of interest between matters of the spirit and matters of the State. The eighth Conclusion points out the ludicrousness, in the minds of Lollards, of the reverence that is directed toward images in the Church. As Anne Hudson states in her Reformation Ideology, "if the cross of Christ, the nails, spear, and crown of thorns are to be honoured, then why not honour Judas's lips, if only they could be found?" (306).

The Lollards stated that the Roman Catholic Church had been corrupted by temporal matters and that its claim to be the true church was not justified by its heredity. Part of this corruption involved prayers for the dead and chantries. These were seen as corrupt since they distracted priests from other work and that all should be prayed for equally. Lollards also had a tendency toward iconoclasm. Lavish church fixtures were seen as an excess; they believed effort should be placed on helping the needy and preaching rather than working on lavish decoration. Icons were also seen as dangerous since many seemed to worship the icon rather than God, leading to idolatry.

Believing in a lay priesthood, the Lollards challenged the Church’s ability to invest or deny the divine authority to make a man a priest. Denying any special authority to the priesthood, Lollards thought confession unnecessary since a priest did not have any special power to forgive sins. Lollards challenged the practice of clerical celibacy and believed priests should not hold political positions since temporal matters should not interfere with the priests’ spiritual mission.

Believing that more attention should be given to the message in the scriptures rather than to ceremony and worship, the Lollards denounced the ritualistic aspects of the Church such as transubstantiation, exorcism, pilgrimages, and blessings. These focused too much on powers the Church supposedly did not have and led to a focus on temporal ritual over God and his message.

The other Conclusions deal with gospel teachings against killing as punishment for a crime (capital punishment), rejection of religious celibacy, and belief that members of the Clergy be accountable to civil laws. The Conclusions also rejected pilgrimages, ornamentation of churches, and religious images because these were said to take away from the true nature of worship: focus on God. Also denounced in the Conclusions were war, violence, and abortion.[4] Outside of the Twelve Conclusions, the Lollards had many beliefs and traditions. Their scriptural focus led Lollards to refuse the taking of oaths. Lollards also had a tradition of millenarianism. Some criticized the Church for not focusing enough on Revelation. Many Lollards believed they were near the end of days, and several Lollard writings claim the Pope to be the antichrist. In actuality, Lollards did not believe that any one Pope, as a human being, was the antichrist. They believed that the papal system as a whole, however, embodied the prophecy of the antichrist.[citation needed]


Beginning of the Gospel of John from a pocket Wycliffe translation that may have been used by a roving Lollard preacher (late 14th century)

Immediately upon going public, Lollardy was attacked as heresy. At first, Wycliffe and Lollardy were protected by John of Gaunt and anti-clerical nobility, who may have been interested in using Lollard-advocated clerical reform to create a new source of revenue from England’s monasteries, as Henry VIII would finally succeed in doing. The University of Oxford also protected Wycliffe and allowed him to hold his position at the university in spite of his views on the grounds of academic freedom, which also gave some protection to the academics who supported it within that institution. Lollardy first faced serious persecution after the Peasant’s Revolt in 1381. While Wycliffe and other Lollards opposed the revolt, one of the peasants’ leaders, John Ball, preached Lollardy. The royalty and nobility then found Lollardy to be a threat not just to the Church, but to all the English social order. The Lollards' small measure of protection evaporated. This change in status was also affected by the removal of John of Gaunt from the scene, when he left England in pursuit of the throne of Castile, which he claimed through his second wife.

Lollardy was strongly resisted by both the religious and secular authorities. Among those opposing it was Thomas Arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury. King Henry IV (despite being John of Gaunt's son) passed the De heretico comburendo in 1401, not specifically against the Lollards, but prohibiting the translating or owning of the Bible and authorising the burning of heretics at the stake.

Sir John Oldcastle being burnt for insurrection and Lollard heresy

In the early 15th century, Lollardy went underground after more extreme measures were taken by the Church and State. One measure was the burning at the stake of John Badby, a layman and artisan who refused to renounce his Lollard views. His was the first execution of a layman in England for the crime of heresy.

