chapter  4
Piety and the Reformation parish, 1580-1620
Pages 45

London enjoyed peace in the later sixteenth century, without Catholics and Protestants rioting, even massacring one another in the streets, as happened in some continental cities. Debate over the severity of social and religious tensions has characterized recent historiography on London.! The city's demographic growth, economic development that widened the gulf between rich and poor, and religious heterogeneity could have destabilized the city. Remnants of older piety, revivals of traditional parochial life, and new parish activities eased London parishioners into the Reformation. Charity and new solutions for poverty also calmed the city, a discussion that will be taken up in the next chapter. Parishes continued to renovate their church interiors and reform their services and lectures. Individual parishioners also expressed reformed piety in their funeral practices and in their last wills and testaments. Parallel to the pre-Reformation link between the 'fabric' of the church and the cloth of community life, parishioners in post-Reformation London brought together their support for the structure and decoration of their parishes with that for their family and associates.