Local Responses to the English Reformation by R. Whiting

By R. Whiting

This significant new research re-examines probably the most debatable problems with early sleek historical past: the impression of the English Reformation upon the English humans. It represents an develop from the normal reign-by-reign narrative to a extra incisively thematic procedure. Drawing at the author's personal study in church paintings in addition to in written files corresponding to wills and parish bills, and comparing the findings of different contemporary historians, it forcefully demanding situations numerous of the at the moment trendy interpretations of this important period.

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There were signs, moreover, of increasing willingness to exploit them. At York, in about 1533, funds belonging to the guilds of St Christopher and St George were embezzled by their Guilds 49 masters. At Zeal Monachorum a parishioner defrauded two guilds in 1534. In 1538-44 laymen attempted to expropriate land from St Katherine's guild at Holsworthy and the Jesus guild at South Petherwin, while in 1544 over £l6 in money and rings was stolen from the Yealmpton guild of Our Lady - resulting in the cessation of the 'good and godly purposes', presumably intercessions, for which they had been donated.

In Durham and York dioceses this fell to 55 in 1534-46, 38 in 1547-53,36 in 1553-8 and 20 in 1558-70. In Exeter diocese the fall was to 56 in 1530-9, 36 in 1540-6, 22 in 1547-9, 26 in 1550-3, 18 in 1553-9 and three in 1560-9. Decline was apparently even faster in London, where the percentage in 1534-46 was only 23. Yarcombe's Richard Lock, who bequeathed Is 8d to his parish priest in 1550, was becoming markedly less typical than Widworthy'sJohn Deyman, who left nothing to any cleric in 1551. 4 A third index was the laity'S willingness to pay clerical dues.

Porches were sometimes mutilated by the 'taking down of the holy water stone', as at St John's Bow and Woodbury in 1559-61, and 44 Institutions glass windows were frequently damaged or removed, as at St Breock in 1565. Anti-Catholic parishioners hurled stones at the windows of Hadleigh church in 1553. 14 Some churches were extensively damaged or destroyed. In 1548 London's Strand church was 'pulled down, to make the Protector Duke of Somerset's place larger'. At Exeter, during anti-rebel operations in 1549, the mayor and aldermen 'pulled down and defaced' the towers of St Edmund's and St Sidwell's.

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