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Thread: How the English medieval church worked ...

  1. #1

    Default How the English medieval church worked ...

    I need some good, solid information on how the English medieval church worked, either books or websites. It's getting increasingly hard to write medieval fiction with only a vague idea of how this significant aspect of life worked. I've tried rummaging through a lot of books over the past years, but the focus is very definitely on nuns and monks, along with religious politics and that is not all that much use for what I want.

    I mean things like what the holidays were and when (ok, I know quite a few of the modern surviving holidays, but have no idea when Lent starts etc), what people did on Sundays (it was a rest day, but to what extent?), those assorted customs such as eating fish and not meat on Fridays, times of church services, a comprehensive list of saints along with their relics, sites, what they were patron of, and so on. The how it worked and effected people's lives, not the political side.
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    Mad Professor Senior Member Hurin_Rules's Avatar
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    Default Re: How the English medieval church worked ...

    I'd try searching for things like popular culture in the Middle Ages. That's the name for some of the sorts of things you're looking for Froggy. The classic on this is called Montaillou: Promised Land of Error by Emmanuel le Roy Ladurie. He tries to reconstruct life in a French peasant village based on the very detailed record of testimony before the Inquistion court in the region. This is an almost unprecedented source for the Middle AGes, as it allows him to get into the minds of the peasants and recreate their ideas about heaven and hell, the afterlife, their daily practices of worship, etc. Its also a very entertaining read. You might also look at the work of Aron Gurevich, especially his Medieval Popular Culture.

    For particular saints and holidays, you can always check the Catholic Encyclopedia Online:

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/

    It is hopelessly partisan, but that just makes it even more fun to read. And it is very informative.

    Good luck!
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    A very, very Senior Member Adrian II's Avatar
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    Default Re: How the English medieval church worked ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hurin_Rules
    I'd try searching for things like popular culture in the Middle Ages.
    Hurin Rules, maybe you can help me (and Frogbeastegg) out. I remember reading a terrific book in the Fontana History series about everyday life in the (Late) Middle Ages which concentrated on mundane, yet revealing topics such as peoples' experience (and use) of time, their views and customs with regard to food, marriage, festive occasions. Very well-written. But I forgot the author and the title..

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    Mad Professor Senior Member Hurin_Rules's Avatar
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    Default Re: How the English medieval church worked ...

    Hmm.... can't say I'm familiar with the Fontana series. I'll keep looking though, and see if I can find anything. I know they have a series on economic history-- could it have been one of the volumes in that? You might also just try a google search, with Fontana and late Middle Ages.

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    A very, very Senior Member Adrian II's Avatar
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    Default Re: How the English medieval church worked ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hurin_Rules
    Hmm.... can't say I'm familiar with the Fontana series. I'll keep looking though, and see if I can find anything. I know they have a series on economic history-- could it have been one of the volumes in that? You might also just try a google search, with Fontana and late Middle Ages.

    I did, I couldn't find it. Trouble is I haven't got part of my library here where I'm working, otherwise I could just whip it off some shelf. That's temporary though, in a couple weeks I'll be surrounded by all my little buddies again.
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    boy of DESTINY Senior Member Big_John's Avatar
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    Default Re: How the English medieval church worked ...

    what about church and people by claire cross:
    http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/B...ref=0631214674

    or life an thought in the northern church by diana wood:
    http://search.barnesandnoble.com/boo...2973324&itm=19
    Last edited by Big_John; 04-03-2005 at 02:04.
    now i'm here, and history is vindicated.

  7. #7

    Default Re: How the English medieval church worked ...

    Popular culture, eh? Thanks; I spent years studying history and neither the subject or the name of the area were mentioned even once.

    Catholic encyclopaedia ... handy for a few bits and pieces, but I'm still browsing around. Thanks; it should be useful. I found a link to this list of patron saints on the site; great stuff.

