Lollards or Lol(L)Hards
Lollards Or Lol(l)hards originally the name of a monastic society which arose at Antwerp about 1300, and the members of which devoted themselves to the care of the sick and dying with pestilential disorders, SEE CELLITES, was afterwards applied to those who, during the closing part of the 14th and a large part of the succeeding century, were credited with adhering to the religious views maintained by Wickliffe (q.v.).
Origins of the Name. — Great diversity of opinion exists among scholars on the origin of the name Lollard. Some have supposed that there existed a person of such a name in Germany, who, differing in many points from the Church of Reme, made converts to his peculiar doctrines, and thus originated an independent sect about 1315 (see Genesis Biog. Dict. art. Lollard, Walter), and for this heretical step was burned alive at Cologne in 1322. It is more than probable, however, that this leader received his name from the sect than gave a name to it, just as in the Prognosticatio of Johannes Lychtenberger (a work very popular in Germany towards the close of the 15th century) great weight is attached to the predictions of one Reynard Lollard (Reynhardus Lolhardus), who was, no doubt, so called from the sect to which he belonged. Others believe that it was applied to the Cellites because of their practice of singing dirges at funerals — the Low-German word lollen or lullen signifying to sing softly or slowly. Another derivation of the word is that which makes it an epithet of reproach. In papal bulls and other documents it is used as synonymous virtually with lollia, the tares commingled with the wheat of the Church. In this sense we meet with it (A.D. 1382) even before Wickliffe's death. Still another suggestion comes from a correspondent of "Notes and Queries" (March 27, 1852), who, quoting from a passage of Heda's history, cites a statement to the effect that bishop Florentius de Wevelichoven "caused the bones of a certain Matthew Lollaert to be burned, and his ashes to be dispersed," etc. The correspondent remarks that from a note on this passage, where reference is made to Prateolus and Walsingham, it is evident that Heda is speaking of the founder of the sect of the Lollards. The name Lollaert would, of course, indicate that the name of the English sect was derived from a Dutch heretic, buried at Utrecht, and well known in the neighboring region. With much more reason the origin of the word Lollard has been traced of late to the Latin lollardus, by a comparison of the later English Lollard with the old English loller, used by Chaucer and Langeland. Says Whitaker (in his edition of Piers Plowman, page 154 sq.):
"Any reader of early English knows that Lollard is the late English spelling of the Latin lollardus. But what is lollardus? It is a Latin spelling of the old English loller, used by Chaucer and Langeland. The real meaning of loller is one who lolls about, a vagabond; and it was equally applied, at first, to the Wickliffites and to the begging friars... . [Beghuins (q.v.)]. But, before long, loller was purposely confused with the Latin lolium, by a kind of pun. The derivation of loller from to loll rests on no slight authority. It is most distinctly discussed and explained, and its etymology declared by no less a person than Langeland himself, who lived at the time it came into use."
English Lollards. — Whatever be the derivation of the word Lollard, certain it is that by this name alone the followers of John Wickliffe (q.v.) were always designated, who, in the early stage of the reformatory movements of the bold English churchman (about A.D. 1360), consisted of the "Poor Priests" (q.v.), a class called together by Wickliffe to carry the glad tidings of the Gospel into the remotest hamlets, and to counteract the influence of the begging friars ( SEE BEGHARDS, who were then strolling over the country, preaching instead of the Word the legends of the saints and the history of the Trojan War (compare D'Aubigne, Hist. of the Reformation, 5:91 sq.). For some time. the mendicant orders, which had first entered England in the early part of the preceding century, had been the object of attack, both by the people and the clergy, for their rapacious and shameless conduct. Indeed, so much was the country disturbed by the violence and vices of swarms of these sanctimonious vagabonds that the ancient records often speak of their arrest. Wickliffe's opposition to such a class of persons could not but have secured him the general respect and commendation of the people. Not so, however, when, to counteract the influence of the mendicants, he instituted the "Poor Priests," who, not content with mere polemics, preached the great mystery of godliness, and became so greatly the favorites of the people that the clergy were threatened to be left without any attendants at their churches, preference being shown to the poor priests, preaching in the fields, in some