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Recycling the Sacred: Material Culture and Cultural Memory after the English Reformation


This article examines medieval liturgical artifacts that survived the English Reformation by being converted to alternative religious and secular purposes. Exploiting both textual and material evidence, it explores how sacred objects were adapted and altered for a range of domestic and ecclesiastical uses, together with the underlying theological assumptions about adiaphora or “things indifferent” that legitimized such acts of “recycling.” These are situated on a continuum with iconoclasm and approached as dynamic and cyclic processes that offer insight into how Protestantism reconfigured traditions of commemoration and patterns of remembrance. Simultaneously, it recognizes their role in resisting religious change and in preserving tangible traces of the Catholic past, showing how converted objects served to perpetuate and complicate social and cultural memory. The final section investigates the ambiguous longer-term legacies of this reform strategy by probing the significance of growing concerns about the sin of ‘sacrilege’ committed by those who had profaned holy things.

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1 Fuller Thomas, The Church-history of Britain; from the Birth of Jesus Christ, untill the Year M.DC.XLVIII (London, 1655), 417 .

2 See esp. Aston Margaret, England's Iconoclasts, vol. 1 Laws against Images (Oxford: Clarendon, 1988); Aston , Broken Idols of the English Reformation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016); Spraggon Julie, Puritan Iconoclasm during the English Civil War (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2003); Walter John, “‘Abolishing Superstition with Sedition’? The Politics of Popular Iconoclasm in England 1640–1642,” Past and Present 183 (May 2004): 79123 ; and Barber Tabitha and Boldrick Stacy, eds., Art Under Attack: Histories of British Iconoclasm (London: Tate, 2013).

3 See Houtman Dick and Meyer Birgit, eds., introduction to Things: Religion and the Question of Materiality, ed. Houtman and Meyer (New York: Fordham University Press, 2012), 123 .

4 See Morrall Andrew, “Protestant Pots: Morality and Social Ritual in the Early Modern Home,” Journal of Design History 15, no. 4 (2002): 263273 ; Gaimster David, “Pots, Prints and Propaganda: Changing Mentalities in the Domestic Sphere 1480–1580,” in The Archaeology of Reformation 1480–1580, ed. Gaimster and Gilchrist Roberta (Leeds: Maney, 2003), 122144 ; Rublack Ulinka, Reformation Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), chap. 4; Hamling Tara and Williams Richard L., eds., Art Re-formed: Re-assessing the Impact of the Reformation on the Visual Arts (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2007); Hamling Tara, Decorating the Godly Household: Religious Art in Post-Reformation Britain (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2010); Spicer Andrew, Calvinist Churches in Early Modern Europe (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007); Spicer , ed., Lutheran Churches in Early Modern Europe (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012); Spicer , “The Material Culture of Early Modern Churches,” in The Routledge Handbook of Material Culture in Early Modern Europe, ed. Richardson Catherine, Hamling Tara, and Gaimster David (London: Routledge, 2017), 8297 ; and Walsham Alexandra, “Domesticating the Reformation: Material Culture, Memory and Confessional Identity in Early Modern England,” Renaissance Quarterly 69, no. 2 (2016): 566–616. For an overview of recent work, see Heal Bridget, “Visual and Material Culture,” in The Oxford Handbook of the Protestant Reformation, ed. Rublack Ulinka (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 601620 .

5 Oxford English Dictionary Online, s.vv. “recycle (v.),” “recycling (n.),” accessed 26 July 2017,

6 Oxford English Dictionary Online, s.vv. “convert (v.),” “conversion (n.),” accessed 26 July 2017, Another word used to describe these processes, particularly in relation to monastic buildings, was “translation.” As Jennifer Summit has commented, this served to downplay the violence entailed in the suppressions of the 1530s: Leland's ‘Itinerary’ and the Remains of the Medieval Past,” in Reading the Medieval in Early Modern England, ed. McMullan Gordon and Matthews David (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 161 .

