Who were the Lollards?

   Lollards were originally a religious group of the early 1300's in Holland. About 1387, the term began to be used as a name for the followers of the English religious reformer John Wycliffe. The Lollards preached obedience to God, reliance on the Bible as a guide to Christian living, and simplicity of worship. They rejected the richness of the Mass, most sacraments, and papal supremacy. They denied that an organized church was necessary for salvation. Most Lollards were poor priests or laymen. They wore long russet gowns, carried staffs, and lived on what they could beg. Henry IV, who became king in 1399, persecuted the Lollards because their views disagreed with religious law. By 1420, their movement had been practically stamped out.
   The Lollards had little permanent effect on religious life in England, but they had great influence in Bo­hemia. There, John Huss was burned at the stake in 1415 for preaching Wycliffe's doctrines. One hundred years later, Martin Luther embraced some of Huss's ideas. In this way, the Lollards helped to pave the way for the Protestant Reformation.