church- yard, or in the market-places. It was not, however, until after Wickliffe's appointment to the University of Oxford that any of the doctrines which the Lollards as a sect afterwards maintained, and which caused his prosecution by the papists, were advocated and propagated. It is true, even as early as 1357, Wickliffe had published a work against the covetousness of Rome (The last Age of the Church), and in 1365 had vindicated Edward III's resistance to the claim of Urban V of the arrears of the tribute granted to the papacy by king John, SEE URBAN V; SEE ENGLAND; but it was not until (in 1372) he had taken the degree of D.D., and entered upon his work at Oxford University by able and emphatic testimony against the abuses of the papacy, that he drew upon himself the enmity of the English prelates, and, in consequence, came to stand forth the advocate of reform and the leader of a movement for this purpose. Nor did the success of his course slacken in the least after his withdrawal from the university and his retirement to the small parish of Lutterworth. Everywhere those persons who had come sunder his influence or been converted by his writings were busily engaged in disseminating the doctrines which he taught. His followers were to be found among all classes of the population. Some, like the duke of Lancaster, lord Percy, and Clifford, may have been attached to Wickliffe's views mainly by their political sympathies, but the great mass of his adherents were such upon religious grounds. The examinations of those who, during the generation that followed his death (1384), were arrested or punished as heretics, indicate the common doctrinal position which they almost uniformly maintained. It was substantially identical with that taken by Wickliffe in his writings. The supreme authority of the Scriptures in religious matters. the rejection of transubstantiation, the futile nature of pilgrimages, auricular confession, etc., the impiety of image-worship, the identification of the papal hierarchy with Antichrist, the entire sufficiency of Christ as a Savior, without the need of priestly offices in the mass, or any elaborate ceremonial — such were the points upon which they were pronounced heretical, and, as such, persecuted and condemned.
Up to 1382, through the events of the time, the great schism of the papacy, the indignation excited in England by papal encroachments, the scandalous conduct of many among the prelates and clergy, Wickliffe, as well as his followers, had been left comparatively unmolested, and he himself even escaped altogether. Not so, however, his followers, who were, near the time of his death, rapidly augmenting all over England. The testimony of Knighton and Walsingham indicates the rapid spread of Wickliffe's opinions, though there may be some exaggeration in the remark of the former to the effect that "nearly every other man in England was a Lollard." In 1382, however, more decided action was taken on the part of the ecclesiastics, and resulted in the convening of a council by archbishop Courtney. By it ten of Wickliffe's articles were condemned as heretical, and twenty-four as erroneous. The archbishop issued his mandate, forbidding any man, "of what estate or condition soever," to hold, teach, preach, or defend the aforesaid heresies and errors, or any of them, or even allow them to be preached or favored, publicly or privately. Each bishop and priest was exhorted to become an "inquisitor of heretical pravity," and the neglect of the mandate was threatened with the severest censures of excommunication. This measure took effect at Oxford, where the chancellor, Robert Rygge, was inclined to favor Wickliffe's opinions, and the proctors, John Huntman and Walter Dish, were in sympathy with him. A sermon by Philip Reppyngdon, which they had allowed, and in which Wickliffe's views were defended, subjected them to suspicion. They were summoned before the archbishop, and with some difficulty escaped on submission. The chancellor was required to put Wickliffe's adherents to a purgation or cause them to abjure, publishing before the university the condemnation of his conclusions. His reply was that he durst not do it for fear of death. "What!" exclaimed the archbishop, "is Oxford such a nestler and favorer of heresies that the catholic truth cannot be published?" At the same time, by the archbishop's authority, Nicholas Hereford, Philip Reppyngdon, John Ashton, and Lawrence Bedemen, whose names were associated with Wickliffe's, were denied the privilege of preaching before the university, and suspended from every scholastic act. The chancellor himself was addressed as "somewhat inclined and still inclining to the aforesaid conclusions so condemned," and, under pain of the greater excommunication, he was enjoined to permit no one in the university to teach or defend the obnoxious doctrines. The injunction of the archbishop was enforced by the command of the royal council.
