John Purvey

(c.1353–c.1428) A close companion to Wycliffe, Purvey was his personal secretary, fellow lodger in the rectory, curate at Lutterworth, assistant in his literary labors, and Wycliffe’s constant attendant till the end. Wycliffe, a prolific writer, undoubtedly dictated much of his work to Purvey. He knew the mind of the master. Thus, after Wycliffe’s death, Purvey did much to interpret and popularize Wycliffe’s writings and doctrines. Purvey is considered a major contributor to the translation of the Bible into English, especially the revision which generally bears his name, a revision of the Wycliffe Bible completed in 1388. Purvey was also a preacher, whose sermons disturbed church leaders. In 1390, he was imprisoned. While there, he wrote a commentary on the Apocalypse based on lectures primarily delivered by Wycliffe. In 1401, three days after the first Wycliffe martyr was burned at the stake, Purvey recanted. He was released and given a vicarage. But his conscience soon forced him to resign from receiving such revenue from the church and he disappeared. In 1421 he was again imprisoned for preaching. Nothing more was heard of him.

John of Gaunt

(1340–1399) This English prince was Wycliffe’s patron and protector, and England’s most powerful political figure in the late 14th Century. Gaunt, better known in his day as the Duke of Lancaster, was virtually the ruler of England during the last years of the 50-year reign of his then senile father, King Edward III, and during the first years of the reign of his adolescent nephew, Richard II. Gaunt was very wealthy, a wise diplomat, a bold but not always able soldier, the epitome of chivalry, hard on his enemies, always faithful to what he thought was best for England, ...

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