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Conference – John Wycliffe

May 2018 | by Judith Webster

On Monday 26 February, Dr Lesley Rowe gave a church history lecture at Little Hill Church in Wigston, Leicester.

Dr Rowe is an Associate Fellow in History at the University of Warwick. She has lived in Leicestershire for about 30 years and has given many lectures on church history and published two books.

This was the first in a series of three talks on events preceding, during and following the Reformation in England. All the lectures discuss events that took place in and around Leicestershire, as part of the wider Reformation picture. The first lecture was informative and well attended.

Dr Rowe spoke on the theologian John Wycliffe and his followers — known by the discriminatory term ‘Lollards’ — who openly challenged the power and beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church.

Wycliffe’s most significant achievement was translating the full Bible from Latin into English around 1382. This occurred almost 150 years before Tyndale’s more famous translation of the Bible, which was circulated during the reign of Henry VIII.

The printing press had not yet been invented, and so each copy of Wycliffe’s Bible was handwritten. Only 20 full copies of these remain today, although an estimated 250 fragments of handwritten Bibles still exist.

The second lecture in the series will focus on Hugh Latimer and other Leicestershire martyrs. It will be held on Monday 21 May at Little Hill Church. The recorded lecture on Wycliffe is on:

Judith Webster

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