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John Wycliffe

Middle Ages - Lords and Ladies

Short Biography profile and facts about the life of John Wycliffe
The following biography information provides basic facts and information about the life and history of John Wycliffe a famous Medieval religious reformer and  the first person to translate the Bible into English.

  • Nationality: English

  • Also Known as: Wyclif, Wycliff, Wicliffe or Wiclif. The “Morning Star of the Reformation.”
  • Lifespan: 1324 - 1384
  • Time Reference: Lived during the reign of King Edward III and King Richard II of England
  • Date of Birth: He was born in 1324 in Yorkshire
  • Early Life and Education: Balliol College, Oxford
  • Career and Timeline:
    • In 1376 John Wycliffe wrote Civil Dominion calling for reforms in the Church
    • 1382 John Wycliffe was expelled from Oxford University because of his opposition to traditional Church doctrines
    • 1380 John Wycliffe began the first English translation of the Bible into English
  • Date of Death: John Wycliffe died on 31 December 1384 at Hipswell near Richmond, in Yorkshire, England
  • John Wycliffe and the Lollards. After his death John Wycliffe was condemned as a heretic and his teachings were suppressed. However, the popular movement of the Lollards kept his ideas alive and were the basis of their philosophy
  • Accomplishments or why John Wycliffe was famous: As a Medieval religious reformer and  the first person to translate the Bible into English

John Wycliffe
The story and biography of John Wycliffe which contains interesting information, facts & the history about the life of this Medieval person of historical importance. John Wycliffe, (or Wyclif) was master of an Oxford college and a popular preacher. John Wycliffe appealed from the authority of the Church to the authority of the Bible. With the assistance of two friends John Wycliffe produced the first English translation of the Bible. Manuscript copies of the work had a large circulation, until the government suppressed it. Wycliffe was not molested in life, but the Council of Constance denounced his teaching and ordered that his bones should be dug up, burned, and cast into a stream.

John Wycliffe and the Lollards
The Lollards. John Wycliffe had organized bands of "poor priests" to spread the simple truths of the Bible through all England called the Lollard preachers. They went out, staff in hand and clad in long, russet gowns, and preached to the common people in the English language, wherever an audience could be found. The Lollards, as Wycliffe's followers were known, not only attacked many beliefs and practices of the Church, but also demanded social reforms. For instance, they declared that all wars were sinful and were but plundering and murdering the poor to win glory for kings. The Lollards had to endure much persecution for heresy. Nevertheless their work lived on and sowed in England and Scotland the seeds of the Reformation.

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