From Hal St John Broadbent Sir, Anthony Symondson's review (June 14) of Judith Middleton-Stewart's book Inward Purity and Outward Splendour : Death and Remembrance in the Deanery of Dunwich, Suffolk, 1370-1547 was interesting. I question however his negative conclusion that the "dispositions of the people" after Henry VIII's destruction of the monasteries resulted in "the dimming of the lights".
W. K. Jordan in his Philanthropy in England 1480-1660 used a similar methodology, scouring "the many thousands of wills proved in England during the period 1480-1660". He discovered that, although the traditional visible mechanism through which the charitable impulse had been articulated was demolished, new vehicles were fashioned from the sad and desperate ruins that were the observable legacy of the Reformation. Principal amongst these was the charitable trust.
God did not stop speaking in the hearts of English people because of the political manoeuverings of disenchanted Tudor monarchs. Rather His light continued to shine undimmed, only this time refracted through a legal and social instrumentality.
Yours faithfully HAL ST JOHN BROADBENT West Molesey, Surrey