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Summary: In this seminar we will discuss the importance of parishes and parish communities for religious and social life in the late medieval decades. We will explore the issue of emotional attachment to the parish and the parish church (and the evidence that can be used to gauge this), as well as the potential of the parish to serve as a site of conflict.

Seminar and essay questions:

a) To what extent, and why, were the parish and the parish church central to lay people’s lives in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries?

b) What evidence is there of widespread lay resentment of the clergy in the decades before the break with Rome?

[marked items relate particularly to one or other of the questions for discussion]


C Harper-Bill, The Pre-Reformation Church in England, ch. 7 - a good general intro.

--------------, ‘John Colet’s Convocation Sermon and the Pre-Reformation Church in England’, History (1988) and in P Marshall (ed) The Impact of the English Reformation (b)

A Ryrie, The Age of Reformation (2009; 2nd ed., 2017), ch. 1 – broad overview

P Marshall, Reformation England 1480-1642 (2003), ch. 1 – ditto

-------------, Heretics and Believers: A History of the English Reformation (2017), chs 2-3 (b)

F Heal, Reformation in Britain and Ireland (2003), chs 2 (ii), 3 (i)

C Haigh, English Reformations, chs. 1-2 (a,b)

--------, ‘Anticlericalism and the English Reformation’, in Haigh (ed) The English Reformation Revised, and in History (1983) (b)

AG Dickens, ‘The Shape of Anticlericalism and the English Reformation’ in Dickens, Late Monasticism and the Reformation, and in E I Kouri and T Scott (eds) Politics and Society in Reformation Europe (b). Summarized version in Dickens, The English Reformation (2nd ed), ch 13

JJ Scarisbrick, The Reformation and the English People, chs 1-2 (a)

E Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars, ch 4 (a) [new edition 2005]

--------, The Voices of Morebath: Reformation & Rebellion in an English Village (2001), chs. 1-4

GW Bernard, The Late Medieval English Church (2012), esp chs 4, 6

JAF Thomson, The Early Tudor Church and Society, ch 9 (a)

R Hutton, The Rise and Fall of Merry England, chs. 1-2 (a)

P Marshall, The Catholic Priesthood and the English Reformation, esp. ch 8 (b)

R Whiting, The Blind Devotion of the People: Popular Religion and the English Reformation, ch 5 (a)

G Rosser, ‘Communities of Parish and Guild in the late Middle Ages’ in S Wright (ed) Parish, Church and People (a)

---------, ‘Parochial Conformity and Voluntary Religion in late Medieval England’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society (1991) (a)

CM Barron, ‘The Parish Fraternities of Medieval London’, in Barron and C Harper-Bill (eds) The Church in Pre-Reformation Society (a)

B Hanawalt, ‘Keepers of the Light: Late Medieval English Parish Guilds’, Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies (1984) (a)

S. Brigden, London and the Reformation, pp. 43-81 (b)

B Kümin, The Shaping of a Community: the Rise and Reformation of the English Parish, esp chs 2-4 (a)

A Brown, Popular Piety in Late Medieval England, esp. chs 3-6

V Bainbridge, Gilds in the Medieval Countryside, esp. ch 3 (a)

M James, ‘Ritual, Drama and the Social Body in the Late Medieval English Town’, Past and Present, 98 (1983) (a)