Parish churches were at the heart of English religious and social life in the Middle Ages and the sixteenth century. In Going to Church in Medieval England, Nicholas Orme shows how they came into existence, who staffed them, and how their buildings were used. He explains who went to church, who did not attend, how people behaved there, and how they—not merely the clergy—affected how worship was staged.
This extract below is Chapter 1: Origins and the Parish. It traces the emergence of an organised Church in Roman Britain and Anglo-Saxon England, and shows how parish churches, parishes, and congregations came into existence up to the Norman Conquest.