The Familial Afterlives of Parochial Sermons in Early Modern England

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This article presents important new evidence of the ways in which sermons could be passed down within Protestant clerical families entrenched in the parishes. These sermons were re-delivered to generations of congregants in order to advance the Reformation in early modern England. This paper draws attention to the reuse of sermons even where there were denominational differences within clerical dynasties, raising crucial questions surrounding the strength of family ties and filial piety in the face of complex and changing attitudes towards both Church of England and nonconformist doctrine. Moreover, in questioning the reception of these repurposed sermons, I suggest that sentimental value was a powerful tool which was utilized to convert parochial congregations. This fresh perspective on post-Reformation sermon culture argues that individual sermons could be artifacts of generational memory, representing continuity and lineage within the long English Reformation and beyond.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-140
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2022


  • Clerical dynasty
  • family religion
  • manuscript sermons
  • orality
  • preaching
  • printed sermons


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