I have just finished reading Eamon Duffy`s superb book "The Voices of Morebath: Reformation and Rebellion in an English Village."
The village in question is Morebath, in the wilds of Devon, which was served by one parish priest for an amazing 54 years, and the parish saw the changes from Tudor Catholicism to the rigors of the Edwardian Prayer Book Reforms and back again under Queen Mary.
It makes almost heart-breaking reading in places, particularly when the parish was demanding a return to immediate baptism for those newborn infants whom they feared would not survive long enough to reach each Sunday`s scheduled public Baptism services, due to the high levels of infant mortality.
We are fortunate that we believe in the grace and mercy of God to cover those little ones who might for some reason die unbaptised, and I can think of no Orthodox or RC priest who would not hasten to baptised a child in such danger of death, but the new - and rigidly enforced- Anglican church could offer no such consolation to the parents.
Imagine the distress of a family who are told that their ailing newborn child could not be baptised privately and immediately, but must wait till Sunday..........Lord, have mercy.
A sad but fascinating picture of life in an isolated community. And even better, most of the obscure English quotes have been transliterated, which was a major hurdle in reading his "the Stripping of the Altars" where the accounts of Morebath are also featured !