In this scholarly new study, Peter Marshall offers a fresh look at the impact of the English Reformation at parish level. The religious changes of Henry VIII and Edward VI had a profound effect upon the clergy of the English church, raising questions as to its status, jurisdiction, and proper place in the divine scheme of salvation. This is the first full examination of the cumulative impact of these changes upon the relationship between priests in the parishes and the lay men and women who depended upon them for spiritual nourishment and religious instruction, and who not infrequently found them wanting in these and other respects. It provides a perceptive exploration of the role of the Catholic priesthood in the church and in the life of the community. Using a wide range of contemporary sources, Dr Marshall demonstrates how the practical consequences of the Reformation undermined the fragile modus vivendi that had sustained the late medieval system.