Open Access Presidential Scholars Thesis
Henry V is often remembered for his battles in France and as the heroic figure portrayed in Shakespeare's plays. Yet the golden hero of English history began his reign faced with domestic, religious, and political challenges. Henry IV's usurpation of the crown ushered in the fifteenth century, and his son recognized that the support of the church could help ensure the stability of the Lancastrian reign. Domestic turbulence was exacerbated by the growing development of a fairly new phenomenon in England: heresy. In this paper, I will argue that Henry V chose to side with the church against the heretical Lollards not simply out of religious duty but because it helped strengthen the political stability of his reign in England which the Lollards were undermining. After showing how the Lollards were perceived as contributing to political unrest in England, I will examine the specific steps which Henry took in response to this movement, culminating in the suppression of the 1414 uprising led by Sir John Oldcastle. This suppression served a double political purpose: not only was Henry able to eliminate the political threat of the Lollards by persecuting them according to the church's wishes, but he was able to enhance his political control over the church itself by this persecution.
Date of Award
Department of History
Presidential Scholar Designation
A paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation Presidential Scholar
1 PDF file (52 pages)
©1995 - Heather Lee Martin
Martin, Heather Lee, "Church and state in the early fifteenth century: Henry V's persecution of the Lollards" (1995). Presidential Scholars Theses (1990 – 2006). 109.