What did ordinary people believe in post-Reformation England, and what did they do about it? This book looks at religious belief and practice through the eyes of five sorts of people: godly Protestant ministers, zealous Protestant laypeople, the ignorant, those who complained about the burdens of religion, and the Catholics.
Based on 600 court and visitation books from three national and twelve local archives, it cites what people had to say about themselves, their religion, and the religions of others. How did people behave in church? What did they think of church rituals? What did they do on Sundays? What did they think of people of other faiths? How did they get along together, and what sort of issues produced tensions between them? What did parishioners think of their priests and what did the clergy think of their people? Was everyone seriously religious, or did some people mock or doubt religion?
If these questions have been tackled before, it has usually been by way of claims about what the common people believed in books written by members of the educated ranks about their contemporaries. In contrast, by going directly to other sources of evidence such court records and parish complaints, this book illuminates what ordinary people actually said and did. Written by one of our leading historians of early modern England, it is a lively and readable account of popular religion in England under Elizabeth I and the early Stuarts, dealing with the results of the Reformation, reactions to official policy, and the background to the Civil Wars of the mid-17th century.
Fascinating. * Journal of Ecclesiastical History *
... a valuable book built on a wealth of scholarship * Nicholas Tyacke, Historical Journal *
Introduction: The Plain Man in Characters and Court Books
Part I: 'Theologus, a divine': the preacher and his people
1: Preacher of the word
2: Pastor of a flock
Part II: 'Asunetus, an ignorant man': knowledge and neglect
3: Ignorance is bliss
4: Why all the fuss?
Part III: Philagathus, an honest man': the professors and the profane
5: Godly living
6: The godly and the rest
Part IV: 'Antilegon, a caviller': liberty and laughter
7: Attitudes to authority
8: Scoffing at the sacred
Part V: Popery and other enemies
9: The Papist: outside the church, inside the community
10: Enemies of the godly
Conclusion: Pathways to Heaven
Number Of Pages: 298
Published: 1st October 2007
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.9 x 16.2
Weight (kg): 0.59