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.

chapter 1|12 pages


chapter 2|52 pages

The Community of the Parish

chapter 3|83 pages

Communal Resources and Responsibilities

chapter 4|35 pages

Parochial Substructure

chapter 5|18 pages

The Social Context

chapter 6|55 pages

Mid-Sixteenth-Century Change