Religion and culture
in Towns in medieval England
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This chapter contains an introduction and a selection of translated and annotated texts on religion and culture. Fraternities added to the texture of urban religious life, and further accentuated the scope for the agency and variety of lay religion. Urban wills are eloquent of a creative range of both devotional and fraternal ties, forged over a lifetime as so many means to address the challenges of life in the late medieval town. In addition to the material and spiritual support offered to their own members, guilds or fraternities often provided charitable support to a wider community. Although vastly depleted by Reformation and seventeenth-century iconoclasm, enough evidence survives to show how the fabric of a medieval city church functioned as a site for the construction of both social and religious identities. Yet, late medieval religious culture was too multivalent to be manipulated in the sole interest of bishops or magistrates.

Towns in medieval England

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