The Lollards

December 1388

John Wodarde of Knebworth, chaplain, was staying at the village of Chipping Warden and preaching heresy there. Bishop of Lincoln sends men to serve a writ on Wodarde. Six successive weeks His visits were marked by riots and disorders by the people of Warden in support of the Lollard preacher “drove him into the church in fear of his life”. March 8th 1389, the King ordered the Sheriff of Northamptonshire to arrest the 45 ‘believers, maintainers and favourers of heretics in Warden.

Active lollard congregation existed in Northampton by the autumn of 1392. Petition sent to chancery by a Northampton woolman Richard Stormsworth,early 1393. This consists mainly of a series of complaints against the then mayor, John Fox and others accusing them of heresy.

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John Oldcastle’s Revolt of 1414

After the failure of his revolt, which included many Northamptonshire men, Oldcastle hides out in Northamptonshire. June of 1416, Oldcastle in hiding at the house of Philip Turnour in Daventry. Simon Horn, a yeoman of Daventry accused of conspiring with Turnour on the 8th June, 1416, knowing him to be a traitor and to have received Oldcastle in his home. Turnour was arrested and died of pestilence in the King’s Bench prison soon after. John Heywode, husbondman, who occupied a house formerly belonging to Philip Tumour, was accused of sheltering Oldcastle on May 8th 1417. 

29th May 1417 Sir Thomas Talbot was accused of having conspired with Oldcastle and others at Silverstone, to join with the Scots and other national enemies to kill the King at Kenilworth.

In July he was being sheltered by Hugh Fraynof and Joan his wife at Silverstone: another villager, John Henkeman, and his wife Alice, may also have been involved. The royal authorities presumably had wind of his presence there, for he decamped in such a hurry that he left behind him a complete suit of plate armour.

The next day he was at Byfield, where he and John Langacre, a mercer of London and High Wycombe who had taken part in the 1414 revolt, was sheltered by William atte Well and his wife Beatrice. Oldcastle escaped again but Langacre and William atte Well  were taken prisoner, and executed at Northampton, along with Hugh Frayn. Their heads were displayed on the gates, of Coventry and Northampton.

Support for lollardy in Northamptonshire was still strong in August 1417 and Bishop of Lincoln, Repingdon establishes a commission headed by the abbot of St. James’, Northampton to proceed against heretics and all those who supported, received or defended Oldcastle.

In November 1417 Oldcastle was captured by Edward Charleton, 5th Baron Cherleton in Wales. He was Brought to London in a horse-litter and executed 14 December.

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