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Popular Piety in Late Medieval EnglandThe Diocese of Salisbury 1250-1550$
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Andrew D. Brown

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205210

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205210.001.0001

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Monks, Nuns, and Friars

Monks, Nuns, and Friars

(p.26) 1 Monks, Nuns, and Friars
Popular Piety in Late Medieval England

Andrew D. Brown

Oxford University Press

In the twelfth century, the power of laymen had been deliberately harnessed to the monastic ideal. Great families still relied heavily for their hope of salvation on large benefactions to monastic communities engaged in permanent prayer and penitential exercise. However, by the time religious houses were suppressed in England in the 1530s, they no longer led society spiritually and intellectually. It would indeed be possible to chart a decline in the value attached to the religious by the laity from the thirteenth century onwards. The history of late medieval piety can be presented as a continuing search for novel expressions of spirituality. The Cistercians overtook the Benedictines in the twelfth century, the mendicants rose to popularity in the thirteenth, and for laymen the parish, chantry, and private chapel became the focus of spiritual attention by the fourteenth.

Keywords:   laymen, salvation, prayer, England, laity, piety, spirituality, benefactions

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