Reconstructing the Parish in South Western England: the 1650 Church Survey

The ecclesiastical legislation of the early 1640s is justly famous. In the space of a few short years the ancient apparatus of the episcopal Church was replaced with a Presbyterian equivalent. Bishops were removed from the Lords, whilst the Book of Common Prayer was replaced with the Directory for Public Worship. Having abolished the episcopal hierarchy, the parliamentarian state was left in possession of land, tithes and impropriate rectories across the country. Following the execution of the king in 1649, the new Republic appointed trustees to carry out a survey of the state of the church. In this article, Alex Craven provides an insight into the local parish and the relationship between the Church and State through the evidence of the Church survey.

Historians of Mere – Part I

Whilst Mere is mentioned in the various diaries of early travellers, these entries give us little which is reliable by modem standards. In the years 1659-70 Joan Aubrey, the Stuart antiquarian of Kington St. Michael in the north of the county, conceived the idea of a Topographical history of Wiltshire, never completed, the text of which was deposited in the Bodlian Library. It was finally published, with a commentary by the Rev J.E.Jackson, by the Wiltshire Archaeological & Natural History Society in 1862. In this paper, MF Tighe hopes to provide a guide to the historiography of Mere, as well as pointers to future study.