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The clergy of the diocese of Canterbury in the seventeenth century

Reid, Thomas (2011) The clergy of the diocese of Canterbury in the seventeenth century. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94606) (KAR id:94606)


The traditional historiography of the English clergy, in the seventeenth century, has been in three parts, corresponding to the periods before, during and after the mid-century upheavals, with the years immediately following the Restoration often being subsumed into the eighteenth century. By contrast, in this thesis, as many as possible of the Canterbury diocesan clergy, excluding those in the peculiars, across the whole of the seventeenth century, have been identified and their characteristics analysed and tabulated. The resulting prosopography divides the clergy into two groups; cathedral and parish clergy including curates. Thematic chapters allow comparisons between cathedral and parish clergy and between these different categories of clergy present in the diocese in the three major periods of the seventeenth century and in selected years of the century. The prevalence of pluralism, defined as all clerical offices held, rather than merely offices with cure, is examined and this data is combined with the value of benefices and cathedral emoluments to estimate annual incomes. The results confirm that high incomes were restricted to the cathedral elite and a very limited number of parish clergy and that there were many poor vicars and curates, but it is suggested that this method is more robust than attempting to estimate wealth or standards of living. A dramatic reduction of the number of clergy in the diocese after the Restoration is revealed and attributed to sequestrations, ejections, and the chaos of the civil wars and Interregnum causing falling university attendances and reduced charitable giving. The will of a nonconformist, Clement Barling, provides the basis for innovative illustrations of the connections between the clergy and between them and certain of the laity and finally, it is shown that the numbers of sequestrations and ejections were probably much greater than previously estimated.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94606
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2023 14:51 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2023 14:51 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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