Religious life and religious politics c. 1558–1640
in The social world of early modern Westminster
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This chapter explores the interaction of religion with the social and political developments that we have observed in the post-Reformation town. It investigates whether the newly emergent parish oligarchies, who played a decisive role in local government, also brought a distinctive religious agenda to their management of parochial affairs. St Martin's emerged as a parish with a vigorously Protestant evangelizing profile. Of Westminster's post-Reformation parishes, the one that distinguished itself by its conservatism and attachment to ceremony was St Margaret's, where the influence of the Abbey church made itself most felt. Beliefs in magic and witchcraft are often treated as essentially rural phenomena, yet they also appear among Westminster's residents. It was a feature of English religious life in the 1620s and 1630s that religion became increasingly politicized. Fears of Catholicism were exacerbated by the pro-Spanish policies of the Crown.

The social world of early modern Westminster

Abbey, court and community 1525–1640


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