The Lollard Knights were a group of gentry active during the reign of Richard II, known either during their lives or after for an inclination to the religious reforms of John Wycliffe. Henry Knighton, in his Chronicle, identifes the principal Knights as Sir Thomas Latimer, Sir John Trussel, Sir Lewis Clifford, Sir John Peachey, Sir Richard Storey, and Sir Reginald Hilton. Thomas Walsingham's Chronicle adds William Nevil and John Clanvowe to the list, and other potential members of this circle have been identified by their wills, which contain Lollard-inspired language about how their bodies are to be plainly buried and permitted to return to the soil from whence they came. There is little indication that the Lollard Knights were specifically known as such during their lifetimes; they were men of discretion, and unlike Sir John Oldcastle years later, rarely gave any hint of open rebellion. What is remarkable about them is how long they managed to hold important positions without falling victim to any of the several prosecutions of the followers of Wycliffe during their lifetimes. Unfortunately, Henry IV turned out to be a very enthusiastic opponent of the Lollards, and through legislation such as the Act De haeretico comburendo of 1401, showed himself virulently opposed to any such sentiments.

Sir John Oldcastle, a close friend of King Henry V (and the basis for Falstaff in the Shakespearean history Henry IV) was brought to trial in 1413 after evidence of his Lollard beliefs was uncovered. Oldcastle [5] escaped from the Tower of London and organized an insurrection, which included an attempted kidnapping of the king. The rebellion failed, and Oldcastle was executed. Oldcastle's revolt made Lollardy seem even more threatening to the state, and the persecution of Lollards became more severe. A variety of other martyrs for the Lollard cause were executed over the following century, including Thomas Harding who died at White Hill, Chesham, in 1532, one of the last Lollards to be persecuted. A gruesome reminder of this persecution is the 'Lollards Pit' in Thorpe Wood, Norfolk, where men are customablie burnt.[6]

Lollards were effectively absorbed into Protestantism during the English Reformation, in which Lollardy played a role. Since Lollardy had been underground for more than a hundred years, the extent of Lollardy and its ideas at the time of the Reformation is uncertain and a point of debate. It is of interest that ancestors of Blanche Parry, the closest person to Queen Elizabeth I for 56 years, and of Lady Troy who brought up Edward VI and Elizabeth I had Lollard connections [7]. However, many critics of the Reformation, including Thomas More, associated Protestants with Lollards. Leaders of the English Reformation, including Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, referred to Lollardy as well, and Bishop Cuthbert of London called Lutheranism as the "foster-child" of the Wycliffite heresy.[8] Whether Protestants actually drew influence from Lollardy or whether they referred to it to create a sense of tradition is debated by scholars. The extent of Lollardy in the general populace at this time is also unknown, but the prevalence of Protestant iconoclasm in England suggests Lollard ideas may still have had some popular influence if Zwingli was not the source, as Lutherans did not advocate iconoclasm. The similarity between Lollards and later English Protestant groups such as the Baptists, Puritans and Quakers also suggests some continuation of Lollard ideas through the Reformation.

Representations in art and literature

The Church used art as a propaganda weapon against the Lollards. Lollards were represented as foxes dressed as monks or priests preaching to a flock of geese on misericords and other places fairly frequently.[9] These representations alluded to the story of the preaching fox found in popular Medieval literature such as The History of Reynard the Fox and The Shifts of Raynardine (the son of Raynard). The fox lured the geese closer and closer with its words until it was able to snatch a victim to devour. The moral of this story was that foolish people are seduced by false doctrines.

