Lollards and Their Influence in Late Medieval England

By Fiona Somerset; Jill C. Havens et al. | Go to book overview
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"Heu! quanta desolatio Angliae praestatur”:
A Wycliffite Libel and
the Naming of Heretics, Oxford 1382

Wendy Scase

It has become an accepted fact in Wycliffite studies that the first datable use of the term lollardi to refer to Wycliffites occurred in Oxford in 1382. 1 The source upon which this claim is based has many times been cited and quoted by students of Lollardy. It is a passage in the Carmelite Fasciculi Zizaniorum. The text relates to events associated with the "Earthquake Council” held that year at London's Blackfriars. The Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Robert Rigg, was ordered by the archbishop of Canterbury to publish the Earthquake Council's list of condemned propositions and to prohibit their teaching in Oxford. At first Rigg resisted, but the list was eventually published in Oxford, in English and Latin, on 15 June 1382. Rigg was instructed to prevent Nicholas Hereford, Philip Repingdon, and other named persons from teaching, preaching, and defending these propositions, either in the schools or outside them. Protest and hostility were expected, so Rigg was also ordered to prevent reprisals being taken against those persons who had been involved in helping the archbishop with the matter. 2 The Fasciculi Zizaniorum records that, despite this provision, the Cistercian monk Henry Crumpe was suspended from scholastic acts, "quia vocavit haereticos Lollardos”:

... non obstantibus illis praeceptis, suspenditur Henricus Crumpe, magister in theologia, ab actibus suis, publice, in ecclesia B. Virginis; et imponunt sibi perturbationem pacis, quia vocavit haereticos Lollardos. 3

Translating this last phrase, in a tradition that goes back at least as far as Foxe, "because he called the heretics 'Lollards,'" scholars have seen this

For example, Margaret Aston (269, 1, n.1); J.I. Catto (378, 216); A.B. Emden (6, entry on Crumpe); Anne Hudson (713, 2). I followed this interpretation in Scase (1081), but found the use of lollardi in this context "hard to account for” (154).
W.W. Shirley (139, 309―11) gives the text of the archbishop's mandate to Rigg. Also specifically named as suspected of heresy were Wyclif, John Aston and Laurence Bedeman. For a narrative of these events see Catto (378, 214―7) and Hudson (709, 70―3).
Shirley(139, 311―12). ("Notwithstanding the mandate, Henry Crumpe, Master of Theology, was publicly suspended from scholastic acts in the Church of the Blessed Virgin, and he was cited for disturbance of the peace, 'quia vocavit haereticos Lollardos'.")

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