The Yorkist Age: Daily Life during the Wars of the Roses

By Paul Murray Kendall | Go to book overview

7
Churchmen and The Church

THE Church lay upon the realm, ubiquitous as the damp English air. It had so embedded itself in lay society that, like two plants that have worked their way into each other's vitals, these institutions had achieved an apparently inseparable accommodation, giving and taking. The English Church was now so old, so massive, so complex, and it had so saturated the daily life of the people that one could hardly say where religion ended and secular existence began. It was believed that the Church owned one-third--and, in fact, it probably did own almost one-quarter-- of all the land of England.

Men were baptized into the community of Christendom, they were married at church door, they were laid to rest in church ground, their souls were fortified by church prayers. King, lords, wealthy townsmen and gentry all began the day by hearing Mass in their chapels; for daily Mass expressed status as much as furs and a retinue of servants. Ordinary folk attended services on Sundays and on the principal feasts of the Church. This observance was enforced by law as well as piety; back-sliders and other offenders against Holy Church were forced to do penance on town greens and in churchyards for all to see.

For attacking a priest with a spade, Richard Tylly of Taunton was excommunicated; when he submitted himself some months later for correction, he was required 'with bare head and feet and clothed only in a shirt and breeches and holding in his hand the spade [to] walk in procession around St. Mary Magdalen on two Sundays and on one Sunday similarly [to] walk round the chapel of St. James, and also [to] walk once round the market-place of

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The Yorkist Age: Daily Life during the Wars of the Roses
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Preface 7
  • Contents 11
  • Principal Persons 15
  • Prologue - The Times 21
  • 1 - The Mayor 51
  • 1 - The Mayor: at Home 53
  • 2 - The Mayor: Abroad 88
  • 3 - Rebel Against the Mayor 117
  • 4 - The Lord Mayor of London 134
  • II - Other Important People 159
  • 5 - The King and the Royal Household 161
  • 6 - Lords and Gentry 194
  • 7 - Churchmen and the Church 244
  • 8 - Merchants, Pirates, Aliens and Lawyers 281
  • III - The Household 329
  • 9 - The Fabric of Life 331
  • 10 - The Marriage Hunt 364
  • II - Wives 401
  • 12 - Children 434
  • Epilogue 463
  • Bibliography 505
  • Index 515
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