’The Right Ordering of Souls’
Title Details

491 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

1 b/w, 3 line illus.

Series: Studies in the History of Medieval Religion

Series Vol. Number: 47

Imprint: Boydell Press

'The Right Ordering of Souls'

The Parish of All Saints' Bristol on the Eve of the Reformation

by Clive Burgess

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
  • Reviews
The relationship between people and parish in the late medieval ages illuminated by this study of a remarkable survival from the period.
In the two centuries preceding the Reformation in England, economic, political and spiritual conditions combined with constructive effect. Endemic plague prompted a demonstrative piety and, in a world enjoying rising disposable incomes, this linked with current teachings - especially the doctrine of Purgatory - to sustain a remarkable devotional generosity. Moreover, political conditions, and particularly war with France, persuaded the government to summonits subjects' assistance, including responses encouraged in England's many parishes. As a result, the wealthier classes invested in and worked for their neighbourhood churches with a degree of largesse - witnessed in parish buildings in many localities - hardly equalled since.
Buildings apart, the scarcity of pre-Reformation parish records means, however, that the resonances of this response, and the manner in which parishioners organised their worship, are ordinarily lost to us. This book, using the remarkable survival of records for one parish - All Saints', Bristol, in the later fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries - scrutinises the investment that the faithful made. Ifnot necessarily typical, it is undeniably revealing, going further than any previous study to expose and explain parishioners' priorities, practices and achievements in the late Middle Ages. In so doing, it also charts a world that would soon vanish.

Dr CLIVE BURGESS holds a Senior Lectureship in late medieval history at Royal Holloway, University of London.
'God is in none land so well served': Placing the late medieval English parish
'To be showed and declared': Circumstances and sources
'According to the usage there': Reading testamentary evidence
'Since his decease': The widows' might
'God amend them': The parish wronged
'In possession for the profit of the church': Securing commemoration in the parish
'For all future time': The Halleways' Chantry
'He procured, moved and stirred': Clergy as mentors
'Well willed men': Leaders, managers and parishioners
'Was but single and no thing of beauty': Enhancing the parish church
'To the laud and the loving of Almighty God': Increasing divine service in All Saints'
Conclusion: 'What else, I ask you, is a city than a great monastery?'
Appendices
Bibliography
Glossary

Dr CLIVE BURGESS holds a Senior Lectureship in late medieval history at Royal Holloway, University of London.

"A blockbuster of a book...A rich study of aspects of the life of one parish viewed through the eyes of its devoted clergy and leading parishioners." ECCLESIOLOGY TODAY
"As a 'thick-description' of pre-Reformation parish life, it can be set alongside Eamon Duffy's Voices of Morebath.... a most welcome exemplification of 'what it was like' to be a late medieval parishioner, written by one of the pathbreakers of revisionist interpretations of pre-Reformation religion." HISTORY
"The context The Right Ordering of Souls provides is essential for the story of the church and as a backdrop of the English Reformation." FIDES ET HISTORIA
"A monograph which offers the most in-depth and stimulating account of a single medieval English parish yet to be written." JOURNAL OF ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY
"This is a splendid book, and one that everyone interested in either 'popular religion' or the history of Bristol in the late Middle Ages will want on their shelves. . . . [H]ighly recommended." SPECULUM
"Provides an exceptionally rich picture of pre-Reformation life within the parish of All Saints', Bristol, which will surely become a firm fixture in the libraries and reading lists of those working on religious and parish history." REVIEWS IN HISTORY
"A wonderful study of a unique archive which not only contributes to the field of late medieval ecclesiastical history, but also to discussion of late medieval Bristol. It will serve the interests and learning of undergraduate and graduate students, historians, and the general public more widely. It should be taken as a study of a single parish with wider applications." NOTTINGHAM MEDIEVAL STUDIES
"It will be widely welcomed and much used..An important contribution to the ongoing reconstruction of the fuller pre-Reformation English church." BRITISH CATHOLIC HISTORY
"An excellent study of an important subject and can be thoroughly recommended to all who are interested in the history of Bristol." BRISTOL & GLOUCESTERSHIRE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY
"Here, in a series of chapters covering such topics as lay testamentary bequests, the foundation of chantries and anniversaries, maintenance of the church fabric, and the lay management of the parish, [Burgess] lays bare the rich tapestry of All Saints' devotional life." Nigel Saul, Journal of British Studies

Hardcover

9781783273096

April 2018

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9781787442276

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9781783275847

February 2021

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Title Details

491 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

1 b/w, 3 line illus.

Series: Studies in the History of Medieval Religion

Series Vol. Number: 47

Imprint: Boydell Press