Saturday 29 December 2007

The Voices of Morebath by Eamon Duffy

I got this as a Christmas present from my parents. Having skipped some of the tedious (to me) accounting bits, I'm now onto the Reformation proper.

Some of the text refers to how different Bishops interpreted the directives that they were given. Parallels with today? Some were on a damage limitation exercise when it came to 'images' and others took everything that had an image, including decorations around people's tombs and in the case of brass presumably melted it down. Hard to know when to stop when you get going on serious iconoclasm.

I must say, I do find pre-Reformation England attractive. Lots of attention given to decorating the Church, and different groups saw that statues had lamps burning in front of them, the Parish Council seems very democratic; rich and poor, men and women served. People kept a sheep that belonged to the Church as part of their flock. Obviously, as this book is based on Church accounts and the commentary that the Priest wrote on them, it is a bit heavy on the price of wax and what people left to the Parish, but reading between the lines it does tell of a world with a very different focus to our own and it does sound much kinder.

It must have been a bewildering time to live through, much like our own.

Today being the Feast of St Thomas a Becket, Fr S spoke about him a bit and whilst mentioning how his Shrine at Canterbury met a nasty end also said that our pre-Reformation Catholic Church (ie the big old Anglican one in the centre of the town right by the river,) had a statue or some such to St Thomas a Becket. You probably went past that Church on the way from London.


Ttony said...

All the accountancy details are worth ploughing through, but overall, the book is heartbreaking.

leutgeb said...

I only skipped about 15 pages and will go back, honest.

Heart breaking definitely. It shows for one thing how far sighted SS John Fisher, Thomas More et al were to take their stand right at the outset of it all.