Thorpe, William (d.1407?) (DNB00)

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THORPE, WILLIAM (d. 1407?), Wyclifite, was a native of the north of England, was educated at Oxford, and took priest's orders. He was tried for heresy in 1397 by Archbishop Thomas Arundel [q. v.], imprisoned, and set free by Richard Braybrooke, bishop of London. For ten years he travelled about preaching; in 1407 he preached at Shrewsbury that the sacrament was consecrated bread, and that pilgrimages, images, and swearing should not be suffered. He was charged by the bailiffs of Shrewsbury and imprisoned. From Shrewsbury prison he was sent to the castle of Saltwood, and was examined before Archbishop Arundel on 7 Aug. 1407. His fate is uncertain, but it is stated that he was burned at Saltwood, August 1407.

He wrote an account of his trial called ‘The Examination of William Thorpe’ and a ‘Short Testament to his Faith;’ both are printed in Foxe's ‘Actes and Monuments.’ The ‘Examination’ is a fine piece of English prose composition, emended and modernised by Tindal. More refers to it in 1532 in his ‘Confutation’ as ‘put forth, it is said, by George Constantine.’ Bale ascribes ‘Glosses on the Psalter’ to his pen; Tanner's ascription of the ‘A B C,’ an heretical book generally coupled with Thorpe's ‘Examination,’ appears to be an error.

[Foxe's Actes and Monuments, 1844, iii. 826, 961; Bale's Bibl. Brit. vii. 42.]

M. B.