The Testimony of William Thorpe

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The Testimony of William Thorpe is a Middle English text dating from 1407. The putative author William Thorpe may have been a Lollard, a follower of John Wycliffe. Whether Thorpe ever, in fact, existed is in doubt, but the document written in his name is enticing.

Middle English Stage of the English language from about the 12th through 15th centuries

Middle English was a form of the English language, spoken after the Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th century. English underwent distinct variations and developments following the Old English period. Scholarly opinion varies, but the Oxford English Dictionary specifies the period when Middle English was spoken as being from 1150 to 1500. This stage of the development of the English language roughly followed the High to the Late Middle Ages.

John Wycliffe English theologian and early dissident in the Roman Catholic Church

John Wycliffe, was an English scholastic philosopher, theologian, Biblical translator, reformer, English priest, and a seminary professor at the University of Oxford, became an influential dissident within the Roman Catholic priesthood during the 14th century and is considered an important predecessor to Protestantism.

The Testimony purports to record Thorpe's interrogation for heresy (or at least for information regarding Lollardy) by Thomas Arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury. The text goes beyond simply recording the events, and includes many of Thorpe's reactions to the proceedings and dialogues with Arundel. Although it suggests an impending martyrdom, the Testimony gives no clue as to Thorpe's punishment—if any.

Thomas Arundel 14th and 15th-century Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York, and Chancellor of England

Thomas Arundel was an English clergyman who served as Lord Chancellor during the reign of Richard II, as well as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1397 and from 1399 until his death, an outspoken opponent of the Lollards. He was instrumental in the usurpation of Richard by his uncle Henry Bolingbroke, who became Henry IV.

Archbishop of Canterbury senior bishop of the Church of England

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. The current archbishop is Justin Welby, who was enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral on 21 March 2013. Welby is the 105th in a line which goes back more than 1400 years to Augustine of Canterbury, the "Apostle to the English", sent from Rome in the year 597. Welby succeeded Rowan Williams.

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