Richard Hunne dies in the Tower of London

(107 words)
  • Editors

Historical Context Note

Richard Hunne, a merchant tailor, dies in the Tower of London. Three years before, he had refused to pay the church the standard mortuary fee upon the death of his baby. In the ensuing legal battles, he justified his defiance with the argument that since the church court derived its authority from the papal legate, it was a foreign institution and therefore could have no authority over the King's subjects: an argument that was to be re-appropriated by Henry VIII in the dispute over his divorce. He was then accused of Lollardy, and died in 'Lollard's Tower'. Subsequent enquiries into his death provoked widespread anti-clericalism in London.
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Editors. "Richard Hunne dies in the Tower of London". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 November 2010
[, accessed 02 July 2015.]