The Bede Roll for the Church of St. Mary in Sandwich

by Martha Rust

Thanks to an abundant variety of medieval sources, we have a clear view of late-medieval English church-goers from the perspective of the pulpit: that is, from the point of view of those who were charged with inducing lay people to come to church and with ordering their behavior once they were there. From this point of view, we see the laity as an abstract, undifferentiated crowd in need of shushing and containment. Talkative church goers, a treatise on how to behave in church warns, may find that their words are being copied down by devils, devils who were on hand in churches precisely to record such talking out of turn.[1] Continue reading “The Bede Roll for the Church of St. Mary in Sandwich”

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