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John Wycliffe and the Lollards, 1350-1500

5. Proselytising Lollardy

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about how Lollardy might have spread in England, focusing in particular on the context in which evangelism might have taken place, the specific words and phrases used by the Lollards, and the extent to which the Lollards formed a connected, organised movement.


In this course, Professor John Arnold (University of Cambridge) explores the theology of John Wycliffe and the heretical movement which he inspired known as Lollardy. In the first module, we think about the life and times of John Wycliffe himself, focusing in particular on his relationship with John of Gaunt and some of his theological views. After that, we think about how Wycliffe's ideas spread out beyond Oxford where they were formed and came to be seen as a much greater threat – both by the church and by the state. In the third module, we think about how political situation in the early 15th century facilitated the greater prosecution of heresy in England, before moving on in the fourth module, to look in more detail at some of the individuals actually prosecuted for heresy. In the fifth module, we think about how Lollardy actually spread, before turning in the sixth and final module to Lollardy in the later 15th and early 16th centuries, and the rise of Martin Luther and the Reformation proper.

Primary Sources:
– English translations of all the Norfolk Heresy Trials (1428-31) can be found on the Virtual Norfolk website.


John Arnold studied at the University of York, gaining a BA in History, and a D.Phil. in Medieval Studies. He worked at the University of East Anglia, then moved to Birkbeck, University of London, in 2001, until his election to the professorship of medieval history at Cambridge in 2016. He has been lead editor of the journal Cultural and Social History, is on the editorial board of the journal Past & Present, and co-edits several publication series: Genders and Sexualities in History (Palgrave Macmillan), Heresy and Inquisition in the Middle Ages (York Medieval Press), and Oxford Studies in Medieval European History (OUP).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Arnold, J. (2018, August 15). John Wycliffe and the Lollards, 1350-1500 - Proselytising Lollardy [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Arnold, J. "John Wycliffe and the Lollards, 1350-1500 – Proselytising Lollardy." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,