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Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

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Morebath Parish Church

Like all Parish churches in our country, in turn, this little church was Roman Catholic; then became Protestant when Henry VIII decided he wanted a divorce; remained Protestant when Henry's son Edward came to the throne for a brief period; became Roman Catholic again when his daughter Mary succeeded Edward and finally, Protestant again when Elizabeth I succeeded Mary. It was a fairly bloody process so how did our ancestors cope with all this? 

© Richard J. Brine


In 2003,  Eamon Duffy, Professor of the History of Christianity at Cambridge University, published a book which changed our outlook on family history. The central figure of the book was a Roman Catholic priest -  * Sir Christopher Trychay** - who came to Morebath as its Vicar in 1520 and remained there until his death in 1874.


In addition to his religious duties, Sir Christopher kept the Churchwarden's Accounts on behalf of his parishioners for all that time - accounts which have remained intact and are kept in Devon's Record Office to this day. Eamon Duffy takes us through the accounts, translating any Tudor language or Latin as it crops up  and in doing so, shows us how Tudor village society functioned and how each villager had to cope, not only with their share in the joint responsibility within that function but with major and rapid changes in their way of life -  changes that shaped the society we live in today.  


Closely monitored by senior members of which ever church happened at that time to be "in power", violent changes spread throughout England, reaching right down to the little village of Morebath. But led by their indomitable Vicar, this little village (whose inhabitants are named in the book) was gradually guided towards the beginning of modern times, coping, within this narrow span of years, with  things which may have thrown people of today into turmoil. 

* A courtesy title applied to all priests

**Pronounced "Tricky"

If you never read another book on family history, read this one. You really do hear the voices of Morebath.


It was published by Yale University Press and is available as a paperback. Reasonably-priced second hand copies are still on sale in case it cannot be found in your local library.

Voices of Morebath



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