7 For some stimulating discussions of conversion, see Questier Michael, Conversion, Politics and Religion in England, 1580–1625 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996); Mills Kenneth and Grafton Anthony, eds., Conversion: Old Worlds and New (Rochester, N.Y.: University of Rochester Press, 2003); Mazur Peter and Shinn Abigail, eds., “Conversion Narratives in the Early Modern World,” special issue, Journal of Early Modern History 17, no. 5–6 (2013); and Ditchfield Simon and Smith Helen, eds., Conversions: Gender and Religious Change in Early Modern Europe (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017).

8 Woodward Donald, “‘Swords into Ploughshares’: Recycling in Pre-Industrial England,” Economic History Review, 2nd ser., 38, no. 2 (May 1985): 175191 . See also Fennetaux Ariane, Junqua Amélie, and Vasset Sophie, eds., The Afterlife of Used Things: Recycling in the Long Eighteenth Century (New York: Routledge, 2015).

9 Quotation from Maurice Howard, “Art Re-formed: Spiritual Revolution, Spatial Re-location,” in Art Re-formed, ed. Hamling and Williams, 291. For some recent work in this area, see Gaimster and Gilchrist, The Archaeology of Reformation 1480–1580, esp. Sarah Tarlow, “Reformation and Transformation: What Happened to Catholic Things in a Protestant World?,” 108–121; and Doggett Nicholas, Patterns of Re-Use: The Transformation of Former Monastic Buildings in Post-Dissolution Hertfordshire, 1540–1600, British Series 331 (Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, 2002).

10 Nora Pierre, “Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Mémoire,” in “Memory and Counter-Memory,” ed. Davis Natalie Zemon and Starn Randolph, special issue, Representations 26 (Spring 1989): 724 . See also Elner Jaś, “Iconoclasm and the Preservation of Memory,” in Monuments and Memory, Made and Unmade, ed. Nelson Robert S. and Olin Margaret (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), 209231 ; and Stahl Ann, “Material Histories,” in The Oxford Handbook of Material Culture Studies, ed. Hicks Dan and Beaudry Mary C. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 156172 .

11 Appadurai Arjun, ed., The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986); and Igor Kopytoff, “The Cultural Biography of Things: Commoditization as Process,” in The Social Life of Things, ed. Appadurai, 64–91. See also Gosden Chris and Marshall Yvonne, “The Cultural Biography of Objects,” World Archaeology 31, no. 2 (October 1999): 169178 ; Olson Roberta, Reilly Patricia, and Shepherd Rupert, eds., “The Biography of the Object in Late Medieval and Renaissance Italy,” special issue, Renaissance Studies 19, no. 5 (November 2005); and Hamling Tara and Richardson Catherine, ed., Everyday Objects: Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture and its Meanings (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010).

12 Radley Alan, “Artefacts, Memory and a Sense of the Past,” in Collective Remembering, ed. Middleton David and Edwards Derek (London: Sage, 1990), 4659 ; Auslander Leora, “Beyond Words,” American Historical Review 110, no. 4 (October 2005): 10151045 ; and Jones Andrew, Memory and Material Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007). On the haptic, see Bynum Caroline, “Are Things ‘Indifferent’? How Objects Change our Understanding of Religious History,” German History 34, no. 1 (March 2016): 92 .

13 Peacock Edward, ed., English Church Furniture, Ornaments and Decorations, at the Period of the Reformation: As Exhibited in a List of the Goods Destroyed in Certain Lincolnshire Churches, AD 1566 (London: Hotten, 1866); and Cox J. Charles and Harvey Alfred, English Church Furniture (London: Methuen, 1907; Wakefield: E. P., 1973) (citations refer to the E. P. edition).

14 A new account of the dissolution is overdue. In the interim, see Knowles David, Bare Ruined Choirs: The Dissolution of the English Monasteries (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976); and Bernard G. W., “The Dissolution of the Monasteries,” History 96, no. 324 (October 2011): 390409 . Harriet Lyon's PhD dissertation (“The Afterlives of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in England, c. 1533–1700” [University of Cambridge, forthcoming]) discusses the neglected theme of converted monastic buildings. For a study of these processes in the German Reformation, see Ocker Christopher, Church Robbers and Reformers in Germany, 1525–1547: Confiscation and Religious Purpose in the Holy Roman Empire (Brill: Leiden, 2006).

