Church in an Age of Danger
Parsons and Parishioners, 1660-1740
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Paperback / softback
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Number of Pages: 300
Width: 15.3 cm
Height: 23 cm
This book explores popular support for the Church of England during a critical period, from the Stuart Restoration to the mid-eighteenth century, when Churchmen perceived themselves to be under attack from all sides. In many provincial parishes, the clergy also found themselves in dispute with their congregations. These incidents of dispute are the focus of a series of detailed case studies, drawn from the diocese of Salisbury, which help to bring the religion of the ordinary people to life, while placing local tensions in their broader national context. The period 1660-1740 provides important clues to the long-term decline in the popularity of the Church. Paradoxically, conflicts revealed not anticlericalism but a widely shared social consensus supporting the Anglican liturgy and clergy: the early eighteenth century witnessed a revival. Nevertheless, a defensive clergy turned inwards and proved too inflexible to respond to lay wishes for fuller participation in worship.
'... the resulting book is a masterly and highly impressive work ... Dr Spaeth's achievement lies in unearthing a wealth of information which, when carefully interpreted, permits him to view parish religion from the pews rather than, as is so often the case, from just the pulpit. Overall, this is a thoroughly scholarly and absorbing study which moves deftly from an analysis of specific examples to an elucidation of general themes.' History 'Spaeth is a master of ecclesiastical and legal records, which he deploys in the creation of often compelling, and never less than telling narratives ... More studies of this kind are sorely needed if the confessional complexity of the long eighteenth century is properly to be appreciated for the dynamic and largely integrative force it was.' Journal of Ecclesiastical History '... an extremely impressive study of parish Anglicanism ...' The Historical Journal