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Stratton Churchwardens' Accounts, 1512-1578

Spanning the period 1512-78, the High Cross churchwardens' accounts of Stratton, in Cornwall, are unusually complete and informative. Written mostly in English, they are among only eighteen surviving sets of Pre-Reformation churchwardens' accounts which cover the whole period 1535-70, when most Reformation change took place. These accounts allow us to track the progress of the Reformation in a single parish and its impact on the lives of ordinary people. Stratton, in addition, has a partial set of general receivers' or stock wardens' accounts, which give much additional information about the parish at this time. They show how much has been lost from other parishes, shed light on the 1548-9 Cornish rebellions and enable a more narrative approach to be taken than is usually possible with churchwardens' accounts, often dismissed as mere lists. The volume also makes extensive use of the Blanchminster Charity records at the Cornwall Record Office, including deeds and leases of church lands, and an Elizabethan court case with rare pictorial plans showing Stratton's church, church house and market place. Together, these documents give a rounded picture of life in one parish in a period of important religious change. JOANNA MATTINGLY is a freelance researcher and Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. Based in Cornwall, she has written books and articles on Mousehole and Newlyn, Cornish church architecture and medieval guilds, and church houses.
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