Faith and Fraternity

London Livery Companies and the Reformation 1510-1603


In Faith and Fraternity Laura Branch provides the first sustained comparative analysis of London’s livery companies during the Reformation. Focussing on the Grocers and the Drapers, this book challenges the view that merchants were zealous early Protestants and that the companies to which they belonged adapted to the Reformation by secularising their ethos. Rather, the rhetoric of Christianity, particularly appeals to brotherly love, punctuated the language of corporate governance throughout the century, and helped the liveries retain a spiritual culture. These institutions comprised a spectrum of religious identities yet members managed to coexist relatively peacefully; in this way the liveries help us to understand better how the transition from a Catholic to a Protestant society was negotiated.

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Laura Branch, PhD (Warwick), is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Intra-European Fellow at the National University of Ireland Galway.

List of Abbreviations

Introduction: Mercantile institutions and individuals during the English Reformation

1. Company life in the early sixteenth century c. 1510-1534

2. The corporate reaction to religious change 1534-1603

3. Beyond the company hall: merchants as civic and parish governors

4. Reputation and religion: mercantile attitudes towards money and trade

5. Mercantile religious identities and social networks



All interested in the Reformation and religious identities in early modern Britain and Europe, and the culture of early modern trade and traders.
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