The Feast of the Not So Innocents: A Christmas Story

In a tale of Christmas anarchy, John Chandler follows the aftermath of a fatal altercation between a vicar, and one of the canon's servants in the house of choristers. The article considers the changes made to how different sections of the church interact, as well as how disputes are settled when things get out of control.

Urban Oligarchy, Conflict and Concealment: Religion, Politics and Society in late 16th-Century Bath

The Reformation of English towns has provided an attractive field of research for scholars in recent decades, yet Bath’s Tudor experience has been persistently overlooked. In the late sixteenth century two events disturbed the religious and social equilibrium of the city: the attempted amalgamation of the inner-city parishes, and an inquisition into alleged concealed lands. These events had profound immediate and long-term social, political and religious repercussions. In this article, Emma Corker highlights the significance of these events, which have often been overlooked by those interested in Reformation history.

“The poor do not need long epitaphs”: the provenance of some West Country memorials

An epitaph may be defined as something written about the dead. Often epitaphs found on gravestones and memorials are wholly or in part some fitting quotation or poem which, from the perspective of the bereaved, seems to befit the departed. In this article, Michael Weller explores the provenance of those epitaphs found on gravestones of south west England, and the very different form of writing found on memorial plaques and the like

Captain Bishop of the…The Military Career of George Bishop

In 1668, the King's council was informed that George Bishop, 'The Grand Ringleader (or Archbishop) of the Quakers had been buried in Bristol 'attended by a more numerous company than ever I yet saw at any funeral'. If the title of 'Archbishop' was a play on his name, it was a barbed one: Quakers rejected all forms of priesthood. But Bishop was indeed famous, or infamous, as a Quaker leader, bracketed at times with George Fox. He had been especially active as a writer, and for some time maintained at Bristol the sort of secretariat and information centre for which his previous career had well qualified him. In this article, Jonothan Harlow reconstructs the story of the man who was entrusted with the responsibility of ‘discovering conspiracies against the Commonwealth’.

The Transition of Taunton from ‘wicked town’ to ‘peaceable borough’

In the years after 1600 Taunton was marked by a heady mixture of radical Puritanism and the volatile wool trade. Together these pitched Taunton into the centre of the Civil War in the area and, on two occasions in the second half of the seventeenth century, into open rebellion against the government. William Gibson follows Taunton’s transition from a centre of rebellion to peaceable borough in the eighteenth century.

‘Fancy and useful’: Bazaars and middle class women in late Victorian Salisbury

Leisure was a substantial part of the life of a Victorian lady. Leisure pursuits took place mostly in the domestic sphere, although attendance at theatres, concerts and flower shows increasingly brought leisured ladies into the public. Another undertaking of these ladies which brought them into the public arena was voluntary philanthropic work. Jane Howells explores the Salisbury Bazaars, where middle class local women sold the products of their leisured labour as a means of charitable fundraising.

Criminals or Martyrs? Wiltshire Quakers and the Law in Seventeenth-Century England

The first recorded Quaker meeting in Wiltshire took place in 1653. From the very beginning, the Wiltshire Quakers were met with staunch opposition from the local authorities of law and order. It was widely believed among the ruling elite that the nonconformist nature of Quakerism would lead to widespread resistance to authority. In this article, Kay Taylor looks into the ways in which Quakerism in Wiltshire was criminalised, how the Quaker community sought to justify their practices, and the phenomenon of martyrdom.

St Thomas’ Church, Bristol: From Medieval Splendour to Classical elegance

'There were 18 parish churches crowded in and around the walls of medieval Bristol. Churchwardens' accounts and other sources show that these churches continued to be well-maintained throughout the 16th and 17th centuries , in spite of the destruction of many furnishings of great beauty and value during all the upheavals of the Reformation'. Joseph Bettey looks at the maintenance of parish churches in the Bristol area, and how congregations approached physical alterations to the skin of the building.

A New Look at the Maire of Bristowe is Kalender

The Maire of Bristowe is Kalendar,begun in 1478/9 by the town clerk, Robert Ricart,contains the first fully developed chronicle to be produced in an English provincial town.The book represents a considerable investment of time, money and intellectual effort. Its conception was unusually ambitious, and it was the product of a prosperous, sophisticated and self-conscious urban community. Peter Fleming provides a new look on this important document, as well as providing insight on the context of its creation.