John Wycliffe and his Precursors

John Wycliffe

This book examines the teachings of John Wycliffe places them in the context of other theologians of the middles ages who cam to similar conclusions. My thanks to Book Aid for making a copy of this public domain title available for digitisation.

Gotthard Lechler [1811-1888], John Wycliffe and his English Precursors. London: The Religious Tract Society, 1904. Hbk. pp.537. [Click to visit the download page for this title]


  1. English Precursors of Wycliffe
    1. Mixture and Consilidation of Races in the English People
    2. Robert Grosetête, Bishop on Lincoln
    3. Hnery Bracton and William Occam
    4. English Church Politics in the Fourteenth Century
    5. Richard of Armagh and the Mendicant Orders
    6. Thomas Bradwardine, his Teaching and Spirit
    7. ‘The Vision of Piers Plowman’
    • Wycliffe’s Early Life
    • Life in Oxford—1345-1366
    • Wycliffe’s Public Life
    • Papal Action Against Wycliffe—1377-1378
    • Wycliffe as Preacher and Pulpit Reformer
    • Wycliffe as Bible Translator
    • Wycliffe as Thinker and Theologian
    • Wycliffe’s Last Years
    • The Successors of Wycliffe
    • Wycliffe’s Writings
  • Index

Saint Anselm by Richard W. Church

This is a brief sketch of the life of Saint Anselm of Canterbury written by the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, Richard W. Church. My thanks to Book Aid for making a copy of this public domain work available for digitisation.

Richard William Church [1815-1890], Saint Anselm. London: Macmillan & Co., 1885. Hbk. pp.303. [Click to visit the download page for this title]


  • Notice
  1. Anselm of Aosta
  2. Foundation of the Monastery of Bec
  3. Discipline of a Norman Monastery
  4. Anselm at Bec
  5. Orderic the Chronicler
  6. Ecclesiastical Administration of William
  7. Changes at William’s Death
  8. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury
  9. The Meeting at Rockingham
  10. The Final Quarrel with William
  11. Anselm on the Continent
  12. Anselm and Henry I
  13. Anselm’s Last Days

John Wycliffe and the Lollards by William Marshall

William Marshall [1807-1880], Wycliffe and the Lollards

A short study of the Morning Star of the Reformation, John Wycliffe, and the Lollards. My thanks to Book Aid for providing a copy of this public domain title for digitisation.

William Marshall [1807-1880], Wycliffe and the Lollards. Edinburgh: Oliphant, Anderson & Ferrier, 1884. Hbk. pp.127. [Click to visit the download page]


  • Wycliffe
  • The English Lollards
  • The Scottish Lollards


John de Wycliffe often and aptly called ‘The Morning Star of the Reformation,’ was born, in 1324, in the parish and village of Wycliffe, near the junction of the Greta and the Tees, and a few miles north of Richmond in Yorkshire. His family are supposed to have been lords of the manor and patrons of the rectory of Wycliffe from the era of the Norman Conquest; and the property continued in their possession till 1606, when it passed by marriage into the family of the Tonstals.

Nothing is known of Wycliffe in his boyhood. He would get, we may be sure, the best education within reach–not improbably in the school of the Abbey of Egglestone, which was but a short distance from his home. That school was then in the height of its prosperity, and was just such an institution as young men intended for the Church were likely to be put to.

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John Wycliffe – Morning Star of the Reformation

Anonymous, Life and Times of John Wycliffe. The Morning Star of the Reformation, 2nd ednThis is a short anonymous biography of John Wycliffe which has five nice pen and ink illustrations. My thanks to Book Aid for making this public domain title available for digitisation.

Anonymous, Life and Times of John Wycliffe. The Morning Star of the Reformation, 2nd edn. London: The Religious Tract Society, 1884. Hbk. pp.160. [Click to visit the download page]


  • Preface
  • Preface to Second Edition
  1. Christianity in England from its Introduction to the Fourteenth Century
  2. Wycliffe’s Immediate Predecessors
  3. Wycliffe’s Early History
  4. Wycliffe’s Offical Life at Oxford
  5. Wycliffe’s First Conflict with the Papacy
  6. Wycliffe as Commissioner at Bruges
  7. Wycliffe’s further Conflicts with the Papel Power
  8. Wycliffe charged with Heresy and Insurrection
  9. Wycliffe denounces the Medicant Friars
  10. Wycliffe and his Party suffer continued Persecution
  11. Wycliffe’s Last Years and Death
  12. Wycliffe and the Preaching of the Gospel
  13. Wycliffe and the English Bible
  14. Wycliffe as a Christia, Theologian, and Reformer
  15. Extent and Permanency of Wycliffe’s influence
  • Notes on Wycliffe’s Writings

