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The popular reformation in county Durham

Rowland, Edward (1989) The popular reformation in county Durham. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Much recent historical writing has doubted whether the Reformation can be described as a genuinely popular movement, pointing out that in many regions the 'official’ reforms of 1529-1559 were simply imposed by the authorities from above, while Protestantism often made only slow and difficult progress at a popular level. The following study, therefore, aims at placing the unique and fascinating County Palatine of Durham within this debate about the causes, development and pace of religious change in the sixteenth century. It 'also aims, secondly, to examine the profound changes in the religious environment and popular mentalities brought about by the Reformation in Durham - with its defacement of protective symbols and abrogation of liturgical ceremonies - as the reformers attempted to displace the sacraments and ritualised visual effects of the old order with a Protestant emphasis on preaching and the word. In order to 6btain some purchase on the event, the opening chapter briefly examines the nature of the church and religious life in the diocese on the eve of the .Reformation, especially the bishopric's devotion to the cult of St. Cuthbert. The study proceeds by examining the region's response to the religious changes of the 1530s, and the county's unique and powerful contribution to the Pilgrimage of Grace with its peculiar blend of northern separatism, popular unrest, noble 'honour' and regional Catholicism. Subsequent chapters ~how in turn how Cuthbert Tunstal, Bishop of Durham (1530-1559) was able to maintain both conservative religious practices and the Catholic clergy during the latter part of Henry VIII's reign and that of Edward VI, by his political skill and careful use of patronage~ The penultimate chapter then explores the way in which Protestantism was imposed in the 1560s from London as a predominantly academic movement, through the efforts of a Calvinistically inspired cathedral chapter and reforming preachers like Bernard Gilpin. Finally, the study concludes by showing how the failure of the Northern Rising in 1569 enabled the crown to sweep away many of the forces that had preserved popular Catholicism during the previous decade - the Marian clergy, conservative local administration and bastard-feudal Catholicism of the Nevilles.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1989
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Feb 2013 13:40

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