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John Wycliffe (1331 - 1384)

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John Wycliffe
Born in Hipswell, North Riding of Yorkshire, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Son of [uncertain] and [uncertain]
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in Lutterworth, Englandmap
Profile last modified | Created 4 Oct 2015
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Categories: Notables | Hipswell, Yorkshire | Lutterworth, Leicestershire | Protestant Reformation Leaders | Catholic Priests.

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Biography of John WYCLIFFE, Bible Translator

  • John Wycliffe was born in 1331, in Hipswell, North Riding of Yorkshire, Yorkshire, England, the son of Roger and Katherine Wycliffe, the Lord and Lady of Wycliffe. His family were nobility His brothers were William and Robert Wycliffe, but John chose a different life..
  • John Wycliffe was a Scholar, a Reformer and a Theologian, with a Doctor of Divinity from Oxford University in England who lived during the late Middle Ages. He lived until about 135 years before the offical start of the Protestant Reformation, and almost 70 years before the invention of movable type.
  • John Wycliffe was an early Reformer who disapproved of high-church formalities, ordination, and uneducated clergy. He wanted a poor clergy more responsive to the everyday person.
  • John Wycliffe advocated an itinerant priesthood without ordination, and his followers were called Lollards. He helped influence later Reformers, especially John Hus.
  • John Wycliffe lived during the Great Plague, but survived the epidemic. His experiences during the plague deeply affected him and helped focus on the poor and needy.
  • John Wycliffe wrote many articles about Christian philosophy, even as the Peasants were revolting in 1381. Wycliffe was blamed for inciting the rebellion by giving the peasants as sense of hope and empowerment through Christianity, and went into exile.
  • During his exile, John Wycliffe bravely but Illegally translated the Latin Vulgate Bible into English in 1382-1384, with the help of his assistant John Purvey and several of his students. Their copies of the Bible were hand-written and distributed throughout Europe.
  • John Wycliffe passed away on December 31, 1384, after having suffered a stroke on December 28 while saying Mass. He was only 53 years old.
  • Even after his death, John Wycliffe was hated by church and government authorities for having given people a Bible in their own language in defiance of laws restricting the scriptures to Latin only. His actions resulted in ordinances that were passed in 1401 and 1415 which mandated the persecuting of his followers and the burning of his writings.
  • John Wycliffe was declared a heretic by the Council of Constance of the Roman Church on May 4, 1415. This church council mandated that John Wycliffe's bones be dug up and burned as a warning to others who might usurp the authority of the Roman church and the English government. The church hoped he and his writings would be forgotten, but it didn't work.
  • Today John Wycliffei is remembered as the Morningstar of the of the Protestant Reformation. His early insistence of dependance on God's Word as proclaimed in the Holy Bible have made him a hero of Christian History
  • A modern society which translates the Holy Bible into languages from around the world is named the Wycliffe Bible Society in his honor.
  • Copies of John Wycliffe's Bible translations are available online today. Some of his words are archaic or have older spellings because of differences between the English of his day and the English of our day.


  1. Buck, 1926

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