Edward Alleyn (1566-1626): actor; businessman; founder of Dulwich College.
The organization of the established church 02
The Deans of St Paul’s and of Westminster (Abbey) were in charge of the two cathedrals in the diocese of London; in other dioceses there was one cathedral., administered by a Dean (appointed by the monarch, as were:)
2 Archbishops (each ruling an Archdiocese or Province: Canterbury; York)
Parish clergy varied greatly in wealth and status. Rectors; vicars; curates.
In theory, parish clergy were funded by tithes; but many tithes had become impropriated (impropriations) (especially at the Dissolution of the Monasteries, 1536-40).
Impropriated tithes were held by the laity; Shakespeare bought some at Stratford-upon-Avon.
Bare (partly) ruined choirs: Malmesbury Abbey (41 miles from Stratford).
The organization of the established church 05
The wealth of a parish clergyman depended on whether he was getting full (or any) tithes, and on the population of the parish; annual incomes for parish clergy varied from around £10 to £600.
To become a parish clergyman you had to (1) get ordained by a bishop; (2) get appointed to a job as a parish priest (benefice; living) by someone who had the advowson (right of appointment).
The organization of the established church 06
Monarchs, lords, bishops, and Oxbridgecolleges held many advowsons; but most were in the hands of gentlemen/ -women.
The holder of the advowson could appoint, but not remove, the parish clergyman.
To get ordained, clergy increasingly needed university education by 1600.
Bishops could remove parish clergy for cause.
The organization of the established church 07
It was in the interests of parish clergy to get on with the local bishop, and with the patron who appointed them to their living.
Bishops and local gentry often agreed on what clergy should say in their sermons; e.g. that they should support hierarchical values, and obedience to bishops/ gentry.
But bishops and gentry sometimes disagreed; important noble / gentry families appointed puritan clergy locally (e.g. Rich family, Earls of Warwick).
Mary Rich, Countess of Warwick (1625-78)
The organization of the established church 08
Locally, gentry/ nobles competed with bishops for control of the church, though the competition was often amicable.
At the national level, parliament and the crown competed for control of the church; by law, Elizabeth and later monarchs were Supreme Governors of the church; but parliament had made the law; so was the supremacy really held by parliament (or monarch-in-parliament)?
Shakespeare really wanted to be a gentleman (and succeeded).
A source problem: we don’t know how the poor viewed social distinctions (they were illiterate).
In 1596 the College of Arms granted John Shakespeare a Coat of Arms.
Social structure: contemporary views 02
William Harrison, Description of England 1577 (in Raphael Holinshed, Chronicles, 1577; revised 1587 – the 1587 edition a major source for Shakespeare’s history plays)
Sir Thomas Smith, De Republica Anglorum (On the Commonwealth of the English); written in the 1560s; published 1581; in English; but soon translated into Latin; became the standard European account of English institutions.
Social structure: contemporary views 03
Thomas Wilson: England in 1600.
Gregory King: England in 1695; statistics; Sir William Petty (1623-87).
The importance of being gentle (/noble).
Many people participated in local political life (held minor local office); few (c. 2%; “the political nation”) ran county and national government.
Sir William Petty (1623-1687)
Social structure: contemporary views 04
“Gentlemen are made good cheap in England”: Smith.
M.A. at university; membership of profession (lawyer; physician; but clergy decline in status after Reformation).
Coat of Arms; heralds; Durham (county): 6 families had a coat of arms 1530s; 56 1575; doubled again 1615.