In the early months of 1382 the king had favored the persecution of heretics. On the petition of the archbishop, he had allowed him and his suffragans "to arrest and imprison, either in their own prisons, or any other if they please, all and every such person and persons as shall either privily or openly preach or maintain" the condemned conclusions. The persons thus arrested might,, moreover, be detained "till such time as they shall repent them and amend them of such erroneous and heretical pravities." The officers and subjects of the king were also required to obey and humbly attend the archbishop and his suffragans in the execution of their process. But the king declined to interfere. Even this, however, did not satisfy the archbishop. The excommunicated Hereford had escaped from prison, and the prelate, disappointed of his victim, asked the king to issue letters for his apprehension. On Ashton's trial in London, the citizens broke open the doors of the conclave, forcing the archbishop to complete his process elsewhere. But popular sympathy was weak to resist the organized efforts of a powerful hierarchy, largely occupying the most responsible posts of government, and bold enough (Hannay's Rep. Gov.) to forge or interpolate parliamentary records, of which they had the control. Some of the accused, like Reppyngdon and Hereford, recanted, and became the most virulent persecutors of their former sympathizers. Others, according to Walden, who mentions William Swinderby, Walter Brute, William Thorpe, and others, whose names figure in Fox's "Martyrs," fled the realm. If Swinderby was one of the refugees, he soon returned. It is doubtful whether he or his associates went farther than to Wales or Scotland. In 1389 he was arraigned before the bishop of Lincoln, and charged with heresy. Forced to recant, he withdrew to the diocese of Hereford. Here he was again arrested as a "truly execrable offender of the new sect vulgarly called Lollards." The issue, so far as episcopal authority was concerned, could not remain doubtful. Swinderby was found guilty, pronounced a heretic, and to be shunned by all. From this sentence lie appealed to the king and council.
We have no subsequent record of Swinderby. Foxe supposes him to have been burned in 1399. In 1393, Walter Brute, another Lollard, a layman, was arrested, and, after a tedious trial, was forced to recant. In 1395 the alarm of heresy was again sounded. There was an apprehension that Parliament would take some action in behalf of the persecuted Lollards. A bull of Boniface IX was issued, inciting the bishop of Hereford against the obnoxious sect, and urging him to stimulate the orthodox zeal of the king. The king was at the time absent in Ireland, but Tindale states that intelligence of what had transpired was sent him, and his immediate return, with a view to repress the boldness of the Lollards, was strenuously urged. Nor was the king backward in responding to the petitions of the archbishop and the exhortations of the pope. Reciting his former commission to the bishops and their suffragans, giving them authority to arrest and imprison, he extended this authority, by which the bishop of Hereford was allowed to arrest William Swinderby and Stephen Bell, who had fled to the borders of Wales; while several of the leading members of Parliament were directed to have it proclaimed, wherever they thought meet, that no man of any condition within the said diocese should, under pain of forfeiture of all he had, "'make or levy any conventicles, assemblies, or confederacies by any color," and that, if any one should transgress this rule, he should be seized, imprisoned, and safely kept till surrendered to the order of the king and council.
During this time, while special attention was drawn to the danger apprehended from Parliament, the Lollards were spreading their doctrines in other parts of the kingdom. At Leicester and its neighborhood they had made such progress that several of their leaders, eight of whom are mentioned by Foxe by name, were denounced to the archbishop on his visitation as heretics. They were summoned the next day to appear before him and answer to the charge. But they "hid themselves away and appeared not." They were therefore publicly denounced as excommunicate in several of the parish churches. Nor was this all. The whole town of Leicester, and all the churches in the same, were interdicted so long as any of the excommunicated should remain within the same, and "till all the Lollards of the town should return and amend from such heresies and errors, obtaining at the said archbishop's hands the benefit of absolution." The compact between the leading representatives of the ecclesiastical and civil power which marked the accession of Henry IV to the throne was soon sealed by parliamentary legislation. To prevent the spread of the Lollards, and to suppress their meetings, which were described as confederacies to stir up sedition and insurrection (Crabb's History of English Law, page 334), it was ordained that if persons, sententially convict, refused to abjure their opinions, such persons were to be left to the secular arm. In such cases evidence was to be given to the diocesan or his commissary, and the sheriff, mayor, and bailiff were, after sentence promulgated, to receive them, and in a high place, before the people, to cause them to be burnt. 