Oldcastle, Sir John

Oldcastle, Sir John

▪ English soldier
born c. 1378, , Herefordshire, Eng.
died Dec. 14, 1417, London

      distinguished soldier and martyred leader of the Lollards (Lollard), a late medieval English sect derived from the teachings of John Wycliffe. He was an approximate model for 16th-century English dramatic characters, including Shakespeare's Falstaff (Falstaff, Sir John).

      The son of Sir Richard Oldcastle, he fought for England in the Scottish campaign of 1400 and during the Welsh wars gained the friendship of King Henry IV's son Henry, prince of Wales. By his marriage in 1408 to Joan, heiress of John, 3rd Lord Cobham, Oldcastle entered nobility and in 1409 was summoned to the House of Lords as a baron.

      In 1413 he was indicted by a convocation, presided over by Archbishop Thomas Arundel of Canterbury, for maintaining both Lollard preachers and their opinions. His amicable relationship with the prince of Wales, now Henry V, earned him special consideration, but he failed to honour the king's appeals to submit and was brought to trial the same year. Unyielding in his views, he was convicted as a heretic but was granted a stay of execution by the king for 40 days and was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Within a month he escaped to find refuge with the Lollard bookseller William Fisher at Smithfield, where he conspired to kidnap the king at Kent while Lollards answered a summons to assemble at St. Giles's Fields, near London, the night of Jan. 9, 1414. The king was warned by his agents, and the small group of Lollards in assembly were captured or dispersed. Oldcastle again escaped, evading capture until November 1417. Parliament then reiterated his condemnation and penalty, and on December 14 he was hanged over a fire that consumed the gallows.

      In The Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth, the anonymous source play for Shakespeare's Henry IV, (Henry IV, Part 2) Sir John appears briefly as a friend of Prince Hal (or Henry). Shakespeare kept the name Oldcastle for the first version of his play but later changed it to Falstaff. Shakespeare's Falstaff is considered to be more boisterous than Oldcastle had been in real life.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Oldcastle, Sir John — (c. 1378–1417)    Rebel.    Oldcastle was born in Herefordshire and he later became Lord Cobham. He was known to be a follower of John wycliffe and in 1413 he was accused of heresy. He escaped from imprisonment in the Tower of London and he led a …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Oldcastle,Sir John — Old·cas·tle (ōldʹkăs əl, kä səl), Sir John. Lord Cobham. 1377? 1417. English Lollard conspirator who was burned alive for heresy. * * * …   Universalium

  • OLDCASTLE, SIR JOHN —    Lord Cobham, distinguished himself in arms under Henry IV. in 1411, embraced Lollardism, which he could not be prevailed on to renounce, though remonstrated with by Henry V.; was tried for heresies and committed to the Tower, but escaped to… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Sir John Oldcastle — John Oldcastle Sir John Oldcastle (v. 1378 – 14 décembre 1417), fut un leader Lollard anglais. Il fut jugé pour hérésie contre l Église, mais parvint à s échapper de la Tour de Londres. Capturé à nouveau, il fut exécuté, et devint un martyr. Il… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sir John Oldcastle — is an Elizabethan play about John Oldcastle, a controversial 14th 15th century rebel and Lollard who was seen by some of Shakespeare s contemporaries as a proto Protestant martyr. The play was originally published anonymously in 1600 (Q1),… …   Wikipedia

  • Falstaff, Sir John — ▪ fictional character       one of the most famous comic characters in all English literature, who appears in four of Shakespeare s plays. Entirely the creation of Shakespeare, Falstaff is said to have been partly modeled on Sir John Oldcastle… …   Universalium

  • Sir John Oldcastle — Falstaff Falstaff prop. n. Sir John Falstaff, a celebrated character in Shakespeare s historical play Henry IV. (1st and 2d parts), and also in The Merry Wives of Windsor. He is a very fat, sensual, and witty old knight; a swindler, drunkard, and …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • FASTOLF, SIR JOHN —    a distinguished soldier of Henry V. s reign, who with Sir John Oldcastle shares the doubtful honour of being the prototype of Shakespeare s Falstaff, but unlike the dramatist s creation was a courageous soldier, and won distinction at… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • John Oldcastle — Sir John Oldcastle (d. December 14, 1417), English Lollard leader, was son of Sir Richard Oldcastle of Almeley in northwest Herefordshire and grandson of another Sir John Oldcastle. He was prosecuted for heresy against the Church, and escaped… …   Wikipedia

  • Sir Gruffudd Vychan — Sir Gruffudd Vychan, (born c.1395, died 1447) Lord of Burgedin, Treflydan, Garth and Gearfawr was the 2nd son of Gruffudd ap Ieuan ap Madoc ap Wenwys by Maud, daughter of Griffri ap Rhys Fongam. The Gwenwys clan traced its ancestry from Brochwel… …   Wikipedia

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