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Title: The reformation of religion in Freebridge Marshland, Norfolk, with special reference to Tilney All Saints, circa 1500-1580
Author: Galloway, Barendina Martha
ISNI:       0000 0001 3487 2761
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1998
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The Marshland region of Norfolk, the area between Wisbech and King's Lynn, is well known for its magnificent medieval churches, yet has received little attention from historians. This thesis describes the changing nature of religion in Marshland between about 1500 and 1580, focusing on the impact of official religious reform. Chapter One, 'Introduction to Marshland,' describes the geographical, social and economic characteristics of the twelve parishes which made up Marshland, providing the background against which religious reform took place. It argues that while the area was a distinctive one, Marshland inhabitants had strong links with the port of King's Lynn and beyond, and were not isolated from county or national events. Chapter Two, 'The Religion of Marshland,' introduces the network of religious institutions and practices which existed in late medieval Marshland. It describes Marshland gilds, religious orders, the relationship between laity and clergy, and potential opportunities for lay involvement. Attention is given to the nature of parish administration, employing surviving churchwardens' accounts for Tilney All Saints. This chapter argues that the inhabitants of Marshland had evolved a rich and largely satisfying devotional environment. There is little evidence of early protestantism in Marshland, and it seems likely that many inhabitants neither anticipated nor desired protestant reform. Chapter Three, 'The Reformation of Marshland Religion,' chronicles the ways in which successive waves of reformation affected Marshland. Investment in traditional religion continued up to 1547. When reform began to be enforced in the parishes, however, most inhabitants co-operated, while some may have embraced it more enthusiastically. While Marian reforms received relatively prompt compliance, the acceptance of Elizabethan policy occurred more gradually, with the 1567/68 period marking a watershed in enforcement. Chapter Four, 'Reform in the Parishes,' explores the crucial role which individuals played in shaping the experience of reform. In some parishes, reform may have led to long-term damage to parish organisation. By the 1580s, however, most Marshland inhabitants had fully accepted their reformed parish religion. Finally, the 'Conclusion' argues that the limited success of reformation in Marshland occurred because the religion of the pre-reformation period had evolved over many years to suit the needs and aspirations of many of the region's inhabitants - something which Elizabethan protestantism could only do with the passage of time.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Medieval; Church; Churches