A History of the English Parish: The Culture of Religion from Augustine to Victoria
Most writings on church history have been concerned mainly withchurch hierarchy, and with theology, liturgy and canon law. Thisbook looks at the church 'from below', from the lowest stratum ofits organisation - the parish - in which the church building isseen as the parishioners' handiwork and as a reflection of localpopular culture. The book discusses in turn the origin anddevelopment of the system of precisely-defined parishes, theirfunction - in terms of economics and personnel - and the churchfabric which embodied the aspirations of parishioners, who saw thechurch more as an expression of their cultural and social hopesthan as the embodiment of their faith. The book ends with thefailure of the parish to meet all of its obligations - social,governmental and religious - from the late eighteenth centuryonwards.