The London parish clergy in the reign of Elizabeth I
This thesis sets out to portray the pastoral standards, conditions, and aspirations of the London parish clergy in the Elizabethan period. The first two chapters are concerned with their social and geographical backgrounds; they are followed by chapters dealing with educational, preaching, and residential standards. Prospects of preferment are discussed in Chapter VI which treats upon the subtle mechanism of clerical patronage. Three subsequent chapters help to explain the attraction of London to the aspiring cleric. Rectorial income and expenditure are analysed, and the increase in gross income during the period explored; the endless controversy over tithe is assessed. Discussed in detail are the parish lectureships, lucrative sources of augmentation of clerical income. The multifarious opportunities for unbeneficed ministers in the capital are brought out, and the comparative comfort of the preaching curate is contrasted with the indigence of his less-qualified counterpart. Finally, the course of clerical nonconformity is traced in two concluding chapters. The first assesses the strength of the movement in the early years of the reign- under the leadership of the ex-Marian exiles, and its disruption by Parker in the vestiarian controversy. Chapter XI dwells upon the fluctuations of the radical movement post-1566, emphasising the ever-widening gap between the mass of parish clergy and the Puritan nucleus holding lectureships, or positions in the Minories, the most important nonconformist enclave in the city. A section on Bishop Aylmer's disciplinary activities helps to explain the virtual eclipse of organised clerical radicalism by 1592. The appendices are composed largely of biographical data, including additions to Hennessy's lists of London clergy.