A Blessed Company: Parishes, Parsons, and Parishioners in by John K. Nelson

By John K. Nelson

During this ebook, John Nelson reconstructs daily Anglican spiritual perform and adventure in Virginia from the top of the 17th century to the beginning of the yankee Revolution. tough prior characterizations of the colonial Anglican institution as susceptible, he unearths the elemental function the church performed within the political, social, and fiscal in addition to the non secular lives of its parishioners. Drawing on huge learn in parish and county documents and different basic assets, Nelson describes Anglican Virginia's parish procedure, its parsons, its rituals of worship and rites of passage, and its parishioners' different relationships to the church. All colonial Virginians--men and girls, wealthy and terrible, old and young, planters and retailers, servants and slaves, dissenters and freethinkers--belonged to a parish. As such, they have been topic to its levies, its authority over marriage, and different social and financial dictates. as well as its non secular capabilities, the parish supplied crucial take care of the terrible, collaborated with the courts to address civil disputes, and exerted its impression over many different facets of neighborhood existence. A Blessed corporation demonstrates that, by way of creatively adapting Anglican parish association and the language, varieties, and modes of Anglican spirituality to the Chesapeake's exact environmental and human stipulations, colonial Virginians sustained a remarkably powerful and devoted Anglican church within the previous Dominion.

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Additional info for A Blessed Company: Parishes, Parsons, and Parishioners in Anglican Virginia, 1690-1776

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When Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence eighty-six years later, there were ninety-five. 16 Adjusting local institutions to demographic change posed a daunting problem compounded by Virginia’s reluctance to count its population. Although Virginia was the most populous of Britain’s mainland North American colonies, no censuses were taken between  and . 17 But enlargement of the parish-county system proceeded anyway. 19 Several observations are in order. First, parish formation strove to keep  .

32 One consequence of new parish formation was that it steadily enlarged office-holding opportunities for Virginia planters. Virginia’s fifty-three parishes in afforded vestry seats to  men; seventy parishes by meant  positions (an increase of  places); seventy-six parishes in  extended membership to  men (a decade increase of  places); and the ninety-five parishes in  enlarged the pool to , men ( more spaces than were available in ). Nothing goes further toward explaining vestry stability than the prevalent practice of co-optation.

Peter’s (New Kent); Armisteads, Plummers, and Tabbs in Kingston (Gloucester); Shacklefords, Gaineses, Fosters, Corbins, and Taliaferros in Stratton Major (King and Queen); Meriwethers, Andersons, and Garlands in St. 26 Everywhere (except perhaps in the Mountain parishes newly formed just prior to the Revolution) this identification of the vestry with the planter elite prevailed. The economics of tobacco raising and the availability of land flung the sons and daughters of successful planters far and wide.

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