Waldensis, Thomas

, a Carmelite monk of great learning in the fourteenth century, was born at Walden in Essex, about 1367. His father’s name was John Netter, but he chose to be denominated, as indeed was very | commoil then, from the place of his nativity. He was educated among the Carmelites in London, whence he removed for the farther prosecution of his studies to Oxford. Here he continued some years, and received the degree of doctor in divinity, after which he returned to London, and took the habit of the Carmelites. Being introduced at the court of Henry IV. he became a favourite with the king, and was appointed the principal champion of the church against heretics, and especially those who had adopted the tenets of Wickliff, Huss, or Jerome of Prague. In 1409 he was sent by the king to the grand council at Pisa, where he is said to have been much admired for his eloquence and learning. After his return to England, he was made provincial of his order; and Henry V. admitted him of his privy-council, and appointed him his confessor. In 1415 he was sent to the council of Constance, and about 1419, was employed to negociate peace between Uladislaus, king of Poland, and Michael, general of the Teutonic order. In 1422 the king died in the arms of Waldensis, at Vincennes in France. He became afterwards a favourite with the young king Henry VI. and was appointed his confessor. In 1430 he attended the king to France, and at Roan was seized with an acute disease, of which he died Nov. 2, and was buried in the convent of Carmelites in that city. He appears to have been a man of abilities; Pits says that he was master of the Greek and Hebrew languages, and in general a polite scholar. His principal work, the only one printed, is his “Doctrinale antiquum fidei ecclesias catholicse,Paris, 1521—1523, 3 vols, folio, and reprinted at Saumur, Venice, and Paris. Mr. archdeacon Churton, in his valuable Lives of the founders of Brasenose-college, informs us, that the bishop of Lincoln, Russel, being harassed and fatigued, as he feelingly complains, with the multitude of heretics at Oxford in 1491, met with this book of Waldensis, and resolved to make extracts from it (vol. III. “de sacramentalibus”), for the more speedy and effectual refutation of the “insane dogmas, with which, he says, so many of his countrymen were infected.” Having framed his compendium with great care, by a written injunction under his own hand he ordered it to be preserved in the registry of the see, for the benefit of his successors in their examinations of “heretical depravity;” pronouncing an anathema at the same time against any one who should obliterate the title, expressive of the design of the | performance and the name of the compiler. The original copy of this “touchstone of error,” which was completed at Woburn on the feast of the Epiphany 1491-2, is still extant in the library of University-college, Oxford. 1


Tanner. Bale. Pits, Fuller’s Worthies. Churtou’s Life of Smyth, p. 134.