Faith and Fire: Religious Culture in England c.1375-1525
Value: two units
Dr Clive Burgess
Taught through weekly two-hour seminars and supervisions of dissertation through a series of 1-to-1 meetings
Taught unit: Oral Assessment (10%) and 3-hour Exam (90%); dissertation unit: 10,000-word dissertation (100%)
NB: Not to be taken in conjunction with HS2132: London Urban Society, 1400-1600
This course scrutinises an area of English social history that was once universally disparaged. Recent work, however, suggests that the Church in England from c1375-c1525 displayed remarkable resource in adapting to and satisfying the needs of contemporaries. As well as surveying some of the more vibrant areas of the Church’s institutional life (looking, for instance, at school, college and almshouse foundation), the course will dwell on the laity’s response, particularly as expressed through the parish. This will provide the opportunity to delve into areas such as popular belief and practice, parish government, and more informal activity in the foundation and management of lay confraternities. It will also afford the opportunity to consider material culture, as produced by a remarkable programme of church rebuilding, and exhibited in the generosity that contemporaries devoted both to equipping and beautifying their churches. To the extent that the laity took the initiative in managing and adapting their religious environment, this course will examine the provenance of their ideas, and the means by which they exercised their collective will in local communities.