The Crown and the Lollards in Later Medieval England

The Crown and the Lollards in Later Medieval England

By Attila Bárány

Tolerance and Intolerance in Historical Perspective, edited by Csaba Lévai and Vasile Vese (University of Pisa, 2003)

Introduction: This article explores the issue of religious tolerance and intolerance mainly during the reigns of Richard II (1377-99) and Henry IV (1399-1413) of England.

Up to the 1970s, the established tradition of English historiography had been to underrate the importance of Lollardy in high places throughout the reigns of Richard II and Henry IV. Due to the findings of Dr McFarlane, one of current English historiography’s major arguments about Lollardy is that during the reign of Richard II it was tolerated by the state and at the court, largely in the early years of the reign, most probably by the man in charge of the government, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. Several narrative sources underline that the heretics owed their popularity and success to the protection of powerful members of the nobility namely Lancaster himself.

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