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The Stations of the SunA History of the Ritual Year in Britain$
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Ronald Hutton

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205708

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205708.001.0001

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Saints and Souls

Saints and Souls

(p.371) 36 Saints and Souls
The Stations of the Sun

Ronald Hutton

Oxford University Press

Each mayor of Bristol in the 1470s was expected to entertain the whole council and other prominent citizens and gentry, to ‘fires and their drinkings with spiced cakebread and sundry wines’, before they dispersed to their respective parish churches for evensong. There they presumably prepared for the most famous ritual of the night: the ringing of church bells to comfort the souls in purgatory after the congregation had offered prayers for them. The concept of purgatory, the belief that the living could assist the condition of the dead by praying for them, and the notion that saints could function as intercessors between humans and Christ or the god of Christianity, were all doctrines condemned by Protestantantism, and so this complex of rituals was bound to run into trouble as soon as the latter took control and survived the reign of Henry VIII.

Keywords:   Bristol, souls, purgatory, prayers, saints, Christ, Christianity, Protestantantism, rituals, Henry VIII

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