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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.