'The law did not remain a dead letter. It was not long before a victim was found. The ecclesiastics were only too zealous for an example that might strike terror among the people, and especially the Londoners, who were "not right believers in God, nor in the traditions of their forefathers; sustainers of the Lollards, depravers of religious men, withholders of tythes," etc. The victim selected was "one William Sautre, a good man and a faithful priest, inflamed with zeal for true religion," who in the Parliament of 1401 required that he might be heard for the commodity of the whole realm. The suspicions of the bishops were excited, and he was summoned before the ecclesiastical court. His views were in substance those of the Lollards. He was at first induced to recant, but after his previous trial before the bishop of Norwich was known, as well as his submission and subsequent relapse, there was no disposition to show him mercy. By the king's order, "in some public and open place within the liberties of the city" of London, he was "committed to the fire." So bold a measure, not frequent in English history, naturally terrified the Lollards. They kept themselves secret from the eves of the bishops. To the king they could no longer look with confidence or the hope of relief. The son of Wickliffe's patron had become the tool of the bishops. His usurped power was sustained by their alliance. As the hopes of relief from the burdens of taxation which had been inspired by the promises made at his accession began to (lie out, his popularity waned. Complaints were heard from various quarters. The old partisans of Richard II began to murmur, and, to retain his throne in security, Henry IV was compelled to throw himself more and more into the arms of the Church, and concede everything which the prelates might demand. The "cruel constitution" of archbishop Arundel was the fitting ecclesiastical counterpart of the civil statute that legalized the burning of the Lollards. It forbade any one to preach, "whether within the Church or without, in English," except by episcopal sanction. Schoolmasters and teachers were to intermingle with their instructions nothing contrary to the determination of the Church. No book or treatise of Wickliffe was to be read in schools, halls, hospitals, or other places whatsoever. No man hereafter, by his own authority, should translate any text of the Scripture into English or any other tongue, by way of a book, tract, or treatise. No one should presume to dispute upon articles determined by the Church contained in the decrees, decretals, etc. Every warden, provost, or master of every college, or principal of every hall within the University of Oxford, was, at least once every month, to inquire diligently in the college with which he was connected whether any scholar or inhabitant thereof had proposed or defended anything contrary to the determinations of the Church, and the failure of duty in this respect was to be visited by deprivation, expulsion, and the greater excommunication.
But all the precautions of the bishops and the severity of persecuting laws were ineffectual to suppress the hated opinions. Fox narrates the examination of William Thorpe (1407) and the burning of John Badby (1409). The latter event seems to have created sympathy for the Lollards on the part of the Commons. In the eleventh year of Henry IV (1410) they praved that persons arrested under the obnoxious statute might be bailed and make their purgation, and that they might be arrested by none but sheriffs and lay officers. This petition, however, did not secure the royal approval. The influence and support of the Church would doubtless have been lost to the king if he had yielded to the wishes of the Commons. Other measures which they proposed, designed to set limits to ecclesiastical usurpation, while they gave unequivocal evidence of the unchanged spirit of the nation, met with little more success In 1413 Henry IV was succeeded by his son, Henry V. The change, however, did not open any brighter prospect to the persecuted Lollards. The beginning of this reign was signalized by a new triumph of the Church. The king surrendered his friend, Sir John Oldcastle, lord Cobham, to the machinations of his persecutors. He was arrested, imprisoned, arraigned before the archbishop and his assessors, pronounced a heretic, and excommunicated. His offense was regarded as of the most aggravated character. He was not only himself heretically inclined, but he had employed his wealth and influence to support Lollard preachers, and transcribe and disperse heretical books. So powerful and bold was the organized conspiracy of the priesthood against him that the king did not venture to interfere in his behalf. He was abandoned to his fate, but by some means escaped from prison, and only some years later was arrested, and subjected to the tardy but sure vengeance of his persecutors. It was not only by his surrender of lord Cobham that the new monarch signalized his subservience to the interests of the hierarchy. In his first Parliament a law was enacted against the Lollards, who were considered as the principal disturbers of the peace not only of the Church, but of the whole kingdom, uniting, as the preamble of the act states. in confederacies to destroy the king and all other estates of the realm. Hence all magistrates, from the chancellor to the sheriffs of cities and towns, were required, on entering office, to take an oath that they would use their whole power and diligence to destroy all heresies and errors, commonly called lollardies, and assist the ordinaries and their commissaries as often as required by them. It was moreover enacted "that whatsoever they were that should read the Scriptures in the mother tongue (which was then called Wickliffe's learning) should forfeit land, cattle, body, life, and goods from their heirs forever, and so be condemned for heretics to God, enemies to the crown, and most arrant traitors to the land." No sanctuary or privileged ground within the realm, though permitted to thieves and murderers should shelter them. In case of relapse after pardon they should be hanged as traitors against the king, and then burned as heretics against God.
