1st Edition

The Shaping of a Community The Rise and Reformation of the English Parish c.1400–1560

By Beat A. Kümin Copyright 1996

    This book offers a new perspective to the current debate about popular religious attitudes in Tudor England, laying particular emphasis on the social and secular dimensions of parish life. The argument focuses on the role of the laity and especially on the office of churchwarden. It assesses the rising levels of parish income, the importance of the social context for fund-raising strategies, and the growing expenditure on priests, voluntary activities and administrative duties. The final part discusses the Reformation-related reduction in religious options and the intensifying trend towards oligarchical parish regimes and official local government responsibilities. Wherever possible, the English situation is put into sharper focus by comparisons with local ecclesiastical life on the Continent and appendices provide a detailed financial analysis for a large number of parishes.

    List of tables, figures and maps, Preface, Notes and abbreviations, 1 Introduction, 2 The Community of the Parish, 3 Communal Resources and Responsibilities, 4 Parochial Substructure, 5 The Social Context, 6 Mid-Sixteenth-Century Change, Conclusion, Epilogue: The Communalization of Late Medieval Society, Appendix 1 An alphabetical list of English churchwardens' accounts c. 1300-1547, Appendix 2 Categories and definitions used in the figures and tables, Appendix 3 Detailed income/expenditure analysis for the case studies in the sample, Appendix 4 Sources of revenue (i) and main items of expenditure (ii) in ten parishes, Bibliography, Index


    Beat A. Kümin