For some incumbents their economic relation to their parishioners was the most important, if not the only, connection that they had; the vocation which inspired them is plain enough among the memoranda which a fifteenth-century vicar of Lancaster wrote down with evident approval: ‘“Love conquers all” said a certain wise man; another retorted, “You lie; money conquers all”; a third said, “Wisdom and money achieve most: if you are rich you will always be reputed wise; if you are poor you will be considered as simple as the next man”’ 1 But before this aspect of parish life is dismissed wholly in terms of clerical avarice and lay resentment, some effort must be made to penetrate the enveloping clichés of historians and propagandists. The stark valuations of livings in the 1535 Valor Ecclesiasticus 2 must be converted into a fuller statement of account for the various types of benefices, and the economic facts which confronted incumbents in the course of a year must be unveiled.