BOOK REVIEWS Schen, Claire. S, Charity and Lay Piety in Reformation London, 1500-1620 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002), xvi + 281 pp., £60.00, ISBN 0 754 60098 X. Claire Schen’s study of popular religion in London between 1500 and 1620 seeks to make sense of religious change before, during and after the Reformation by focusing on attitudes to charity. Rather than advance a bold interpretation about whether reform was popular or unpopular, fast or slow, she seeks to elucidate the process of Reformation by look- ing in detail at wills and pious bequests in order to understand how ordinary men and women adapted to the shifting religious landscape, and how they themselves sought to redraw that landscape. She focuses in particular on four London parishes, each with di ﬀ erent characteris- tics: St. Botolph Aldersgate, St. Mary Woolnoth, St. Michael Cornhill and St. Stephen Walbrook. Schen also argues that it was not just Protestantism which recon ﬁ gured attitudes to poverty in early modern London, but the rapidly changing demographic, social and economic circumstances. She criticizes the historical approach to lay piety, which either tends to underplay its signi ﬁ cance or make it appear too mono- lithic. The picture
Journal of Early Modern History – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2007
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