1340-1400: The Middle Ages continue

Age of English mystics and writers,

1343 Richard Rolle, hermit and mystical writer, writes "The Fire of Love". ("I cannot tell you how surprised I was the first time I felt my heart begin to warm.") Anonymous author of "The Cloud of Unknowing" is a contemporary.
1348 Black plague year.
1372 Dame Julian of Norwich has a series of mystical experiences; writes of them in "Revelations of Divine Love". ("And all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.")
1375 "Gawain" poet at work.
1386 Geoffrey Chaucer begins the "Canterbury Tales".
1390 William Langland, an evangelical, completes "Piers Plowman".
1396 Walter Hilton, Augustinian mystic and author of "The Ladder of Perfection", dies.
1436 Margery Kempe, eccentric visionary, dictates her autobiography.
1381 John Wyclif, an Oxford theologian, publishes his "Confession", denying that the "substance" of bread and wine are miraculously annihilated during the Eucharist. (Wyclif is appealing to the Bible over the heads of the clergy. He is forced to retire by his colleagues, mostly because they are worried by this year's peasant revolt.)
1401 Persecution of Lollards (Dutch word for "babblers"). They are mostly working men, revolting against clergy. Their leaders read Wyclif's translation of the Bible.
1414 Sir John Oldcastle leads a rebellion of Lollards, who fail to capture London. This and similar incidents polarize the nation and effectively prevent reform for the next century.
1405 Henry IV executes Richard Scrope, rebellious archbishop of York. Popular response is mixed.
1415 Henry V campaigns in France. The English are later driven out by Joan of Arc.
1427 Cardinal Henry Beaufort arrests the bishop of Rome's tax collector, does not get into serious problems for doing so.
1445 Personal rule of saintly but schizophrenic Henry VI begins. ("O Lord Jesu Christ, who didst create me, redeem me, and foreordain me unto that which now I am; thou knowest what thou wilt do with me; deal with me according to thy most compassionate will.")
1485 Period of civil war ("Wars of the Roses") ends with victory of Henry VII (first Tudor king).
1499 Erasmus visits England for the first time. He will be the central figure in the revival of humanism. (Erasmus made today's division of the Bible into verses, and also discredited the "Donation of Constantine", a document which allegedly bestowed most of Europe on the bishop of Rome.)
1518 Thomas Wolsey, bishop of York, is made cardinal. He is possessed of great abilities, but he is proud, corrupt, and not celibate.
1529 Henry VIII finds out about Wolsey's wheeling and dealing and fires him. ("Had I but served my God as diligently as I have done the king, He would not have given me over in my gray hairs.") After his fall, he visits his diocese for the first time.

[Timeline home page] [Previous era: 670-1340 Middle Ages] [Next era: 1517-1564 Reformation]