15 On the dissolution of the chantries, see Kreider Alan, English Chantries: The Road to Dissolution (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1979); and Shagan Ethan H., Popular Politics and the English Reformation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), chap. 7. On the demise of purgatory, see Marshall Peter, Beliefs and the Dead in Reformation England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), esp. chaps. 1–3.

16 Henry Barrow, A Briefe Discoverie of the False Church ([Dort?], 1590), 132. John Smyth predicted that “idol temples” would be converted, like the monasteries themselves, into “barnes, stables, swinestyes, [and] jakes . . . when the howre of their visitation shal come”: Parallels, censures, observations . . . ([Middelburg?], 1609), 121–122. See also Aston, Broken Idols, 88–89.

17 An Homilie against perill of idolatrie, and superfluous decking of churches,” in Certaine Sermons or Homilies Appointed to be Read in Churches (London, 1623), 49, 61.

18 Harrison William, The Description of England, in The First and Second Volumes of Chronicles (London, 1587), bk. 2, chap. 1, p. 138.

19 Hughes Paul L. and Larkin James F., eds., Tudor Royal Proclamations, 3 vols. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1964–1969), 2:146–147.

20 See Cooper Trevor, ed., The Journal of William Dowsing: Iconoclasm in East Anglia during the English Civil War (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2001), plate 37b, and see pp. 103, 105. It is possible that this defacement was carried out during the Civil War.

21 Dasent John Roche, ed., Acts of the Privy Council (London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1891), 3:228 . Eamon Duffy has explored this process with different objectives in The End of it All: The Material Culture of the Late Medieval Parish and the 1552 Inventories of Church Goods,” in Saints, Sacrilege and Sedition: Religion and Conflict in the Tudor Reformations (London: Bloomsbury, 2012), 109129 .

22 For one surviving set of returns from Lincolnshire, see Peacock, English Church Furniture. For a discussion of these returns, which anticipates some of the points made below, see Aston, Broken Idols, 164–183.

23 On this theme, see my The Pope's Merchandise and the Jesuits’ Trumpery: Catholic Relics and Protestant Polemic in Post-Reformation England,” in Religion, the Supernatural and Visual Culture in Early Modern Europe: An Album Amicorum for Charles Zika, ed. Spinks Jennifer and Eichberger Dagmar (Brill: Leiden, 2015), 370409 .

24 Aston, England's Iconoclasts, chap. 4.

25 See, for instance, Peacock, English Church Furniture, 48, 49, 53, 77, 83, 95, 105, 129, 130, 137, 159, 165, 170.

26 Calvin John, A Very Profitable Treatise . . . Declarynge what Great Profit might Come to al Christendome, if there were a Regester Made of all Sainctes Bodies and other Reliques (London, 1561). See also Becon Thomas, The Monstrous Marchandise of the Romishe Byshops, in The Worckes of Thomas Becon (London, 1564), pt. 3.

27 Foxe John, Actes and Monuments (London, 1570), 1483 .

28 “Homilie against perill of Idolatrie,” 15, 60.

29 On adiaphora, see Coolidge John S., The Pauline Renaissance in England: Puritanism and the Bible (Oxford: Clarendon, 1970), esp. chap. 2; Shagan Ethan, “The Battle for Indifference in the English Reformation,” in Moderate Voices in the European Reformation, ed. Racaut Luc and Ryrie Alec (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005), 122144 ; and Bynum, “Are Things ‘Indifferent’?,” esp. 111.

30 See Barrow, Briefe Discoverie, 132; and Smyth, Parallels, censures, observations, 121–122, who repudiated the precedent that heathen temples had been converted into the houses of God.

