‘It is much easier to burn men than to burn their opinions; and those of the Lollards were spreading every day. The Lollards were represented by the priests—probably falsely for the most part—to entertain treasonable designs against the new King; and Henry, suffering himself to be worked upon by these representations, sacrificed his friend Sir John Oldcastle, the Lord Cobham, to them, after trying in vain to convert him by arguments”.
Sir John Oldcastle was a leader of the Lollard’s, a political and religious movement that existed from the mid-14th century to the English Reformation and largely seeking religious reform for the western Christian church.
Oldcastle was a friend of the King, Henry V, and had long escaped prosecution for heretical views. Eventually convicted, he escaped from the Tower of London and then led a rebellion against the King. He was recaptured and hanged in St Giles’s Fields, London.
Oldcastle formed the basis for William Shakespeare’s character John Falstaff, who was originally called John Oldcastle.
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