'The Right Ordering of Souls'
The Parish of All Saints' Bristol on the Eve of the Reformation
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Paperback / softback
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Ltd
Number of Pages: 488
Width: 15.6 cm
Height: 23.4 cm
The relationship between people and parish in the late medieval ages illuminated by this study of a remarkable survival from the period. In the two centuries preceding the Reformation in England, economic, political and spiritual conditions combined with constructive effect. Endemic plague prompted a demonstrative piety and, in a world enjoying rising disposable incomes, this linked with current teachings - especially the doctrine of Purgatory - to sustain a remarkable devotional generosity. Moreover, political conditions, and particularly war with France, persuaded the government to summonits subjects' assistance, including responses encouraged in England's many parishes. As a result, the wealthier classes invested in and worked for their neighbourhood churches with a degree of largesse - witnessed in parish buildings in many localities - hardly equalled since. Buildings apart, the scarcity of pre-Reformation parish records means, however, that the resonances of this response, and the manner in which parishioners organised their worship, are ordinarily lost to us. This book, using the remarkable survival of records for one parish - All Saints', Bristol, in the later fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries - scrutinises the investment that the faithful made. Ifnot necessarily typical, it is undeniably revealing, going further than any previous study to expose and explain parishioners' priorities, practices and achievements in the late Middle Ages. In so doing, it also charts a world that would soon vanish.
The context The Right Ordering of Souls provides is essential for the story of the church and as a backdrop of the English Reformation. * FIDES ET HISTORIA * A monograph which offers the most in-depth and stimulating account of a single medieval English parish yet to be written. * JOURNAL OF ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY * This is a splendid book, and one that everyone interested in either 'popular religion' or the history of Bristol in the late Middle Ages will want on their shelves. . . . [H]ighly recommended. * SPECULUM * Provides an exceptionally rich picture of pre-Reformation life within the parish of All Saints', Bristol, which will surely become a firm fixture in the libraries and reading lists of those working on religious and parish history. * REVIEWS IN HISTORY *