If St Andrew Hubbard, Eastcheap, was a fairly typical London parish in the later fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, its archive is unusually good. A reasonable number of its parishioners have surviving wills, which is true for the City's parishes generally; but St Andrew Hubbard is extraordinary in preserving churchwardens' accounts in a virtually unbroken run from c. 1450. It thus proves possible to gain a more than usually clear impression of parishioners' beliefs and conduct both for the period preceding the Reformation and then during subsequent upheavals. Scrutiny of testamentary practice either side of c. 1540 indicates a profound and rapid shift in the way in which individuals conceived of and exploited their parish. While, by comparison, churchwardens' accounts suggest institutional continuities, analysis of two mid sixteenth-century initiatives to keep property which had been devised to the parish sheds further welcome light on the reflexes that a community developed to safeguard its interests in this critical period.
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