Nicolaus Copernicus (19 February 1473 – 24 May 1543) was a Polish astronomer. His major contribution to the field was De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, in which he laid out his proof that the Earth and other planets revolved around the Sun.
Some eighty years after his death, Nicolaus Copernicus's heliocentric doctrine was championed by Galileo Galilei. Unfortuantely, Galileo ran afoul of the Catholic Church, and was ultimately forced to recant, as the Church believed the Copernican view to be heretical.
During Nicolaus Copernicus' life, his findings intrigued many in the Catholic Church hierarchy, but in the decades after his death the Church became less open to the theory. By 1597, the English Inquisition was actively suppressing heliocentrism in England, as were similar bodies in other Catholic countries.
Richard Burbage openly referenced Copernicus' theory during a rehearsal. When William Shakespeare pleaded for Burbage to take care with his words, and reminded Burbage of the Church's position, Burbage dismissed the Church's position, much to Shakespeare's discomfort.