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Commonwealth and the English Reformation (St Andrews Studies in Reformation History) Hardcover – 1 Jul 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 318 pages
  • Publisher: Ashgate; New edition edition (1 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140940045X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409400455
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,309,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'[Lowe's] work is worth reading, as both a local study and a fresh contribution to the debate about the nature and success of the Reformation.' Church Times 'Recommended.' Choice 'This is a study rich in material for fruitful comparisons with other areas of the country.' Northern History 'The heady mixture of religion, politics, the economy and social ambition is the subject of this well-researched and detailed study that looks at a part of England that, although not at the forefront of the Reformation, has attracted quite a bit of interest from historians in recent years.' Ecclesiastical History '... this is an interesting, well-written book that provides useful detailed material on both town and countryside. Hopefully, Lowe can be encouraged to write a comparative study of the English urban Reformation in the future.' Catholic Historical Review 'The book is attractively designed and printed, with two dozen well-chosen illustrations. It is a valuable addition to a splendid series.' David Cressy, Church History "This is a careful and well researched work, which sheds light on a neglected aspect of the English Reformation.' Archiv fur Reformationsgeschichte 'Ben Lowe paints a detailed picture of government, business and urban politics in late medieval Gloucester, analyses how the religious community worked pre-Reformation, and provides an account of the county's leading gentry... The book is strong in stressing how the turbulent times must have felt to people, good on the complexity of motives for change, and sensitive in showing how that was mediated by a strong sense of 'stewardship' regarding property, education and care of the poor.' Ecclesiology Today '... Lowe has provided us with more than just an account of reform in Gloucester. It is an illustration of how the pervasive, often subtle, motivations and adaptations of core values coincided and interwove with Henrician and Edwardine religious change, making reform well suited to men of substance in Gloucester and its environs.' Sixteenth Century Journal 'This is a work of sound scholarship. The range of sources is comprehensive. Sources of information are presented helpfully in footnotes... The work of the men who shaped the Reformation in Gloucester is brought into full view.' Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society 'He [Lowe] does not hesitate to challenge the interpretations of earlier studies and uses solid evidence to support his own conclusions. In short, his work is a fresh contribution to the ongoing debate about religion and society during the course of the English Reformation.' Fides et Historia

About the Author

Dr Ben Lowe is Associate Professor of History and Director of Graduate Studies at Florida Atlantic University, USA.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By manfriday on 17 Feb. 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a narrative history which traces the growth of Protestantism in Gloucestershire from small beginnings in the 1520's to a dominant position by the start of Mary's reign.

Much of the work is taken up considering the position of the religious houses. Lowe's research suggests that the smaller houses were simply too small to be viable without elite support, while much of the resources of the larger houses were absorbed by the gentry lifestyle of their lead figures. At the dissolution the largest house became the basis of the new cathedral foundation and the smaller houses typically passed to local people or the town and much of their resources redirected to practical purposes. A similar pattern is recorded at the dissolution of chantries. The quietly argued point is that the sheer cost of sustaining the clerical infrastructure, building and people, had actually precluded more practical works.

The entry points for evangelical views came initially from a group of gentlemen probably influenced by Tyndale. This was followed by Latimer and his appointees. More generally the association of reformers with the Commonwealth ideal, of moral reform and practical charity, strongly appealed to those decent men who actually had the responsibility of dealing with the social problems in their area. The old system of providing prayers for the dead was increasingly seen as wasteful and unnecessary. Lowe persuasively argues that this process actually started before the reformation got underway and hence what we see is a continuation rather than a radical break. Account too, is given to the vigour and charisma of Bishop Hooper, who it seems had a profound effect on even such an unlikely case as Sir Anthony Kingston.

This is a well argued case. Reservations?
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