Lollardy was a political and religious movement that existed from the mid-14th century to the English Reformation.

A Lollard is also known as a Wyclifite – that is, of or pertaining to the mediaeval English theologian John Wycliffe who was dismissed from the University of Oxford in 1381 for criticism of the Catholic Church, and for his English translation of the Bible, known as the Wyclif’s Bible.

The term derives from the popular derogatory nickname Lollard given to those without an academic background, educated – if at all – only in English. By the mid-15th century, thanks to John Wycliffe, the term had come to mean heretic in general.

Speaking of sects, the former Lord Chancellor Lord Mackay of Clashfern was a member of the Wee Frees, an extreme Scottish Presbyterian sect. He was thrown out of the church after going to the funeral of a judge who happened to be Catholic. He was also once holding a tea party for some lawyers at which he served toast and a tiny pot of honey. One of lawyers looked at it and said jokingly: “I see Your Lordship keeps a bee.”

1 thought on “Lollardy

  1. John Wycliffe was also a member of the secret society of the Culdees. By Papal edict, it was forbidden, between 600 and the 1600’s, CE, upon penalty of death, to own a Bible in any language other than Latin – it was the primary cause of the Culdees to get the Bible back into the hands of the people by making it available to them in English.

    With the help of the Lollards, his assistant Purvey, and many other faithful scribes, Wycliffe produced dozens of English language copies of the scriptures, translated out of the Latin Vulgate, the only source text available to Wycliffe. The Pope was so infuriated by his teachings and his translation of the Bible into English, that 44 years after Wycliffe’s death, he ordered his bones to be dug-up, crushed, and scattered in the river!

    One of Wycliffe’s followers, John Hus, actively promoted Wycliffe’s ideas: that people should be permitted to read the Bible in their own language, and they should oppose the tyranny of the Roman church that threatened anyone possessing a non-Latin Bible with execution. Hus was burned at the stake in 1415, with Wycliffe’s manuscript Bibles used as kindling for the fire.

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