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 Church had huge role in daily life  People used religion to try and make sense of the challenges they faced in everyday life  Religion was one way.

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Presentation on theme: " Church had huge role in daily life  People used religion to try and make sense of the challenges they faced in everyday life  Religion was one way."— Presentation transcript:


2  Church had huge role in daily life  People used religion to try and make sense of the challenges they faced in everyday life  Religion was one way (and prob best way of that time) to get community together  Year was structured around religious festivals – work stopped so people could participate  Belief in God and Devil was certain – not up for debate – the idea of hell was very real  Not many people literate – so religion expressed in visible ways – very dramatic.

3  Medical knowledge limited –plague scary but just a toothache could be fatal  Death was reality – depicted in paintings and murals everywhere in churches  Weather could be fatal – storm damage / starvation due to damaged crops.  Huge contrast in society from rich to poor – lots of violence and war. People needed hope.  World was battlefield btw God and Devil  Daily life such a grind – people hoped for salvation and peace in afterlife

4  Routine of family life dictated by seasons – waiting for spring or summer; dreading arrival of harsh winters.  Survival depended on hunting, planting and harvests. If they went well, all was ok – if not…..  Pagan (pre-Christian) priests developed many rites and ceremonies designed to influence the seasons › Roman Catholic church incorporated some of these practices  Midwinter and midsummer became focal points of the year › Celebration of bountiful harvests or reminders of tough times coming and a brief time to forget their troubles.

5  NEW YEARS › WINTER festival aimed at encouraging return of spring – day of gift-giving and ‘sweeping’ out old year to make way for new one  ASH WEDNESDAY (Feb) › Began 40 days of fasting before Easter – helped conserve food for winter  EASTER (March) › Ritual burning of Jack-O’-Lent figure on Palm Sunday ( represented either getting rid of winter OR Jesus’ betrayal by Judas)  MAY DAY – Pagan origins – marked return of spring. People danced around the maypole (pagan fertility symbol)

6  People used herbal remedies / blood letting  Law used = to prosecute witches  Charms and spells to ward off evil spirits  Praying to God  Religious and worldly concerns linked › People didn’t distinguish between religious and secular reasons for something happening (both occurring at same time)  Belief in devil, demons, witches, astrology – not due to ignorance – EVERYONE believed those things

7  Church › Established religion › Written › Theological (God) › Formal rituals › Ecclesiastical structure (Christian beliefs on discipline and conformity) › Anglican church after 1559  Traditional ‘oral’ culture  Belief in supernatural and superstition  Non-theological – pagan origins  Not concerned with faith, rather effects on day-to-day life

8  Included ‘folklorised’ Christianity and ‘conventional’ Christianity  Has been used to distinguish btw those beliefs of the ‘governed’ and the ‘elite’ – historians now say it incl. ALL people’s beliefs. Example is belief in witches.  Not a single entity – range of popular beliefs – not all villages had same religious experiences but you can’t call one religion and one not.  Reay (1984) suggests that the masses would not have “drawn any rigid distinctions between Christian and non-Christian” when looking at religious practices

9  Majority believed in God (but not necessarily to the exclusion of other beliefs)  Attended Church at Easter; for baptisms, marriages and burials.  Liked the community aspect; ritual and ceremony BUT didn’t want interference of the minister.  Wanted to live a ‘godly’ life – meant following ‘decent moral code’ – thought this was path to salvation – NOT prayer.  PELAGIANISM – belief that it was human actions that determined salvation – NOT God (biggest challenge to Anglican Church)  Believed in good and evil spirits

10 Varieties of belief Popular beliefs Theology of Church CatholicsPuritans Anti- Calvinists Protestant Separatists Parish Anglicans Folklorised Christianity Pelagianism

11 Tried to live godly life – preoccupied with sin Deep faith; spent lot of time reading bible; relationship with God foremost in their lives Dressed in grey, black brown or wihite rather than any bright colours Comes form word – ‘pure’ – they were members of C of E, so not a separate religious entity – just a different mindset.