    My local library online catalogue (recent discovery; I can search all my county's libraries from the comfort of home) is down for updating, not that they have books I want anyway, but an extra place to look is always nice. So all books currently treated as if for buying. I'll try the library again later, not that I am even slightly optimistic. As a general rule of thumb particularly good sounding books I prefer to buy; expensive books are necessarily passed over if I can't borrow them from somewhere or find a cheaper copy. I'm slowly building up a library to refer to as I write, so having copies of books which I can keep is a Good Thing. Especially since I am trying to end up as an author in print myself.

    Promised Land of Error: can get a very cheap secondhand copy from Amazon and it sounds very good. This one sounds like one to buy.

    Aron Gurevich: can get second hand from Amazon, but it's horribly expensive. Will look around for possible alternate sources, preferrably free ones.

    AdrianII, I want that book! I also tried a google search and found nothing useful looking. I tried to find the publisher's webpage but no look so far. A search by publisher 'Fontana press' and using the keyword 'church' gets me this list on amazon. Any of those look like it? I'm going to keep looking for the publisher's website; Fontana is an imprint of HarperCollins, so maybe they share a site.

    Church and people: covers a period a bit late; I'm trying more for 1000-1500AD. I should have said that, sorry.

    Life of thought: It's listed as hard to get hold of, and the cost is eye watering. It sounds more like the kind of book I'd prefer to borrow than buy, so I will check the library.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: How the English medieval church worked ...

    The library server is back up, and unsurprisingly they don't have a single one of the books mentioned in this thread.
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  9. #9
    boy of DESTINY Senior Member Big_John's Avatar
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    Default Re: How the English medieval church worked ...

    that sucks.. do any other nearby libraries have them (for special order)?

    these books might contain something useful to your endeavors??

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...314647-4168650

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...68650?v=glance

    http://www.findarticles.com/p/articl...57/ai_15868022

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...68650?v=glance

    http://www.broadviewpress.com/bvbooks.asp?BookID=134

    also, can't find much info about these two, but i think they are (were?) in the fontana history of england series

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...glance&s=books

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...glance&s=books
    now i'm here, and history is vindicated.

  10. #10
    A very, very Senior Member Adrian II's Avatar
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    Default Re: How the English medieval church worked ...

    Quote Originally Posted by frogbeastegg
    The library server is back up, and unsurprisingly they don't have a single one of the books mentioned in this thread.
    I don't know close to a major (university) library you live, but it might be worthwhile to check it out. I borrow hard-to-find books from the Dutch National Library by making my reservations on-line, followed by a brief (one and a half hour) trip to The Hague on the day when they are all available. There is a train station on the Library's doorstep. I return the books by snail mail.
    The bloody trouble is we are only alive when we’re half dead trying to get a paragraph right. - Paul Scott

  11. #11

    Default Re: How the English medieval church worked ...

    My city does have a university, but sadly it does not teach history so I'm doubtful they will have much, if anything, to do with medieval England in their library. I am going to investigate. My old university has a great library for history; sadly I'd have to fork out £58.75 for a public borrower's card. Per year. That's daylight robbery!

    The public library is actually a network of about 8 different, separate libraries in my district plus one central store. They do interlibrary loan, and essentially act as one big unit. Borrowing from outside the district ... I have not yet found any way to do that. I'm not sure it is possible.

    Thanks for the new list; now let's see ...
    Pleasures and Pastimes: I own it, and got it for the princely sum of £5. It's a bit scanty on details in some places, but it's proving invaluable.
    Ties that bound: available on amazon.uk for £10.50. Tolerable, but only if it has a lot of good stuff in it. I need to investigate a little more if I can. Sounds potentially useful.
    Growing up in Medieval London: available for £10.49 on amazon.uk, ditto the above. Sounds like one I could use, but parts of that review were a little disquieting ...
    Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages: available at £9.09, again ditto both of the above.
    Medieval Popular Religion 1000 - 1500: available, £16.99. Ouch. Sounds good though.

    Duo of potential Fontana books: Thanks, I'll see what else I can find on them.

