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Title: Roman Catholic recusancy in Monmouthshire, 1603-1689 : a demographic and morphological analysis
Author: Matthews, R. P.
Awarding Body: University of Wales.Cardiff
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 1996
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Roman Catholic recusancy was a significant component of the religious demography of Monmouthshire throughout the seventeenth century; but its importance has been simplified through an historiographical tradition that has focused upon the earls of Worcester and a small number of recusant gentry. The present study, drawing largely upon an examination of all of the very substantial Monmouthshire entries in the Exchequer Recusant Rolls, has sought a consideration of the nature of Catholic nonconformity through a statistical analysis of the record of recusancy conviction and the delineation of a social morphology of Catholic recusancy in Monmouthshire between 1603 and 1689. The conclusions derivable from this reconstructive analysis have been tested against a range of data of demographic significance - most notably, that provided by the Compton Census, 1.676 - and the available evidence of Catholic allegiance during the First Civil War: they suggest Catholic recusancy in the county to have been a far wider and more complex phenomenon than would appear from an emphasis. upon the centrality of the earls of Worcester. The record of recusancy convictions indicates i,nstead a social morphology essentially reflective of society at large, and a nonconformist culture that was popular and parochial rather than seigneurial and gentry-orientated. To a certain extent, the role played by the local recusant gentry in the shaping of a Catholic demography was catalytic; but the evidence does not suggest it to have been determinative. Rather, the numerical extent, continuity and geography of Catholic recusancy in Monmouthshire between 1603 and 1689 may be attributed to a complex amalgamation of factors that were topographical and administrative, which owed as much to th~ ministrations of itinerant priests as to the influence of Catholic gentry, and which was consolidated in family relationships and the development of a recusant popular culture.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Demography; Nonconformity; Worcester; Convictions History Philosophy Religion Demography