See also


  • Duffy, Eamon. The Stripping of the Altars. Yale University Press, 1992.
  • Hudson, Anne. The Premature Reformation: Wycliffite Texts and Lollard History. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988.
  • McFarlane, K B. The Origins of Religious Dissent in England. 1952.
  • Rex, Richard. The Lollards: Social History in Perspective. New York: Palgrave, 2002.
  • Lollards of Coventry, 1486-1522, ed. and trans. Shannon McSheffrey and Norman Tanner, Camden Fifth Series 23 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press for the Royal Historical Society, 2003).
  • Shannon McSheffrey, "Heresy, Orthodoxy and English Vernacular Religion 1480–1525," Past & Present, 186, 2005, № 1, 47-80.
  • Robert Lutton, Lollardy and Orthodox Religion in Pre-Reformation England (Woodbridge and Suffolk, U.K.: Boydell and Brewer, 2006).
  • Lowe, Ben. "Teaching in the 'Schole of Christ': Law, Learning, and Love in Early Lollard Pacifism.” Catholic Historical Review 90, no. 3 (2004): 405-438.


  1. ^ Chris Roberts, Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind Rhyme, Thorndike Press,2006 (ISBN 0-7862-8517-6)
  2. ^ Confession of William Ayleward, Register of Bishop Chedworth of Lincoln, Lincoln Archive Office REG 20, fol. 61r.
  3. ^ Alexander Gordon; Heads of English Unitarian History; 1895; p.14.
  4. ^ "Twelve Conclusions of the Lollards." Wikisource
  5. ^ Richardson, Ruth Elizabeth, 2007 'Mistress Blanche, Queen Elizabeth I's Confidante', p 87-89
  6. ^ Rackham, Oliver (1976) Trees and Woodland in the British Landscape. Pub. J.M.Dent & Sons. ISBN 0-460-04183-5. P. 137 -138.
  7. ^ Richardson 2007, p 10-11, 87-89
  8. ^ Documents on the changing status of the English Vernacular, 1500-154 (retrieved 3/11/08)
  9. ^ Benton, Janetta Rebold (1 April 1997). Holy Terrors: Gargoyles on Medieval Buildings. Abbeville Press. pp. 83. ISBN 978-0789201829. 

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LOLLARDS, the name given to the English followers of John Wycliffe; they were the adherents of a religious movement which was widespread in the end of the 14th and beginning of the 15th centuries, and to some extent maintained itself on to the Reformation. The name is of uncertain origin; some derive it from lolium, tares, quoting Chaucer (C. Shipman's Prologue) "This Loller heer wil prechen us somwhat.. .

He wolde sowen som difficultee Or springen cokkel in our clene corn"; but the most generally received explanation derives the words from lollen or lullen, to sing softly. The word is much older than its English use; there were Lollards in the Netherlands at the beginning of the 14th century, who were akin to the Fratricelli, Beghards and other sectaries of the recusant Franciscan type. The earliest official use of the name in England occurs in 1387 in a mandate of the bishop of Worcester against five "poor preachers," nomine seu rite Lollardorum confoederatos. It is probable that the name was given to the followers of Wycliffe because they resembled those offshoots from the great Franciscan movement which had disowned the pope's authority and set before themselves the ideal of Evangelical poverty. The 14th century, so full of varied religious life, made it manifest that the two different ideas of a life of separation from the world which in earlier times had lived on side by side within the medieval church were irreconcilable. The church chose to abide by the idea of Hildebrand and to reject that of Francis of Assisi; and the revolt of Ockham and the Franciscans, of the Beghards and other spiritual fraternities, of Wycliffe and the Lollards, were all protests against that decision. Gradually there came to be facing each other a great political Christendom, whose rulers were statesmen, with aims and policy of a worldly type, and a religious Christendom, full of the ideas of separation from the world by self-sacrifice and of participation in the benefits of Christ's work by an ascetic imitation. The war between the two ideals was fought out in almost every country in Europe in the 14th century. In England Wycliffe's whole life was spent in the struggle, and he bequeathed his work to the Lollards. The main practical thought with Wycliffe was that the church, if true to her divine mission, must aid men to live that life of evangelical poverty by which they could be separate from the world and imitate Christ, and if the church ceased to be true to her mission she ceased to be a church. Wycliffe was a metaphysician and a theologian, and had to invent a metaphysical theory - the theory of Dominium - to enable him to transfer, in a way satisfactory to himself, the powers and privileges of the church to his company of poor Christians; but his followers were content to allege that a church which held large landed possessions, collected tithes greedily and took money from starving peasants for baptizing, burying and praying, could not be the church of Christ and his apostles.

