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Payne, Peter


Wyclifite, Hussite; b. Hough-on-the-Hill, near Grantham, England, c. 1380; d. Prague, 1455. He was the son of a French father and an English mother and graduated from Oxford by 1406. There he had become converted to Wyclif's heresies through the efforts of a few remaining lollards. Not being a man to keep his beliefs to himself, Payne wrote letters to John hus and the Bohemian reformers in 1406, praising the character and orthodoxy of John wyclif, and managed to attach the university's seal to them. The ensuing furor prompted Abp. Thomas arundel to investigate orthodoxy in the university. The university resisted Arundel's invasion of its privileges but had no desire to protect heresy. A university committee examined Payne but found him free of heresy. He then became principal of St. Edmund's College (141113). He was soon engaged in controversy with the mendicants. Faced with an oath of orthodoxy in 1413, he fled England for the more congenial atmosphere of Prague (1415). There, for 40 years, he played a very prominent part in the religio-political disputes that wracked Bohemia. Payne drifted more and more to the extreme reformist position of the taborites, whom he represented at the Council of basel. After rejecting the settlement proposed at Basel, he became rector of the hussite monastery of Emaus in Prague and a supporter of John of Rokycana.

Bibliography: t. gascoigne, Loci e libro veritatum (Oxford 1881). k. b. mcfarlane, John Wycliffe and the Beginnings of English Nonconformity (New York 1953). a. b. emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500 (Oxford 195759) 3:144143.

[j. e. healey]

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