In Religious Education in Thirteenth-Century England, Andrew Reeves examines how laypeople in a largely illiterate and oral culture learned the basic doctrines of the Christian religion. Although lay religious life is often assumed to have been a tissue of ignorance and superstition, this study shows basic religious training to have been broadly available to laity and clergy alike.
Reeves examines the nature, availability and circulation of sermon manuscripts as well as guidebooks to Christian teachings written for both clergy and literate laypeople. He shows that under the direction of a vigorous and reforming episcopate and aided by the preaching of the friars, clergy had a readily available toolkit to instruct their lay flocks.
The Life and Thought of William Stevens, 1732-1807
Lay Activism and the High Church Movement of the Late Eighteenth Century: The Life and Thought of William Stevens, 1732-1807, by Robert M. Andrews, is the first full-length study of Stevens’ life and thought. Historiographically revisionist and contextualised within a neglected history of lay High Church activism, Andrews presents Stevens as an influential High Church layman who brought to Anglicanism not only his piety and theological learning, but his wealth and business acumen. With extensive social links to numerous High Church figures in late Georgian Britain, Stevens’ lay activism is shown to be central to the achievements and effectiveness of the wider High Church movement during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.