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Beliefs and the Dead in Reformation England$
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Peter Marshall

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198207733

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207733.001.0001

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‘Rage Against the Dead’: Reform, Counter-reform, and the Death of Purgatory

‘Rage Against the Dead’: Reform, Counter-reform, and the Death of Purgatory

(p.93) 3 ‘Rage Against the Dead’: Reform, Counter-reform, and the Death of Purgatory
Beliefs and the Dead in Reformation England


Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses the impact on the commemoration of the dead of the mid-Tudor decades, and the contrasting religious policies of Edward VI and Mary Tudor. It describes the 1547 dissolution of the chantries as well as the officially-inspired iconoclasm against tombs and monuments, and assesses popular responses to these developments. It investigates the ways in which the dead were commemorated in the 1549 and 1552 Books of Common Prayer. It then assesses the restoration of traditional doctrine and practice after the accession of Mary. While conceding that Marian theologians were cautious about purgatory, and that some significant shifts in attitudes had taken place at the popular level, the chapter employs testamentary and other sources to dispute that the issues were completely marginalised, or that notions of purgatory and intercessory prayer were a permanent casualty of reform by this stage.

Keywords:   Edward VI, Mary Tudor, chantries, iconoclasm, tombs, monuments, Book of Common Prayer

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