31 Wilson Thomas, A Christian Dictionarie Opening the Signification of the Chiefe Words Dispersed Generally through Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament (London, 1612), 422 ; and Blount Thomas, Glossographia, or, a Dictionary Interpreting all such Hard Words of Whatsoever Language now used in our Refined English Tongue (London, 1661), sig. Mm3v. See also Bullinger Henry, Fiftie Godlie and Learned Sermons divided into Five Decades, trans. I. H. (London, 1577), 979 ; and Vermigli Peter Martyr, Common Places (London, 1583), 163 .

32 Ronald Hutton has traced a similar process in relation to seasonal rituals: The English Reformation and the Evidence of Folklore,” Past and Present 148 (August 1995): 89116 .

33 Duffy Eamon, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England c.1400–c.1580 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1992), 480 .

34 Cardwell Edward, ed., Documentary Annals of the Reformed Church of England (Oxford: University Press, 1844), 1:6–7, 17, 212, 221.

35 Frere Walter and Kennedy William, eds., Visitation Articles and Injunctions of the Period of the Reformation, Alcuin Club Collections 14–16 (London: Longmans, Green, 1910), 3:100, see also 3:323, 335.

36 Kennedy W. P. M., ed., Elizabethan Episcopal Administration, 3 vols., Alcuin Club Collections 25–27 (London: A. R. Mowbray, 1924): 2:98, see also 3:227.

37 See Margaret Aston, “Public Worship and Iconoclasm,” in Archaeology of the Reformation, ed. Gaimster and Gilchrist, 16–17.

38 These phrases are ubiquitous in the Lincolnshire returns: Peacock, English Church Furniture.

39 Duffy, “End of it all,” 110.

40 Cox and Harvey, English Church Furniture, 38.

41 Nightingale J. E., The Church Plate of the County of Wiltshire (Salisbury: Bennet Bros., 1891), 13 .

42 Dymond David and Paine Clive, eds., The Spoil of Melford Church: The Reformation in a Suffolk Parish (Ipswich: Salient, 1992), 10–23, esp. 15, 19.

43 Duffy, “End of it all,” 114. See also Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, 494–495.

44 Peacock, English Church Furniture, 107.

45 See Driver Martha W., The Image in Print: Book Illustration in Late Medieval England and its Sources (London: British Library, 2004), chap. 6; de Mézerac Zanetti Aude, “Liturgical Changes to the Cult of Saints under Henry VIII,” in Saints and Sanctity, ed. Clarke Peter and Claydon Tony, Studies in Church History (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2007), 126143 .

46 Hughes and Larkin, Tudor Royal Proclamations, 1:485–486.

47 MS 148, Salisbury Cathedral Library, Salisbury. This has been reproduced in facsimile: Lack Alastair, ed., Processions and Other Late Mediaeval Ceremonies of Salisbury Cathedral (Salisbury, 2015).

48 See Morgan Ring, “The Golden Legend and the English Reformation, c 1483–1625,” (PhD diss., University of Cambridge, 2016), chap. 5; and Ring's forthcoming article, “Annotating the Golden Legend in Early Modern England.” On indulgenced images, see Driver, Image in Print, 206–208.

49 See also Shell Alison, “Catholic Texts and Anti-Catholic Prejudice in the 17th-century Book Trade,” in Censorship and the Control of Print in England and France 1600–1910, ed. Myers Robin and Harris Michael (Winchester: St Paul's Bibliographies, 1992), 3357 .

50 Driver, Image in Print, 204.

51 Inventories of Parish Church Goods in Kent, a.d. 1552,” ed. Walcott M. E. C., Coates R. P., and Robertson W. A. Scott, Archaeologia Cantiana 8 (1872): 141 .

52 Eeles F. C. and Brown J. E., ed., The Edwardian Inventories for Buckinghamshire, Alcuin Club Collections 9 (London: Longmans, Green, 1908), 50 . This same occurred at Alford in Lincolnshire: Peacock, English Church Furniture, 29.

