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Summary: This seminar takes us from the various worlds of ‘orthodox’ religion into the various forms of religious deviance and dissent to be found in the later decades of the fifteenth and first years of the sixteenth centuries. We will discuss why historians have found it hard to agree about the nature and importance of Lollardy, and even whether it existed as a coherent phenomenon at all.

Seminar and essay questions:

a) Can Lollardy be considered a vigorous and coherent movement in the later fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries?

b) What difficulties confront the historian attempting a study of Lollardy in this period?


RN Swanson, Church and Society in Late Medieval England, ch 7.3, 7.4 - brief intro.

E Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars, Preface to 2005 2nd edition – provocative remarks

R Rex, The Lollards (2002)

P Marshall, Heretics and Believers: A History of the English Reformation (2017), ch 4

JAF Thomson, The Later Lollards 1414-1520, esp. intro, chs 11, 12 (a, b)

---------------, ‘John Foxe and some Sources for Lollard History’, Studies in Church History 2 (1965) (b) [NB SCH not a periodical, but conference proceedings in main church history section]

A Hudson, The Premature Reformation, esp. ch 10 - the standard work

GW Bernard, The Late Medieval Church (2012), ch 9

A Hope, ‘Lollardy: the Stone the Builders Rejected?’ in P Lake and M Dowling (eds),

Protestantism and the National Church - one of the best surveys

S McSheffrey, ‘Heresy, Orthodoxy and English Vernacular Religion 1480-1525’, Past and Present, 186 (2005)

-----, Gender and heresy: women and men in Lollard communities, 1420-1530 (1995)

J Fines, ‘Heresy Trials in Coventry and Lichfield’, Journal of Eccl History (1963)

D Plumb, ‘The Social and Economic Spread of Rural Lollardy’ Studies in Church History 23 (1986) - good for a) [see note on SCH above].

------------, ‘The Social and Economic Status of the Later Lollards’ and ‘A Gathered Church? Lollards and their Society’ in M. Spufford (ed), The World of Rural Dissenters (a)

RG Davies, ‘Lollardy and Locality’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society (1991) - important (a)

JF Davis, ‘Lollard Survival and the Textile Industry in the South-East of England’, Studies in Church History 3 (1966) (a)

I Luxton, ‘The Lichfield Court Book: A Postscript’, Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research (1971)

M Aston, ‘Lollardy and Literacy’ in Aston, Lollards and Reformers, and in History (1977)

M Aston and C Richmond (eds), Lollardy and the Gentry in the Later Middle Ages – chs by Lutton and Hope.

R Lutton, Lollardy and Orthodox Religion in Pre-Reformation England (2006), esp. ch. 5