Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Late medieval churchwardens' accounts and parish government : looking beyond London and Bristol

By Beat A. Kümin

Abstract

This contribution reviews a number of contested issues in the historiography of the late medieval English parish. In contrast to views expressed by Clive Burgess in a recent article in this journal, it is argued that the reliability of churchwardens’ accounts cannot be judged in a general manner, but depends on the specific questions historians want answered. While offering reliable insights into ordinary financial transactions made by churchwardens on behalf of their parishes, they are utterly inadequate for a histoire totale of local religious life. Closer examination of the function, context and compilation of the records suggests that quantitative analysis is not only possible, but an essential prerequisite for informed discussion of parish regimes. The complexity of local communities and the desirability of comparative perspectives call for a plurality of approaches. Finally, the pivotal role of churchwardens within the varying (religious, political and administrative) configurations of the ‘whole body of the parish’ is reasserted

Topics: BR, DA
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2004
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:288

Suggested articles


To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.