53 Peacock, English Church Furniture, 94, 144, 54, respectively.

54 See Collinson Patrick, The Elizabethan Puritan Movement (London: Jonathan Cape, 1967), chaps. 2, 4.

55 Hamilton William Douglas, ed., Calendar of State Papers Domestic of the Reign of Charles I (London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1887), 372 .

56 Cresswell Beatrix F., ed., The Edwardian Inventories for the City and County of Exeter, Alcuin Club Collections 20 (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., 1916), 78 .

57 Walters H. B., ed., London Churches at the Reformation with an Account of their Contents (London: Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, 1939), 117, 91, respectively.

58 Peacock, English Church Furniture, 56–57.

59 Ibid.,159, and see also 71.

60 On these themes, see Spufford Margaret, The Great Reclothing of Rural England: Petty Chapmen and their Wares in the Seventeenth Century (London: Hambledon, 1984); and Shinn Abigail, “Cultures of Mending,” in The Ashgate Research Companion to Early Modern Popular Culture, ed. Shinn , Dimmock Matthew, and Hadfield Andrew (Farnham: Ashgate, 2014), 235252 .

61 Peacock, English Church Furniture,107–108.

62 For examples, see ibid., 30, 119; and Eeles and Brown, Edwardian Inventories for Buckinghamshire, 82–83.

63 Shagan, Popular Politics, 298.

64 As articulated in the “Homilie against perill of idolatrie,” 74. See also Wandel Lee Palmer, Always Among Us: Images of the Poor in Zwingli's Zurich (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).

65 Browne Claire, Davies Glyn, and Michael M. A., eds., English Medieval Embroidery: Opus Anglicanum (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2016), 190195 .

66 On the Laudian programme, see Fincham Kenneth and Tyacke Nicholas, Altars Restored: The Changing Face of English Religious Worship, 1547–c.1700 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), chaps. 5–6. For a list of medieval embroidered items surviving in English churches in the early twentieth century, see Cox and Harvey, English Church Furniture, 345–350.

67 See “Orphrey (cushion),” no. 837–1902, Victoria and Albert Museum, accessed 12 March 2017,

68 Iain Soden, “The Conversion of Former Monastic Buildings to Secular Use: The Case of Coventry,” in Archaelogy of the Reformation, ed. Gaimster and Gilchrist, 285.

69 See Stocker David with Everson Paul, “Rubbish Recycled: A Study of the Re-Use of Stone in Lincolnshire,” in Stone: Quarrying and Building in England AD 43–1525, ed. Parsons David (Chichester: Phillimore, 1990), 97 . On the Kyme chantry, see Stocker David, “Archaeology and the Reformation: A Case Study of the Redistribution of Building Materials in Lincoln, 1520–1560,” Lincolnshire History and Archaeology 25 (1990): 1832 .

70 Page William, ed. The Inventories of Church Goods for the Counties of York, Durham, and Northumberland, Surtees Society 97 (Durham, 1897), xvii .

71 Peacock, English Church Furniture, 39, 41, 48, 55, 65, 74, 84, 93, 107, 150; and Aston, Broken Idols, 178.

72 Ibid., 54.

73 Ibid., 20, 41, 65, 94, 111.

74 Ibid., 86.

75 Ibid., 54, 70, 73, 77, 107, 132, 146.

76 Kennedy, Elizabethan Episcopal Administration, 3:150. See also the visitation articles for the prebend of Wistow, Yorkshire, in Purvis J. S., Tudor Parish Documents of the Diocese of York (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1948), 48 .

77 See Yates Joshua J. and Hunter James Davison, Thrift and Thriving in America: Capitalism and Moral Order from the Puritans to the Present (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).

78 Aston, Broken Idols, 920–921; and Wrapson Lucy J., “East Anglian Medieval Church Screens: A Brief Guide to their Physical History,” Hamilton Kerr Institute Bulletin, no. 4 (2013), 3347 .

