Lay Religious Life in Late Medieval Durham

November 2006
2 line illustrations
246 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Regions and Regionalism in History
ISBN: 9781843832775
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press

Lay Religious Life in Late Medieval Durham

Margaret Harvey

Relations between the laity and the religious in medieval Durham reveal much about lay religion of the time.
Although religious life in medieval Durham was ruled by its prince bishop and priory, the laity flourished and played a major role in the affairs of the parish, as Margaret Harvey demonstrates. Using a variety of sources, she provides a complete account of its history from the Conquest to the Dissolution of the priory, with a particular emphasis on the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. She shows how the laity interacted vigorously with both bishop and priory, and the relations between them, with the priory providing schools, hospitals, chantries and regular sermons, but also acting as a disciplinary force. On a wider level, she also looks at the whole question of lay religion and what can be discovered about it. She finishes by an examination of local reactions to the Reformation.

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Table of Contents

The parishes - Margaret M Harvey
The year in the life of the laity - Margaret M Harvey
Lay parish life - Margaret M Harvey
Laity and Church: obligations and conflicts I - Margaret M Harvey
Laity and Church: obligations and conflicts II - Margaret M Harvey
Secular clergy careers - Margaret M Harvey
Education - Margaret M Harvey
Chantries - Margaret M Harvey
Associations, Guilds and Confraternities - Margaret M Harvey
Hospitals and other charities - Margaret M Harvey
Durham and the wider world - Margaret M Harvey
The Reformation in the Durham Parishes - Margaret M Harvey


[A] meticulously researched and detailed book. Harvey's excellent book contributes to substantially to our understanding of Durham's late medieval church administration and how it engaged with the lay population. This book is recommended to anyone with an interest in the institutional history of the late medieval church. CHURCH HISTORY JOURNAL
Filled with minutiae gleaned from a careful reading of all the pertinent original sources, woven into a story that is at once expansive yet personal, local in nature, and, at times, extremely intimate. This excellent book illuminates well late medieval Durham and stands as a good example to all scholars of how to conduct highly localized research. SIXTEENTH CENTURY JOURNAL
A welcome addition to the growing list of local studies on pre-Reformation religious life. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW
The author is an expert guide through the complexities of parochial organisation, and she provides what must be the fullest account yet of the medieval development of the city parishes. NORTHERN HISTORY
[A] comprehensive, scholarly study. [...] [An] important book [and] an engrossing study of the period. NORTHERN CATHOLIC HISTORY, no.48, 2007

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