The Voices of Morebath: Reformation and Rebellion in an English Village
Reformation and Rebellion in an English Village
Author: Eamon Duffy
208 pp. 26 b/w + 16 color illus., 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Cloth ISBN 0-300-09185-0 $22.50
Primary documents provide us the opportunity to hear the voices of people from the times in which they lived. By his meticulous deciphering of the parish accounts written by their vicar during a period stretching over fifty years, Eamon Duffy’s The Voices of Morebath affords us a fascinating glimpse int...more
I read the first two chapters quickly, gaining an insight into the everyday lives and organisation of a small parish in Devon in the 16th Century, and even more detail about how their overt religious lives were organised.
But I just found it increasingly difficult to read through the verbatim quotations with early English spellings and the authors tendency to engage in great detail and never really paint a pi...more
It feels truly bizarre to think that a similar book could be published today (2011), chronicling the widespread and destructive actions of the Church of England to impose alternative services where anything-goes, in place of the services and doctrinal...more
Which is really a shame because hidden within the minute details is a powerful story of the vast changes to life for the everyday people of a small village in Devon whilst the monarchy toyed with their religious fever. From the divorces of Henry VIII to the Protestant reformations of His son Edward, back to the Catholi...more
The Voices of Morebath: Reformation and Rebellion in an English Village by Eamon Duffy recounts a town in western England between the years of 1520 and 1574. Built around the church records of Morebath written by Sir Christopher Trychay, Duffy elaborates that the parish accounts of “Morebath [are] unique... in [their] extraordinary verbal immediacy” in contrast to “desiccated lists of incomes and expenditure ” that comprised other contemporary Tudor parish accounts. (32-33) Duffy takes the “viv...more
While Duffy's research is in depth and well constructed, the narrative and flow of the work was overly drawn out. It could have been much shorter; concise. It was also full of tangles, difficult to close read and certainly far too difficult for an undergraduate course. I wouldn't recommend unless this is your area of specialty.
That said, it's a really interesting meditation on the effects of religion—and later the English Protestant Reformation, counter-Reformation, and then more tentative-Reformation—on parish life. It's a bit dense in periods and there's a lot abou...more
However, it is a really interesting read, particularly with regard to the impact of the Reformation on the engagement of the community in parish activity. And how awful to save for twenty years for some black vestments only to have them made illegal with the coming of the Reformation that very year!
He describes himself as a "cradle Catholic" and specializes in 15th to 17th century religious history of Britain. His work has done much to overturn the popular image of late-medieval Catholicism in England as moribund, and instead presents it as a vibrant cult...more