Lollardy was most flourishing and most dangerous to the ecclesiastical organization of England during the ten years after Wycliffe's death. It had spread so rapidly and grown so popular that a hostile chronicler could say that almost every second man was a Lollard. Wycliffe left three intimate disciples: - Nicolas Hereford, a doctor of theology of Oxford, who had helped his master to translate the Bible into English; John Ashton, also a fellow of an Oxford college; and John Purvey, Wycliffe's colleague at Lutterworth, and a co-translator of the Bible. With these were associated more or less intimately, in the first age of Lollardy, John Parker, the strange ascetic William Smith, the restless fanatic Swynderly, Richard Waytstract and Crompe. Wycliffe had organized in Lutterworth an association for sending the gospel through all England, a company of poor preachers somewhat after the Wesleyan method of modern times. "To be poor without mendicancy, to unite the flexible unity, the swift obedience of an order, with free and constant mingling among the poor, such was the ideal of Wycliffe's ` poor priests'" (cf. Shirley, Fasc. Ziz. p. xl.), and, although proscribed, these "poor preachers" with portions of their master's translation of the Bible in their hand to guide them, preached all over England. In 1382, two years before the death of Wycliffe, the archbishop of Canterbury got the Lollard opinions condemned by convocation, and, having been promised royal support, he began the long conflict of the church with the followers of Wycliffe. He was able to coerce the authorities of the university of Oxford, and to drive out of it the leading Wycliffite teachers, but he was unable to stifle Oxford sympathies or to prevent the banished teachers preaching throughout the country. Many of the nobles, like Lords Montacute and Salisbury, supported the poor preachers, took them as private chaplains, and protected them against clerical interference. Country gentlemen like Sir Thomas Latimer of Braybrooke and Sir Richard Stury protected them, while merchants and burgesses supported them with money. When Richard II. issued an ordinance (July 1382) ordering every bishop to arrest all Lollards, the Commons compelled him to withdraw it. Thus protected, the "poor preachers" won masses of the people to their opinions, and Leicester, London and the west of England became their headquarters.

The organization must have been strong in numbers, but only those who were seized for heresy are known by name, and it is only from the indictments of their accusers that their opinions can be gathered. The preachers were picturesque figures in long russet dress down to the heels, who, staff in hand, preached in the mother tongue to the people in churches and graveyards, in squares, streets and houses, in gardens and pleasure grounds, and then talked privately with those who had been impressed. The Lollard literature was very widely circulated - books by Wycliffe and Hereford and tracts and broadsides - in spite of many edicts proscribing it. In 1395 the Lollards grew so strong that they petitioned parliament through Sir Thomas Latimer and Sir R. Stury to reform the church on Lollardist methods. It is said that the Lollard Conclusions printed by Canon Shirley (p. 360) contain the substance of this petition. If so, parliament was told that temporal possessions ruin the church and drive out the Christian graces of faith, hope and charity; that the priesthood of the church in communion with Rome was not the priesthood Christ gave to his apostles; that the monk's vow of celibacy had for its consequence unnatural lust, and should not be imposed; that transubstantiation was a feigned miracle, and led people to idolatry; that prayers made over wine, bread, water, oil, salt, wax, incense, altars of stone, church walls, vestments, mitres, crosses, staves, were magical and should not be allowed; that kings should possess the jus episcopale, and bring good government into the church; that no special prayers should be made for the dead; that auricular confession made to the clergy, and declared to be necessary for salvation, was the root of clerical arrogance and the cause of indulgences and other abuses in pardoning sin; that all wars were against the principles of the New Testament, and were but murdering and plundering the poor to win glory for kings; that the vows of chastity laid upon nuns led to child murder; that many of the trades practised in the commonwealth, such as those of goldsmiths and armourers, were unnecessary and led to luxury and waste. These Conclusions really contain the sum of Wycliffite teaching; and, if we add that the principal duty of priests is to preach, and that the worship of images, the going on pilgrimages and the use of gold and silver chalices in divine service are sinful (The Peasants' Rising and the Lollards, p. 47), they include almost all the heresies charged in the indictments against individual Lollards down to the middle of the 15th century. The king, who had hitherto seemed anxious to repress the action of the clergy against the Lollards, spoke strongly against the petition and its promoters, and Lollardy never again had the power in England which it wielded up to this year.

