Private Devotion and Lollardy

Andrew D. Brown

in Popular Piety in Late Medieval England

Published in print March 1995 | ISBN: 9780198205210
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191676550 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

Private Devotion and Lollardy

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)
  • History of Religion


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The ravages of plague in the second half of the fourteenth century, the influence of mystics and hermits, and the pastoral efforts of archbishops promoted a more personalized, penitential devotion. But not all demands were satisfied and fear of heresy may have made that satisfaction less easy to deliver: access to the Bible in the vernacular was placed under much stricter supervision after 1408. While the inadequacies of the Catholic Church and more corporate forms of devotion do not mean that Lollardy became a popular and easily identifiable movement, it is difficult to sustain the view that Lollardy was merely the exaggerated product of post-Reformation propaganda or a series of ‘heterogeneous and ill-assorted conclusions’ scarcely deserving the name of ‘creed’. There is evidence for new forms of piety in the diocese, an interest in more personal forms of devotion, and an admiration for an austere piety. But ‘private’ devotion did not necessarily mean a movement away from the more public forms of devotion.

Keywords: Catholic Church; devotion; Lollardy; heresy; piety; diocese

Chapter.  8905 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500) ; History of Religion

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