Piety, Fraternity and Power

April 2000
3 line illustrations
344 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9780952973447
Format: Hardback
York Medieval Press
BISAC HIS015000, REL033000

Piety, Fraternity and Power

Religious Gilds in Late Medieval Yorkshire, 1389-1547

David J.F. Crouch

Detailed investigation of the religious gild, showing its importance to all aspects of medieval life.
The religious gild was central to the structure of late medieval society, providing lay people with a focus for public expressions of orthodox piety that accorded with the doctrinal views of government between 1399 and 1531. Using evidence from the county of Yorkshire, this book argues that beyond their devotional and ceremonial roles, the influence of these basically pious institutions permeated all aspects of late medieval political, social and economic activity.
The author begins by discussing the evidence for Yorkshire gilds in the late fourteenth century, moving on to survey the changing distribution, development, and membership of fraternities throughout the county over the next century and a half. Special attention is given to the ways in which the religious gilds of Yorkshire interacted with town government, with clerical bodies, with occupational organisations, and with one another, illustrated with detailed case-studies of the gilds of Corpus Christi, York, and St Mary in Holy Trinity, Hull, which are particularly well-documented. The final section of the book deals with the decline and disappearance of religious gilds during the Reformation, showing how their devotional purposes were eroded by the new policies of central government and how many gilds anticipated their official dissolution.
DAVID J.F. CROUCH gained his D.Phil from the University of York.


An excellent, mature and integrated study... good sense and sympathy informed by formidable understanding the sources and the issues. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW An interesting and informative study... contributing significantly to our knowledge and understanding of gilds and the range and complexity of their functions. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW Highly impressive study... a perceptive and fully rounded account... Adds significantly to our understanding of the religious guilds. HISTORY