If the formal statements of Lollard creed are to be got from these Conclusions, the popular view of their controversy with xvl. 30 the church may be gathered from the ballads preserved in the Political Poems and Songs relating to English History, published in 1859 by Thomas Wright for the Master of the Rolls series, and in the Piers Ploughman poems. Piers Ploughman's Creed (see Langland) was probably written about 1394, when Lollardy was at its greatest strength; the ploughman of the Creed is a man gifted with sense enough to see through the tricks of the friars, and with such religious knowledge as can be got from the creed, and from Wycliffe's version of the Gospels. The poet gives us a "portrait of the fat friar with his double chin shaking about as big as a goose's egg, and the ploughman with his hood full of holes, his mittens made of patches, and his poor wife going barefoot on the ice so that her blood followed" (Early English Text Society, vol. xxx., pref., p. 16); and one can easily see why farmers and peasants turned from the friars to the poor'preachers. The Ploughman's Complaint tells the same tale. It paints popes, cardinals, prelates, rectors, monks and friars, who call themselves followers of Peter and keepers of the gates of heaven and hell, and pale poverty-stricken people, cotless and landless, who have to pay the fat clergy for spiritual assistance, and asks if these are Peter's priests. "I trowe Peter took no money, for no sinners that he sold.. .. Peter was never so great a fole, to leave his key with such a losell." In 1399 the Lancastrian Henry IV. overthrew the Plantagenet Richard II., and one of the most active partisans of the new monarch was Arundel, archbishop of Canterbury and the most determined opponent of Lollardy. Richard II. had aided the clergy to suppress Lollardy without much success. The new dynasty supported the church in a similar way and not more successfully. The strength of the anti-clerical party lay in the House of Commons, in which the representatives of the shires took the leading part. Twice the Commons petitioned the crown to seize the temporalities of the church and apply them to such national purposes as relief of taxation, maintenance of the poor and the support of new lords and knights. Their anti-clerical policy was not continuous, however. The court party and the clergy proposed statutes for the suppression of heresy, and twice at least secured the concurrence of the Commons. One of these was the well-known statute De heretico comburendo passed in 1401.

In the earlier stages of Lollardy, when the court and the clergy managed to bring Lollards before ecclesiastical tribunals backed by the civil power, the accused generally recanted and showed no disposition to endure martyrdom for their opinions. They became bolder in the beginning of the 15th century. William Sawtrey (Chartris), caught and condemned, refused to recant and was burnt at St Paul's Cross (March 1401), and Other martyrdoms followed. The victims usually belonged to the lower classes. In 1410 John Badby, an artisan, was sent to the stake. His execution was memorable from the part taken in it by the prince of Wales, who himself tried to reason the Lollard out of his convictions. But nothing said would make Badby confess that "Christ sitting at supper did give to His disciples His living body to eat." The Lollards, far from daunted, abated no effort to make good their ground, and united a struggle for social and political liberty to the hatred felt by the peasants towards the Romish clergy. Jak Upland (John Countryman) took the place of Piers Ploughman, and upbraided the clergy, and especially the friars, for their wealth and luxury. Wycliffe had published the rule of St Francis, and had pointed out in a commentary upon the rule how far friars had departed from the maxims of their founder, and had persecuted the Spirituales (the Fratricelli, Beghards, Lollards of the Netherlands) for keeping them to the letter (cf. Matthews, English Works of Wyclif hitherto unprinted, Early Eng. Text Soc., vol. lxxiv., 1880). Jak Upland put all this into rude nervous English verse: "Freer, what charitie is this To fain that whoso liveth after your order Liveth most perfectlie, And next followeth the state of the Apostles In povertie and pennance: And yet the wisest and greatest clerkes of you Wend or send or procure to the court of Rome,. .. and to be assoiled of the vow of povertie." The archbishop, having the power of the throne behind him, attacked that stronghold of Lollardy the university of Oxford. In 1406 a document appeared purporting to be the testimony of the university in favour of Wycliffe; its genuineness was disputed at the time, and when quoted by Huss at the council of Constance it was repudiated by the English delegates. The archbishop treated Oxford as if it had issued the document, and procured the issue of severe regulations in order to purge the university of heresy. In 1408 Arundel in convocation proposed and carried the famous Constitutiones Thomae Arundel intended to put down Wycliffite preachers and teaching. They provided amongst other things that no one was to be allowed to preach without a bishop's licence, that preachers preaching to the laity were not to rebuke the sins of the clergy, and that Lollard books and the translation of the Bible were to be searched for and destroyed.

