Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-p2v8j Total loading time: 0.001 Render date: 2024-05-30T08:00:40.579Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false
This chapter is part of a book that is no longer available to purchase from Cambridge Core

4 - Religion and Daily Life

Get access

Summary

Every day brought the ordinary man into contact with God. He lived his life in a liturgical context, which marked the seasons of the year and provided the kind of order and control which he needed, and which could not be provided in any other way. The Church could not control the weather, but it could provide explanations as to why the sunshine, rain and frost behaved in the way that they did. They were fulfilling God's purpose, and if they produced a bumper harvest one year, and dearth the next – that was part of His purpose as well; to reward the virtues or punish the sins of the community. It was all very intimate, and the natural and supernatural interpenetrated each other all the time and in all sorts of ways. The offices of the church, and the building itself, were parts of that context. All sorts of gatherings – sometimes for purposes far from sacred – took place in the church, and rituals such as the offertory reinforced the hierarchy of the community. The wife of Bath resented anyone who ventured to go before her to the offering! Young men went there to spy out likely girls (sometimes with unfortunate consequences), and young women used the rituals of St Agnes eve to discover the identities of their future partners. Major pagan festivals, such as the winter solstice and the spring rebirth, had long since been incorporated into the Church's calendar as Christmas and Easter, and several lesser celebrations had been similarly consecrated. The plough ceremonies, for example, which had originally been fertility rites, and which occurred just after the winter solstice, had by the later middle ages been absorbed into the calendar. Many churches kept a ‘plough light’ burning in front of the rood, and Cawston church in Norfolk even had a ‘plough gallery’.

In the same way, Christian commemorations could be colonized by pagan or ribald features.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Pickering & Chatto
First published in: 2014

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×