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population, for example, (some parish churches were too small to hold even half
of their potential congregation^ Many of the recusants and Dissenters who stayed
away for reasons of conscience had their own form of religious activity.
In the later seventeenth century, for example, it seems to have been common in
some areas for nil returns to be regularly made by way of reply to a
comprehensive set of inquiries relating to all aspects of the spiritual state of the
parish. Indeed ...
On the one hand the State forbade indiscriminate begging; on the other it
continued to uphold the responsibility of the inhabitants of each parish for their
own poor, even allowing begging within the parish, if permitted by the overseers.
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The Magic of the Medieval Church
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