Preface to Second Edition

Year by year it is better understood that John of Wycliffe was not only one of the greatest men in English history, but the true precursor of the English Reformation. The truths to which he was the intrepid witness never wholly passed from the minds of our countrymen; and amid the bitter persecutions which seemed to crush Lollardry out of existence there remained an amount of secret but imperishable conviction which prepared the way for the great events of the sixteenth century.

The materials for a biography of Wycliffe are but scanty. His writings are in no sense autobiographical. For many important particulars respecting his life and work we are indebted mainly to his enemies. John Foxe, however, the martyrologist, has preserved some important particulars, and the later biographers of Wycliffe, the Rev. John Lewis (r7I9), with Drs. Vaughan and Lechler in our own times…

Illustrations of the History of Medieval Thought and Learning by Reginald Poole

John WycliffeThis is a collection of sketches from Medieval Church history and includes studies on Gottschalk, John Scotus, Peter Abelard, Thomas Aquinas and John Wycliffe. My thanks to Book Aid for making a copy of this book available for digitisation.

Reginald Lane Poole [1857-1939], Illustrations of the History of Medieval Thought and Learning, 2nd edn. London: SPCK, 1932. Hbk. pp.327. [Click to visit the download page]


  • Preface
  • Introduction
  1. Claudius of Turin and Agobard of Lyons
  2. John Scotus
  3. The Dark Age
  4. The School of Chartres
  5. Peter Abailard
  6. The Trial of Gilbert of La Porrée
  7. John of Salisbury
  8. The Heirarchical Doctrine of the State
  9. The Opposition to the Temporal Claims of the Papacy
  10. Wycliffe’s Doctrine of Dominion
  • Appendix
  • Index


To republish a book after a lapse of thirty-six years can only be excused by the fact that it has long been out of print and that it is still asked for. When a new edition was proposed to me, my first intention was to issue the book as it stood, with no more change than the correction of obvious mistakes. But further consideration showed me that a good deal more than this was necessary if it was to be republished at all. Such revision, however, as I have made has been designedly made with a sparing hand, and the book remains in substance and in most details a work not of 1920 but of 1884. Had I written it now, the point of view would not have been quite the same. A large literature on the subjects I dealt with has appeared in the interval, and a fresh examination of the materials would certainly have recommended a different selection of ‘illustrations’ from that which I made then…

Sketches of Church History from 600 to 1300 AD by G.S.M. Walker

G.S.M. Walker, The Growing Storm. Sketches of Church History from A.D. 600 to A.D. 1350That the so-called “Dark Ages” contained a surprising amount of light soon becomes clear from the pages of this second volume in the Paternoster Church History. Even the Medieval Papacy, whose rise and fall is, broadley speaking, covered by the period of this book, and which became a laughing-stock and was treated as a scandal, had at the outset sought to embody a great principle – the principle that the spiritual is superior to the temporal, that morality is superior to politics, that Christ is superior to the kingdoms of mankind. It was for the same principle that in later times Scottish Covenanters were to contend and suffer, so demonstrating a historical unity of problems in widely differing periods and circumstances.

Indeed, this book cealr underlines this historical unity by showing that even in the Middle Ages men grappled with problems not unlike our own; but the roles were so surprisingly reversed that it is often hard for the modern mind to see clearly which was the angels’ side. The instance, monks were busy preaching puritan sermons, scholars were almost all fundamentalists, early “Protestants” were devoted to the Virgin, and there was actually a sort of evangelical revival which won warmer sympathy from the reigning Pontiff than would have been shewn by an English Bishop of John Wesley’s day.

This complex period Dr. Walker graphically illustrates by telling the story of some characteristic lives, with sufficient background to make the narrative cohetrent, in spite of the seven-and-a half centuries that are covered. Gregory, Boniface, and Hildebrand, Anselm, Abelard and Bernard, Francis, Aquinas, Raymond Lull, Dante and others, all make their contribution to a composite picture in which the various convictions, catholic and evangelical and liberal, are well and widely represented, sometimes even fermenting together in the same brain. Then we see the tension mounting and the storm-clouds gathering, as distinct parties draw apart in a struggle that would intensify with the coming of Wycliffe, and would come to its climax in the Reformation.

