Wills and religious change in the archdeaconry of Stafford, 1532 - 1580

Davies, Jennifer (2016). Wills and religious change in the archdeaconry of Stafford, 1532 - 1580. University of Birmingham. M.Phil.

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The entire complement of wills from the deanery of Leek probated between 1532 and 1580, about 1,300, have been examined to assess response of the testators to religious change through the first fifty years of the Reformation, by detailing the impact on their religious sentiments and bequests. While change in this backward agricultural community was late and driven from above, unexpectedly, once initiated, it took hold rapidly. It is suggested that this was due to the actions of the Protestant Bishop Thomas Bentham, anxious to mitigate fears voiced by critics of his weak implementation of government edicts in his diocese. He advanced change through monitoring and resolute control of his clergy. A transition from traditional religious sentiments is observed in the will-writing output of individual clergy: as priests appointed during earlier, Catholic regimes died or resigned, and they were replaced by men supporting the Elizabethan Settlement. However, change lagged behind by about fifteen years in parishes with powerful Catholic landowners such as the Draycotts.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Phil.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Phil.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Department of History
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
D History General and Old World > D History (General)
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/6750


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