Manual Worship and the Parish Church in Early Modern Britain

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Thirty years ago, historians of the English Reformation were busy in the newly- opened diocesan archives, charting the spread of Protestantism.
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Item I leave to Sir William Polle my son to celebrate one trental for prayers for the health of my soul and all the faithful departed 10s. Whatever truly remains of my goods I leave my executors Sir William Polle and Thomas Clerke of Kibworth Beauchamp to despose of as they think fit for the good of my soul and to be supervisor of my testament Sir Walter Lucas Rector of the church of Kibworth. Katherine leaves money to churches — her local churches at Kibworth and Smeeton and a larger church at Lincoln.

She also leaves money to priests to conduct her funeral and say prayers. By far the largest sum is bequeathed to her family: her daughter is to receive a much larger sum than the other people and places mentioned. She also leaves something to be distributed by her executors, possibly to the poor of the parish.

Early modern Europe: an introduction

She formally leaves her soul to God, and she ensures that prayers will be said and that other good deeds will be performed on her behalf by her executors, which will help her soul to pass through purgatory to heaven. Thomas Ray died in the reign of Elizabeth I, when the Protestant faith was the official religion. Compare this with the will of Katherine Polle, which you read in Part A, and answer the following questions:.

Item I bequeath to the mother church of Lincoln 4d. Item to the poor of the parish ten shillings.

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Also I do make Nicholas Cloudsley superviser that this my last will and testament be performed. And for his pains I give him an old ahsell [a donkey? The two wills begin in a similar way: Ray gives his soul to God, and leaves money to a church. He also gives a set sum to the poor living in the parish.

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However, there is nothing about the welfare of his soul — no money to priests or for prayers. This reflects the different understandings in Catholic and Protestant faiths of how souls could reach heaven. He is very concerned that his farm should pass to his son and he makes special arrangements to ensure that it will stay in the family if his wife marries again. Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University.

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History of the Church of England - Wikipedia

Course content. About this free course 10 hours study. And many colonials found great comfort in this form of Protestantism. Ordinary Anglican lay people found spiritual satisfaction in hearing intoned from the pulpit the familiar, stately cadences of the Book of Common Prayer , the basis of worship services in the Church of England. They were uplifted and sustained by participating in the yearly cycle of rituals commemorating holy days and by savoring the music supplied by choirs and organs. And they took consolation from carefully composed sermons emphasizing the reasonableness of Christianity, the benevolence of God, and the innate capacity of men and women to make proper moral judgments.

This is not to say that Anglicans disparaged profound religious emotion, nor is it to say that Reformed churches devalued the importance of leading a moral life. But it is to say that the religious messages of these two Protestant groups differed in their EMPHASIS—in what they told the laity was most essential in seeking God and attaining assurance of salvation.

In general, it is accurate to say that Anglicans mistrusted sudden, strong, public expressions of religious emotion—the weeping, shrieking, and trembling that overcame some participants in evangelical revivals. Such behavior most Anglicans disdained as unseemly and disorderly. Above all, what bears emphasizing in the classroom is that both the Anglican and Reformed versions of Protestantism were and are equally authentic modes of Christian spirituality.

Most of the young people in my classes at a public university in the mid-Atlantic, no matter what their religious backgrounds, respond to such discussions with great enthusiasm and curiosity, if only because they know so little about the full range of spiritual options even within the Protestant tradition.

History of the Church of England

As all veterans in the classroom know, most adolescents run deeper than they let on to adults, and teaching this material probably will confirm that observation. Until recently, colonial Anglicanism has not received evenhanded, dispassionate treatment from most American historians—and for several reasons. Part of the difficulty is that some supporters of the Church of England emerged as outspoken loyalists during the revolutionary struggle, which led the ardently patriotic historians of the nineteenth century to portray all Anglicans as traitors to the cause of liberty.

Then, too, in the wake of the American Revolution and disestablishment, popular support for Anglicanism all but collapsed: as most of their clergy fled to England, former communicants deserted in droves to other Protestant churches. So it fell to the lot of those victorious evangelical denominations in the nineteenth century—Congregationalists, Presbyterians, and Baptists—to write the first histories of American religious life.

Not surprisingly, they gave their former competitors short shrift, portraying Anglican parsons as a despicable lot of incompetents, timeservers, and wastrels, who neglected the spiritual needs of the colonial laity while indulging themselves in drink, dance, and other unmentionable forms of dissipation. Such negative stereotypes persisted well into the twentieth century; even those historians with no denominational ax to grind routinely depicted Anglicanism as a lackluster religious tradition that drew adherents mainly from the ranks of the colonial elite—and only because the Church of England so staunchly upheld their privileged position.

Fortunately, the scholarship of the last two decades has restored greater balance to our understanding of colonial Anglicanism. This research has demonstrated that the link between membership in the Church of England and loyalist affinities was tenuous at best—and in the South, the stronghold of Anglicanism, virtually non-existent. On the contrary, many of the so-called Founding Fathers accounted themselves members of the Church of England.

The same studies have established that nowhere in the American colonies was membership in the Church of England restricted to a narrow elite of well-to-do merchants, planters, and lawyers; instead, Anglican communicants were drawn from a cross section of colonial society. John Craig charts the ways in which the mechanics of prayer changed over time, noting the meanings that were associated with ritual gestures.

In the practice of capping and kneeling the secular and sacred were one, for the Elizabethan requirement that men kept their heads covered during the service allowed them to doff their hat both to their social superiors and to do courtesy when the name of Jesus was spoken. The extent to which lived experience of the parish was constantly evolving is particularly striking, a reminder that despite the prescriptive pattern of worship set out in the Book of Common Prayer, there was still plenty of room for flexibility and irregularity. There were decisions to be made about gesture and etiquette, timely ringing of bells, the place of music, and the ornamentation and orientation of church furniture.


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