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Title: Religious life in Coventry, 1485-1558
Author: Knight, Mark
ISNI:       0000 0001 3601 0292
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1986
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This thesis is a study of religious life in Coventry between 1485 and 1558. Studies of this kind are necessary if we are to extend our knowledge of what was happening at the local level during the religious upheavals of the Reformation. Only when we know enough about how people in different areas reacted to the Reformation can we begin to establish general characteristics of religious change in the society. A study in depth of a Midland town has not yet been done. Coventry, because of its size and importance is a community particularly deserving of attention. It was one of the great provincial capitals of the late Middle Ages, ranking in terms of its population among the top ten urban centres outside London. Its importance owed much to its position as a centre of textile manufacture and, because of its geographical position, of regional and national trade. Coventry's economic importance was matched by its ecclesiastical status. Within its walls stood the great Benedictine cathedral priory, whose church was the see church of the 'twin' diocese of Coventry and Lichfield. Though the Reformation naturally dominates the period, considerable space has been devoted to establishing the character of religious life well before the beginning of religious change. This provides a solid base for discussion of the changes and allows the Reformation to be viewed over an unusually long perspective. Particular attention has been paid here to those factors, especially economic, which affected religious life before the Reformation and continued to do so after it had begun. The study is to this extent concerned with all factors affecting religious life in the city during the period and not just the religious changes of the sixteenth century, with a view to presenting a balanced view of religious life in its widest context. A variety of sources have therefore been used, such as wills, records of the city and of the religious and craft guilds together with diocesan and national archives. The evidence has been treated thematically and covers the following major topics: popular beliefs and religion in the city from the late Middle Ages to the end of Mary's reign; the role of the religious and craft guilds, the place of the clergy; the significance of Lollardy and the growth of Protestantism. While the evidence is reasonably full for Henry VII's and Henry VIII's reigns, the process of dissolution and the disposal of the confiscated lands, there is unfortunately less material for studying in detail the changes of Edward Vi's reign and the Marian Restoration. The conclusion arrived at is that pre- Reformation Coventry seems to have been a traditionally devout and orthodox city. Apparently Lollardy was virtually a spent force. The progress of the Reformation owed much to the serious economic conditions in which Coventry found itself in the 1530s and 1540s. While Protestantism undoubtedly gained ground during Edward Vi's reign, Coventry was far from being a Protestant city by 1553.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DA Great Britain