Skip to main content

The First Nine Meetings of the Parish Symposium


Inaugural Meeting, 30 April 2003: 'New Approaches to Parish History'

Katherine French (SUNY New Paltz / Princeton, USA):
'Women’s Involvement in Shaping the Parish Liturgy'

Steve Hindle (University of Warwick):
'On the parish? Negotiating pension rights in seventeenth-century England'

Eric Carlson (Gustavus Adolphus College, Saint Peter, USA):
'Anticlericalism and the English Reformation: Cause, Effect, or Myth?'

Comment: Ethan Shagan (Northwestern University, USA)



Second Symposium, 5 May 2004: 'Parish Records and Parish Culture'

Alexandra Buckle (Magdalen College, Oxford):
'Records of Music in the Late Medieval Church: the Case of St Mary’s, Warwick'

Arnd Reitemeier (University of Kiel, Germany):
'The fabrica ecclesiae and the German Parish on the Eve of the Reformation'

Will Coster (De Montfort University, Bedford):
'Culture, Memory and Identity: English Parish Registers as Communal Histories 1538-1800'

Comment: Felicity Heal (Jesus College, Oxford)



Third Symposium, 14 May 2005: 'Parish Clergy and Parish Community'

C. Scott Dixon (Queen’s University, Belfast):
'Parish clergy and parish community in early modern German lands'

Christopher Durston (University of Plymouth):
'Some divisive issues in local religion in England, 1640-60: Prayer, Sundays and the sacraments'

Liz Tingle (University College, Northampton):
'Priests, parish devotions and the dead: Chantries in the Counter Reformation in Brittany 1500-1700'

Comment: Eamon Duffy (Magdalene College, Cambridge)



Fourth Symposium, 20 May 2006: 'Rituals and the Parish'

Arthur Bissegger (Lausanne/Basel, Switzerland):
‘Medieval Parish Rituals in the Diocese of Lausanne: The Evidence from Obituaries’

Bridget Heal (University of St Andrews):
‘Images of the Virgin Mary and Marian ritual in German parishes’

Christopher Marsh (Queen’s University, Belfast):
‘Music and ritual in English parish churches 1550-1700’

Comment: Edward Muir (Northwestern University, USA)



Fifth Symposium, 19 May 2007: 'Challenges to the Parish'

Rob Lutton (Nottingham),
'Parochial religion, heterodoxy and nonconformity in two Wealden parishes, c. 1450-1640' [Abstract]

Judith Pollmann (Leiden University),
''Parish churches and the Catholic imagination in the Dutch Republic' [Abstract]

Jeremy Gregory (University of Manchester),
'The porous parish, the Church of England and nonconformity: Leakage and seepage in late seventeenth and eighteenth-century England and New England' [Abstract]

Comment: Miri Rubin (Queen Mary, University of London)

Symposium report by Laura Sangha and Jonathan Willis (published on the 'H-Soz-u-Kult' history platform)



Sixth Symposium, 17 May 2008: 'Parish Pieties'

Gary Gibbs (Roanoke College),
‘Four Coats for Our Lady: Gender & Saintly Devotion in the Parish of St Stephen, Coleman Street, London, 1466-1542’ [Abstract]

Christine Peters (Queen's College, Oxford),
‘Christocentric Piety and the Parish' [Abstract]

Andrew Spicer (Oxford Brookes),
‘Piety and the Parish in early modern Orléans’ [Abstract]

Comment: Bill Sheils (York)

Conference report by Brodie Waddell

featuring an introduction to the Symposium (by Beat Kümin) and different approaches to the theme of 'Parish Pieties' (discussed by Andrew Spicer, Gary Gibbs, Penny Roberts, Bill Sheils and Brodie Waddell). To hear the interviews, click on the play button below; to save a copy use 'download':





Seventh Symposium, 8-9 May 2009: 'Microhistory - Local History - Parish History'