From the dustjacket

Paternoster Press does not hold the digital rights to this book. All reasonable efforts have been made to locate the copyright holder without success. If you know who holds the copyright, please contact me.

G.S.M. Walker, The Growing Storm. Sketches of Church History from A.D. 600 to A.D. 1350. London: The Paternoster Press, 1961. Hbk. pp.252. [Click to visit the download page]


  • Preface
  1. Gregory the Great
  2. Boniface an the Conversion of Northern Europe
  3. Alcuin and the Carolingian Renaissance
  4. The East from Leo the Isaurian to Michael Cerularius
  5. The Hildebrandine Reform
  6. The First Crusade
  7. Anselm and the Rise of Scholasticism
  8. Abelard and Bernard of Clairvaux
  9. The Waldensians
  10. The Pontificate of Innocent III
  11. Francis and his Followers
  12. The Dominicans; Aquinas; and the German Mystics
  13. The Last Crusader
  14. The Missionary Zeal of Raymond Lull
  15. Dante and the Dawn of a New Age
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Anselm of Canterbury and His Work

Adam Cleghorn Welch [1864-1943], Anselm and His WorkAnselm, bishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109, is probably best remembered for his work Cur Deus Homo?Why Did God Become Man? In it he attempted to explain the atonement in terms of the medieval feudal system. Adam Welch makes clear his significance in church history, noting that he is even credited as the father of Scholaticism by some scholars. This title is in the public domain.

Adam Cleghorn Welch [1864-1943], Anselm and His Work. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1901. Hbk. pp.251. [Click to visit the download page]


  • Preface
  • Introduction
  1. The Val D’Aosta: 1033 or 1034-1057
  2. Sainte Marie de Bec: 1034
  3. Monk, Prior, and Abbot: 1059-1092
  4. The Monologium and Proslogium
  5. The Church in England: 1062-1087
  6. Election as Archbishop: 1092-1093
  7. Rockingham: 1093-1095
  8. The Rupture at Winchester: 1095-1097
  9. The First Exile and “Cur Deus Homo”: 1097-1098
  10. Councils of Bari and Rome: 1098-1100
  11. The Investiture Question – Anselm and Beauclerk: 1100-1103
  12. The Concordat: 1103-1107
  13. Conclusion: 1107-1109
  • Index


Europe in the early half of that eleventh century into which Anselm was born was renewing itself under the influence of a quickened religious spirit. Christianity in the Western world had two great outward struggles with paganism, the first with a paganism which was already in possession and was rich in the accumulated treasures of an older civilisation, the second with a paganism which sought to repossess itself of Europe and to overwhelm in barbarism the new order almost before it had struck root. The early incursions which broke down the Roman Empire had hardly been survived, and their influence had not been assimilated, before an equally heavy storm burst upon the West. The Avars from Asia, ever fertile of men, thrust themselves into the centre of Europe, and wasting everything on their way penetrated through Austria….

Seven Lectures on Medieval Missions by Thomas Smith D.D.

These seven lectures on medieval missions include within their scope material on Clovis and Clotilda, Paternus, Columba, Augustine of Canterbury, Aidan, Columbanus, Brunehilde, Boniface, Willebrord, Anskar and Ramon Llull. They appear on-line thanks to Redcliffe College, who recently asked me to digitise 1,000 mission books from their library. This book is in the Public Domain.

Thomas Smith, Medieval Missions. Duff Missionary Lectures – First Series. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1880. Hbk. pp.279. [Click to download in PDF]


The Duff Missionary Lectureship has been instituted under the provisions of the will of the late Dr. Alexander Duff. In arranging for its foundation, his son has complied with the dying instructions of his father, deviating from these instructions only to the extent of designating the lectureship by his father’s name,-a deviation which, I venture to think, will be universally approved.

In terms of a trust-deed executed by Mr. Duff, a course of lectures, not fewer than six in number, ‘On some department of Foreign Missions or cognate subjects,’ is to be delivered once in every four years, each lecturer to give only one course. They are to be delivered in Edinburgh and repeated in Glasgow, or delivered in Glasgow and repeated in Edinburgh, or delivered and repeated in such other places as the trustees may direct. The lectures are then to be published, and copies are to be presented to certain libraries in this country, continental Europe, America, India, Africa, and Australia. The trustees are men belonging to different denominations, and the lecturer is to be ‘ a minister, professor, or godly layman of any Evangelical Church.’