The terror inspired by such executions and enactments drove many into exile. They fled, says Fox, "into Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, and into the wilds of Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, working there many marvels against their false kingdom too long to write." It was, of course, the most distinguished members of the sect who had most to apprehend, and who were the first to flee. Those who remained behind belonged very largely to the middle or the lower class. From time to time we meet with the name of some more eminent offender, and, from the precautions taken by their persecutors, we may form some idea of the continued energy as well as existence of the Lollards. Lechler, in the Zeitschrift für Hist. Theol. (1853, volume 4), has traced the evidences of their presence and influence in England down to the date of the Lutheran Reformation. The precious legacy of the Lollard faith was transmitted, along with MS. translations of the Scriptures and Lollard books, from generation to generation; and among the English martyrs, just before as well as after the commencement of the Reformation, there were several who might most appropriately be denominated Lollards. The prevalence of their views as late as the middle of the 15th century is attested by the elaborate effort which Reginald Peacock, successively bishop of St. Asaph and of Chichester. made to refute them. His earlier years had been spent in London, in the work of instruction, and here he had become familiar with the work of the Lollards, and the arguments by which they were maintained. With great ingenuity, and with a commendable patience, he undertook their refutation, giving to this method the decided preference over chains, prison, and the stake. Convicted at length himself of holding heretical opinions, and removed from the episcopal office, he spent the last three years of his life in prison, and by some, although unwarrantably, was regarded as a Lollard. On some points his views, indeed, approximated to those of the hated sect, but his writings derive their historical value from the exhibition which they make of the doctrines maintained by the Lollards, or "Bible-men," as he sometimes calls them, and the evidence which they afford of their extensive acceptance. Here we see that for nearly two lull generations the same doctrinal views which had been accepted by the immediate followers of Wickliffe were still retained by their successors, and during the two generations which followed they underwent no material change. Thus, when the English Reformation of the 16th century commenced, it derived a new impulse from the earlier Lollard movement which it was destined to absorb into itself. Nor is it a mere fancy which has led writers like Lechler to assert an important and vital connection between the Lollardism of the 15th and the Puritanism of the 16th century. (E.H.G.)
Scottish Lollards. — Lollardism was by no means confined to the southern portion of the British Islands. It penetrated also into Scotland, and in the real home of the Culdees (q.v.) — the land where a simple and primitive form of Christianity had been established, while among her southern neighbors Rome presented a vast accumulation of superstitions, and was arrayed in her well-known pomp — received the countenance of those whose position and influence were well calculated to aid in its dissemination among a people that had freely imbibed the spirit of religious reformation so prevalent among the English in the 14th century, especially in the reign of Richard II, at the time of the passage of the statute of praemunire (A.D. 1389). More particularly rapid was the spread of the reformatory spirit in Scotland in the western districts, those of Kyle, Carrick, and Cunningham, and hence the surname for the Scotch Lollards, Lollards of Kyle, as they were oftentimes called. The clergy, aware of the danger that threatened their state of profligacy and ease, at last, in the beginning of the 15th century, made open war upon these silent antagonists. The first to suffer from the persecution which they inaugurated was a certain John Resby an English priest who had fled northward from persecution, and in the land of refuge also was fast making converts to his cause. The leading authority and influence in the land was at this time the see of St. Andrews (compare Dean Stanley's Lectures on the Eccles. History of Scotland, page 45), over which bishop Henry Wardlaw was now presiding. By his interference Resby was tried before Dr. Laurence de Lindoris, afterwards professor of common law at St. Andrews, and on his refusal to retract his views about the supremacy of the pope, auricular confession, transubstantiation, etc., was burnt at Perth in 1405 or 1407. According to Pinkerton, such a scene was unknown before in Scotland. The burning of Resby is given in the twentieth chapter of the fifteenth book of the Scotichronicon. Still these opinions continued to extend, especially in the south and west of Scotland. The regent, Robert, duke of Albany, was known to be opposed to the Lollards; and though king James I was by no means blind to prevailing abuses in the Church, an act of Parliament was passed during his reign, in 1425 by which bishops were required to make inquisition in their dioceses for heretics, in order that they might undergo condign punishment. This act was soon to be put in force. In 1433 another victim for the stake was secured in the person of Paul Craw or Crawar, a physician of Prague, who had sought refuge from persecution in Scotland. As he made no secret of his Lollard or Hussite opinions, he was arraigned before Lindoris and condemned to the flames. After this time we hear but little of Lollardism for quite a long period.
