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7 - Gender and the Control of Sacred Space in Early Modern England

from Part III - Women's Voices and Women's Spaces

Amanda Flather
Affiliation:
University of Essex
Bronach Kane
Affiliation:
Bath Spa University
Fiona Williamson
Affiliation:
National University of Malaysia
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Summary

Recent scholarship on iconoclasm and iconophobia has thoroughly documented acts of despoliation of religious material objects and the disruption of rituals perpetrated by religious radicals in English parish churches in the decades after the Reformation. It is well established that the Elizabethan settlement was not acceptable to zealous Protestants in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England, and that they consistently called for further reformation, objecting to what they regarded as ‘popish’ elements that contaminated the services, ceremonies and sacraments of the Book of Common Prayer. Disputes often turned on seemingly small details such as vestments, gestures and the materials or architectural settings of services, but these were far from trivial matters to the people of the time. Each small-scale struggle signified conflicting but deeply held convictions about religious belief and practice. Disagreements intensified and erupted more frequently into violent confrontation during the decades leading up to the Civil War. Abroad, alliances with popish powers and a marriage to a Catholic queen were believed by many to threaten the fate of the immortal soul of the elect Protestant English nation. At home, the resolve of Charles I and his arch-bishop William Laud to reassert the independence of the Church and the clergy over the laity appeared to corrupt and disrupt the proper ordering of Church and state.

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Publisher: Pickering & Chatto
First published in: 2014

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