WHEN it comes to naming some of the most influential people in English religious history, Adam Easton doesn t readilly spring to mind. But the former vicar from Somersham is thought to have saved England from becoming a Protestant nation in the 14th Centu
WHEN it comes to naming some of the most influential people in English religious history, Adam Easton doesn't readilly spring to mind.
But the former vicar from Somersham is thought to have saved England from becoming a Protestant nation in the 14th Century..
His life and times have been explored in a book launched on Friday.
Written by Somersham resident and businessman Andrew Lee, The Most Ungrateful Englishman is described as the great untold story of the mediaeval era.
"Of all the people who have genuinely changed the course of English history there is just one man who you probably have not heard of," Mr Lee writes. "A humble Norfolk lad, without whom Henry VIII and Thomas Wolsey would have grown up in a Protestant country."
The book describes Easton's life and his rollercoaster career. Born into poverty he climbed to the highest level of the church and was vicar of Somersham from 1377 to 1397.
In a nutshell: he was later locked up, Richard II pleaded for his life and Henry VI sought his blessing before his attempt to seize the English crown.
But his 'religion-saving' moment came through the writing of his book, Defensorium Ecclesiastice Potestate. This was thought to be a definitive text, defining the boundaries of Papal and secular power, and was believed to have provided the philosophical bedrock for the absolute and undeniable right of the Christian church.
"Adam Easton is quite simply the most important Englishman that most people have never heard of." said Mr Lee. "This country is addicted to Tudor history but if Adam Easton hadn't done what he did, England would have been a Protestant country in the 14th century.
"He achieved so much in such a subtle way that he is almost unmentioned in history. But his life is a great human interest story that should be enjoyed by everyone."
Mr Lee first came across Adam Easton while reading history at University College, London, and was fascinated by his life and role in history.
He added: "For better or worse Adam played a significant role in shaping the history of England."
After six years of research including some in the secret archives of the Vatican, Andrew Lee has pulled together the threads of Adam's story in a book that presents a fascinating portrait of a gifted churchman who altered the destiny of this country.
INFORMATION: To order a copy of The Most Ungrateful Englishman for £25 phone 01323 521555 or write to Gardners Books Limited, 1 Whittle Drive, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN23 6QH or visit www.gardners.com