Parish, people and the English Bible in East Anglia, 1525-1560
This thesis examines the impact of the English Bible upon the people and parishes of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex between 1525 and 1560. It examines two major themes of this impact: firstly, the level of success of the installation of the Great Bible in the parish churches; secondly, the effects of the publication and open reading of the scriptures in the vernacular upon the laity of East Anglia. The first theme explains the reasons for the order to install English scripture in the churches, and the information on the success of this installation provided by prosecution records and churchwardens' accounts. It then introduces an obscure document set, the church-plate certificates produced during the reign of Edward VI, and using these examines the level of installation of the Bible and of the religious injunctions of 1547. The results of the study of the church-plate certificates and churchwardens' accounts are compared with a number of factors, including parish wealth, proximity to towns and agricultural patterns, to determine which types of parishes were more likely to comply. The second theme examines the various responses of laypersons to the appearance of the English Bible in East Anglia. Although much of this section has been derived from records of prosecution, it also studies the effects of the English Bible on diverse events such as Kett's Rebellion of 1549, popular printing in Ipswich and the production of educational primers. This section also looks at the level of scriptural knowledge of laypersons ranging from that of Robert Reynys, a churchreeve of Acle, of the 1430's, to that of the prosecuted Marian Protestants during the 1550's.