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By Katherine L. French

The parish, the bottom point of hierarchy within the medieval church, was once the shared accountability of the laity and the clergy. such a lot Christians have been baptized, went to confession, have been married, and have been buried within the parish church or churchyard; moreover, enterprise, criminal settlements, sociability, and leisure introduced humans to the church, uniting secular and sacred issues. within the humans of the Parish, Katherine L. French contends that past due medieval faith was once participatory and versatile, selling other kinds of religious and fabric involvement.

The wealthy parish documents of the small diocese of tub and Wells comprise wills, court docket files, and special debts by way of lay churchwardens of daily parish actions. They exhibit the variations among parishes inside a unmarried diocese that can not be attributed to local edition. by utilizing those documents convey to the variety and variety of past due medieval parish lifestyles, and a Christianity shiny adequate to house transformations in prestige, wealth, gender, and native priorities, French refines our figuring out of lay attitudes towards Christianity within the centuries sooner than the Reformation.

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Extra resources for The People of the Parish. Community Life in a Late Medieval English Diocese

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Org/terms focus of their loyalty. The petitioners hoped to change the status of their chapel in order to meet these expectations. In 1405, the parishioners from the town of Leigh-on-Mendip, in the parish of Mells, petitioned the pope to expand the rights of their chapel. They claimed that from time immemorial they had received all sacraments except for burials in their chapel. Their rector, however, had recently been neglecting his duties to them. 23 The pope apparently granted their petition. Some fifty years later, however, the parishioners in Leigh-on-Mendip again challenged this relationship, and this time the bishop tried to smooth the relationship between the two groups.

He sought not only to publicly humiliate the rioters, but also to reinforce the link between his position as bishop and the sanctity of the church and its saints. It was part of his office to protect the church. His punishment also served to identify the parish as a community and cut out those who did not meet his notions of a community. The rioters' bad behavior was held up as a potential threat to the whole parish. If the bishop had not lifted the interdict, no one would have been able to receive the sacraments.

61 Despite the best of intentions, however, they did not hold them this often. 62 Surviving visitation records are rare for England in the period prior to the Reformation,63 and, although none survive for Bath and Wells, the bishops' registers show that they did, indeed, take place. Despite the bishops' best intentions, however, he often did not conduct them in person. 66 In general, the fourteenthcentury bishops, John Drokensford and Ralph of Shrewsbury, appear more personally involved in their visitation duties than their fifteenth-century successors were.

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