Gilds in the Medieval Countryside

Gilds in the Medieval Countryside

Social and Religious Change in Cambridgeshire c.1350-1558

Virginia R. Bainbridge


Boydell Press



A study of late medieval religious gilds, their form, function, and influence in the community.
This study focuses on religious gilds or fraternities in both the densely settled shire and the sparsely populated fens of Cambridgeshire, from their apparent proliferation in the mid-fourteenth century to their dissolution under Edward VI in 1558, in order to examine social and religious change during the period. Gilds reflected the social hierarchies of their communities, exerting social control and fostering mutual charity in life and commemoration after death; they also made a substantial contribution to the religious and economic life of the parish. Dr Bainbridge examines lay responses to changing devotional and doctrinal patterns through the returns to the 1388-9 survey of religious gilds and surviving gild records; wills, manorial records, poll-tax returns and letters patent supply further information.

Dr VIRGINIA R. BAINBRIDGE teaches at the St Hilda's College, Oxford.


November 1996
3 line illustrations
189 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Studies in the History of Medieval Religion
ISBN: 9780851156170
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
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Places the fraternities in context, analysing their role in social and religious life... A useful addition to the published work on gilds, and adds to the expanding historiography of pre-Reformation East Anglia. JOURNAL OF THE SOCIETY OF ARCHIVISTS
BR> Informative survey... fulfills a long-standing need for a detailed study of English rural gilds... an informative examination. SPECULUM

A valuable , succinct appraisal of the [gild as] institution and an examination of its many functions... Expands our understanding of the function and place of the religious/social gild in medieval English rural society. ALBION

The scope of this book is much wider than its modest size and title might suggest... an eloquent, readable and scholarly work. HISTORY

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