Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire

A ‘Lewd Company’ at Prayer: Plebeian Catholics in Elizabethan Cheshire

Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire (2018), 167, (1), 21–46.

Abstract

In May 1582, 17 members of a ‘lewd company’ of 22 individuals from the Cheshire parish of Malpas were presented and indicted before the Chester Quarter Sessions, charged with attendance at an illegal Catholic mass in a farmhouse there. The examinations of ten of the attendees survive in the Quarter Sessions records, and provide a rare and informative glimpse of a rural, post-Reformation Catholic community at a key point in its development. This article provides an edition of, and commentary upon, these sources. It argues that together they provide a valuable picture of the plebeian form of Catholicism which, unlike the religion of the Catholic gentry, has rarely survived in the record.

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Details

Author details

Barlow, Howard