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Wycliffe's Inconvenient Death

Pope Urban the 6th is an enthusiastic reformer of the Church but his efforts are superficial (or his efforts are rendered superficial by the Church bureaucracy) but either way it is clear the reform movement from within is failing. John Wycliffe had been an early supporter of Pope Urban but after the Peasant's Revolt, one of Wycliffe's followers was implicated. Pope Urban issued a number of opinions... none of them favorable to Wycliffe and summoned Wycliffe to Rome. Wycliffe has continued his fiery call for reform, and writes a response to the Pope but after Christmas in the midst of performing mass, he has a massive stroke and passes away before the year is out. Several reform movements, including the Lollard movement, will lumber on for several years and die out but the way has been paved for the Protestant Reformation years and years from now. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Just as John Wycliffe was really getting wound up, the most influential man of age simply drops dead. This creates a vacuum in leadership but more importantly, it takes away the main target of the Church establishment and aristocracy. What they needed was Wycliffe alive and properly punished for his so-called transgressions. Politically speaking they really needed a central figure to crush so that the rebellion could be dispersed, but without Wycliffe that effort was rendered useless. In a few more years they will find a different whipping boy and put him to the flames. When they do, they will ALSO dig up Wycliffe's body and burn his bones. Later they will regret that decision.

A Crisis of Nationhood

Armed rebels in Lisbon have blocked King John I of Castile from entering the city for his coronation. Thus begins the Siege of Lisbon. This siege marks the beginnings of Portugal's modern nationhood. Last year, while King Ferdinand was dying, arrangements were made for a clear succession. Without male heirs, and one 10-year-old princess to use as a bargaining chip, a deal is struck with King John I of Castile in the hope of ending hostilities between the two warring kingdoms. Many of the nobles objected so once the marriage concluded, a civil war broke out. Now the Castillian forces surround Lisbon but the Black Death comes to the rescue. The Plague scatters the Castillian forces and breaks the Siege of Lisbon. [8] [9]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Actually, Portugal's navy kept pressure on the Castillians as well so when the Plague hit, the troops were already in a weakened state. Next year, after Portugal names a new and different King of Portugal, King John of Castile will return with 32,000 infantry and knights. John of Gaunt, as Regent of England, will commit a small number of longbow men but they are all veterans of the 100 Year's War. They eat knights for breakfast. The Castillians forces are huge but their very size is a liability. At the Battle of Aljubarrota[10], Portugal wins its independence and a strong relationship is created between Portugal and England that remains to this day.

Cast of Characters:

  • King Ferdinand The Handsome of Portugal who dies without male heirs.[11]
  • Princess Beatrice of Portugal, the 10-year-old bargaining chip and new wife of King John I of Castile.[12]
  • Queen Leonor the Treacherous, Regent for Princess Beatice.[13]
  • King John I of Castile, traditional enemy of Portugal and new husband of Princess Beatrice.
  • John of Gaunt, Regent for King Richard II of England.[14]
  • John I of Portugal, the illegitimate half-brother of King Ferdinand and soon-to-be King of Portugal[15]

Mama Mia! Lady Berkeley's New School

It is in the top 75 schools to this date that have been established and remain in operation to the modern day. Lady Katharine Berkley has established a free school for learning grammar.... that is... how to speak English correctly and how to read and write. It is named the Katharine Lady Berkley's Grammar School. Eventually, the school will drop the "Grammar" part of the name and expand it's scope. It will also graduate a number of famous people including William Tynsdale (of the famous Tynsdale Bible), Edward Jenner (who created the smallpox vaccine) and Catherine Johnson... who wrote the play "Mama Mia!" which was made into a popular movie musical. [16] [17] [18] [19] [20]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK. Most of the aristocracy can read and write (including women) but it is often in French. Let's speculate on why Lady Berkeley thought an English grammar school was needed. Chaucer is a very popular author and he is writing in Middle English which is the language of the people. We have more and more peasants working in close proximity with the aristocracy and the peasants know Middle English but not much French so it helps with communication. And... the legal system has changed over to English. All legal proceedings are to be in English rather than Latin so that the defendants can understand what is going on as their lawyers defend them. (Alas! The modern day lawyers have mystified the language once again with incomprehensible jargon!) With the Wycliffe Bible being written in English, there is a greater need to learn how to read and write English. Lady Berkeley has met that need with a free grammar school.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1384, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Reply of John Wycliffe to his Summons by the Pope to come to Rome. Internet History Sourcebooks Project, fordham.edu, 1384.
  2. Bull of Pope Gregory XI, Against John Wycliffe. Internet History Sourcebooks Project, fordham.edu, 1382.
  3. Wycliffe's Bible - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  4. Wycliffe, John. (translator) John Wycliffe Bible - Internet Archive. 1382 (BIBLE) note: This Bible translation is in Middle English. Those who read Modern English could probably read through 50% of it, guess at many other words but some words will be incomprehensible without a Middle English dictionary.
  5. Tuchman, Barbara Wertheim. (Barbara Tuchman, bio). A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century. Ballantine, 1979. pp. 347-350. (BOOK) quote="When Jan Hus was burned at the stake for heresy by the Council of Constance in 1415, Wyclif's bones were ordered dug up and burned at the same time."
  6. John Wycliffe: Last Days - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  7. Pope Urban VI - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  8. Portugal - Historical Setting - The House of Avis. About.com, 2014 [last update]
  9. 1383-85 Crisis - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  10. Battle of Aljubarrota - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  11. Ferdinand I of Portugal - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  12. Beatrice of Portugal - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  13. Leonor Telles de Meneses - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  14. John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  15. John I of Portugal - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  16. Katharine Lady Berkeley's School: History of KLB. 2014 [last update] (OFFICIAL WEB SITE)
  17. Katharine Lady Berkeley's School - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  18. Edward Jenner - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  19. Catherine Johnson - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  20. William Tyndale - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]

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