    And now to try finding any of those books in my library .... :holds breath, starts searching:
    Found a single copy of 'Growing up in Medieval London', but it's in a place and have never heard of and lost anyway.
    Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages: Miracle!! A real miracle!! There is one copy! Still on shelf! About 30 miles away from me! Now if I can figure out how the new fangled reservation system works ...
    All others are not listed.
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  12. #12

    Default Re: How the English medieval church worked ...

    I've been playnig researcher a bit and I found what appears to be the complete set of the Fontana History of England series.

    Roman Britain 55 BC - AD 400: The Province Beyond Ocean – Malcom Todd
    Rural England, 1066-1272 – H.E.Hallam
    Church and Realm, 1272-1461: Conflict and Collaboration in an Age of Crises – Peter Heath
    Crown and Nobility, 1272-1461 – Anthony Tuck
    Church and People, 1450-1660: Triumph of the Laity in the English Church – Claire Cross
    Politics and the nation, 1450-1660: Obedience, resistance and public order – D. M. Loades
    Britain and the World, 1649-1815 – J.R.Jones
    The Age of Manufactures: Industry, Innovation and Work in Britain, 1700-1820 – Maxine Berg
    Politics Without Democracy, 1815-1914: Perception and Preoccupation in British Government – Michael Bentley
    The Pursuit of Greatness: Britain and the World Role, 1900-70 – Robert Holland

    Some been republished by Blackwell Publishing and still available

    The medieval section of the series look a little odd, with each timeframe being covered twice. I actually have Todd's Roman Britain; I needed it a few years back for Uni. I'm off to see what else I can find on these reprinted editions ...
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  13. #13
    Member Member Kalle's Avatar
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    Default Re: How the English medieval church worked ...

    Hello frogbeastegg,

    First of all congrats to ur entering into the ff clan, I served a long time in that clan and it was mainly a very nice time for me and im sure it will be for u too.

    I think I can help you a bit. In Sweden we have the national catalougesystem "Libris" for the research/universitylibraries which has a few million volumes, its not like the library of congress or so but still rather good.

    You can view it and search in english and the idea I thought of is that you can find books that seem intresting. For the actual borrowing or buying of the books I guess you must look to other sources (or be prepared to pay for longdistanceborrowing) but this can be a way to find intresting titles.

    Also be sure to read bibliographs and referencelists in the books you allready have as there most likely is useful litterature in those lists - chainsearching to use librarian phrase. (i guess u allready know this of course but no harm in telling)

    Anyways this is the link;

    Libris

    I did a small trysearch using the keywords medieval, england, church and came up with 108 titles, not all of them intresting for you of course but some of them prolly are worth getting your hands on, for instance;

    the religious orders in pre-reformation england

    The people of the parish : community life in a late medieval English diocese" / Katherine L. French

    Church and society in the medieval north of England / R.B. Dobson

    The Church in the medieval town / edited by T. R. Slater and Gervase Rosser

    St Cuthbert and the Normans : the Church of Durham, 1071-1153 / William M. Aird

    Instead using the keywords medieval, england, daily life only resulted in one title but it might be good;

    Daily life in the late Middle Ages / edited by Richard Britnell

    Well ill leave it to you to search around and experiment with keywords and other searchpossibilities.

    regards

    Kalle
    Playing computer strategy games of course, history, got a masters degree, outdoor living and nature, reading, movies wining and dining and much much more.

  14. #14

    Default Re: How the English medieval church worked ...

    I don't know much about the church system in England other than that it was illegal to practice any sport that wasn't archery. I also have no links to share off the top of my head on that point (other than the History section of Age of Empires 2), but there it is.

  15. #15

    Default Re: How the English medieval church worked ...

    Thank you, Kalle. That's a nice link; I can see it proving very useful. I'm slowly working my way through your book suggestions; I was quite busy yesterday and so didn't get chance to search. Britnell I can certainly find, though a tad expensive.

    Thanks, NeonGod.
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