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thus earning the deadly hatred of priests and friars. He was summoned to appear before the bishops, he was 5 expelled from Oxford, and was not even allowed to rest in the grave. But his teachings, though distasteful to the Church, were very popular with the masses; it was said that if you met two persons in the street, one of them was sure to be a Lollard.
Henry wished to gain the support of the clergy; hence, in the second .year of his reign, a fearful Act
was passed for punishing 6 heretics. The bishops were empowered to arrest and imprison all teachers of heretical opinions, and all owners and writers of heretical books, and if the heretic refused to forswear his heresy he might be burnt to death. The earliest victim of this wicked Act was a poor parson named William Sawtre. We should honour his memory because he was the first Englishman who laid down his life for his religion—the first Englishman who joined the noble army of? martyrs.
The next was John Badby, a tailor. When every
thing was ready for his burning, Prince Henry, the king's son, urged him to 8 recant. He would not, and the fire was kindled. When the flames reached the poor man he uttered a cry of agony. The prince ordered him to be set free, and again urged him to recant, offering, if he did, to pay him 9 threepence a day for life. Badby refused the well-meant offer, and the fire was again kindled around him.
Three years later the prince became King Henry V. At the beginning of his reign he had some trouble with the Lollards. Their leader then was 10 Sir John Oldcastle, a man much esteemed by Henry for his virtue and ability. Trusting to his influence with the king, they became very active, even going so far as to threaten those not of their way of thinking. The clergy complained bitterly, and Oldcastle was arrested. He was brought before the bishops and found guilty of heresy. He was then liable under the law of Henry IV. to be burnt, but he escaped from the Tower, where he had been confined.
A secret meeting, attended by some thousands of Lollards, was held in 11 St. Giles's Fields. It was said they were preparing to rebel, so the king came down upon them unexpectedly with his troops. Some were slain upon the spot, and some taken prisoners. Several of the leaders were executed, and the laws against heretics were made still more severe. Heresy was declared to be 12 treason, and the reading of the English Bible was made punishable with loss of life and lands.
For four years after his escape Oldcastle could not be found, but he was at last discovered in Wales, seized, and brought to London. He was condemned both as heretic and traitor, hung over a slow fire, and burnt to death. After this we do not hear much of Lollardism; the steady persecution of the bishops seems to have gradually stamped it out.
“Thus perished Wiclif's labour,—not wholly, because his translation of the Bible still remained, a rare treasure, a seed of future life which would spring again ander happier circumstances. But the sect which he organized, the special doctrines which he set himself to teach, after a brief blaze of success sank into darkness." *
1 See Appendix, “ Descent of Henry IV.” descendant, Roger Mortimer, Earl of March. 3 Lollards, the followers of Wiclif; the origin of the word is not certainly known. 4 expose, to show up. 5 expel, to drive out. 6 heretic, a person who believes what is not taught by the Church. His belief is called heresy. 7 martyr, one who is punished for his beliefs. 8 recant, to say one does not believe what one has hitherto believed. 9 threepence was worth about three shillings of our money. 10 Sir John Oldcastle. He was Lord Cobham by right of his wife, but he is better known by his earlier title. 11 St. Giles's Fields, then open fields between the city of London and the city of Westminster; now thickly covered with houses. 12 treason, the crime of being a traitor..
RENEWAL OF THE HUNDRED YEARS'
WAR. THERE were frequent risings against Henry IV. First of all the friends of Richard took up arms, but were easily put down. Then the Percies rebelled. They were a very powerful family, of which the Earl of Northumberland was head. It was partly through their aid that Henry was made king, and they rose because they thought they had not been sufficiently rewarded. Harry Hotspur, the earl's fiery son, was defeated and slain at Shrewsbury, and five years later
the earl himself met the same fate at 1 Bramham Moor. The Welsh, under Owen Glendower, proved troublesome during a great part of the reign, but they were at last brought to order by Prince Henry.
To please the nobles and give them something
besides rebellion to think of, Henry V. renewed the war with France. That country was then in a very confused condition. The king, Charles VI., was mad, and the people were divided into two parties fiercely 2 hostile to one another. Henry claimed the crown as rightful sovereign, though there was not a shadow of
justice on his side. The title of Edward III. was bad, and he was not even the heir of Edward.
In August, 1415, Henry sailed from Southampton with a force of 30,000 men. He landed near Harfleur and besieged the town. In five weeks it was starved into submission, but the victors had suffered terribly. A sickness which broke out in their camp carried away thousands, and the king was therefore advised to return. He, however, resolved to go by land to Calais. With less than a third of his 3 original force he set out, and after a march of seventeen days he found himself at Agincourt, face to face with an army at least five times as great as his.
His men were cold and tired and hungry. The archers had no armour, many no shoes; still it was to their skill and daring that he 4 mainly trusted for victory. The French army was made up chiefly of knights; in its three divisions there were 50,000 noblemen and gentlemen, mounted on heavy horses, and clad in thick armour. There were bowmen, too; but no one thought much of them, and they were away somewhere in the rear.
. The position which Henry chose was a narrow field hemmed in on each side by hedges and thickets, which secured him against a 5 flank attack. The French also were placed between two woods, though what was a good position for the English was a bad one for them, because while a small army wants protection, a large one wants room to move.
But moving was almost beyond the power of the French. The great war horses, under the weight of their 6 mail-clad riders, had sunk into the thick clay on which they stood, so that they could only advance slowly and 7 laboriously. Besides this, being ranged