12  They wanted to ‘purify’ the church and society  Thought priests had too much power – said anyone could get in touch with God just by reading the Bible and living ‘Godly’  Opposed use of church for social functions – e.g. stalls on Sunday markets  Critical of bishops and clergy who couldn’t ‘control’ their flock (ironic?)  Promoted thrift and hard work opposed to drunkenness/promiscuity/dependence on society  Equated immoral behavior with godlessness › Zealous with rules for themselves to follow – attended church regularly (sometimes as often as 19 times in a week)

13  Society saw Puritans as far too zealous  Puritans were frequently at odds with others in society because they tried to impose their beliefs on everyone.  ‘Puritan’ became almost a swear word – term of abuse  They thought themselves the ‘chosen few’ – only ones who were ‘godly’ this infuriated many.  They differed from from most people because they seemed to gain enormous enjoyment from ‘religious exercises’.  Puritan family = mini church, Dad as Priest

14  Courts in EME often tied up with people who had broken church ‘rules’ › Recusancy, sabbath breaking, bastard bearers, drunkards.  Puritan reforms relatively unsuccessful during reign of Elizabeth (mainly because Eliz. was moderate towards Catholics.) › Also because she reigned for so long – people got used to things  Puritanism firmly established in gentry families  1604 – Book of Sports – Sabbatarianism – law about what you should do in Sundays. (reversed in 1618)  Puritans remained a minority group

15  Puritans not the only devout people.  Parish Anglicans or ‘Prayer book protestants’ known because of their defence of the liturgy and rites from Elizabethan Settlement.  ANTI-CALVINISTS › Supported idea of ‘free-will’ – that salvation was available to ALL people – attained by living good lives – not PREDESTINATION › Didn’t want to lose too many of the sacraments of church (the more Catholic bits) › Sometimes called Arminians or Laudians)

16  Magic  Astrology and Horoscopes  Witchcraft  These things were what people believed in to get through their daily lives  They were commonly believed in – ALONGSIDE the Church and Religion.

17  Unlike religion – attempt to control the unknown › E.g. rabbit’s foot for luck, charms and amulets; divining rod to find water; carrying posies to ward off plague. › Many beliefs centered on healing – Royal touch could heal scrofula (TB of the neck glands) › Healers – or ‘cunning men’ used range of remedies and beliefs.

18 What reinforced use of magic? Beliefs common even amongst educated people. Faith in something, for example healing, makes it work. Treatment by magic was more benign than contemporary treatment by leeches or purging Herbal remedies very effective, established over long period of trial and error.

19 Astrology and Horoscopes Astrologers consulted over when to plant crops; have kids; weather Astrologers consulted by royals e.g. Elizabeth – John Dee. Astrological almanacs basic calendars; listed religious festivals; days when you should do things Astrologers often university educated – based their predictions on Zodiac Genuinely popular belief system Astrology was compatible with Christianity

20  Most people in Middle Ages 1200-1500 believed in magic and the power of witches.  In EME – charge of maleficium most common (means primary witchcraft or curses) – people caught doing this were ‘black’ witches.  Witches were believed to be agents of the Devil  Witchcraft could only be inherited by women according to EME society – women were the ‘weaker vessel’ › Ironically good or ‘white’ witches were mostly male.  Women used words as weapons – men used physical force – power of words scary for people in EME.

21  Only form of protection was counter-magic and the Law. › Suspected witches were forced to swim in a pond – if they floated – they were condemned as witches. › Also subjected to physical examination (looking for the ‘mark’, torture (in order to extract a confession)  If animals were bewitched they were burnt alive or had their ears cut off  White witches could also be women or ‘cunning folk’ – apparently quite numerous in EME – healers, fortune tellers – ‘combatants of black witches.  Some white witches were charged with becoming black witches if they were thought to have spirits or angels working for them.

22  Hysteria about witches partly caused by Reformation (Prots. Didn’t have saints and angels like Caths.  Bible said they existed = Bible was truth.  Church taught that history was solely about battle btw God and the Devil.  Time of superstition, not reason  Economic hardship brought on accusations as people looked for someone/something to blame e.g. a denial of charity usually led to the refuser being cursed – often reported at witchcraft trials

23 Approx. 90% of all those accused were women Witchcraft capital offecne under Acts of 1542, 1563 and 1604. Reay (1998) says btw 500-1000 witches executed in EME Many judges sceptical – over 50% of those charged were acquitted.

24  Key Terms › Define the following terms.  Official Church; Popular Religion; Folklorised Christianity; Puritan; White witches; Maleficium; Sabbatarianism; May Day.  Write word, phrase, date or name that best relates to statements below; › Could reinforce use of magic; Leading Elizabethan astrologer; Root of many witchcraft accusations; Those mostly accused of being a witch; Monarch who wrote book on Demonology.

25  Church as institution set up by monarch; Beliefs and practices of masses; Fusion of Christian and non- Christian beliefs; a more ‘Godly’ Protestant; perform good by occult means (magic) eg. Means cunning women; Causing of harm by cursing/touching; belief that no secular activity should take place on a Sunday; celebration of first day of spring.  Faith that it worked; John Dee (or Simon Forman); denial of charity; determined prosecutors; old widows; James I.

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