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WILLIAM WOODFORD, O.F.M. (c. 1330-c. 1400) HIS LIFE AND WORKS TOGETHER WITH A STUDY AND EDITION OF HIS "RESPONSIONES CONTRA WICLEVUM ET LOLLARDOS"* INTRODUCTION Students of medieval English history will agree with the judgment that "the fourteenth century is above all things an age of continual controversy, of which the familiar Wycliffite controversy is but the culmination."1 While being the culmination, that controversy was also the most serious in fourteenth century English history. * This work on William Woodford was first written in Latin between 1962 and 1964 and was presented in November 1964 as my dissertation in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the doctorate in theology at the Pontificium Athenaeum Antonianum in Rome. I postponed publication until now in the hope of finding at least one other copy of Woodford's Responsiones besides that conserved in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. However, all efforts to do so have proved fruitless and therefore I have decided now to publish the work together with an edition of Responsiones from its unique copy. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my professors at the Antonianum at that time: The Reverend Fathers A. Amore, O.F.M. , A. Ghinato, O.F.M. , L. Ceyssens, O.F.M. and I. Vasquez, O.F.M. In particular I wish to express my gratitude to the Reverend Father L. Spätling, O.F.M., the tutor of my dissertation, who by his good advice saved me from many pitfalls. I wish also to express my thanks to The Reverend Fathers Howard Docherty, O.F.M. who first introduced me to Woodford; Conrad Walmsley, O.F.M. (f) who supplied me with information on Woodford's ordination dates; Gabriel Reidy, O.F.M. (j) who kindly gave me his rough transcription of Responsiones made more than forty years ago. 1 W. A. Pantin, The English Church in the Fourteenth Century (Cambridge, !955). 1; see I23_I35 f°r a concise and clear treatment of the various topics of controversy during the fourteenth century. Pantin's book and also K. B. McFarlane , John Wycliffe and the Beginnings of English Non-conformity (English Universities Press, London 1952), should be at hand when one reads G. M. Trevelyan, England in the Age of Wycliffe (London, New York, Toronto 1948), especially for some of the more extreme passages of chapters 4 and 5, 104-182. l8ERIC DOYLE The crucial topics of the controversy with their deep-reaching implications for the life of the medieval Church, brought to the fore a number of personalities who otherwise would have remained among the more shadowy figures of medieval history. In different circumstances these might have been studied for a commentary on the Sentences or a postil on one or other book of the Bible, but for the rest they would not have been singled out in the history of the times. Among these belongs William Woodford, O.F.M. He owes his notable place in late fourteenth century history to John Wyclif. Had it not been for Wyclif's attack on the institutions of the Church, Woodford would not, I think, have been especially worthy of note in the study of the period. He would very probably have continued to compose commentaries on scripture and no doubt would have completed his Postilla super Matthaeum. These would have been interesting enough for the study of biblical commentary in the middle ages and valuable as sources for the period. Woodford gives personal details and alludes to important events and contemporary conditions.2 But this would have been all. We would not have had any of those works which show him to have been a formidable antagonist. Indeed it is unlikely that he would have composed his defence of the Mendicant Orders against Fitzralph. 2 See below in the first section for the considerable amount of detail he gives about himself in his works. - Dr. J I. Catto, "Guillaume du Pré and the Tartars," Archivum Franciscanum Historicum, 60 (1967), 210-213, draws attention to a reference in Woodford's Postilla super Matthaeum i-v, MS Cambridge, University Library, Add. 3571, ff. i07vb-io8ra, concerning the fate of the last medieval Franciscan mission...


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