To commemorate the 600th anniversary of the death of Church reformer Jan Hus (d.1415), the Centre for Research Collections is currently displaying the Bohemian Protest, a document surrounded by the seals of 100 members of the Czech nobility in protest at Hus’ treatment at the hands of the Council of Constance.
Hus had travelled to Council to lobby for religious reform, protected by a safe-conduct pass from the Emperor – but on his arrival he was seized and executed as a heretic on 6th July 1415. This document is dated 2nd September 1415 and contains the names and seals of 100 member of the Bohemian nobility – it has come to represent the cause for religious freedom.
It was acquired by theologian William Guild (1586-1657) while he was on the continent during the British civil wars, and subsequently bequeathed to the University of Edinburgh. The manuscript was written on vellum and the weight of the 100 wax seals makes it very fragile. This is the first time it has been displayed since receiving modern conservation treatment and rehousing.
The document can be viewed in high resolution on the University of Edinburgh Image Collections.
The Bohemian Protest is one of the University of Edinburgh Iconic items – you can learn more about this collection of objects on the Iconic webpages.
Fran Baseby, CRC Service Delivery Curator