Catholic England: Faith, Religion and Observance Before the Reformation

Overview

The Reformation, which began under Henry VIII, transformed English religion. For many the spirituality of the preceding period remains largely unknown, or overburdened with Protestant mythology of decadence. This book seeks to explore the nature of religious belief and practice in pre-Reformation England, using original source material to make the debates accessible.

The book begins with an analytical chapter discussing the varieties of spirituality in later medieval England and...

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Overview

The Reformation, which began under Henry VIII, transformed English religion. For many the spirituality of the preceding period remains largely unknown, or overburdened with Protestant mythology of decadence. This book seeks to explore the nature of religious belief and practice in pre-Reformation England, using original source material to make the debates accessible.

The book begins with an analytical chapter discussing the varieties of spirituality in later medieval England and the ways in which they received expression, through participation in church services, actions like pilgrimages, charitable foundations, devotional reading and instruction. Opposition to prevailing spirituality, expressed through 'Lollardy', is also considered. The sources demonstrate with immediacy and potency these diverse expressions of faith and observance. Many of the documents are translated for the first time from unpublished manuscript material.

This study demonstrates the vitality of the pre-Reformation religious practices, but also addresses the key methodological questions which arise from the sources about the nature of the material, its reliability as historical evidence, and the validity of external actions as testimony to intellectual and emotional experience.

The book will be welcomed by students and teachers of late medieval history as well as Reformation Studies. It will also interest general readers concerned with the background to the English Reformation.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780719090776
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Publication date: 8/13/2013
  • Series: Manchester Medieval Sources Series
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

R. N. Swanson is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Birmingham

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Table of Contents

Introduction: in search of pre-Reformation English spirituality

PART ONE: THEORY

I: The Bible

II: Disseminating the faith

III: The mass

IV: Designs for living and dying

PART TWO: PRACTICE

V. Parish celebrations

VI: Private religion

VII. Saints, shrines, miracles and pilgrimage

VIII: Security for the living

IX: Security for the dead

X: Distributions at death: wills

XI: Complaint and opposition

Bibliography

Index

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