2-day event organized in association with the Mellon-Newberry-Project of the Centre for Renaissance Studies (Mellon Bursary holders: Graham Chernoff, Edinburgh, and Pavel Kůrka, Prague)

Friday 8 May: Workshop on Methods and Approaches

Featuring contributions by James Amelang (Madrid), James Collins (Georgetown), John Craig (Simon Fraser), David Cressy (Ohio State), Craig Harline (Brigham Young), William Naphy (Aberdeen), Guido Ruggiero (Miami), Martial Staub (Sheffield) and John Walter (Essex)

 Comment: Lyndal Roper (Oxford)



Participants of the 2009 Symposium (Photo: B. Waddell). Click here for further impressions.

Saturday 9 May: Case Studies

Clive Burgess (Royal Holloway)
'What did they think they were doing? The parishioners of All Saints’, Bristol, in the century before the Reformation’ [abstract]

Graeme Murdock (Trinity College, Dublin)
‘Rural Reformed religion: Life in a Savoyard parish’ [abstract]

Angelo Torre (Università del Piemonte Orientale)
'Parish and confraternity in Chieri' [abstract]

Comment: Giorgio Chittolini (Università di Milano)

Workshop and Symposium report by Graham Chernoff (Edinburgh), published by H-Soz-u-Kult [Word version]




Eighth Symposium, 22 May 2010: Parishes on the 'Margins'

Frans Ciappara (University of Malta)
‘Priests and People in Eighteenth-Century Malta: Centre and Periphery’ [abstract]

Henry Cohn (University of Warwick)
‘The Jewish kehilla (Local Community) in Early Modern Central Europe’ [abstract; published version: ‘Jewish self-governing assemblies in early modern Europe’, in: M.H. da Cruz Coelho & M.M. Tavares Ribeiro (eds), Parliaments, the Law and the Representations from the the Middle Ages to the Present Day (Lisbon: Assembleia da Republica, 2010), 87-95]

Raymond Gillespie (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
‘Parishes on the Edges: The Parish and the Cultural Regions of Early Modern Ireland' [abstract]

Comment: Alexandra Walsham (Exeter)

Symposium report by Stephen Bates (Warwick)


2010_ciappara_pic_bates.jpg 2010_cohn_bk_pic_bates.jpg 2010_tingle_gillespie_capp_pic_bates.jpg

Laura Sangha, Frans Ciappara, Henry Cohn, Beat Kümin, Liz Tingle, Raymond Gillespie, Bernard Capp. Pics: Stephen Bates




Ninth Symposium, 21 May 2011: 'The Fabric of Community - Parish Material Cultures in Perspective'

Co-organized by Joanne Anderson (History of Art) and Donald P. White (History)


Nicholas Orme (Exeter): 'Doorways to Another World: Medieval Chapels in the Landscape, Church Life and Literature' [Abstract]

Kate Giles (York): 'Stratford-upon-Avon Guild Chapel, Warwickshire: A Medieval Guild Chapel and its Antiquarian Study' [Abstract]

Federico Botana (Courtauld): 'The Case of San Nicola at San Vittore del Lazio' [Abstract]

Jennifer Alexander and Sofija Matich (Warwick): 'Creating and Recreating the Tombs to the Dukes of York in Fotheringhay Church' [Abstract]


Round table discussion (Pic: Matthew Jackson)

Symposium Report by Agata Gomolka and Matthew Jackson (a slightly abbreviated version appeared on the H-SOZ-U-KULT list)

Further impressions from the 2011 Symposium (slideshow)





'I wanted ... to let you know how influential the symposium was in shaping my own research.'

(Eric W. Nelson, Missouri State University, 2006)


'An important annual conference on the parish and parish material, insisting upon the importance of comparative history and interdisciplinary approaches.'

(John Craig, 'Parish Religion', in: Doran and Jones eds, The Elizabethan World, 2011, p. 225)