The Company of Preachers

Ref: C2224608

While East Anglia has a wealth of medieval churches, their interiors owe more to post-Reformation beliefs and practices. Chapels are a significant feature of our villages and towns. In order to understand both the buildings and the beliefs and practices of those who built and used them, we use a variety of sources and material evidence to study religious practice and experience from the establishment of the Church of England and its conflicts with Puritans and Recusants, and follow developments through the turbulent 17th century with the founding of independent chapels and non-conformist sects. In the 18th century we contrast the restrained religious practice of Parson Woodforde and the 'enthusiasm' of Wesley and the Methodists, and we consider the political and social developments that led to the Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic movements of Victorian England, and the re-establishment of Catholicism.

Course aim

We study the turbulent religious landscape of Post-Reformation East Anglia, the churches, the 'Ministers of the Word', and the new views on religion, with a view to encouraging interest in aspects of local history

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Describe key factors of religious change from the 16th to the beginning of the 20th century
  • Recognise and explain the material evidence of the practice of different religious groups throughout the region, and describe details of the growth and popularity of non-conformity
  • Examine, analyse and compare source materials on the impact of different religious groups in society
  • Participate in discussion on the Church of England and its development in the 18th and 19th centuries
  • Apply your knowledge of the period and themes to new materials

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • You could undertake individual research, or join a group undertaking a local history project. Interest in using original materials might encourage you to undertake a course in palaeography to pursue your interest further.

Download full Course information sheet

The Company of Preachers


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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