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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Tuesday, May 31, 2005
    From Norris Green to Morebath
     
    I know I'm meant to have read The Stripping of the Altars, Eamon Duffy's magisterial survey of traditional religion in pre-Reformation England, we all are. I did buy it (or some kind person bought it for me) but it's still there, waiting. Too many pages, you see. Bit daunting.

    But at the weekend I discovered a Duffy book with fewer pages and one which might just get me into his theme by way of a clever bit of writing. In The Voices of Morebath Duffy moves from the global to the local. He's unearthed 54 years worth of parish accounts written by a priest of a tiny West Country village; 54 years of massive disruption and change, and he's turned it into a blow-by-blow account of the Reformation as it affected this one place and its people.

    Looks fascinating - and not only that, it's given me a route to take next week. Remember last year en-route to St Ives I stopped off at the Cornish hamlet of Norris Green? Well, this year it'll be north off the main road at Bampton, to check out Morebath and the place where Sir Christopher Trychay recorded the events of each day for all those years, all those years ago.