When Henry V. became king a more determined effort was: made to crush Lollardy. Hitherto its strength had lain among the country gentlemen who were the representatives of the shires. The court and clergy had been afraid to attack this powerful class. The new king determined to overawe them,. and to this end selected one who had been a personal friend and whose life had been blameless. This was Sir John Oldcastle, in right of his wife, Lord Cobham, "the good Lord Cobham" as the common people called him. Henry first tried personal persuasion, and when that failed directed trial for heresy. Oldcastle was convicted, but was imprisoned for forty days in the Tower in hope that he might recant. He escaped, and summoned his co-religionists to his aid. A Lollard plot was formed to seize the king's person. In the end Oldcastle was burnt for an obstinate heretic (Dec. 1417). These persecutions were not greatly protested against; the wars of Henry V. with France had awakened the martial spirit of the nation, and little sympathy was felt for men who had declared that all war was but the murder and plundering of poor people for the sake of kings. Mocking ballads were composed upon the martyr Oldcastle,, and this dislike to warfare was one of the chief accusations: made against him (comp. Wright's Political Poems, ii. 244). But Arundel could not prevent the writing and distribution, of Lollard books and pamphlets. Two appeared about the time of the martyrdom of Oldcastle - The Ploughman's Prayer and the Lanthorne of Light. The Ploughman's Prayer declared that true worship consists in three things - in loving God, and dreading: God and trusting in God above all other things; and it showed how Lollards, pressed by persecution, became further separated from the religious life of the church. "Men maketh now great stonen houses full of glasen windows, and clepeth thilke thine houses and churches. And they setten in these houses mawmets, of stocks and stones, to fore them they knelen privilich and apert and maken their prayers, and all this they say is they worship.. .. For Lorde our belief is that thine house is man's soul." Notwithstanding the repression, Lollardy fastened in new parts. of England, and Lollards abounded in Somerset, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Lincoln and Buckinghamshire.

The council of Constance (1414-1418) put an end to the papal schism, and also showed its determination to put down heresy by burning John Huss. When news of this reached England the clergy were incited to still more vigorous proceedings against Lollard preachers and books. From this time Lollardy appears. banished from the fields and streets, and fakes refuge in houses, and places of concealment. There was no more wayside preaching, but instead there were conventicula occulta in houses, in peasants' huts, in sawpits and in field ditches, where the Bible was read and exhortations were given, and so Lollardy continued.. In 1428 Archbishop Chichele confessed that the Lollards seemed as numerous as ever, and that their literary and preaching work went on as vigorously as before. It was found also that many of the poorer rectors and parish priests, and a great many chaplains and curates, were in secret association with the Lollards, so much so that in many places processions were never made and worship on saints' days was abandoned. For the Lollards were hardened by persecution, and became fanatical in the statement of their doctrines. Thomas Bagley was accused of declaring that if in the sacrament a priest made bread into God, he made a God that can be eaten by rats and mice; that the pharisees of the day, the monks, and the nuns, and the friars and all other privileged persons recognized by the church were limbs of Satan; and that auricular confession to the priest was the will not of God but of the devil. And others held that any priest who took salary was excommunicate; and that boys could bless the bread as well as priests.

