Richard Hunne was a merchant tailor who lived on Bridge Street in the parish of St. Margaret in London. His date of birth is unknown, he was married and had had at least two children. A boy, named Stephen, was born in 1511. This boy was "put to nurse" to a woman named Mistress Agnes Snow in the parish of St. Mary of Matfelon in Whitechapel. The child, as did many at that time, did not survive. He was buried on 29 March 1511. Following the funeral the parish priest Thomas Dryffeld demanded payment for his services, asking for the christening gown in which the body of the child was wrapped. Richard refused.
On 27 Dec 1512 Richard, along with friends and or associates, attended a service at St. Mary Matfelon. The Chaplain, Henry Marshall, who was officiating the service spotted Richard, stopped the service and spoke loudly to Richard Hunne saying " thou art accursed, and thou standest accursed. An go thou therefore out of the church." This would surely have been greatly embarrassing for Richard and would lead his associates to believe that he had been excommunicated, making him a pariah.
Richard brought a charge of slander against Marshall before the Kings Bench on 25 January 1513. The immediate result seemed to have been a bit of confusion as to whether or not Richard had been excommunicated and the trial was adjourned until Friday April 8th. The church seems to have taken this break to actually follow through and excommunicate him.
Richard shot back with the very unusual and highly inflammatory Writ of Praemunire.
This writ which was first implemented by Richard II in 1306 is a based on the idea that no foreign power, either political or religious, i.e. the Pope in Rome, could encroach on, or limit the powers of the English King. This is the same writ that Henry VIII would eventually use during his break with Rome.
Richard Hunne's biggest obstacle in winning his case lay in the make up of the judges of the King's Bench. Many of them may have owed their loyalty or position to the Arch Bishop of Canterbury. If they found for the defendant, a Priest, they would be seemingly giving the church a higher power that the King. Their decision was to once again adjourn the case until Monday 13 November 1514.
Meanwhile, Richard was arrested and charged with heresy and imprisoned in the Lollard's Tower at the Cathedral of St. Paul. Apparently he owned a bible, written in English. On 4 December 1514, he was found hanged in his cell. It was obvious to all that he had been murdered. You would think that this would have been the end of it, but the church persued it's heresy case against Richard, trying his now dead body and finding it guilty. On 20 December Richard Hunne's body was burned at he stake at Smithfields.
William Horsey, the chancellor to the Bishop of London, was eventually charged with the murder of Richard Hunne. He chose to be tried in the King's Court as opposed to the ecclesiastical court. Cardinal Thomas Wolsey asked the king, Henry VIII to intervene, which he did, and ordered his attorney to find Horsey innocent. Some seven years after Richard's death, King Henry reversed his opinion on the case and wrote to Horsey, saying he knew he was guilty and that he, Horsey would restore to the family of Richard Henne the value of his estate, which was quite large.
To read a more thorough account of Richard's case see this aritcle by W. R. Cooper. It is the best article I have found on the subject.
Cooper, W. R., Richard Hunne, on the Tyndale website
Breamer, Francis, J. John Winthrop America's Forgotten Founding Father, Oxford, 2003