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The Norman Church has sometimes been depicted as welcoming the Capetian conquest of Normandy in 1204. Its relations with the last Angevin dukes of Normandy, Richard the Lionheart and King John, certainly showed signs of serious tension, especially the election dispute at Sées (1201–3), but there is also ample evidence of continuing co-operation between the dukes and the Norman Church. Prior to 1204, moreover, Philip Augustus of France had done very little to win over the Norman Church. It is demonstrated here that he was far less generous to the religious houses of south-east Normandy, which he had annexed in 1200, than has hitherto been believed. Most of the alms recorded in fiscal accounts for the Évrecin testify to the patronage of the local aristocracy, not the kings of England and France.
Bishop Reginald Pecock (c. 1390–1461) is remembered for vernacular works formulated to combat Lollardy using reason, not the force of ecclesiastical authority. He argued that Scripture's teachings are true not because they are in Scripture, but because they are evident to unassisted reason. While scholars have explored his arguments in ecclesiastical and historical context, little analysis exists of the scholastic background to Pecock's conception of the relation of reason to faith. This article suggests that Pecock's arguments are grounded in the thought of Aquinas and Scotus, and illustrates how his understanding of reason's capabilities directs his conception of the authority of Scripture and church tradition.
Translating the Scriptures into the vernacular was a primary concern of Protestant reformers. This led to worries about the precise language-form in which they should be made accessible to lay folk. This article situates such evangelical debates within contemporary understanding of the nature and role of native tongues. Tudor and Stuart governments sometimes saw English as a tool of political control; humanists questioned the ‘copiousness’ of the vernacular; the Celtic tongues were readily identified with barbarity; the status of the written word might be contaminated by the use of dialect. Translators and authors sought to address these concerns, with great success in England, Lowland Scotland and Wales, but much less effectively in Gaelic-speaking Ireland and Scotland.
This article contributes to the debates about nineteenth- and twentieth-century working-class religiosity and about the nature, timing and extent of secularisation. After defining ‘popular religion’ and identifying its key components in the context of the Black Country from 1914 to 1965, its decline during the last thirty years of the period is analysed, using extensive oral evidence, in terms of four principal factors: the effects of war; an increasing emphasis on the private nuclear family and changing attitudes to children; the disappearance of older working-class neighbourhoods and communities; and greater prosperity and the availability of secular leisure facilities.
Anti-Catholicism was a pervasive influence on religious and political life in nineteenth-century Wales. Contrary to the views of Trystan Owain Hughes, it mirrored the chronology of anti-Catholic agitation in the rest of Great Britain. Welsh exceptionalism lies in the failure of militant Protestant organisations to recruit in Wales, and the assimilation of anti-Catholic rhetoric into the frictions between the Church of England and Nonconformity over the disestablishment of the Church. Furthermore, whereas the persistence of anti-Catholicism in twentieth-century Britain is primarily associated with cities like Liverpool and Glasgow, its continuing influence in Wales was largely confined to rural areas and small towns.
In his critique of my article Paul O'Leary brings his expertise on nineteenth-century Wales to bear on issues I raise. In doing so, he consolidates and complements certain areas of my original thesis. My aim was, after all, to highlight anti-Catholicism in twentieth-century Wales, rather than dismiss hostility a century earlier. In other areas, however, he misinterprets or misrepresents my article, largely because he fails to recognise the subtleties in the character and nature of Welsh anti-Catholicism over the two centuries. During the nineteenth century, there was undoubtedly a deep-seated hatred and fear of Roman Catholicism in Wales. Protestant dissent was, by its very nature and disposition, hostile to Rome. Anti-Catholicism was, therefore, endemic to Wales during this time and my work has never suggested otherwise. However, it is essential that the nuances in the different types of hostility, already touched upon in my initial article, be identified. The clear diversity between the form that anti-Catholicism took in the nineteenth century and the character it took a century later can then be compared and assessed.