Professor of History
University of Warwick
Political, religious and social life; food and drink consumption; memory in local communities over the early modern period.
This entry focuses on the more or less institutionalized bodies running parish affairs in the long eighteenth century. With roots stretching back to the Middle Ages, vestries typically elected a range of officials, organized church building / maintenance and dealt with various ad-hoc tasks.
Parish churches have provided key places of sociability from the Middle Ages to the present. Particularly in premodern times, when attendance was expected if not mandatory, they accommodated members of both sexes, different age groups and representatives of poorer as well as more prosperous inhabitants.