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Title: Migrations of the holy : the devotional culture of Wimborne Minster, c.1400-1640
Author: Cornish-Dale, Charles
ISNI:       0000 0004 7430 6248
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis is a study of the religious culture of the market-town parish of Wimborne Minster, Dorset, from c.1403-1640. Broadly, it is a contribution to the history of the English Reformation (or Reformations, as the historian pleases; capital 'R' or lower-case). Religious change is the most significant focus, but over a longer period of time than is usually allowed for. Such themes as lay control, tithe controversies, relations with the ordinary, and popular support for preaching and church music are considered, as well as theological issues about the nature of English and European Protestantism. The thesis includes quantitative evidence drawn from the parish churchwardens' accounts and also wills. The date range was chosen for a number of reasons. First, because the available evidence for the parish is unusually rich, and allows for a kind of sustained attention that cannot be directed towards other such parishes: Wimborne has among the earliest and most complete surviving churchwardens' accounts in England (beginning in 1403), as well as myriad other sources, including hundreds of wills, and corporation and church-court records. Secondly, as a means of pursuing Alexandra Walsham's 'migrations of the holy' agenda. Walsham believes that investigation of religious change in the late medieval and early modern periods is hindered by those very periodisations, which are in fact products of the changes in question; how, then, to study religious change without presupposing too much? To that end, the structure of this thesis is both chronological and thematic; and an attempt has been made to preserve what was unique and so important about the changes of the mid-sixteenth century, during the reigns of Henry VIII and his progeny, at the same time as revealing deeper structural changes - and continuities too. The broad division of the thesis is into two parts. This first three chapters, part one, establish the early religious scene in the parish, examining the legacy of the Minster's place as a mother church in the Anglo-Saxon landscape of east Dorset, and how parish identity and forms of self-organisation were put to the test during the reigns of Henry VIII and his son, Edward VI. In part two, the focus is the interaction between the parishioners and the parish's new governing structure, a closed corporation of 12 lay worthies; in particular, the governors' attempts to provide regular preaching of the most sophisticated kind, as well as elaborate polyphonic music, and disputes arising from their management of the tithes and the divisive behaviour of one preacher in particular.
Supervisor: MacCulloch, Diarmaid ; Brigden, Susan Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Christianity ; Middle Ages ; The Reformation ; Protestantism ; Early modern England