79 “The Kiss of Judas,” PD.2-2012, The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, accessed 1 November 2017,

80 Walters, London Churches, 86.

81 Cox and Harvey, English Church Furniture, 238.

82 See Spraggon, Puritan Iconoclasm, 79–80. Cox and Harvey, English Church Furniture, chap. 6, p. 182 cites a font at Newark in Nottinghamshire, which has an accompanying brass plate inscribed “This Font was demolished by the Rebels, May 9, 1646, and rebuilt by the charity of Nicholas Ridley in 1660.”

83 Cf. the medieval examples of reverent font burial discussed in Stocker David, “ Fons et Origo: The Symbolic Death, Burial and Resurrection of English Font Stones,” Church Archaeology 1 (1997): 1725 . For buried fonts at Grappenhall and Alderley Cheshire, see Cox and Harvey, English Church Furniture, 188. See also Aston, Broken Idols, 595–604; and Trevor Johnson, “Brass, Glass and Crosses: Identifying Iconoclasm outside the Journal,” in Journal of William Dowsing, ed. Cooper, 89–106, 96–97.

84 Cited in Heal, “Visual and Material Culture,” 607.

85 Nightingale J. E., The Church Plate of the County of Dorset (Salisbury: Bennet Bros., 1889), 128130 .

86 “Communion Cup,” no. Loan:Chessington.1, Victoria and Albert Museum, accessed 12 March 2017,; “Communion Cup and Paten Cover,” no. 4636–1858, Victoria and Albert Museum, accessed 12 March 2017,

87 Cox and Harvey, English Church Furniture, 38.

88 Ibid., 37.

89 Walters, London Churches, 27.

90 Many examples are cited in Nightingale, Church Plate of the County of Wiltshire and Church Plate of the County of Dorset. For the meanings and functions of Protestant church plate, see Peterson Mark, “Puritanism and Refinement in Early New England: Reflections on Communion Silver,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., 58, no. 2 (April 2001): 307346 .

91 See Walters, London Churches, 59, 60, 96, 123, 127, 137, 349, 457, among many references to items acquired by goldsmiths.

92 Peacock, English Church Furniture, 33, 112.

93 “The Stonyhurst Salt, c. 1577,” 1958,1004.1, British Museum, London. For a stimulating discussion of this object and the wider phenomenon, see Victoria Yeoman, “Reformation as Continuity: Objects of Dining and Devotion in Early Modern England,” (forthcoming). I am grateful to Dr. Yeoman for permitting me to read and cite this in advance of publication.

94 LOAN:MET ANON.11-2007, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, I am grateful to Tessa Murdoch for sharing her expertise regarding this item. On the transformation of reliquaries into works of art, see Nagel Alexander, “The Afterlife of the Reliquary,” in Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe, ed. Bagnoli Martina, Klein Holger A., Mann C. Griffith, and Robinson James (London: British Museum Press, 2010), 211222 .

95 Nightingale, Church Plate of the County of Wiltshire, 25, 53. It is not clear when these secular vessels became communion ware.

96 See Peacock, English Church Furniture, 55.

97 Edgeworth Roger, Sermons very Fruitfull, Godly and Learned, ed. Wilson Janet (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1993), 143 .

98 See Scribner R. W., “Ritual and Reformation,” in Popular Culture and Popular Movements in Reformation Germany (London: Hambledon, 1987), 114 . A figure of the crucified Christ with his arms broken off dating from 1475–1525 discovered in an old mansion at Fiddleford, Dorset is now in the British Museum: 1998,0408.1. Joe Moshenska is currently working on this intriguing topic. For evidence of deliberate damage to surviving devotional figurines, see also Gaimster David, “Of ‘Idols and Devils’: Devotional Pipeclay Figurines from Southern Britain in their European Context,” in Archäologie der Reformation: Studien zu den Auswirkungen des Konfessionswechsels auf die materielle Kultur, ed. Jäggi Carola and Staecker Jörn (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2007): 269 .

99 Additional MS 5813, fos 20v–21r, British Library, printed in Sherbrook Michael, “The Fall of Religious Houses,” in Tudor Treatises, ed. Dickens A. G., Yorkshire Archaeological Society 125 (Leeds: Yorkshire Archaeological Society, 1959), 125 .