From England Lollardy passed into Scotland. Oxford infected St Andrews, and we find traces of more than one vigorous search made for Lollards among the teaching staff of the Scottish university, while the Lollards of Kyle in Ayrshire were claimed by Knox as the forerunners of the Scotch Reformation.

The opinions of the later Lollards can best be gathered from the learned and unfortunate Pecock, who wrote his elaborate Repressor against the "Bible-men," as he calls them. He summed up their doctrines under eleven heads: they condemn the having and using images in the churches, the going on pilgrimages to the memorial or "mynde places" of the saints, the holding of landed possessions by the clergy, the various ranks of the hierarchy, the framing of ecclesiastical laws and ordinances by papal and episcopal authority, the institution of religious orders, the costliness of ecclesiastical decorations, the ceremonies of the mass and the sacraments, the taking of oaths and the maintaining that war and capital punishment are lawful. When these points are compared with the Lollard Conclusions of 1395, it is plain that Lollardy had not greatly altered its opinions after fifty-five years of persecution. All the articles of Pecock's list, save that on capital punishment, are to be found in the Conclusions; and, although many writers have held that Wycliffe's own views differed greatly from what have been called the "exaggerations of the later and more violent Lollards," all these views may be traced to Wycliffe himself. Pecock's idea was that all the statements which he was prepared to impugn came from three false opinions or "trowings," viz. that no governance or ordinance is to be esteemed a law of God which is not founded on Scripture, that every humble-minded Christian man or woman is able without "fail and defaut" to find out the true sense of Scripture, and that having done so he ought to listen to no arguments to the contrary; he elsewhere adds a fourth (i. 102), that if a man be not only meek but also keep God's law he shall have a true understanding of Scripture, even though "no man ellis teche him saue God." These statements, especially the last, show us the connexion between the Lollards and those mystics of the 14th century, such as Tauler and Ruysbroeck, who accepted the teachings of Nicholas of Basel, and formed themselves into the association of the Friends of God.

The persecutions were continued down to the reign of Henry VIII., and when the writings of Luther began to appear in England the clergy were not so much afraid of Lutheranism as of the increased life they gave to men who for generations had been reading Wycliffe's Wickette. " It is," wrote Bishop Tunstall to Erasmus in 1523, "no question of pernicious novelty, it is only that new arms are being added to the great band of Wycliffite heretics." Lollardy, which continued down to the Reformation, did much to shape the movement in England. The subordination of clerical to laic jurisdiction, the reduction in ecclesiastical possessions, the insisting on a translation of the Bible which could be read by the "common" man were all inheritances bequeathed by the Lollards.

LITERATURE. - Fasciculi Zizaniorum Magistri Johannis Wyclif .cum Tritico, edited for the Rolls Series by W. W. Shirley (London, 1858); the Chronicon Angliae, auctore monacho quodam Sancti Albani, ed. by Sir E. Maunde Thompson (London, 1874); Historia Anglicana of Thomas Walsingham, ed. by H. T. Riley, vol. iii. (London, 1869); Chronicon of Henry Knighton, ed. by J. R. Lumby (London, 1895); R. L. Poole, Wyclif f and Movements for Reform (London, 1889); R. Pecock, Repressor of overmuch Blaming of the Clergy (2 vols., London, 1860) F. D. Matthew, The English Works of John Wyclif (Early English Text Society, London, 1880); T. Wright, Political Poems and Songs (2 vols., London, 18 59); G. V. Lechler, Johann von Wiclif, ii. (1873) J. Loserth, Hus and Wyclif f e (Prague, 1884, English translation by J. Evans, London, 1884); D. Wilkins, Concilia Magnae Britanniae et Hiberniae, iii. (London, 1773); E. Powell and G. M. Trevelyan, The Peasants' Rising and the Lollards, a Collection of Unpublished Documents(London, 1899); G. M. Trevelyan, England in the Age of Wyclif f e (London, 1898, 3rd ed., 1904); the publications of the Wiclif Society; H. S. Cronin, "The Twelve Conclusions of the Lollards," in the English Historical Review (April 1907, pp. 292 ff.); and J. Gairdner, Lollardy ,and the Reformation in England (1908). (T. M. L.)

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