At that time when most people were illiterate, all the elites understood Latin as well as their vernacular language. His project of translating the Vulgate into Middle English is essentially a social challenge.
A first team to which Wycliffe brings his direct participation translates the Vulgate in word order. Another team works in parallel in his presence to a more comprehensible version. The former (Earlier version) was completed just before the death of Wycliffe that occurred in 1384 and the second (Later version) was completed in 1388.
Wycliffe's teams have not altered the Scriptures and his Bibles cannot be condemned. The upper clergy is furious. The peasants in revolt take as models the anti-establishment positions of Wycliffe and his posthumous condemnation for heresy becomes inevitable. When it is pronounced formally in 1415 by the Council of Constance, it is too late : the Later version is already much appreciated by theologians and its prohibition will be ineffective.
On December 5 in New York, Sotheby's sells a complete manuscript of the New Testament on 21 x 15 cm vellum in the Later Version, lot 9 estimated $ 500K. It is dated from the first half of the 15th century in the catalog and more specifically ca 1430 by the press release. Another manuscript of similar description and date was sold by Christie's on April 30, 2008 for £ 334K including premium worth $ 660K at that time.
SOLD for $ 1.7M including premium