In the introduction to the first lecture I have sufficiently explained the circumstances in/ which I was appointed as the first holder of the lectureship, as having been long associated with Dr. Duff in mission work in Bengal, and afterwards in the home-management of the missions of the Free Church of Scotland. While I venture to entertain a humble hope that the present volume may communicate to its readers a considerable portion of information, and may stimulate their interest in the great work of missions, I desire that it may be regarded also as a tribute to the memory of one for whom, during forty years of uninterrupted friendship and constant intercourse, I cherished feelings of tenderest affection, while I shared with the universal church the sentiment of admiration of his gifts and veneration of his graces. [Continue reading]

History of Medieval Missions by George Maclear

George Frederick Maclear [1833-1902], A History of Christian Missions During the Middle AgesGeorge Maclear’s History of the Christian Mission in the Middle Ages records the spread of Christianity in Europe and beyond from 340 to 1520 AD. Along the way he discussed the contributions to mission made by St. Columba, St. Patrick, Augustine of Canterbury and St. Boniface. Works on this period are fairly rare, so it nice to be able to make one available in this way. This book is in the Public Domain.

George Frederick Maclear [1833-1902], A History of Christian Missions During the Middle Ages. Cambridge & London: MacMillan & Co, 1863. Hbk. pp.466. [Click to download in PDF]



  1. The Mission Field of the Middle Ages
  2. Early efforts of the Church among the new races. A.D. 340-308
  3. The Church of Ireland, and the Mission of St. Patrick. A.D. 431-490
  4. St. Columba and the Conversion of the Picts
  5. Mission of St. Augustine to England. A.D. 596-627
  6. Progress of Missionary work in England. A.D. 627-689
  7. Celtuc Missionaries in Southern Germany. A.D. 592-630
  8. Missionary efforts in Friesland and parts adjacent. A.D. 628-719
  9. St. Boniface and the conversion of Germany. A.D. 715-755
  10. Efforts of the Disciples of St. Boniface. A.D. 719-789
  11. Missionary efforts in Denmark and Sweden. A.D. 800-1011
  12. The conversion of Norway. A.D. 900-1030
  13. Missions among the Slavic or Slavonic Races. A.D. 800-1000
  14. The conversion of Poland and Pomeronia. A.D. 1000-1127
  15. Conversion of Wendland, Prussia, and Lithuania. A.D. 1050-1410
  16. Missions to the Saracens and the Mongols. A.D. 1200-1400
  17. Compulsory Conversion of the Jews and Moors. A.D. 1400-1500
  18. Retrospect and Reflections
  19. Retrospect and Reflections


On two occasions in the recorded history of the Apostle Paul, we behold him brought into contact with pure barbarism. The first is that familiar one when having been driven from the great towns of central Asia :Minor, he had in company with Barnabas, penetrated into the region of Lystra and Derbe. The district here indicated was, as is known to all, inhabited by a rude population, amongst whom the civilization of imperial Rome had scarcely penetrated. The natives of these two little towns situated amidst the bare and barren steppes of Lycaonia, spoke a dialect of their own, and were addicted to a rude and primitive superstition. Theirs was not the philosophical faith of the educated classses at Rome or Athens. It was the superstition of simple pagan villagers on whom the Jewish synagogue had produced little or no impression. [Continue reading]

Call for Applications: The Scholasticum Institute

Guest Post by the Faculty of The Scholasticum Institute

Scholasticum InstituteWe, the associated faculty of The Scholasticum Institute, in the birthplace of St. Bonaventure (Bagnoregio, Italy), hereby announce the establishment of a new institute of medieval studies dedicated to reviving the study of Scholastic Theology and Philosophy. The institute will have as its goal the formation of a new generation of theologians and philosophers who have been trained and equipped according to the sources and method of study employed by Sts. Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventure.
The institute will offer courses to students physically present at its headquarters in Rome and by video-conferencing to those throughout the world.  Applications are now open and can be accessed at our Registrar’s office in Rome, or on our website!
We offer a 1- or 2-year course of study with the option of four cycles: Baccalaureus Philosophicus, Baccalaureus Biblicus, Baccalaureus Sententiarius, and Magister Sacrae Doctrinae.
Please see our informational flyer and Annuario Academico for more information.