100 Eeles F. C. and Brown J. E., eds., The Edwardian Inventories for Bedfordshire, Alcuin Club Collections 6 (London: Longmans, Green, 1905), 24, 28.

101 Kennedy, Elizabethan Episcopal Administration, 3:218. See also Dymond and Paine, Spoil of Melford Church, 32.

102 Fuller, Church-history of Britain, 417, 419.

103 Fowler J. T., ed., Rites of Durham. Being a Description or Brief Declaration of all the Ancient Monuments, Rites, and Customs Belonging or being within the Monastical Church of Durham before the Suppression, Surtees Society 107 (Durham: Andrews and Co., 1903), 60–61, 2627 .

104 Dymond and Paine, Spoil of Long Melford Church, 39; and Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, 490.

105 Tarlow, “Reformation and Transformation,” 118.

106 Peacock, English Church Furniture, 30.

107 This probably explains the survival of some of the items described in Browne, Davies, and Michael, English Medieval Embroidery, see 181, 249–251, 263.

108 Peacock, English Church Furniture, 121. For another example of an altar stone “laid for a grave stonne,” see 112.

109 The phrase is more widely employed in relation to the poor. It was first coined by Hufton Olwen in The Poor of Eighteenth-Century France 1750–1789 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1974) and has become a powerful paradigm for scholars in this field. See, for example, King Stephen and Tomkins Alannah, eds., The Poor in England 1700–1850: An Economy of Makeshifts (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003).

110 As noted by Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, 483. Forthcoming work by Lucy Kaufman also tackles this theme.

111 Walters H. B., “Inventories of Norfolk Church Goods (1552),” Norfolk Archaeology 27 (1941): 410–411, 405 respectively.

112 A revealing example is the diaper tablecloth Anne Heckford bequeathed to be cut into two to make covers for the communion tables at Saint Botolph and Holy Trinity, Colchester: Emmison F. G., ed., Essex Wills: The Bishop of London's Commissary Court 1587–1599, (Chelmsford: Essex Record Office, 1998), 130 .

113 Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, chap. 14; and Duffy, “The End of it All,” esp. 116–118.

114 Shagan, Popular Politics, 287, 309.

115 See Duffy Eamon, Reformation Divided: Catholics, Protestants and the Conversion of England (London: Bloomsbury, 2017), 186187 . For other helpful discussions, see Marshall, Beliefs and the Dead, chap. 7; Sherlock Peter, Monuments and Memory in Early Modern England (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008), chap. 8; and Sherlock , “The Reformation of Memory in Early Modern Europe,” in Memory: Histories, Theories, Debates, ed. Radstone Susannah and Schwarz Bill (New York: Fordham University Press, 2010), 3040 .

116 See, for example, Lyndwood William, Constitutions Provincialles, and of Otho, and Octhobone (London, 1534), 6 .

117 Fowler, Rites of Durham, 61–62.

118 The Recusancy Papers of the Meynell Family of North Kilvington, North Riding of Yorkshire, 1596–1676,” ed. Aveling J. C. H., in Miscellanea, ed. Reynolds E. E., Catholic Record Society 56 (London: Catholic Record Society, 1956), 4041 .

119 Additional MS 3041, fol. 323v, Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, printed in Nicholas Roscarrock's Lives of the Saints: Cornwall and Devon, ed. Orme Nicholas, Devon, and Cornwall Record Society, n.s., 35 (Exeter: Devon and Cornwall Record Society, 1992), 7879 .

120 Cited in Doggett, Patterns of Re-use, 56. See also Hope W. H. St. John, “The Making of Place House at Titchfield, near Southampton in 1538,” Archaeological Journal 63 (1906): 235 . I am grateful to Euan Cameron for pointing out the irony that the source of this quotation was a satirical pasquil attributed to Giovanni Pico della Mirandola.

