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  • Ian W. Archer

This essay explores further the notion associated with W. K. Jordan that a new rational protestant philanthropy emerged after the Reformation. Drawing upon a sample of London wills from the period 1520-1640, it argues that protestants sought to forge an association between protestantism and charity, but suggests that there were rather more continuities with the catholic past than the polemics of the early reformers would leave one to believe. It explores the variety of forms in which voluntary giving was expressed, and argues that although giving was increasingly channelled through public institutions, giving within those institutional frameworks was often mediated through discretionary relationships of patronage and clientage.

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1 I am extremely grateful to Ben Coates, Jennifer Melville and Rosemary Sgroi for their assistance with the work on London wills that lies behind this essay.

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Transactions of the Royal Historical Society
  • ISSN: 0080-4401
  • EISSN: 1474-0648
  • URL: /core/journals/transactions-of-the-royal-historical-society
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