CHAPTER IV: THE DECLINE OF FEUDALISM
SECTION 7: THE POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE LOLLARD HERESY
WAS THE ROMAN CHURCH MORE CORRUPT AND WORLDLY THAN IN EARLIER TIMES?
PAPAL AND ANTIPAPAL VIEWS ON RELIGION WITHIN THE ENGLISH CHURCH CENTRED ON CHURCH WEALTH AND TAXATION, MUCH OF WHICH WAS SENT OUT OF THE COUNTRY TO ROME.
ENGLISH NATIONAL SENTIMENT WAS BEING ESTABLISHED. WYCLIFFE APPLIED COMMUNIST THEORY TO SECULAR AFFAIRS. HE WROTE:
“THE FIEND MOVETH SOME MEN TO SAY THAT CHRISTIAN MEN SHOULD NOT BE SERVANTS AND THRALLS TO HEATHEN (UNGODLY) LORDS….. NEITHER TO CHRISTIAN LORDS.”
WYCLIFFE WAS EXPELLED FROM OXFORD (THE FIRST CENTRE OF LOLLARDRY), BUT HE FOUND SUPPORT AMONG LESSER GENTRY - THE YEOMANRY, FARMERS AND ABOVE ALL FROM THE WEAVERS OF EAST ANGLIA
- THE CLASSES FROM WHICH CROMWELL WAS TO DRAW MOST OF HIS FOLLOWERS IN THE YEARS TO COME.
THE LOLLARDS MADE RAPID PROGRESS IN 1382.
WIKIPEDIA VERSION OF LOLLARDRY
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, a prominent theologian who was thrown out of University of Oxford in the 1381 for criticism of the traditional church, especially his doctrine on the eucharist. Its demands were primarily for reform of Western Christianity.
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)."
IN 1401, ENERGETIC PERSECUTIONS OF LOLLARDS BEGAN, AND BURNINGS AND EXECUTIONS FOLLOWED.
IN THE FOLLOWING GENERATIONS, LOLLARD PREACHERS DEVELOPED ALL THE BOURGEOIS AND DEMOCRATIC TENDENCIES LATENT IN THEIR TEACHINGS.
THEY CAME TO VALUE PROPERTY AND THRIFT, TO DESPISE DISPLAY AND WORLDLY PLEASURE.
THROUGHOUT THE LANCASTRIAN PERIOD, THE SECT LIVED ON, BUT PERSECUTIONS DROVE IT UNDERGROUND.
THIS PERSECUTION MEANT THE EAST OF ENGLAND PROVIDED SOLID SUPPORT TO THE MORE TOLERANT YORKISTS DURING THE WAR OF THE ROSES.
WHEN LUTHERISM BEGAN TO REACH ENGLAND IN THE EARLY 16th CENTURY, THE LOLLARDS WERE STILL IN EXISTENCE AND READY TO WELCOME THEIR NEW ALLIES.
IT WAS WHERE THE LOLLARDRY HAD BEEN STRONG THAT THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION TOOK THE QUICKEST AND FIRMEST ROOT.