With the closing years of the century, however, to judge from the energy of the papists, it must have been apparent again in a more prominent manner, and from this period dates one of the severest of religious persecutions. In 1494, Robert Blacater, the first archbishop of Glasgow, sought to display his zeal for the Church by a wholesale attack on the pious followers of Lollardism. Accordingly, thirty suspected persons, both male and female, were summoned before the king (James IV) and the great council. Among them were Reid of Barskimming, Campbell of Cessnock, Campbell of Newmills, Shaw of Polkemmet, Helen Chalmers, lady Polkillie, and Isabel Chalmers, lady Stairs. According to Knox (History of the Reformation, page 2), their indictment contained thirty-four different articles, which he informs us are preserved in the Register of Glasgow. Among the chief of these were. that images, relics, and the Virgin are not proper objects of worship; that the bread and wine in the sacrament are not transubstantiated into the body and blood of Christ; that no priest or pope can grant absolutions or indulgences; that masses cannot profit the (lead; that miracles have ceased; and that priests may lawfully marry. Providentially for the Lollards of Kyle, king James IV, "a monarch who, with all his faults, had vet too much of manliness and candor to permit his judgment to be greatly swayed by the malignity of the prelates," declined to be a persecutor of any of his people for such moderate reason, and dismissed the prisoners with an admonition to beware of new doctrines, and to content themselves with the faith of the Church. It is by many believed, however, that one particular reason why king James IV abstained from inflicting any punishment on these Lollards of Kyle was their influence and the wide spread of the doctrines they adhered to, and that "divers of them were his great familiars" (compare Lea, Hist. Sacerdotal Celibacy, page 508; Hetherington, Hist. Ch. Of Scotland, 1:34 sq.).
Literature. — Much information concerning the Lollards may be derived from the lives of Wickliffe by Lewis, Le Bas, and especially Vaughan. Fox, in his Martyrology, often presents very disconnected documents exceedingly valuable. Walsingham (Chronica), Knighton, and Walden have contributed important evidence. although by no means favorable, which subsequent writers have used. The fuller histories of England, as Rapin, for instance, present some leading facts concerning the Lollards in connection with contemporary political movements. The most satisfactory account of the later Lollards is found in articles by Lechler in the Histor. Zeitschrift for 1853 and 1854. IHe has given citations from works hitherto unpublished, which he examined in the libraries of the English universities. See also Wilkins, Concilia Magnae Britannicae (London, 1737, 3); Turner, History of England during the Middle Ages; Weber, Gesch. d. Kirchen Ref. in Grossbritanien (1856), volume 1; Neander, Ch. History, 5:141 sq.; Milman, Hist. of Lat. Christianity, 7:404 sq.; Mosheim, Eccles. Hist. 13th cent. page 323; 14th cent. pages 381, 392, etc.; 15th cent. Page 438 sq.; Shoberly, Persecutions of Popery, 1:135 sq.; Ullmann, Reform. before the Reformation, 2:11, 14; Ebrard, Kirchen und Dogmengesch. 2:360, 450, 462 sq.; Gillett, Life and Times of John Huss, 1:370 sq., 628, Index for Wickliffe; Punchard, Hist. of Congregationalism (N.Y. 1865, 2 volumes, 12mo), 1:237 sq.; Butler (C.M.), Eccles. Hist. second series (Philadel. 1872, 8vo), page 365 sq., 378,381 sq., 388; Lea, Hist. of Sacerdotal Celibacy, page 379 sq.; Reichel, Hist. of the Roman See in the Middle Ages, page 571 sq.; Studien u. Kritiken, 1845, 3:594 sq.; 1848, 1:169 sq.; Chr. Rev. volume 8; Christ. Remem. 1853 (October), page 415; Ladies' Rewos. 1870 (September), page 189 sq.