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For people in medieval England, the parish church was an integral part of their community. In Going to Church in Medieval England (Yale University Press, 2021), Nicholas Orme describes how parish churches operated and details the roles they played in the lives of their parishioners. While there was a considerable variety of experience over the centuries and between the parishes throughout England, the basic practices in them largely remained the same. These were supervised by a range of people, both lay and clerical, who staged the Mass and managed the church’s everyday operations. Their activities touched on the lives of the members of the community in a variety of ways, from regular attendance at daily and weekly services to celebrations marking the seasons and the great events of life: birth, coming of age, marriage, and comfort in sickness and death. And while the English Reformation transformed the relationship between England and the Roman Catholic Church, Orme shows how some of the changes associated with it were already underway before it began, while much of what went on in parish churches remained as before.
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