A Reconsideration of the influence of John Wycliffe, Wycliffism, Lollardy and Hussitism, upon 15th Century Scotland

  • Robert Nicholson

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Research (awarded by UHI)


Lollardy in Scotland has come under reconsideration in recent decades. This thesis
studies the available evidence and evaluates the effects of Wycliffite thought upon
Scotland. It re-examines the known incidences of Lollardy and Hussitism that
occurred throughout the fifteenth century and considers the broader attacks
instigated by the Crown, the State and the Church in controlling such heretical
influences. An examination of these control measures would appear to suggest that
there was not only a fear of heresy but also a perceived issue of ongoing
manifestations of local activity within the realm. These actions were intended to
protect the State, the Church, and the burgeoning university movement.
This overview seeks to establish potential links between the individuals
involved in the cases of heresy as well as those who attacked it, and the
mechanisms they employed to counter it. This study aims to demonstrate that far
from being considered as an external threat it may be seen to have developed
domestically and taken upon itself issues peculiar to Scotland.
Comment will be made examining the claim that Scotland was regarded as a
haven for Wycliffite thought. International concerns were raised prior to and during
the Council of Constance (1414-1418) and appeared to have continued throughout
the fifteenth century. Coupled with this is the emergence of missionary Hussitism
that appears to have been directed towards the ecclesiastical and educational heart
of Scotland centred around St Andrews. Heresy was therefore an international issue
and placed Scotland within a broader European framework.
An overview of the means of suppression will be undertaken to examine the
laws, Papal edicts, trials and personalities of those involved. This will also study the
ways in which Wycliffite thought was disseminated, including consideration of the countering of these methods by the Church as they appear to have used similar to
means to propagate their own orthodox teachings. All of these factors suggest a
significant and continuing problem with heterodoxy. The collective actions of Kings,
Churchmen and academics suggest that the crisis posed by Wycliffism, Hussitism
and Lollardy was greater than has been appreciated before and requires careful
Date of Award16 Jan 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of the Highlands and Islands
SupervisorBruce Ritchie (Supervisor)

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