The Parish and the Living

Andrew D. Brown

in Popular Piety in Late Medieval England

Published in print March 1995 | ISBN: 9780198205210
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191676550 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

The Parish and the Living

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)
  • History of Religion


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Monastery and cathedral may have touched the devotional lives of some layfolk some of the time, but the institution that was closest to most, in theory to all, was the parish. The obligations that the parish framework had come to impose on parishioners were, broadly speaking, of two kinds. One was an obligation to the parish structure, a duty to attend and support the mother church. The other was to corporate worship, maintaining certain standards of behaviour and contributing to clerical and other parish funds. This chapter examines how far these obligations were met, whether indeed they were burdens against which a now ‘demoted’ laity were forced to struggle, as it is sometimes claimed. Attention is paid to the variation in parish structure throughout the region.

Keywords: parish; obligations; church; laity; corporate worship; parish structure

Chapter.  10214 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500) ; History of Religion

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