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The Voices of Morebath: Reformation and Rebellion in An English Village [Unknown Binding]

Eamon Duffy
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (2001)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001OPKCV2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,385,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Morebath church, with its distinctive 'saddle-backed' tower. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A moving account of a Reformation village. 4 Jan 2002
By A Customer
An instructive and at times deeply moving account of the effects of the Tudor Reformation on village life. Although the first half of the book may seem a little tedious in its introduction to the village, people and institutions of Morebath, it is ultimately necessary in understanding the remainder which moves historically through the Reformation period. The book gives a detailed insight into how bewildering it must have been for a conservative rural village to undergo the changes from Catholic to Protestant, back to Catholic under Queen Mary and finally to Protestant again under Elizabeth.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing 26 May 2009
"The Voices of Morebath" has received much acclaim and justly so.

Generally, the histories written of the English Reformation and counter-Reformation have taken a national perspective. This book, however, is an account of how decisions made and policies adopted by members of the Tudor dynasty and its various executives, culturally and geographically remote from a small Devonshire village, so profoundly affected the life of that village and how, with remarkable pragmatism, its equally remarkable priest guided his flock through the upheavals of the iconoclasm and head-spinning changes in liturgical orthodoxy accompanying this turbulent period.

Little of the outside world directly penetrates this small society absorbed with just "getting by" on the upland fringes of Exmoor - Father Trychay tries to shield his flock but there is the occasional rude intrusion; Dean Heynes - one of Thomas Cromwell's creatures, a real piece of work and a sort of 16th century Senator Joseph McCarthy - and the imposition of the 1549 Prayer Book creating fury sufficient for this small village to send men to Exeter, some of whom were accounted in the 4,000 lost in the ill-fated Prayer Book Rebellion of that year.

Professor Duffy provides a seemingly balanced story (an achievement in itself given the polemical nature of the subject) drawn from Christopher Trychay's entries in the parish records. The author puts flesh on the bones of what otherwise might be a detached history to create real people living at the close of a long-established and conservative era, their communal confidence having been shaken and facing an uncertain future. It is difficult not to personally identify with these simple parishioners.

"The Voices of Morebath" could be regarded as a (long!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Eamon Duffy brings the village of Morebath in the sixteenth century to life with this excellent piece of research. Using original churchwarden's records and relevant historiography, he reconstructs the life of a community as it's belief system comes increasingly under threat. Duffy's work not only gives us a glipmse into the past, but also shows us the historian's craft in action. So Duffy may become a little wrapped up in his subject matter - his enthusiasm shines out of his work and adds to its appeal, in this case anyway. His love of the period is obvious and is infectious, and he reconstructs the minutiae of village life with gusto, to the point where you too may be sucked into the world of Morebath under the Tudors. No bad thing. It happened to me and I for one was sorry to leave.

This is very much a companion volume to "The Stripping of the Altars", the earlier work grand in scope, while "The Voices of Morebath" focusses on one community and narrows that scope, bringing it under the microscope and revealing it with skill and crystal clarity. Anyone with anything more than a passing interest in early modern history should have this book. What the hell... everyone else should have it too.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why DID we all go protestant? 12 Nov 2003
By Simon
The long awaited sequel and parallel text to The Stripping of the Altars - an intimate examination of the Reformation in a single Devon parish.
Duffy explores the period 1530-1580 through the churchwardens accounts, minute books, journals and bequests of the remote Devon village of Morebath. If you've already read his "The Stripping of the Altars", this book is like a detective story, trying to answer a single, biting question: if the Reformation in England was so unpopular with the common people, why did it succeed? He comes up with what looks like it might be the answer.
The opening chapters may be heavy going if you haven't already read "The Stripping of the Altars".
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Thus ended the career of the parish priest of Morebath, there was he buried, between two religions, two social worlds, two distinct weltanschuung. Taken from his parish register, which gives full details of accounts with a full and interesting commentary by him ,Christopher Trychay, who served the parish from 1520 - 1574, this book gives an interesting account of the minutiae of parish life throughout the events of the 16th century.
I wonder whether it is possible to write of the Reformation without one's own loyalties being obvious, indeed other reviewers have clearly revealed their own, but Professor Duffy , himself a Catholic, certainly writes not only with considerable affection for the pre-Reformation world but also with some appreciation for the Elizabethan one which came to supplant it in England.

Many of us do not believe ,unlike our ancestors were led to believe by their historians -indeed Haigh when he first studied the opposition to the Reformation came to the conclusion that what he had been taught at school about its popularity was erroneous -that the Reformation was welcomed by the people of England, and have been puzzled as to how they accepted such a revolution. Looked at from the centre the answer is perhaps the power and luck of Queen Elizabeth and the relentless persecution , well detailed by Philip Hughes' "The Reformation in England Vol III True Religion Now Established " , of her Catholic subjects, but the localities have been more problematic, although even there as in the time of Thomas Cromwell it could be said that careless talk costs lives.(p 167).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book and excellent delivery service
Published 1 month ago by Stephen Honey
5.0 out of 5 stars a wonderfully written piece of social history knitting old documents...
a wonderfully written piece of social history knitting old documents together into an intriguing narrative
Published 1 month ago by Mr. Bruce Leslie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Bruce Leslie
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Interesting and the lessons are surprisingly applicable to us 100s of years on
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. J. Franklin
5.0 out of 5 stars The Voices of Morebath.
This micro-history of an English West Country parish from the 1520s through to the 1570s is an extraordinary achievement. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Graham S. Applin
5.0 out of 5 stars Duffy's other great masterpiece is 'The Stripping of the Altars'
This is a superb book by one of the giants of Reformation England history, Eamon Duffy. I have made presents of it to friends interested in a fascinating subject--Christianity in... Read more
Published 2 months ago by J P Grogan
5.0 out of 5 stars Flesh on the bones
An excellent commentary on the parish during the Tudor reformation. Written with professionalism but not dull by any means. Puts flesh on the bones of the parish records.
Published 6 months ago by Ms. J. A. Russell
5.0 out of 5 stars The Voices of Morebath
brilliant rediscovery of th real story of rhe Reformation and how the Catholic faith was strong and vibrant in pre-Henry V111 England. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Matt McInerney.
5.0 out of 5 stars Meticulous record keeping
This is a book of interest to you if you like detail, and want to find out how the changes of the Reformation worked out at local level. Read more
Published 16 months ago by theresian
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Everything that everyone said about the book was true. eminently readable, an excellent and moving account of life in a turbulent era. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Paul W. Fleming
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