Domestic religion in seventeenth century English Gentry Households

Counsell, Fiona Ann (2017). Domestic religion in seventeenth century English Gentry Households. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

PDF - Accepted Version

Download (3MB)


This research focuses on domestic religion: those activities through which everyday devotion and the worship of God were performed. It encompasses both the daily communal practices of family religion (prayer, psalm singing, catechising and sermon repetition) and the personal devotions of individuals (prayer, mediation and self-examination) in domestic space. It also considers the extraordinary religious practices of preparation for communion, days of fasting and humiliation, and the experience of sickness and death. The textuality of domestic religion is highlighted in a chapter on reading and writing. The published prescriptive advice is related to the reality of lived experience as revealed through the archives of seventeenth century families, most significantly those of the Harleys of Brampton Bryan in Herefordshire. Domestic religion was a highly complex contiguous cycle of enmeshed interrelated practices. The links were not only between domestic practices but also with public worship. A related theme challenges the supposed interiority of Protestant, and more particularly Puritan, piety, as it highlights the sociable nature of domestic religion. Domestic religion provides a useful lens throughout to explore consensus and division in seventeenth century religious politics and culture. The domestic religion was vital in the construction and projection of family identity.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year