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The early Reformation in Ipswich, 1520 – 1560

Holder, R.J.; (2011) The early Reformation in Ipswich, 1520 – 1560. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This thesis is concerned with the pace of religious change in the town of Ipswich in the period 1520 to 1560, and with the process by which it came about. In 1520 the townsfolk were preoccupied with the late medieval devotional system and Lollardy was conspicuous by its absence. However, following the break with Rome and government injunctions in the 1530s, some traditional practices were rapidly dropped and evangelical ideas began to be spread through preaching. Edward VI's reign witnessed an explosion of reformist publishing in the town in 1547-8, but while some parishes moved quickly to implement official instructions on church ceremonial, others were slower. The reign of Mary I saw religious divisions widen, with a number of Catholics in 1556 informing upon a large group of suspected Protestants, although with little success. The burnings of heretics in Ipswich witnessed displays of sympathy for the victims from townsfolk. Following the accession of Elizabeth I, a town preacher was appointed in 1560 to disseminate the new religious ideas more widely. Government policy was obviously important in initiating religious change, but the extent to which policies were implemented in the town was dependent upon the enthusiasm of others. Local nobles and gentlemen, and the curates and wardens of parish churches, acted with urgency at times and dragged their feet at others. Above all, the role of the town's portmen in encouraging the spread of evangelical ideas under Henry and Edward and mostly refraining from active participation in the Marian persecution was crucial. Decisions were made on the basis of the religious views of individuals, but also on how politically acceptable these would be to the residents of the town or parish. Religious change in Ipswich in this period resulted from a process of 'negotiation' between the different individuals and groups involved.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:The early Reformation in Ipswich, 1520 – 1560
Language:English
Additional information:Permission for digitisation not received
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > History

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