121 On sacrilege, see Thomas Keith, Religion and the Decline of Magic (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973), 112121 ; Walsham Alexandra, The Reformation of the Landscape: Religion, Identity, and Memory in Early Modern Britain and Ireland (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 283296 ; and Michael Kelly, “The Invasion of Things Sacred: Church, Property and Sacrilege in Early Modern England,” (PhD diss., University of Notre Dame, 2013).

122 Digby Everard, Euerard Digbie his Dissuasiue from Taking away the Lyvings and Goods of the Church (London, 1590), 143144 .

123 Pont Robert, Against Sacrilege, Three Sermons (Edinburgh, 1599), sigs. A4r, B6r, B8r–v.

124 Saravia Adrian 1. Of the Diverse Degrees of the Ministers of the Gospel. 2. Of the Honor which is due unto the Priestes and Prelates of the Church. 3. Of Sacrilege, and the Punishment Thereof (London, 1591), 219220 .

125 See Andrewes's Lancelot posthumously published Sacrilege a Snare: A Sermon Preached ad Clerum (London, 1646).

126 Kennedy, Elizabethan Episcopal Administration, 3:292. See also Bancroft's articles for 1601, 3:342.

127 Milton Anthony, Catholic and Reformed: The Roman and Protestant Churches in English Protestant Thought, 1600–1640 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), pt. 1.

128 Brouckner Edward, The Curse of Sacrilege Preached in a Private Parish Church (London, 1630), 16 .

129 Spelman Henry, The History and Fate of Sacrilege, Discover'd by Examples of Scripture, of Heathens, and of Christians; from the Beginning of the World Continually to this Day (London, 1698), 5 . Section 7 is devoted to “Sacrilege of materials or things.” For the divine judgements on bell thieves, see 285–287.

130 See Wood Andy, The Memory of the People: Custom and Popular Senses of the Past in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), chap. 1; and Lyon, “The Afterlives of the Dissolution.”

131 Jackson Charles, ed., The Diary of Abraham de la Pryme, the Yorkshire Antiquary, Surtees Society, 54 (Durham: Surtees Society, 1870), 309, 131, see also 226. For other judgements on those who committed the sin of sacrilege, see 145, 159, 174.

132 Sir Chauncy Henry, The Historical Antiquities of Hertfordshire (London, 1700), 117 . Chauncy hoped that he had not committed so heinous a crime but could only confirm his impoverishment and lack of issue.

133 Duffy, “End of it All,” 121.

134 Roger Martyn's account is reproduced in Sir Parker William, The History of Long Melford (London, 1873), 7074 ; and Fowler, Rites of Durham. See Jones, Memory and Material Culture, 39.

135 Weever John, Ancient Funerall Monuments within the United Monarchie of Great Britaine, Ireland, and the Islands Adjacent, with the Dissolved Monasteries therein Contained (London, 1631); Dodsworth Roger and Dugdale William, Monasticon Anglicanum sive Pandectæ Cœnobiorum, Benedictinorum Cluniacensium, Cisterciensium, Carthusianorum; a primordiis ad eorum usque dissolutionem, 3 vols. (London, 1655–1673); and Dugdale William, The History of St. Pauls Cathedral in London (London, 1658).

136 Eeles and Brown, Edwardian Inventories for Buckinghamshire, xlix; Nightingale, Church Plate of the County of Dorset, 80; and Cresswell, Edwardian Inventories for the City and County of Exeter, xvi. See also Cox and Harvey, English Church Furniture, 34.

137 MacCulloch Diarmaid, “The Myth of the English Reformation,” Journal of British Studies 30 (January 1991): 119 .

138 Bossy John, Christianity in the West 1400–1700 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985), chap. 8.

This essay arises from research undertaken in connection with the collaborative project “Remembering the Reformation,” funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council ( I am grateful to Bronwyn Wallace for her very helpful advice on an earlier draft and to audiences in Edinburgh, London, Columbus, and Vancouver for their stimulating comments. I also acknowledge the support of the Leverhulme Trust.

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Church History
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